Between 20% and 50% of women have fibroids, non-cancerous tumors on their reproductive organs. In many women, fibroids are small and never cause problems. But, these growths can cause uncomfortable symptoms that require treatment. At South Sound Women’s Center, the team of board-certified OB/GYNs offers diagnosis and treatment of fibroids. If you live in Olympia, Washington, or the surrounding area and suspect you have discomfort caused by fibroids, call the office or book an appointment online.
In 99% of cases, fibroids are benign, meaning they are not associated with cancer and do not increase your risk of cancer. They can be microscopic or as large as a grapefruit. Composed of smooth muscle cells and connective tissue, they’re most likely caused when an irregular cell in the uterus multiplies exponentially due to the effects of estrogen.
In many cases, women have no symptoms from fibroids. In other cases, the symptoms can be serious and cause dysfunction, requiring treatment. Symptoms may include:
In some cases, the doctors at South Sound Women’s Center can feel a fibroid during a pelvic exam.
You may have fibroids that cause no discomfort or symptoms and are just observed during one of your routine exams. If you’re having symptoms, you may undergo an ultrasound to make sure they’re related to fibroids and for the doctors to get a picture of the size and location of the masses. They may also order lab tests to rule out other potential causes.
In some cases, the doctors may order other imaging tests, such as an MRI or other more-directed exams of your uterus.
When your estrogen production starts to decline during perimenopause and menopause, fibroids usually shrink naturally. If you can wait until that time, the South Sound Women’s Center team may have you manage mild symptoms with over-the-counter medications or anti-hormonal agents, such as progestin.
However, should you be far away from menopause or have very severe symptoms, a more aggressive treatment plan may be recommended. Options include conservative surgery to remove the fibroids but leave your reproductive organs intact, or a full hysterectomy. In some cases, the team may recommend gonadotropic-releasing hormone agonists that can trigger a medical menopause and decrease estrogen production, which aggravates fibroids.
If you suspect your heavy periods and pelvic pain are related to fibroids, call South Sound Women’s Center to book an appointment for a thorough exam and treatment plan.