Symptoms of FibroidsMost women don’t even know that they have uterine fibroids. They are usually found only upon examination, either during your yearly pelvic exam or during a pregnancy or infertility ultrasound. However, some women do experience certain symptoms with their uterine fibroids. Symptoms are especially common if your fibroids are large or numerous, and can include:
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- periods that last longer than usual
- pain in the abdomen
- pelvic pressure
- backaches or leg pains
Diagnosing Uterine FibroidsThere are a number of ways that your health care provider can diagnose your uterine fibroids. These include:
- Pelvic exam, in which your doctor uses her fingers to examine the size and shape of your uterus.
- Ultrasound, in which sound waves are used to create a picture of your uterus.
- Hysterosalpingography, in which dye is used to highlight your uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Laparoscopy, in which a small incision is made in your abdomen through which a camera is inserted. This relays images of your uterus back to your surgeon.
Fibroids and InfertilityOccasionally, fibroids can have a negative impact on fertility. Approximately 3% of women with uterine fibroids find that they have trouble conceiving because of these growths. The impact of fibroids on your fertility depends upon the size and location of your fibroids. Subserosal and intramural fibroids are usually unrelated to fertility issues. However, submucosal fibroids can sometimes interfere with fertilization and implantation.
- Large submucosal fibroids can disrupt the uterine lining, making it difficult for proper implantation.
- Submucosal fibroids can also impede upon the growth of an embryo, increasing the chances for miscarriage.
- Fibroids can sometimes block the fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from fertilizing your egg.
Treating Uterine Fibroids
For most women, fibroids do not need to be treated. These tumors often disappear by themselves, especially after menopause. If your fibroids are interfering with your ability to become pregnant, treatment is an option.
- medications, which can help shrink the fibroids
- surgery to remove the fibroids