Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Ask a WHT Doctor: What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Ask a WHT Doctor: What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Ritu Dutta, MD, FACOG, MBA with Institute for Women’s Health explains what uterine fibroids are and how they’re diagnosed and treated.

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign, smooth muscle tumors of the uterus and are the most common pelvic tumor in women. They can affect different areas of the uterus, leading to many different symptoms. Uterine tumors tend to arise during the reproductive years and become more prevalent as women age. Women of all ethnicities and backgrounds can be affected, although some are at higher risk.

What are the most common signs and symptoms?

Women may experience several different symptoms or a combination of symptoms, depending on the size and location of the fibroid, this includes heavy or prolonged bleeding, constant pain, painful periods, painful intercourse, a sensation of bulkiness/pressure and infertility.

How are fibroids diagnosed?

Fibroids can sometimes be diagnosed with a careful history review and pelvic examination. However, the best path to diagnosis and evaluation is through sonographic imaging, which is a device that painlessly utilizes ultrasound waves to produce pictures of the uterus. Other options for diagnosis include sonohysterography, MRI and CT scan.

How are fibroids treated?

Treatment is individualized to the patient’s clinical situation, age and stage of life. This may be either medicinal or surgical (minimally invasive or traditional). Medications include NSAIDs, hormonal medication (pills, injections, IUD, implants). A surgical plan would be individualized based on the patient’s situation and the desired outcome. Surgery options include myomectomy, ablation, uterine artery embolization, and hysterectomy.

Are there good sources to learn more about this?

Some options include: