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Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month

Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month - Doctor and Patient

Uterine fibroids are quite common, but not often talked about. By age 50, approximately 80% of all women will have developed fibroids in their life, yet we still don’t hear much about them or how they can impact women’s health. 

Uterine fibroids can cause an array of symptoms and can also have an impact on fertility, but what exactly is a fibroid? Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that protrude from the uterine wall and are most common in women during their reproductive years. They often range in size or change in size over time and don’t always require treatment depending on the size and location within the uterus. 

Many women are not even aware they have uterine fibroids as they have no noticeable symptoms, while others may not be aware their symptoms are related to fibroids in the uterus. 

Symptoms of Fibroids

While some women may not experience any noticeable symptoms in relation to uterine fibroids, many women do. Symptoms can include heavy bleeding, low back or leg pain, frequent urination, and even pain during intercourse.

It’s important to get checked out by your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms to help rule out fibroids as a possibility. While these symptoms may not be life-threatening, they can lead to further complications down the road. 

Uterine fibroids can also negatively impact your fertility and make it more difficult to get pregnant. Fibroids within the uterine cavity can impact embryo implantation or increase the risk of miscarriage, while fibroids located within the muscle can potentially block fallopian tubes resulting in infertility. 

Treating Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids can be diagnosed through saline ultrasound or a hysteroscopy. Saline ultrasound involves the doctor injecting saline into the uterus, which expands the uterine cavity and allows the doctor to examine the uterus and fallopian tubes. This is generally a quick in-office procedure that requires no downtime although you might experience some minor cramping and spotting. 

In some cases, your doctor may recommend monitoring the growth of fibroids depending on their location and size, but in other cases, it may be recommended to remove them. 

If fibroid removal is recommended to optimize your fertility, your doctor can perform a myomectomy to remove fibroids. While a myomectomy is an effective treatment, it’s important to note that fibroids can re-grow. Younger women with a greater number of fibroids being removed are at an increased risk for fibroids growing back, so it may be necessary to follow up with your doctor in the future to monitor any growth activity. 

In the most extreme cases and for women who have completed childbearing, it may be recommended for a complete hysterectomy, where your doctor will perform surgery to remove the uterus. This is usually the last resort treatment and an option for those with severe symptoms of uterine fibroids. 

Uterine Fibroid Awareness

July is Fibroid Awareness Month and we are eager to educate women on the symptoms and treatment options available to them. At Nova IVF, one of the first diagnostic tests we run is a saline ultrasound as we know the importance of uterine health and making sure that there is nothing abnormal in the uterine cavity that could negatively impact your chances of conceiving. 

To learn more about uterine fibroids, you can visit the FDA’s website or to learn more about how fibroids can affect fertility, the ASRM website is also another amazing resource full of information.

Dr. Meera Shah of Nova IVF Dr. Meera Shah Meera Shah, MD, FACOG, is a reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at NOVA IVF in Mountain View, California. Double board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Shah is committed to providing the highest level of patient-centered care by combining the latest research in the field with compassionate care that allows patients to navigate through a very difficult time in their lives.

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