As many as 80% of women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 50, according to the Office on Women’s Health, and while nearly all fibroids are benign (noncancerous), they can also cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms, including pelvic pain. Understanding the symptoms of fibroids can help you get treatment — and relief — as soon as possible.
In Santa Monica, California, Tristan E. Bickman, MD uses advanced methods to get to the root cause of pelvic pain, offering an array of treatments to relieve pain and help prevent symptoms from recurring. Here, learn the facts about fibroids, including their symptoms and how they can be treated.
Quick facts about uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that usually grow inside the wall of the uterus. Less commonly, they may form on the outside of the uterus or they may grow on the inside wall of the uterus, extending into the uterine cavity.
Fibroids can be very small — about the size of a pea — or large enough to make your belly appear distended. They can occur singly or in clusters.
Researchers don’t know what causes fibroids, but they think genetics and hormonal changes may play roles. Fibroids tend to become more common with age, and you’re also more likely to have fibroids if you have a family history of fibroids or if you’re obese. Eating a lot of red meat or processed meats, like ham, may also increase your risk of having fibroids.
Fibroids can definitely cause pelvic pain, especially during periods. You may also have “flare-ups” of pain during ovulation. In addition to pain in your lower belly, fibroids can cause symptoms like:
- Very heavy periods that can lead to anemia
- Feelings of heaviness or fullness in your pelvis
- Bloating in the lower belly
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- More frequent urination
- Lower back pain
- Pregnancy complications, including an increased risk of cesarean section
Rarely, fibroids can cause infertility issues, interfering with your ability to conceive.
Treating uterine fibroids
Fibroids treatment varies depending on your symptoms and other factors. Very small fibroids that don’t cause symptoms may simply be monitored. Fibroids that cause symptoms like pain and heavy bleeding may be managed with hormone treatments, including hormonal forms of birth control.
Dr. Bickman may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to shrink or remove fibroids, especially if they’re interfering with your ability to have a baby. Some procedures block the arteries that provide fibroids with blood, while others use special techniques to remove the fibroids entirely.
For women who are done having children, hysterectomy may be recommended. This procedure removes the uterus (and sometimes your ovaries and fallopian tubes, as well) to completely eliminate fibroids and prevent them from recurring.
Care focused on your unique needs
Like other gynecological treatments, fibroid management is always tailored to your needs and lifestyle goals. To learn what’s causing your pelvic pain, call 310-587-9280 or book an appointment online with Dr. Bickman today.