Uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous smooth muscle growths in your uterus, can vary in size, from a grain of rice to an orange or even a melon. If your fibroids are large enough, they can press against your organs, add to your weight, and expand your uterus to the point where it reaches your rib cage.
At Ozark OB/GYN, your reproductive health is our foremost priority. Donald Jones, MD, FACOG, and his team are here to help you with whatever gynecological issues you may have, including issues with fibroids.
Causes of fibroids
While the exact reason fibroids develop is unknown, research points to some contributing factors:
Many fibroids contain alterations in genes that are different from the ones found in normal uterine muscle cells.
Raised levels of estrogen and progesterone seem to promote the growth of uterine fibroids.
Extracellular matrix, which is a material that makes cells stick together, can make fibroids fibrous, lead to increased growth, and cause cell changes.
Approximately 30% of women will develop uterine fibroids by age 35, and some studies show that nearly 80% of women will get them at some point in their lives.
Black women are more commonly affected and are more likely to develop them at a younger age. Furthermore, women have a 40% chance of having them during pregnancy.
How fibroids impact fertility
As you can see, uterine fibroids are fairly common. And, because they sometimes don’t present symptoms, many women don’t even know they have them. While this is not a problem in many cases, it can be a problem if you have submucosal (under the endometrium) fibroids that can affect your fertility. While they don’t interfere with ovulation, they can affect your uterus’ ability to support conception and pregnancy.
Submucosal fibroids are thought to prevent blood flow to your endometrium, or uterine lining, thus keeping it from thickening and preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.
There are other kinds of fibroids that can cause infertility, but they are rarer. Subserosal (located near the outside surface of the uterus) fibroids can block the fallopian tubes or cervix, thus obstructing sperm or a fertilized egg.
Treating uterine fibroids
At Ozark OB/GYN, we have a few methods for treating uterine fibroids, including:
We have medications that can target the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycles. While they won’t eliminate fibroids, they can shrink them and treat symptoms associated with them, such as heavy bleeding and pelvic pain/pressure.
With today’s technology, we can remove your fibroids in an outpatient setting with no incisions or downtime. One option is to have submucosal fibroids removed with a hysteroscope. Other more involved surgery is available to manually removed the deeper fibroid tumors.
Targeting the uterus
NovaSure® is an endometrial ablation procedure that’s quick, safe, and effective. The system uses controlled radiofrequency energy to remove the uterine lining. Due to the removal of the lining, the procedure is only for women who no longer want children. This treatment won’t remove the fibroids, but can help relieve the heavy vaginal bleeding they often cause.
If you have fibroids or think that you’re in danger of developing them, book an appointment over the phone or go to the link to request an appointment with Ozark OB/GYN today.