Uterine Fibroids - Oakdale ObGyn
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Services Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids, or “leiomyomas” are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow inside your uterus, including in the uterine wall, or in the cavity. The tumors may be larger than a grapefruit or as small as a seed and there can be just one, or there can be many.

While the causes uterine fibroids are not known, it is widely thought that hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and family history are important factors.

Uterine Fibroids: Are you at risk?

While the cause(s) of fibroids isn’t clear, there are some known risk factors:

  • Age: Fibroids are most common in women in their 30s, 40s and early 50s. Women who have completed menopause are less likely to experience fibroids.
  • Ethnicity: Women of African American or Latina origins are more likely to develop uterine fibroids.
  • Genetics: You are roughly three times more likely to have fibroids if your mother, sister, or grandmother has/had fibroids.
  • Weight: Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have fibroids
  • Diet: Diets high in meat and low in green, leafy veggies are more prone to fibroids.

Common SymptomsNot all women have symptoms; however, common symptoms can include:

  • Heavy or abnormal bleeding
  • Low back pain
  • Frequent bathroom use
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Enlarged lower abdomen
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex

TreatmentTreatment for uterine fibroids varies woman to woman depending on medical history. Some women will not require treatment, while others may require options that include medical therapies or surgery. Your provider will discuss your options based on:

  • Your age
  • The size and location of fibroids
  • Your symptoms
  • Whether or not you want to become pregnant

Some women with uterine fibroids never experience symptoms, while others experience quite a bit of discomfort. If your provider suspects uterine fibroids, there are many imaging studies that can confirm fibroids. They include:

  • Ultrasound: we use state-of-the-art 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging at our clinics to “make a picture” of the fibroid(s).
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): we use radio waves to produce images. This may be part of a pre-surgical workup for uterine fibroids. MRI studies are performed at Maple Grove Hospital.
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): we use a dye that is injected into the uterus while using ultrasound to take pictures. These studies are performed at the Maple Grove Hospital imaging center.

Some women will require surgery to confirm fibroids. Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are common diagnostic surgeries that we perform at the North Memorial Outpatient Center at Maple Grove Hospital.

Some uterine fibroids don’t require treatment. Rather, we will monitor your symptoms and the fibroids over time. If the fibroids grow or multiply, or if your symptoms increase, we will explore other treatment options.

Medications are a common non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids. Over-the-counter Ibuprofen or aspirin is commonly used to manage pain. Some women who experience heavy bleeding may need to take an iron supplement to prevent or treat anemia (low iron counts).

Prescription medications include a low-dose birth control to control heavy bleeding and others that are useful in helping to slow growth or shrink the fibroids.

If surgery is necessary, there are a number of surgical options. Your medical history and plans for children in the future will influence the type of surgery you may have.

Myomectomy

Myomectomy, pronounced “my-o-MEK-to-me”, is a surgical procedure to remove fibroids from your uterus. The goal is to remove only the fibroids while keeping the uterus intact. Depending on the location, size and number of fibroids, your gynecologic surgeon will choose one of three surgical approaches: abdominal; laparoscopic with or without robotics; or hysteroscopic. Learn more about myomectomy.

Hysterectomy

For some women, a hysterectomy to remove the uterus and the fibroids is a better surgical option. Sometimes other organs or tissues around the uterus, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix are removed. Your gynecologic surgeon will discuss hysterectomy options with you. Learn more about hysterectomy.

Treatment for uterine fibroids may include medications and/or surgery. Each brings unique risks. Talk with your provider about your questions and concerns.

Initially, your provider will see you at one our 4 clinics in Maple Grove, Blaine, Plymouth, or Crystal for evaluation.

If surgery is necessary, our gynecologic surgeons perform surgery at the North Memorial Outpatient Surgery Center at Maple Grove Hospital and at North Memorial Medical Center.

Your provider may first recommend hormone therapies (medications) to attempt to shrink the size of your fibroid(s) and to possibly avoid surgery. Low-dose birth control may help to control bleeding and slow fibroid growth. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help with pain management.

If you have surgery, you will receive pain medication and receive detailed self-care instructions. You may need to avoid sex, heavy lifting, vigorous physical activity and tampons up to several days or weeks, depending on your surgery.

  • How many fibroids do I have?
  • What size is my fibroid(s)?
  • Where is my fibroid(s) located?
  • Will the fibroid(s) get bigger? How will I know?
  • Will I develop more?
  • Common symptoms?
  • Do I need to treat my fibroid(s)? What are my options?
  • Is “sit and wait” an option if they are small or not fast growing?
  • Do my birth control pills have anything to do with developing fibroids?
  • How will I know if the fibroid(s) is growing larger?
  • What tests do you recommend to evaluate my fibroids?
  • What are my treatment options if my fibroid(s) becomes a problem?
  • If surgery is an option, what surgery are you most likely to recommend?
  • Is there a link between uterine fibroids and uterine cancer?
How Uterine Fibroids Are Diagnosed

Some women with uterine fibroids never experience symptoms, while others experience quite a bit of discomfort. If your provider suspects uterine fibroids, there are many imaging studies that can confirm fibroids. They include:

  • Ultrasound: we use state-of-the-art 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging at our clinics to “make a picture” of the fibroid(s).
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): we use radio waves to produce images. This may be part of a pre-surgical workup for uterine fibroids. MRI studies are performed at Maple Grove Hospital.
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): we use a dye that is injected into the uterus while using ultrasound to take pictures. These studies are performed at the Maple Grove Hospital imaging center.

Some women will require surgery to confirm fibroids. Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are common diagnostic surgeries that we perform at the North Memorial Outpatient Center at Maple Grove Hospital.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Some uterine fibroids don’t require treatment. Rather, we will monitor your symptoms and the fibroids over time. If the fibroids grow or multiply, or if your symptoms increase, we will explore other treatment options.

Medications are a common non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids. Over-the-counter Ibuprofen or aspirin is commonly used to manage pain. Some women who experience heavy bleeding may need to take an iron supplement to prevent or treat anemia (low iron counts).

Prescription medications include a low-dose birth control to control heavy bleeding and others that are useful in helping to slow growth or shrink the fibroids.

Surgical Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

If surgery is necessary, there are a number of surgical options. Your medical history and plans for children in the future will influence the type of surgery you may have.

Myomectomy

Myomectomy, pronounced “my-o-MEK-to-me”, is a surgical procedure to remove fibroids from your uterus. The goal is to remove only the fibroids while keeping the uterus intact. Depending on the location, size and number of fibroids, your gynecologic surgeon will choose one of three surgical approaches: abdominal; laparoscopic with or without robotics; or hysteroscopic. Learn more about myomectomy.

Hysterectomy

For some women, a hysterectomy to remove the uterus and the fibroids is a better surgical option. Sometimes other organs or tissues around the uterus, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix are removed. Your gynecologic surgeon will discuss hysterectomy options with you. Learn more about hysterectomy.

Understanding Risks

Treatment for uterine fibroids may include medications and/or surgery. Each brings unique risks. Talk with your provider about your questions and concerns.

Where We Treat Uterine Fibroids

Initially, your provider will see you at one our 4 clinics in Maple Grove, Blaine, Plymouth, or Crystal for evaluation.

If surgery is necessary, our gynecologic surgeons perform surgery at the North Memorial Outpatient Surgery Center at Maple Grove Hospital and at North Memorial Medical Center.

What to Expect

Your provider may first recommend hormone therapies (medications) to attempt to shrink the size of your fibroid(s) and to possibly avoid surgery. Low-dose birth control may help to control bleeding and slow fibroid growth. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help with pain management.

If you have surgery, you will receive pain medication and receive detailed self-care instructions. You may need to avoid sex, heavy lifting, vigorous physical activity and tampons up to several days or weeks, depending on your surgery.

Questions to Ask Your Provider
  • How many fibroids do I have?
  • What size is my fibroid(s)?
  • Where is my fibroid(s) located?
  • Will the fibroid(s) get bigger? How will I know?
  • Will I develop more?
  • Common symptoms?
  • Do I need to treat my fibroid(s)? What are my options?
  • Is “sit and wait” an option if they are small or not fast growing?
  • Do my birth control pills have anything to do with developing fibroids?
  • How will I know if the fibroid(s) is growing larger?
  • What tests do you recommend to evaluate my fibroids?
  • What are my treatment options if my fibroid(s) becomes a problem?
  • If surgery is an option, what surgery are you most likely to recommend?
  • Is there a link between uterine fibroids and uterine cancer?
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