Uterine fibroids are smooth muscle tumors that grow within the uterus. They are almost always benign. Their size can vary from very small (like an apple seed) to very large (cantaloupe-size and bigger).
Most women will develop uterine fibroids before menopause. As many as 1 in 5 will seek medical attention for symptoms. Since these tumors are sensitive to female hormones, they continue to grow until the onset of menopause.
Uterine Fibroids can cause progressively uncomfortable symptoms, which include:
- Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Diminished energy from anemia
- Severe menstrual cramping
- Pain during intercourse
- Abdominal pain, pressure and fullness
- Enlargement of the waist line
- Frequent and urgent urination
- Urinary incontinence
Treatment Options for Fibroids
Except for the use of hormonal medications to create a state of menopause, there are no medical treatments currently available for treating fibroids. However, there are several surgical options. Key factors that must be considered include size, number and location of fibroids, desire for childbearing, the types of associated symptoms and the willingness to undergo another surgical procedure for persistent or recurrent fibroids.
Surgical Options For Fibroids
There are several options for women who want to have children or do not want a hysterectomy:
Myomectomies surgically remove the fibroids from the uterus and provide an opportunity for future healthy pregnancies. They typically are a same-day outpatient surgery using minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Unless an abdominal (traditional) hysterectomy is needed because of the size of the fibroid, or suspected cancer, a Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy (TLH) can be the best option. Over 90% of our patients receive a total laparoscopic hysterectomy with a smaller scar, quicker recovery and less pain. The surgery removes the entire uterus and is performed through small “band aid” openings rather than one large incision. Recovery is usually 2 – 3 weeks rather than 6 – 8 weeks with traditional surgery for hysterectomy.
For both types of laparoscopic hysterectomies, the ovaries and tubes are typically preserved unless there is a strong family history of ovarian or breast cancer.