If you’re ever going to hear the words “tumor” and “good news” in the same sentence, chances are your doctor is referring to fibroid tumors.
These non-cancerous tumors made of muscle cells and connective tissue are found in a woman’s uterus. While they are not cancer and don’t have the potential to become cancer (there’s the good news), they can still cause health problems for women.
While all fibroids are made of the same material, they are not all alike. They are classified on the basis of their location in the uterus. Here’s more of what Christopher Serrano, MD and his expert team at Serrano Ob/Gyn Associates know about the characteristics and differences of fibroids.
What are symptoms of fibroids?
Fibroids generally range from the size of small apple seeds to large grapefuits (although in some cases, they can grow unusually large). Anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by age 50; they are most common in women in their 40s and 50s.
Many fibroids don’t cause any symptoms at all, but others do cause the following symptoms:
- Heavy or prolonged periods with excessive blood flow
- Pelvic pain and pressure
- Frequent urination
- Low back pain
- Pain during sex
- Fertility issues
What types of fibroids are there?
There are four basic types of fibroids: intramural, subserosal, submucosal, and pedunculated. Your symptoms will depend on the types of fibroids you have, what size they are, and where they are located.
Intramural fibroids are the most common type. They usually develop within the uterine wall, and as they grow, they make the uterus larger, which is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a sign of pregnancy. Intramural fibroids can cause excessive bleeding during a woman’s period.
Subserosal fibroids usually develop on the outside of the uterine wall. As they grow, they put pressure on surrounding organs, which also causes pelvic pain and pressure, along with frequent urination.
Submucosal fibroids are the least common type. They develop just underneath the lining of the uterine cavity and can block the fallopian tubes. They also cause heavy, excessive bleeding during menstruation, which can eventually lead to anemia and fatigue.
Pedunculated fibroids grow on a stalk either inside the uterine cavity or on the outside of the uterine wall. Because the fibroid can sometimes twist on the stalk, symptoms include pain and pressure.
How do you treat fibroids?
Depending on how severe your symptoms are and what types of fibroids you have, your treatment options can vary. Many patients opt for a period of watchful waiting to just keep an eye on their condition. If their symptoms become more of an issue, surgery is an option to remove the fibroids.
To find out more about how Serrano Ob/Gyn Associates can help treat your fibroids, call our office in San Antonio, Texas today to schedule a consultation. We can help relieve your symptoms so you can live your life the way you want, month after month, without fear.