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What are Fibroids?

Fibroids are the most common benign tumor in women of childbearing age. More than 200 thousand new fibroid cases are identified every year in the United States alone and it can affect up to 1 in 5 women during their lifetime.

Fibroids are muscular noncancerous growths in the uterus that can range in size from very tiny, smaller than a pea, to large bulky masses, as large as a basketball. Women can develop a single fibroid or multiple fibroids at the same time. Fibroids do not increase the risk for developing uterine cancer.

Risk Factors

There are no known causes for fibroids development, but there are risk factors.

  • Age: Fibroids are more common in women of childbearing age through menopause. After menopause, fibroids tend to shrink.
  • Environment: Early onset of menstruation, use of birth control pills, being overweight, and having a diet high in red meat and low in leafy greens seems to increase the risk of developing fibroids.
  • Heredity: Having a family member with fibroids increases the risk of developing fibroids.
  • Race: African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than women of other racial groups.

Common Symptoms

Many women do not even know they have fibroids. However, countless women suffer from uncomfortable and painful symptoms including.

  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Infertility, multiple miscarriages, or early labor
  • Lower back or leg pains
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pressure or pain

Treatment Options

For women who are not suffering from painful fibroid symptoms, watchful waiting with monitoring by their primary care physician or gynecologist may be the best option. Sometimes medication may help to control the symptoms or slow the growth of fibroids. For women who are experiencing painful or life-altering symptoms surgical fibroid removal while preserving fertility should be considered. Fertility-sparing robotic or laparoscopic myomectomy removes the fibroids while repairing and keep the uterus intact. For smaller fibroids within the uterine cavity, they can often be removed through a simple hysteroscopic myomectomy procedure in the office or as an outpatient procedure.

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