What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in your uterus and often appear during your childbearing years. These benign tumors can range in size from tiny seedlings that aren’t visible to the human eye to bulky masses that change the shape and size of your uterus. Some women have only one fibroid while others may have numerous fibroids that can enlarge your uterus to the point that it touches your rib cage.
Are there different kinds of fibroids?
Yes. Doctors usually categorize fibroids into three types, which are defined according to their location in your uterus. Intramural fibroids grow within the muscular uterine wall itself. Submucosal fibroids bulge inward or grow into your uterine cavity. Subserosal fibroids project outward, forming lumps and bumps on your outer uterine wall. Both submucosal and subserosal fibroids can also hang from a stalk that’s attached to the uterus (pedunculated).
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Many women never realize they have fibroids because they have no symptoms. The size, location, and number of fibroids generally determine whether your fibroids become symptomatic or not.
The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy bleeding during your period and periods lasting more than a week
- Pain or a pressure sensation in your pelvic region
- Backaches and/or leg pains
- Frequent urination and difficulty emptying your bladder
What are the treatments for fibroids?
Treatments for fibroids range from watchful waiting for women who aren’t having significant symptoms to a hysterectomy if you’re experiencing unrelenting symptoms that disrupt your daily routines. Hormones and other medications are used to reduce symptoms but will not get rid of the fibroids themselves. If you’re having significant symptoms or fibroids are interfering with your ability to carry a pregnancy, Dr. Pattamakom may recommend surgery to remove the fibroids (myomectomy) while sparing your uterus.
She prefers minimally invasive surgery using the da Vinci robotic-assisted system over traditional open surgery whenever possible. The da Vinci approach requires only a few small incisions compared to the large incision required for open surgery. Rather than cutting through layers of skin, muscle, and other tissue to expose your uterus, she can view your pelvic structures with a tiny camera that projects high definition images to a monitor in the operating room. The innovative technology also offers the precision necessary for successfully removing fibroids without damaging healthy surrounding tissue.