What are fibroids?

The most common tumor found in the reproductive tract of women, fibroids, also known as leiomyomas, uterine myomas, and fibromas are found in 20-50% of women who are at a reproductive age. Fibroids, comprised of muscle cells and connective tissues, are tightly packed, dense tumors. Ranging in size from a bean, to an orange, or even a grapefruit or much larger, fibroids are found firmly embedded into the wall of the uterus.

What causes them to form?

It is not clearly known what causes fibroids, but it is believed that each fibroid tumor develops from an aberrant muscle cells in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly under the influence of estrogen.

Who can get fibroids?

Any woman can develop them over the course of her lifetime. However, some groups of women have shown more at-risk signs than others. For example, women who haven’t given birth, women who are overweight, and women of certain ethnicities are some of the most common groups to develop these tumors. It is unclear why these groups of women seem to be more susceptible to fibroid growth, but we hope to learn more as research grows.

Are they painful?

A fibroid can be painful, while others go completely unnoticed. Some women live symptom-free with fibroids, while others find them incredibly uncomfortable to the point of needing treatment or surgery. Since no two women’s bodies are alike and fibroids vary in size and location, the presence of pain varies significantly amongst different women.

How are they detected?

Fibroids are usually detected during a pelvic examination. While some do go undetected, especially if there are no symptoms, larger fibroids can be felt by a physician during a pelvic exam. Symptoms include: heavy, lengthy menstrual periods, pain during intercourse, low back pain, frequent urination, pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, an enlarged lower abdomen, and sometimes a full, bloated feeling in the pelvic region. Based on a physical examination, family history, symptoms, and sometimes diagnostic imaging, a doctor can determine if fibroids are present.

How can you treat fibroids?

Most of the time, they are left alone and monitored by your physician. However, if they are causing severe discomfort or other medical issues, treatments for fibroids may be needed. Common treatments include: pain medication, anti-hormonal treatments, uterine artery embolization, surgery to remove the fibroids, and, in some cases, a hysterectomy.

Referral from Family Physician

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms or are concerned about the presence of fibroids, help is available! Contact your family physician to obtain a referral into Dr. Douglas Waterman’s practice. If you do not have a medicine provider, simply call our office at (604) 528-9042 for assistance in obtaining a referral.

*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee