The Symptoms and Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

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Many women suffer from uterine fibroids symptoms without knowing it. Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA answers what are fibroids and what causes them.    
jessica shepherd uterine fibroids

It's so very important for women to take charge of their own health and know exactly what's going on with their bodies. But so many women suffer from uterine fibroids symptoms and don't even know it. On VProud, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA has an amazing video and conversation about what are fibroids and what causes them. We're so grateful to Dr. Shepherd for sharing her insight both in the video and in this companion article. Take note of the uterine fibroids symptoms that Dr. Shepherd shares as well as the important questions she answers including do I need a hysterectomy and how to create a positive, trusting relationship with your doctor, which, by the way, is the number one health care tip we should all be following.

—The VProud Team

what are fibroids and what causes them

The Symptoms and Treatment of 

Uterine Fibroids

By Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA

We often, as women, hear about fibroids but what do we know about them?  They may be mentioned in conversation with our girlfriends or subtly discussed with mothers and grandmothers but who do they affect and how do they affect us? 

Uterine fibroids (myomas or leiyomymas) are tumors within the uterus that are actually the most common benign tumor of the pelvis.  They can be of various sizes from the size of a grape to the size of a large cantaloupe.   In addition to being the most common benign tumor in the pelvis, they are also the leading indication for hysterectomies in the USA and 600,000 of these surgeries are done per year. 

When we think of how many women have fibroids, it is quite astounding of how many women suffer from them.  The incidence of uterine fibroids by age 35 is approximately 60% among African-American women, increasing to > 80% by age 50, whereas Caucasian women showed an incidence of 40% by age 35, and almost 70% by age 50. 

There must be some good news in all of this and indeed there is. The majority of women with uterine fibroids are asymptomatic, can remain undiagnosed.  The issue becomes problematic when they become symptomatic and women start to have complaints about heavy menstrual cycles, prolonged bleeding, pain with intercourse, increased miscarriages, infertility, abdominal bloating and even urinary complaints

When these symptoms start to occur, the GYN usually will diagnose them with an ultrasound and be able to see the size and location of the fibroids. 

Health care providers are able to offer a host of therapeutic options to treat these symptoms which include medical therapy, surgical interventions or procedures to major surgeries.The most important part of treating fibroids is that every woman’s journey is different and everyone is looking for different outcomes.  The results of treatments can vary depending on the age of the woman, severity of the symptoms, the reproductive desire of the patient and the duration of their symptoms

So when you discuss fibroids with your GYN or health care provider, always consider the big picture:

  • What are my symptoms?
  • How long have I had these symptoms?
  • Am I desiring fertility?
  • What are the risks associated with the options given?
  • What will make me feel the most comfortable?
After having a discussion with your doctor and going through all your medical history, it is important to establish a terrific relationship.  Communication will help with your understanding of the options and also help with creating trust.  

jessica shepherd obgyn vproud
About the author: Jessica Shepherd MD, MBA is an OB/GYN, women's health expert, media personality, and the founder of Her Viewpoint, an online women's health community. You can follow Dr. Shepherd on Twitter.

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jessica shepherd uterine fibroids
50% of all women experience heavy periods and painful sex due to fibroids.
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