WHAT ARE UTERINE FIBROIDS?
Uterine fibroids (a.k.a. leiomyomas, myomas) are noncancerous growths that arise from the myometrium (smooth muscular tissue of the uterus), and typically appear during a woman’s childbearing years. Approximately 75% of women develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lives; however, because fibroids are not necessarily accompanied by any symptoms, many women remain unaware of their presence. Fibroids vary significantly in terms of size, number, and growth patterns, and may expand or disappear over time.
SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS
Although the exact cause is unknown, risk factors that may potentially impact fibroid development include: heredity; early onset of menstruation; high-fat/low-fiber diets; and race (African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than women of other ethnicities). While many women with fibroids remain asymptomatic, when symptoms do present they typically include: pelvic pain or pressure; frequent urination; difficulty voiding bladder; constipation; prolonged or heavy menstrual periods; and leg or back pain.
The detection of uterine fibroids generally occurs incidentally during the context of a routine pelvic exam. If you present with one or more of the typical symptoms of fibroids, your gynecologist may order a diagnostic test (i.e. ultrasound, blood work, MRI, hysterosonography, or hysteroscopy) to confirm or refute the presence of any fibroids.
In order to ensure accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of your uterine fibroids, it is important to select a physician who specializes in the field of gynecological conditions and disorders. At OBGYN on the Park, with convenient office locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, NY, our well-respected team of board certified Obstetricians/Gynecologists are highly experienced treating problematic gynecological issues, and will work closely with you to diagnose and treat your uterine fibroids in an expedient and efficacious manner.
FIBROID TREATMENT OPTIONS
For patients whose fibroids are causing discomfort or complications (i.e. anemia), there are a number of treatment options available, including:
- Medications: Gn-RH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists (i.e. Lupron, Synarel) treat uterine fibroids by inhibiting the production of progesterone and estrogen. Progestin-releasing IUDs (intra-uterine devices) or oral contraceptives can also be employed to relieve heavy bleeding; however, these measures only alleviate fibroid symptoms, and do not shrink or eliminate the actual fibroids. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to minimize fibroid-related pain or discomfort.
- MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS) : this noninvasive treatment option uses high-energy ultrasound waves to target and destroy uterine fibroids without requiring any surgical incisions
- Uterine Artery Embolization: during this procedure, fibroids are destroyed by injecting small particles into the arteries supplying the uterus, thereby cutting off blood flow to fibroids, causing them to shrink and die
- Robotic or Laparoscopic Myomectomy: uterine fibroids are removed through small incisions in your abdomen. A tiny camera is attached to one of the surgical instruments, which gives the physician a magnified, 3-D view of the uterus during the procedure.
- Hysteroscopic Myomectomy: this technique is typically used to treat submucosal fibroids (located inside the uterus), and involves the removal of the fibroids using small instruments inserted through the vagina.
- Endometrial Ablation: uses heat or electric current to destroy the uterine lining, which minimizes or stops the menstrual flow
- Abdominal Myomectomy: surgical procedures used as an alternative to hysterectomy for patients suffering from very large/deep fibroids, or who have multiple fibroids
- Hysterectomy: major surgery to remove the uterus. While this procedure is completely effective as a solution for uterine fibroids, it also eliminates the possibility of future childbearing. Women electing to undergo hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids can generally elect to keep their ovaries, which will delay the onset of menopause.
OBGYN on the Park
At OBGYN on the Park, we take pride in providing a superior level of patient care and clinical expertise in a warm, comfortable environment. Our exceptional staff members are experts in the field of Obstetrics/Gynecology and all our physician are faculty members at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Our patients experience an unparalleled level of attentiveness and responsiveness—we will always make time to thoroughly address your questions and concerns, and will work tirelessly to ensure that every visit to our practice is a positive one.
Our multidisciplinary approach involves cooperative partnerships with your primary care physician and (when necessary) a network of highly regarded specialists, in order to design a customized treatment plan that meets the unique obstetric/gynecological concerns of our patients. If you would like additional information about diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids, please contact OBGYN on the Park today. We look forward to speaking with you, and to scheduling your initial appointment at one of our two convenient locations.