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Uterine Fibroids (cont.)

How Are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?

A woman's health care practitioner will discuss her medical history and conduct a physical examination that includes a pelvic exam. Often a doctor can feel an irregularly shaped uterus when fibroids are present.

If further studies are indicated, the doctor may choose one of the following tests to help decide if the patient has fibroids and to exclude other and potentially more serious causes of ongoing symptoms:

  • An abdominal, transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound can help identify the number, size, and shape of most fibroids. These test use sound waves to give doctors an image of the pelvic area. A wand is passed over the abdomen (abdominal ultrasound) for one type of view. Another probe (or wand) may be inserted into the vagina to obtain additional views (pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound).
  • An endometrial biopsy is performed by taking a tissue sample from the uterus. A small instrument is passed through the cervical opening to "grab" small samples of tissue inside the uterus. It can be performed at a doctor's office.
  • A hysteroscopy looks inside the uterus by passing a small fiberoptic camera through the opening of the cervix.
  • Hysterosalpingography involves injection of dye into the uterus and Fallopian tubes, which is then X-rayed to identify the anatomy of these structures.
  • Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure. The surgeon will insert a small fiberoptic camera into the abdomen through small abdominal incisions to look directly at internal organs.

What Is the Treatment for Uterine Fibroids?

Treatment for fibroids depends on the symptoms, the size and location of the fibroids, age (how close the person is to menopause), the patient's desire to have children, and the patient's general health.

Are there Home Remedies for Uterine Fibroids?

No specific self-care is available for fibroids. However, if a woman has abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding, she should keep a diary of her menstrual cycle in order to provide the information to her health care practitioner.

What Is the Medical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids?

In most cases, treatment is not necessary, particularly if the woman has no symptoms, has small tumors, or has gone through menopause. Abnormal vaginal bleeding caused by fibroids may require surgical scraping of the uterine cavity in a procedure known as a dilation and curettage (D&C). If no malignancy (cancer) is found, this bleeding often can be controlled by hormonal medications. The following treatment options should be discussed with a health care practitioner.

Observation

The woman's doctor may follow the size and growth of the fibroids over time to make sure no indicators of cancer are present. If the person does not have symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain, and if the fibroid is not growing rapidly, no treatment may be needed. Some patient's may, however, require more frequent pelvic exams, such as every 6 months, to check on changes with the fibroid(s).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2016

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