Periods are never fun, but some can be worse than others. Menstruation, even regular cycles, can be unpredictable — heavy bleeding, sharp cramps, and an elongated duration are just a few of the varying characteristics each month has in store. So how do you know when it’s just “one of those months” or something else, such as uterine fibroids.
Dr. Khashayar Shakiba at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey recommends seeking medical attention whenever you notice significant changes in your menstrual cycle, especially if they’re accompanied by additional symptoms that may indicate fibroids.
Although uterine fibroids are benign growths, it doesn’t mean they’re harmless. They range in size from a seed to a melon and can wreak havoc in your uterus and to your life. Here’s what to look for.
A couple of classic fibroid symptoms — heavy periods, back pain, and achy legs — are also occasional symptoms of normal menstruation. The difference is the severity, frequency, and longevity of these symptoms, as well as the other accompanying issues that come with fibroids, such as:
Although fibroids aren’t life-threatening, they can make your life miserable. Many women with fibroids are able to treat mild symptoms as they come, but it’s time to make an appointment with Dr. Shakiba when:
There’s no reason to suffer from these extreme symptoms when treatments are available.
The exact cause of uterine fibroids eludes the medical community, but there are a few well-accepted theories, which include:
Estrogen and progesterone help develop the uterine lining, and a closer look at fibroid tissue reveals a higher concentration of these two hormones than in normal uterine tissue. Therefore, some believe that higher levels may contribute to the growth of fibroids.
Further evidence of hormones’ role in fibroid development is that they tend to grow during times of elevated estrogen levels, as in pregnancy, and disappear when estrogen plummets, as in menopause.
If your female relatives have fibroids, you’re more likely to get them, too. Within the last decade, studies have discovered a direct link between genetics and fibroids. In fact, about 40% of uterine fibroids contain abnormal chromosomes.
Mild uterine fibroids may need no treatment. In fact, some fibroids cause no symptoms at all. In this case, Dr. Shakiba simply monitors their growth.
If necessary, Dr. Shakiba prescribes medication that temporarily blocks your production of progesterone and estrogen to shrink your fibroids.
If you still have problematic fibroids after six months of the medication, it’s time to discuss different treatments, because you may be at risk for bone loss if you take the hormone blocker for too long.
Depending on the size and location of your fibroids, Dr. Shakiba may be able to surgically remove them in a procedure called myomectomy. This is a minimally invasive approach that preserves the integrity of your uterus and your fertility.
In extreme cases, hysterectomy, removal of the uterus, may be necessary. The only way to know for sure which treatment is best for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shakiba. You can rely on his experience and skill to help you navigate your treatment options.
To schedule an appointment, call us at 201-279-5787, or request one online today, and put an end to your uterine fibroid symptoms.