You may be unaware you have uterine fibroids, but a regular well-woman exam ensures that they’re identified before they become a problem. Melissa Marie Gutierrez, MD, FACOG, practicing in Beverly Hills, California, is a leading OB/GYN who carries out comprehensive well-woman exams as well as diagnosing any gynecological symptoms you may have. Call Beverly Hills OB/GYN today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.
Uterine fibroids are typically benign growths that develop in or on the uterus or in the tissues that make up the uterine wall. Fibroids can be large, small, or a mix of sizes, and you may have many or just one or two.
Some fibroids grow directly out of the uterine tissues, while others have a stem from which they hang. Growth rates can vary too, with some fibroids growing slowly while others develop more rapidly. In some cases, a slow-growing fibroid begins to expand at an accelerated rate.
You may have fibroids and not realize, because very often they don’t cause any symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, it’s likely that you’ll find your periods are heavier, longer, more frequent, and more painful. Other symptoms may include:
Although they aren’t a primary cause, it’s possible for uterine fibroids to lead to infertility, or in some cases miscarriage, so Dr. Gutierrez checks for fibroids if you’re having problems conceiving or you’ve experienced a miscarriage.
If you have symptoms that suggest fibroids or Dr. Gutierrez needs to exclude uterine fibroids as a possible cause for infertility, for example, she can carry out diagnostic tests such as:
Because they commonly don’t cause symptoms, uterine fibroids often get found during a routine exam or when carrying out tests for other reasons.
If you have uterine fibroids but they aren’t causing any problems or interfering with the function of the uterus and other pelvic organs, you may not need to undergo treatment. Dr. Gutierrez can monitor the fibroids and take action if the situation changes.
If you’re experiencing painful or heavy menstruation, medication such as birth control pills, a hormonal implant or IUD (intrauterine device), or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists can help reduce your symptoms.
In some cases, patients may benefit from surgery to destroy or remove uterine fibroids. Options include:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided ultrasound uses sound waves to destroy fibroids.
Hysteroscopy destroys uterine fibroids with laser energy or electrical impulses.
A UAE procedure involves injecting a substance into the veins supplying blood to the fibroids that cuts off the circulation and starves the fibroid, causing it to shrink.
A myomectomy is a form of surgery that removes uterine fibroids but leaves the uterus intact.
Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure which removes the uterus and in some cases the ovaries as well. Performing a hysterectomy ends a woman’s ability to conceive a child, so must be undertaken with due consideration.
If you have any symptoms that could be uterine fibroids, or you’d like to have a checkup to put your mind at rest, call Melissa Marie Gutierrez, MD, FACOG today or book an appointment online.