90% of black women and 70% of white women will be diagnosed with fibroids by the age of 50.
Fibroids have a large impact on quality of life – heavy bleeding, painful sex and infertility are all common symptoms of fibroids. You are not alone, and you no longer have to suffer in silence – there are treatment options and the team at HerMD is here for you every step of the way.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are incredibly common, benign growths that develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus.
How many women have fibroids?
It is estimated that 70-80% of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime. Fibroids can impact women differently, with Black women developing fibroids at a higher rate, more quickly, and at a younger age than White women.
How do I know if I have fibroids?
Fibroids can vary in size and in location, and can cause mild or severe symptoms that may impact quality of life. However, some women may not experience any symptoms at all.
Common symptoms of fibroids include:
- Heavy bleeding or painful periods
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- A feeling of fullness or discomfort in the abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Pregnancy complications
What Treatment Options are there for Fibroids?
When fibroids cause symptoms, treatment with certain medications can help to alleviate these symptoms. In some instances, procedures that treat or remove fibroids may be recommended.
Medication treatment options can include:
- Oral contraceptives and IUDs, like Mirena, may treat the heavy bleeding associated with fibroids, but not the fibroids themselves
- ORIAHNN®, an oral medication, is FDA-approved for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding associated with fibroids in premenopausal women
- Lupron, an injection, reduces the amount of estrogen produced, thereby shrinking fibroids and minimizing heavy bleeding
There are a multitude of different procedural approaches that can be used to treat and remove fibroids. It is important to consult with a surgeon to discuss these approaches.
- Myomectomy: a procedure that removes fibroids while preserving the uterus
- Hysterectomy: a procedure that removes the uterus completely. This procedure can permanently treat fibroids, but may not be a realistic option for everyone, especially those wanting to become pregnant
- Sonata: an incision-free procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of fibroids, thereby reducing fibroid symptoms
- Acessa: a minimally invasive procedure that also uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of fibroids, thereby reducing fibroid symptoms. Similar to the Sonata procedure, radiofrequency energy is delivered to and shrinks the fibroids that can’t be reached with Sonata.
What to expect on your visit
During your visit, you can expect your care team to listen to and address all of your concerns in a safe and trusted space. A consultation for fibroids may include:
- A history and physical examination
- Imaging (ultrasound)
You know your body better than anyone. The most common symptoms of fibroids are:
– Heavy bleeding or painful periods
– Pain during sex
– Lower back pain
– A feeling of fullness or discomfort in the abdomen
– Frequent urination
– Pregnancy complications
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may find that you have fibroids when you see them for a pelvic exam to check your uterus, ovaries, and vagina.
Healthcare providers often describe how small or how large the fibroids are by comparing them to fruits, nuts, or a ball, such as a grape or an orange, an acorn or a walnut, or a golf ball or a baseball.
Treatment options will vary whether the approach is medical or surgical. Medical options include contraceptives and GnRH analogs. Surgical options include myomectomy, hysterectomy, and treatment with the Sonata or Acessa systems. Treatment approaches will often depend on the severity of symptoms.
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