Do I have Fibroids

Unless you have symptoms, you probably won’t know that you have uterine fibroids. If your primary care physician suspects fibroids they’ll usually carry out a pelvic examination to look for any obvious signs. Sometimes fibroids are only discovered during routine gynecological (vaginal) examinations or tests for other problems, because they often don’t cause any symptoms.

How are Uterine Fibroids diagnosed?

Fibroids are most often found during a physical exam. Your health care provider may feel a firm, irregular (often painless) lump during an abdominal or pelvic exam.

One of the main tests carried out to diagnose fibroids are painless and effective ultrasound scans. There are two main scans that are used to find the presence of fibroids:

  • Ultrasound: Using sound waves to diagnose fibroids and frequencies (pitch), a doctor or technician places an ultrasound probe on the abdomen or inside the vagina to help scan the uterus and ovaries. It is quick, simple and generally accurate.

  • MRI: This test uses magnets and radio waves to produce images that allow your provider to gauge the size, number and location of the fibroids. An MRI can effectively confirm a diagnosis and help determine which treatments are best.

What causes Fibroids?

The cause of uterine fibroids is not known, although studies demonstrate there may be a genetic component. There is no definite external exposure that a woman can have that causes her to develop fibroids.

Am I at risk for developing Fibroids?

Various factors can increase the risk of developing fibroids:

  • Age: Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during their 30s and 40s and up to the age of menopause. After menopause, fibroids are much less likely to form and usually shrink if they’re present.

  • Family history: Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk. If your mother had fibroids your risk of having them can be three times higher than average.

  • Ethnic origin: African American women are more likely to develop fibroids than other ethnicities.

  • Obesity: Women who are overweight face a higher risk, often two to three times greater than average.

If I have Fibroids, do I have to treat them?

If you are not experiencing any adverse symptoms from your fibroids such as pelvic pain, heavy bleeding or a swollen abdomen your OB/GYN may advise you to be watchful and vigilant. Symptomatic fibroids causing pain, discomfort, or heavy bleeding during periods should be treated.

However, if you are within the 10-20% of women who are suffering from severe symptoms, you should evaluate your treatment options, including Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a safe and non-surgical treatment option.

If you suspect you may have fibroids based on your history, symptoms and the results of a physical examination, contact Dr. Neel Patel at The Atlanta Fibroid Clinic to schedule a consultation. Learn how you can be symptom-free with UFE.

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