If your abdomen feels heavy and looks larger, or you’re experiencing pain or heavy bleeding during your periods, you may be dealing with uterine fibroids.
These common tissue growths develop in women of childbearing age — 70-80% of women have them by the time they reach age 50.
The good news is that they’re nearly always benign, and sometimes they cause no symptoms at all, but you shouldn’t ignore them, either.
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa is a uterine fibroid treatment expert, and the decision to put yourself in his care may be one of the best you ever make.
What sets the Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery apart from other practices is our rare balance of clinical excellence and an empathetic approach to your care.
Facts about fibroids
As we said before, you may notice no fibroid symptoms. But some symptoms can greatly diminish your quality of life:
- Frequent urination
- Lower back pain, especially during sex
- Longer or exceptionally painful periods
Fibroids are also connected to problems with pregnancy and childbirth, including miscarriage and increasing your risk for needing a cesearean section.
Fibroids can be so small they’re imperceptible, or they can be grapefruit-sized (or even larger). They can also grow singly or in clusters.
Risk factors for fibroids include being African American, having a family history of fibroids, and being obese.
We also believe that there’s a hormonal component to the development of fibroids. Women who started their periods at an early age are also known to have more fibroids.
Four types of fibroids
The type and location of your fibroid often drives the treatment that Dr. Khamvongsa chooses:
- Intramural fibroids are the most common type, and they grow in your uterine wall.
- Subserosal fibroids grow on the exterior of your uterus and can be painful when they’re sizable, as they compress the organs near them.
- Submucosal fibroids develop right under your uterine lining and can cause heavy bleeding, among other alarming symptoms. Fortunately, they’re less common than other types.
- Pedunculated fibroids can grow inside or outside your uterus on stalk-like structures.
Some women are diagnosed with more than one kind of fibroid at one time, and treatment strategies must take this into account.
What treatments are available for fibroids?
The Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery offers a range of advanced treatments if you suffer from any type of fibroid.
Sometimes Dr. Khamvongsa advises no treatment at all, as not all fibroids call for active treatment. In this case, he recommends that you monitor them and note any symptoms.
Treatments that Dr. Khamvongsa advises for fibroids include:
- Estrogen-blocking medications
- Medications that provide progestin (helpful in preventing excessive bleeding), which is the synthetic form of progesterone
- Minimally invasive surgical procedures
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)
Dr. Khamvongsa tends to advise surgery if your fibroids are large and causing severe symptoms.
Dr. Khamvongsa fully removes some fibroids using laparoscopic surgical methods as well as robotic surgery. Both are cutting-edge, minimally invasive modalities that result in faster healing, less bleeding, fewer infections, and reduced pain when compared to traditional surgery. Each procedure requires only tiny abdominal incisions.
During laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon manipulates the surgical tools directly and uses a tiny camera to see the procedure on a screen. In a robotic procedure, the surgeon is seated at a computer console and controls robotic “arms” that hold the surgical tools.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
UFE is done by inserting a catheter through a tiny incision. Seed-sized particles are sent through it to target the blood vessels that feed the fibroid. These particles prevent the fibroid from getting nutrients, and as a result, the fibroid shrinks.
Dr. Khamvongsa uses radiofrequency ablation for treating some fibroids. This method also causes fibroid shrinkage, but by heating your fibroid tissue.
Something important to remember
It’s important to note and retain this fact: The symptoms of fibroids overlap with some serious gynecological conditions, so our team urges you to listen to your body and never hesitate to get any unusual symptom checked out. That’s exactly what Dr. Khamvongsa is here for.
Call us at 786-220-8664 to set up a consultation with Dr. Khamvongsa to get help for fibroids, or take advantage of our online booking system. We are open and taking many precautions to keep you safe as we all continue to deal with COVID-19.