Uterine fibroids are benign, noncancerous growths that occur within the uterus, or on the outside of the uterus. They are common, and in most cases, there are no symptoms involved with having uterine fibroids. However, in some cases, women experience heavy, and prolonged menstrual periods, painful periods, pelvic pain, and backaches, among other symptoms. Uterine fibroids, in some cases, can also make conceiving a baby difficult. If you have uterine fibroids and are experiencing unpleasant symptoms that are interfering with your life, you will want to consult your doctor to discuss the various treatment options.
Because uterine fibroids are harmless in most cases, and usually present with no symptoms, when a uterine fibroid is found, usually during a pelvic exam, the first, and most common treatment option is called watchful waiting. What this means is that your physician will check the fibroid for changes during each pelvic exam, but if the fibroids are not causing problems, and you have no symptoms, nothing will need to be done. Because fibroids do not turn into cancer over time, they are not dangerous when left alone.
Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications
If the main symptom that you suffer from due to uterine fibroids is cramping, or pelvic pain, your practitioner may suggest using NSAIDS to reduce the pain caused the fibroids. NSAIDS are common, over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, or Motrin and Aleve, respectively. Stronger, prescription strength NSAIDS can be used at your doctors discretion. Torodol is one prescription NSAID. While relieving pain, these medications also reduce any inflammation associated with the fibroid, which in turn, will reduce the discomfort further.
Birth Control Pills, Patches, Rings and progesterone IUDs
Some women with uterine fibroids are troubled by heavy periods, sometimes with gushing. They may also experience prolonged periods, defined are a menstrual period that lasts over 7 days. This type of bleeding can also occur during perimenopause. As one who has had a lot of experience with very heavy periods that lasted forever, it is no fun.
When you need to wear a super plus tampon and an overnight pad at the same time, and still worry about leaking, the seven plus days of your period are nerve wracking. The gushing that sometimes occurs in so strong that your pad, or tampon, cannot keep up with the sudden and increased flow of blood, and no protective product can handle that. Not to mention that wearing two overnight pads, overlapped, to bed, and getting up every two hours to change, and still ruining linen and panties, well, it gets costly, as well as messy.
If you suffer from very heavy periods, you may be quite inconvenienced. This is when it is time to explore a treatment option for your heavy periods caused by uterine fibroids. For heavy menstrual periods, the most common treatment is some form of progesterone birth control. A birth control pill may be prescribed, or a patch, or ring. IUDs that release progesterone, such as the Mirena, are also a good way to reduce your menstrual flow, and shorten the length of your period. All of these options prevent pregnancy, which may be something which may be a pro, or a con, depending on where you are in your life. The Depo-Provera shot is also used as a treatment for heavy periods, and it is also a form of birth control.
Only in 2 to 3 percent of cases of infertility are fibroids to blame, so it is rare that a fibroid will interfere with conception. If you are experiencing infertility due to fibroid growths, your doctor may recommend a procedure called a myomectomey, which surgically removed fibroids from your uterine wall. This procedure may, or may not, help you achieve a pregnancy, as fibroids often grow back. If a myomectomey is performed it is best to try to get pregnant as soon as possible after the removal of the fibroids, before they have a chance to grow back.
If you have severe symptoms because of large fibroids, such as very heavy bleeding, pressure, trouble urinating, constipation, and pain that is not relieve with NSAIDS, then a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, may be advised. This is generally only recommended after all other options to relieve symptoms have failed. A hysterectomy is also the only treatment that guarantees that your fibroids will not go back. A hysterectomy is major surgery, and will result in immediate menopause. Before deciding to have a hysterectomy, thoroughly discuss the surgery with your doctor, getting a second opinion, if you feel it is needed, before you make such a large decision.
There is no one best treatment option for uterine fibroids. The treatment option that is right for you will depend on your symptoms, the severity, and whether or not you are in your childbearing years. Thankfully, most women with fibroids will need not worry beyond the watchful waiting treatment stage.
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