Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that affect nearly 30% of all women between the ages of 30-45 and up to 70% of African American women by the time they reach 50 years of age. While not life-threatening, they may lead to complications and pain that can severely affect a woman’s life. However, excessive menstrual bleeding can cause severe anemia which can be life threatening.
With this in mind, many women may find themselves asking, “When should fibroids be removed or treated?” You should seek treatment when fibroids begin to affect your daily life. Continue reading to learn about the impacts these tumors can have on your health and how our specialists at Alate Health work with patients to find a treatment plan.
FIBROIDS DIAGNOSIS AND SYMPTOMS
Fibroids can be difficult to diagnose because the majority of sufferers experience mild to no symptoms. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that women have a pelvic exam at least once a year to alert them to the development of any fibroids. For women who do show symptoms, common ones include:
- Excessive Menstrual Bleeding: Excessive menstrual bleeding can manifest in a number of different ways, including a period that lasts longer than seven days, needing to wear multiple forms of feminine hygiene products, and having to switch out these feminine products more than 1 time per hour. The large amount of blood loss can eventually lead to more severe symptoms such as fatigue (feeling tired all the time), anemia, and passing of blood clots.
- Pelvic Pain and Pressure: Fibroids can cause a great amount of swelling in the uterus, leading to pain and pressure. Depending on the size and number of fibroids, surrounding organs can also be compressed. This leads to the abdomen feeling larger than normal and potentially painful.
- Urinary Incontinence: Due to the position of the uterus on top of the bladder, a uterus enlarged by fibroids can lead to a frequent urge to go to the bathroom and may even cause leakage or accidents throughout the day.
- Constipation: Like the bladder, the colon and intestines are pressed up against the uterus. When the uterus is enlarged, this can cause constriction of these organs and lead to constipation.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment at Alate Health and one of our experienced fibroid specialists will assess if you have fibroids and discuss treatment and removal with you.
HOW ARE UTERINE FIBROIDS TREATED?
At Alate Health, our fibroid specialists utilize the minimally invasive treatment of uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). With no hospital stay required and over 90% patient satisfaction, this FDA-approved procedure involves a small incision in the groin area through which the physician inserts a small catheter in the blood vessels surrounding the fibroids. Tiny particles are sent through the catheter that block the blood flow to the fibroids. These particles will remain in the artery and cause the fibroids to shrink, eliminating symptoms.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FIBROIDS AREN’T TREATED?
Not getting uterine fibroids removed can lead to a multitude of issues and complications. These include but are not limited to:
- Continuation and Worsening of Symptoms: Without proper treatment, women suffering from the symptoms listed above will continue to suffer from them and may potentially see an increase in their severity.
- Development of Anemia: This may lead to the need for blood transfusions. Anemia can be life-threatening depending upon severity and if the condition is not properly treated.
At Alate Health, we are dedicated to providing relief from fibroids. If you find yourself asking, “When should fibroids be removed or treated?” schedule an appointment today and let our fibroid specialists help you find answers.