Posts for: March, 2018
Uterine fibroids are growths that develop either on or within the uterine walls. While these growths are completely benign (noncancerous) and some women may
never even know they have them, other women deal with abdominal pain, lower back pain, pain during sex and heavy periods as a result.
Along with pain and heavy periods, women with uterine fibroids may also feel pressure on their bladder and may need to urine more frequently. If the fibroids grow large enough they can also cause abdominal swelling.
While any woman can develop uterine fibroids, there are some factors that could increase a woman’s odds of developing these growths. Women in their 30s and 40s are more likely to deal with fibroids. Fibroids often shrink after menopause.
If you also have a family history of uterine fibroids you may be more likely to experience them. Being overweight or obese also increases your risk. Furthermore, your diet can impact your risk level. Women who eat red meat are at a much higher risk than women who limit their red meat intake and consume a lot of veggies.
Even though it’s not certain what causes uterine fibroids it is believed hormones and genetics may play a role. Fibroids tend to grow faster during pregnancy and are more likely to shrink after menopause (when estrogen and progesterone levels drop drastically).
Most of the time, uterine fibroids may be diagnosed during your routine gynecological checkup. During a pelvic exam, your gynecologist can often feel the fibroids on the uterus. If this happens, imaging tests such as an ultrasound, MRI or X-ray may be necessary to confirm them.
If you have fibroids but do not experience symptoms then treatment may not be necessary. Of course, if you are dealing with pain or other symptoms because of your fibroids then you’ll want to talk with your gynecologist about the best treatment option for you. There are factors both you and your women’s health doctor will need to consider to help you choose the right fibroid treatment for you. These factors include the size and location of your fibroids, whether you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, and your age.
If you are dealing with only mild pain, you may only need over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms when they arise. In some instances, a gynecologist may prescribe birth control pills, which can also reduce heavy menstrual cycles caused by fibroids.
If you are facing moderate-to-severe symptoms then the best option may be surgery to remove the fibroids. Fibroids can return even after surgery. The only way to truly cure this condition is through a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is completely removed.
A gynecologist can help you create a treatment plan that’s right for you to help you manage your fibroid symptoms.
If you are not planning on becoming pregnant than your thoughts might turn to considering birth control. There is a lot of information out there on the subject and, of course, there is also a lot of misinformation. This is why it’s important that you have a gynecologist to which you can turn to provide you with all the accurate and personalized information you need on birth control. Find out what options are available to you so you can make a more informed decision about your sexual health.
Birth Control Pill
By taking this hormone medication at the same time each day you can prevent pregnancy from occurring. Birth control pills stop ovulation, which means that the sperm will not be able to fertilize the egg. It’s important that you remember to take this medication at the same time each day to make sure that it is most effective.
Of course, the pill will not protect against STDs, so it’s important that you continue to use condoms every time to reduce your risk.
Most people know about condoms, the only birth control method that protects against both pregnancy and STDs. Condoms can be made from a variety of materials and work by preventing sperm from entering the vagina. It’s important to use condoms during oral, vaginal and anal sex to fully protect yourself against STDs. Even if you decide on another form of birth control it’s important that you continue to use condoms.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
This small T-shaped device is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are several options out there that are both hormonal and non-hormonal (copper IUDs). The copper IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years while hormonal IUDs can work for several years depending on the specific type you choose. You’ll come into the office for a minor insertion procedure so we place the IUD. Once it’s placed it will remain there for several years before needing to be removed. If you do decide to get pregnant while you have an IUD, all we have to do is remove it.
Of course, there are many other forms of birth control from the patch to injections to an implant. Whether you have questions about birth control or you are ready to discuss your options, it’s time you turned to an OBGYN who can guide you through the many choices and help you determine which one might be the best one for you based on your lifestyle and needs.