Fibroids are a type of benign tumor. Uterine fibroids occupy the muscle tissue of the uterus and are mostly frequently found in women in their 30s or 40s. The reasons why they develop are not clearly known.
Signs and symptoms of fibroids in the uterus may include painful or heavy menstruation, frequent urination, lower back pain, and pain during sexual intercourse. You may be at higher risk for fibroids if:
- You are obese
- you have never had biological children
- you reached menarche before age 10
- you are African-American (a 2013 study found that African-American women are almost twice as likely to have fibroids than Caucasian women)
Fortunately, fibroids are highly treatable. Options for uterine fibroid treatments include:
- Hysterectomy. While they are not suitable for everyone, hysterectomies are the most common fibroid treatments.
- MR guided focused ultrasound. In situations where hysterectomies are not possible, this technique is used to heat the fibroid until it dies. It’s very noninvasive and does not effect the rest of the body.
- Medication. Certain medications can help alleviate the symptoms of uterine fibroids. The most commonly used are Synarel, Lupron, and Soladex. These are all gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists.
- Acessa. Also known as radiofrequency ablation, this is relatively new among fibroid treatments. During an Acessa procedure, each fibroid is targeted and destroyed by a beam of energy focused through a small set of needles and then harmlessly reabsorbed into the body, without affecting surrounding organs and tissue. It is an outpatient procedure, and most patients resume their regular activities within nine days or less.
Uterine fibroids are most frequently found during routine pelvic exams, so make sure you are regularly visiting a gynecologist. In the event that you develop fibroids, regular consultations with a health care professional will help you monitor them and make sure they do not increase in size or begin to cause problems. That way, you can explore all options for uterine fibroid removal and figure out which fibroid tumor treatment is right for you.