Uterine Growths (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What are uterine growths?
- What are uterine fibroids?
- What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
- How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for uterine fibroids?
- Surgery for uterine fibroids
- Other medical treatment for uterine fibroids
- What are the complications of uterine fibroids?
- What is adenomyosis?
- What are the symptoms of adenomyosis?
- How is adenomyosis diagnosed?
- How is adenomyosis treated?
- What are uterine polyps?
- What are the symptoms of uterine polyps?
- How are uterine polyps diagnosed and treated?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. However, fibroids can cause a number of symptoms depending on their size, location within the uterus, and how close they are to adjacent pelvic organs. Large fibroids can cause:
- pelvic pain,
- pressure on the bladder with frequent or even obstructed urination, and
- pressure on the rectum with pain during defecation.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is the most common symptom of a fibroid. If the tumors are near the uterine lining, or interfere with the blood flow to the lining, they can cause heavy periods, painful periods, prolonged periods or spotting between menses. Uterine fibroids that are deteriorating can sometimes cause severe, localized pain.
If uterine fibroids are benign, why are they the reason for so many hysterectomies (surgeries performed to remove the uterus)?
The main answer is that uterine fibroids can cause bleeding. This bleeding can sometimes be significant and lead to anemia. Fibroids can also lead to complications as discussed in the next section. Fortunately, there are also many non-surgical means available to treat fibroids.
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?
Fibroids are diagnosed by performing a manual pelvic examination (bimanual examination) and confirmed by ultrasound. Ultrasound is harmless and does not involve any needles or injections. This test is similar to the one performed in pregnant women to view the developing fetus inside the uterus. Rarely, more complex imaging is used, but only in cases wherein the doctor cannot determine the exact nature of the mass found on the physical exam or ultrasound.
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