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​Uterine Fibroids

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What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine Fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths that form in the muscular layer of the uterus.

Based on where they are within the uterus, fibroids can cause a number of symptoms. Depending on how severe your symptoms, fibroid treatment options range from none at all to surgery.

What are the risk factors for fibroids?

Fibroids are very common. Surgeons find them in 80 percent of women undergoing a hysterectomy.

African American women have a higher risk of fibroids.

Other risk factors include:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Genetic predisposition
  • No history of pregnancy

Consistent use of birth control pills seems to decrease a woman’s risk of getting fibroids. And, they tend to shrink after menopause.

Make an appointment

If you think you're at risk for fibroids, the Fibroid Treatment Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC offers consultations and services.

Or, contact the Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at 412-641-6412 to make an appointment.

Uterine Fibroids Symptoms and Diagnosis

The most common symptoms of fibroids include:

  • Heavy periods
  • Pelvic pressure or abdominal “fullness”
  • Fertility issues (problems getting pregnant)

Less common symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Frequent urination and/or constipation

Diagnosing fibroids

Doctors most often find fibroids during routine gynecologic pelvic exams.

If you are having some symptoms, your doctor may use an ultrasound to confirm a diagnosis. He or she may order other tests to learn more about the exact location of the fibroids.

These may include:

  • Infusion sonohysterography — this test uses ultrasound guidance to inject water into the uterus to examine the inside of the uterine cavity.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — this scan provides detailed images of the exact location and size of the fibroids for surgical planning.
If you have fibroids ​Then
but no symptoms, or minor symptoms that do not bother you, ​surgery is not necessary.
and very bothersome symptoms, ​there are non-surgical and surgical treatments for fibroids.

Make an appointment

If you have symptoms of fibroids, the Fibroid Treatment Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC offers a broad range of services.

Or, contact the Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at 412-641-6412 to make an appointment.

Uterine Fibroids Treatment Options

If your fibroids are not causing excessive bleeding, discomfort, or bladder problems, you don't need treatment.

For women with extreme fibroid symptoms, we offer non-surgical and surgical treatment options.

Non-surgical treatment options for fibroids

Depo Lupron (a GnRH agonist)

A class of medications that shrinks fibroids by shutting down the body’s production of female hormones.

Although Depo Lupron can greatly reduce the size of fibroids, it can cause unpleasant menopausal symptoms, such as:

  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping problems

Long-term use can also cause bone loss, so you should not take Depo Lupron longer than six to 12 months.

Doctors may prescribe one to two doses of Depo Lupron prior to surgery. This decreases the size of fibroids and makes surgery easier.

Birth control pills

Oral contraceptives can help control heavy vaginal bleeding caused by fibroids. Unfortunately, they are not very useful in treating other symptoms of fibroids.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

An IUD can decrease bleeding. However, this treatment option is only for fibroids that aren’t too big or are located outside the uterine cavity.

Read more about treatment options at Magee's Fibroid Treatment Center.

Surgical treatment options for fibroids

There are two types of surgical treatments for fibroids. Those that maintain the uterus and those that remove it.

Surgical options include:

Weighing your options

If you have fibroid surgery that ​Then you're
maintains the uterus, ​​at risk of recurrence of the fibroids.
removes the uterus, ​no longer able to have children.

Read more about surgical options at Magee's Fibroid Treatment Center.

Make an appointment

To learn more about fibroid treatment options, visit the Fibroid Treatment Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Or, contact the Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at 412-641-6412 to make an appointment.

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