The uterus is designed for one function and one function only: to allow women the unique and special ability to develop, nurture, and eventually deliver human life. To facilitate this function, the uterus is composed of two types of tissues:
- Endometrium – lining of the uterus, that allows a suitable environment for a pregnancy to implant and grow
- Myometrium – muscle layer, that enables the uterus to contract during labor.
Unfortunately, these tissues can deviate from their intended functions and cause various problems.
One of the most common problems are fibroid tumors, or the medical term, lieomyomas. Although called tumors, fibroids are very, very, very rarely cancerous. Muscle cells usually lie flat and move together to shorten and allow contractions. When these muscles grow in circles they harden and form super-ball like structures that, as they enlarge, become fibroid tumors.
Fibroids can be easily diagnosed either through a pelvic exam or with an ultrasound. They are very common, as many as 2 out of 3 women may develop them during their reproductive years. The hormone estrogen may stimulate, or feed, their growth while the hormone progesterone may inhibit their growth.
Fibroids do not always cause problems, in fact, many women are totally unaware that they have them. However, when problematic, fibroids can cause symptoms such as heavy, prolonged bleeding; pain; or difficulty with urinating or bowel movements. They may also grow large enough to be seen through the abdomen, similar to how a pregnancy does.
If none of the above problems, or symptoms, develope, treatment is not necessarily needed. The fibroids can be safely monitored until menopause; when without estrogen stimulation, fibroids simply quit growing and may eventually shrink. However, if they are symptomatic, then treatment is indicated. Treatment can be either medical or surgical. Treatment regimens are specifically designed to meet the patients unique symptoms, needs and expectations.
Our gynecologists have access to all the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment modalities available. If you think you have fibroids, or if you do and think they may need to be treated, please, call us. We will do everything we can to help you.