If you don’t know much about uterine fibroids, don’t worry — many women don’t.
Start with this: Uterine fibroids are growths that may occur in the muscular tissue of your uterus. They are fairly common, affecting as many as 80% of women under the age of 50, according to the Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Those are the basics. But there’s more to know, and because uterine fibroids are so common, it’s important for every woman to have some knowledge about them.
Relax. You don’t have to spend hours studying a medical textbook. To make it easy for you, Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, and our team at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, have compiled these five key facts about this common women’s health condition.
Although they may sometimes be referred to as tumors, uterine fibroids are almost always noncancerous, or benign. Also known as “leiomyomas” or just “myomas,” fibroids are masses of cells. But only in rare cases (less than 1 in 1,000) do these masses of cells become cancerous.
If you do experience fibroid symptoms, you may have one or more of the following:
If Dr. Al-Hakeem suspects that you have uterine fibroids, he recommends further testing, such as an ultrasound, X-ray, or hysteroscopy, which is a test using a slim device that allows Dr. Al-Hakeem to look inside your uterus.
They may be as tiny as an apple seed or as large as a grapefruit, or occasionally even larger than that.
Any woman can develop uterine fibroids, but they occur with greater frequency in women ages 30-40. They are also somewhat more prevalent in African American women than in white women.
If your fibroids are causing no symptoms, you may not require treatment. For minor discomfort, over-the-counter pain relievers may provide relief. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control methods (pills, injections, IUDs) may control symptoms.
When fibroids require treatment, Dr. Al-Hakeem can perform minimally invasive procedures, including robot-assisted surgery, to remove fibroids while preserving your uterus. He also performs treatment with the Acessa procedure, which uses heat to eliminate fibroids without harming your uterine tissue.
If you have unanswered questions about uterine fibroids, or if you suspect that you may have them, our team at Westover Hills Women’s Health can help. To schedule a consultation at one of our two San Antonio offices, call us today or make an appointment using our online tool.