When it comes to your reproductive health, are you as informed as you should be? For many women, the answer is no. Being informed about your body and early signs of potential health troubles can help to save your life. As the most complex of the female reproductive organs, most women have at least a basic knowledge of how the uterus works, especially in terms of menstruation and pregnancy. But what about something as common uterine fibroids?
Here’s what you need to know:
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growth in or around the uterus. Physicians and gynecologists may refer to these growths as leiomyomas or myomas, depending on their location. While they are unsure of the exact cause of these tumors, factors such as age, hormones, and genetic predisposition can increase one’s risk of developing uterine fibroids. Additionally, though most are non-cancerous, there is a small chance for these growths to develop into uterine cancer in some cases.
Varying in size and frequency, fibroids may go undetected and disappear on their own. Larger uterine growths can interfere with one’s menstruation cycle, cause difficulties with pregnancy, and other complications. This may require an outpatient procedure known as uterine fibroid embolization in Miami to safely and effectively treat the growths.
80 Percent of Women Experience Uterine Fibroids Before the Age of 50
Uterine fibroids are among the most common reproductive health conditions affecting women, especially those in their 40s to early 50s. As previously mentioned, most women who develop these non-cancerous growths never know of their existence. Others may notice symptoms such as:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Painful periods
- Swelling of the lower abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Complications during pregnancy and labor
- Infertility (rare)
Additional Risk Factors for Uterine Fibroids
Though doctors have not yet found a specific cause of uterine fibroids, we have been able to identify factors which may increase the risk of their development. Hormone based birth control, vitamin D deficiency, diets that are high in red meat and low in vegetables, and heavy alcohol consumption may all increase your chances of developing fibroids.
What You Can Do About Uterine Fibroids
If you suspect you are experiencing health side effects caused by uterine fibroids, consult your doctor. Through imaging and minimally invasive diagnosing procedures, they can confirm the presence of fibroid growths and determine your next steps. In most cases, your doctor will monitor them and allow them to resolve themselves. However, if necessary, uterine fibroid embolization may be advised.
Uterine fibroid embolization is the process of eliminating uterine growths by severing the feeding source. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure cuts off the blood supply to growths, allowing them to shrink naturally and get reabsorbed into the body. Uterine fibroid embolization does not surgically remove tumors or other growths in the uterus. Following the procedure, it may take between two to three months for fibroids to shrink enough for patients to notice reduction of symptoms and will continue to shrink as time goes on.
Dr. Linda Hughes of Palm Vascular is Broward County’s only female physician offering uterine fibroid embolization. Schedule your appointment with her today.