Uterine fibroids are benign ( not cancer ) tumors ( growths ) of the smooth muscle cells of the uterus. They are also called leiomyomas. Fibroids vary in size, number and location in the uterus. The symptoms they cause are dependent on these variables.
The most common symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic cramps, pain and pressure. Diagnosis is made by pelvic exam and ultrasound. Many times fibroids are small with minimal symptoms and require no treatment.
WISH, Chattanooga, TN, offers multiple treatment options from our OB/GYN doctors which include :
- Laparoscopic removal
- Hysteroscopic - here a lighted scope and instruments are used through the vagina and into the uterus to remove fibroids that are protruding into the uterine cavity.
- Uterine artery embolization - where the radiologist injects small particles into the arteries that supply the uterus. This blocks the blood supply and leads to shrinkage of the fibroids and their symptoms.
- Hysterectomy - this is preferably done through the vagina possibly with the aid of the laparoscope, but on occasion, if the uterus is very large an open incision may be necessary.