If you’ve recently learned that you have uterine fibroids, don’t panic. First, you’re not alone — 77% of women will have fibroids at some point, typically during their childbearing years. The other thing to remember is that even though fibroids are technically tumors that develop in your uterus, over 99% of them are noncancerous, which should put your mind at ease.
Still, if you’re dealing with symptoms caused by fibroids, you want to know what your options are for treatment so you can find relief.
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa has extensive experience diagnosing and treating fibroids, and when you see him for a consultation, he’s eager to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and reassure you that your treatment plan is created around your unique circumstances.
At the Miami Institute for Women’s Health, we pride ourselves on offering the most advanced OB/GYN care for women, whether you’re thinking of getting pregnant, needing gynecologic or prenatal care, or approaching menopause.
Uterine fibroids: Symptoms, causes, risk factors
The causes of fibroids remain murky, but researchers do know that fibroids develop from abnormal uterine muscle cells, and their growth is amplified when they come into contact with estrogen.
Some women’s fibroids are very small, or they disappear before they ever knew they had them, while other women’s fibroids are large enough to make their abdomens distended. The amount of fibroids women have range from one to many.
The symptoms of fibroids are diverse and include:
- Pelvic and lower back pain
- Heavy or long periods and bleeding between periods
- A feeling of abdominal fullness
- Pain during intercourse
- Bladder and bowel symptoms, including urinating frequently and constipation
- Fertility problems
- Pregnancy complications
Many fibroids are discovered during routine pelvic exams, but Dr. Khamvongsa may also order an imaging test to confirm a diagnosis.
Women with a family history of fibroids and women who are obese are at higher risk of developing fibroids, and so are pregnant women. High blood pressure is a medical condition linked to fibroids, and interestingly, women who eat red meat frequently are more at risk.
Black women are disproportionately diagnosed with fibroids, and the reasons at this point aren’t understood. Women of other ethnicities are more prone to developing fibroids if they’re 30 or older.
Are there options other than surgery for treating fibroids?
Yes, and in fact, some fibroids end up requiring no treatment at all. Dr. Khamvongsa may simply recommend “watching and waiting” and noting any symptoms or period irregularities. Notifying him if these happen may prompt further treatment.
Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Khamvongsa may prescribe medications that impact your hormonal balance. These include medications that block estrogen and mimic menopause and ones that contain progestin, which help with heavy, long periods.
Sometimes Dr. Khamvongsa proposes surgery, but not to worry. He uses minimally invasive techniques that require only small incisions. These are associated with faster healing and less pain, bleeding, and scarring. A procedure usually helps women who are experiencing severe symptoms from their fibroids or if their fibroids are quite large.
A surgical solution that Dr. Khamvongsa has used with great success is one involving the placement of minute particles in your body that starve the fibroids of their blood supply, which makes them shrink.
Another option is radio frequency ablation, where Dr. Khamvongsa shrinks fibroid tissue using heat.
Laparoscopic and robotic surgical procedures done through the abdomen require several small incisions that provide Dr. Khamvongsa access to the fibroids so he can remove them entirely. He can also perform procedures vaginally, in which case no incisions are made at all.
Rest assured that even if you learn that surgery is the recommended course of treatment for your fibroids, Dr. Khamvongsa will be with you every step of the way, ensuring your comfort and explaining all you need to know.
Contact us at 786-220-2184 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Khamvongsa, or request one online. We treat patients who speak multiple languages as well, so if you’re a native French or Spanish speaker, you’ve found the right practice!