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Med-Check with Dr. Behar: The Facts About Fibroids

What are Fibroids?

One of the most frequent gynecological problems that I encounter in my OB/GYN practice are complaints and symptoms that are caused by uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas.

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that develop from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus and often appear during childbearing years. Fibroids almost never develop into uterine cancer.

Fibroids range in size from seedlings, to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus. They can be single or multiple, in extreme cases expanding the uterus so much that it reaches the rib cage. The risk factors for fibroids are heredity, genetics, race, high hormone state of estrogen, and poor diet.

Marc S. Behar, MD, FACOG

What should you be on the look-out for?

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding with anemia
  • Prolonged, painful, irregular menstrual periods
  • Pelvic pressure, bloating or pain
  • Frequent urination and difficulty emptying your bladder
  • Painful relations
  • Constipation
  • Backache

Fibroids can be solitary or multiple. The location within the uterus causes different symptoms, they can be submucosal, intramural, or subserosal.

How are Fibroids detected?

Uterine fibroids are frequently diagnosed during a pelvic exam. Irregularities in the shape of the uterus are felt suggesting the presence of fibroids. Pelvic ultrasound is ordered to confirm the diagnosis. If you're experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, a complete blood count (CBC) drawn to determine if you have anemia because of chronic blood loss, and to rule out bleeding disorders or thyroid problems. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered to show the size and location of fibroids, identify different types of tumors and help determine appropriate treatment options. Hysterosonography, hysterosalpingography, and hysteroscopy may need to be performed for added diagnostic information.

We can discuss many treatment options

There is no single approach to treating fibroids. A highly customized treatment plan is best. The treatment modalities include watchful waiting, medications and IUD placement. Noninvasive procedures such as MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery, minimally invasive procedures of Uterine Fibroid Artery Embolization, Myolysis, Laparoscopic or Hysteroscopic Myomectomy,and Endometrial Ablation can be performed in an ambulatory setting. Traditional surgery of Abdominal Myomectomy or Hysterectomy require hospital stays with longer recuperation. My treatment of fribroids is tailored specifically to your individual needs, especially when preserving the uterus.