Abnormal Gyn Bleeding Due To Fibroids
Fibroids within the uterine lining can cause severe bleeding, even if they are small. These fibroids can increase the area of the lining and the amount of menstrual bleeding, and they can decrease the ability of the lining to stop the bleeding.
Fibroids within the uterine muscle that are larger or close to the cavity will increase blood flow to the uterus and affect the systems that control bleeding in the uterus. These fibroids will also increase the size of the cavity of the uterus, thereby increasing bleeding.
Increased bleeding in the uterine cavity due to these types of fibroids can result in the formation of clots. Pain is caused by distension of the womb and passage of the clots. Many women pass very large clots and have extreme pain with their menstrual cycle as a result.
Relief from heavy bleeding due to fibroids is possible with a minimally invasive procedure. Talk through your options with a CIGC patient advocate today.
What You Need To Know
For women who have symptoms with fibroids, life can be hard. Blood flow that is consistently heavy can lead to anemia, a condition that presents its own problems like dizziness and fatigue. This says nothing of the pain and cramping that can occur between and during periods.
Fibroids can also apply pressure to the bladder and cause frequent urination. If large enough, they can also apply rectal pressure that leads to constipation. And if big enough, as mentioned earlier, fibroids can cause the stomach to protrude so a woman looks pregnant. All of these effects can be both embarrassing and debilitating.
You Missed Your Period
Though it’s tempting to celebrate a week off from cramps, your ugliest underwear, and the overwhelming desire to eat cake frosting with your hands, a missing period could be a warning sign. “Lack of a period can happen because of stress, hormonal changes, menopause, low body fat , or, of course, pregnancy,” says Dr. Abrams. “It can also happen with an over-functioning thyroid gland . And, rarely, it can be a sign of tumors in the ovaries, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus.”
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What You Can Do About Uterine Fibroids
You and your healthcare provider may choose to leave fibroids with mild symptoms untreated. Tracking your symptoms can then help you know if your fibroids are changing, and at what point a treatment plan might be helpful. When fibroids do become problematic, there are many different options for managing and treating them, and for preventing their future formation:
Liking Fibroids And Menstruation
Studies show that fibroids have hormone receptors that allow them to bind to estrogen and progesterone molecules. Both of these hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels, for example, are highest during the first half of the cycle, when it helps grow the uterine lining in preparation of a fertilized egg.
Progesterone helps balance the effects of estrogen and dominates the second half of menstruation. It is responsible for maintaining uterine lining if a woman becomes pregnant. Levels drop when pregnancy does not occur, prompting the uterus to shed its lining and menstruation to begin.
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Tips For Relieving Menstrual Pain
Painful menstrual periods are one of the most common symptoms of fibroids.
Why fibroids cause pain is not known. Try one or more of the following tips to help relieve your menstrual pain:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen, help relieve menstrual cramps and pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Apply heat to the lower abdomen by using a heating pad or hot water bottle or taking a warm bath. Heat improves blood flow and may improve pelvic pain.
- Lie down and elevate your legs by putting a pillow under your knees. This may help relieve pain.
- Lie on your side and bring your knees up to your chest. This will help relieve back pressure.
- Use pads instead of tampons.
- Get exercise, which improves blood flow and may reduce pain.
How Might Fibroids Might Affect Fertility And Pregnancy
Their impact on fertility depends on the location and the size of the fibroids, as well as the type of symptoms a woman has. Fibroids inside the uterine cavity can stop an embryo from implanting, which prevents it from growing into a fetus. Larger fibroidsabout four centimeters or morethat are in the muscle of the uterus can also impact implantation. Fibroids that are inside the muscle of the uterus might block the fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility.
Sometimes fibroids can affect the mode of delivery of a baby. For instance, if a woman has a fibroid in the lower part of her uterus, it might make it difficult for the cervix to open completely, which might make a C-section difficult.
It’s really important for each woman and her obstetrician to have a game plan for delivery.
Your Periods Are A Vampire’s Delight
This is one of the first signs that a fibroid may be developing somewhere, specifically the inside of the uterus. Both fibroids inside the uterus itself and those lodged in its wall can cause seriously heavy bleeding any obstruction or thickening may be behind heavier periods, plus fibroids in the wall of the uterus may actually change its shape. It seems that the hormones that have a vital role in the menstrual cycle, specifically estrogen, have a role in the production of fibroids in pregnant women, the first trimester, with its flood of hormones, tends to cause fibroids to expand, which obviously can cause some serious issues. Medication to reduce period flow can help these kinds of fibroids cause less of an issue.
For Severe Fibroid Symptoms
If you have fibroid-related pain, heavy bleeding, or a large fibroid that is pressing on other organs, you can consider shrinking the fibroid, removing the fibroid , or removing the entire uterus . After all treatments except hysterectomy, fibroids may grow back. Myomectomy or treatment with medicine is recommended for women who have child-bearing plans.
To shrink a fibroid for a short time, hormone therapy with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue puts the body in a state like menopause. This shrinks both the uterus and the fibroids. Fibroids grow back after GnRH-a therapy has ended. GnRH-a therapy can help to:
- Shrink a fibroid before it is surgically removed. This lowers your risk of heavy blood loss and scar tissue from the surgery.
- Provide short-term relief as a “bridge therapy” if you are nearing menopause.
GnRH-a therapy is used for only a few months, because it can weaken the bones. It also may cause unpleasant menopausal symptoms.
To shrink or destroy fibroids without surgery, uterine fibroid embolization stops the blood supply to the fibroid. The fibroid then shrinks and may break down. UFE preserves the uterus, but pregnancy is not common after treatment. UFE is not usually recommended for women who plan to become pregnant.footnote 2
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The Restricting Effects Of Fibroids
Fibroids are generally believed to prevent the uterus from contracting the way it needs to. Menstrual bleeding, therefore, is in a sense left unchecked. This explains why flow is so much heavier in women who have these growths.
Additionally, fibroids can produce proteins that activate blood vessels within the uterus. Those vessels, in turn, bleed more freely into the uterine cavity. Remember that this is the source of blood clots during period, forming when the body cannot produce enough anticoagulants to keep pace with flow. The number of clots you pass during menstruation therefore become more numerous.
What Is The Treatment For Fibroids
If fibroids do not cause symptoms, no treatment is needed. Fibroids may go away on their own if estrogen levels in the body decrease. This typically happens during menopause, but may also occur when taking certain medications, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or antagonists.
For those who have problematic symptoms, treatment for fibroids includes medications or surgery.
Medications used to treat fibroids include:
- Iron and vitamins for women who are anemic due to heavy periods
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen for menstrual cramps
- Hormonal birth control including pills, skin patches, vaginal rings, shots, hormonal intrauterine devices , and implants to reduce bleeding, cramps, and pain during menstrual periods and to correct anemia
- Antifibrinolytic medicines such as tranexamic acid to help slow menstrual bleeding quickly
- Progesterone receptor modulators to stop heavy menstrual bleeding and cause some fibroid shrinkage
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues to cause the ovaries to temporarily stop producing estrogen and progesterone and reduce heavy menstrual bleeding
Types of surgery used to treat fibroids include:
- Myomectomy: surgical removal of fibroids
- Endometrial ablation: destroys the lining of the uterus
- Uterine artery embolization or uterine fibroid embolization: cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids
- Hysterectomy: surgical removal of the uterus
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We Recommend Diagnostic Studies To Confirm The Diagnosis And Further Evaluate Your Fibroids
We may recommend an ultrasound or other advanced imaging studies, including:
- A hysterosalpingography, during which we use a dye to highlight the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes on X-ray images
- Magnetic resonance imaging which can show the size and location of fibroids and identify different types of tumors
- Hysterosonography, also called a saline infusion sonogram, during which we expand the uterine cavity with a saline solution to makes it easier to obtain images of submucosal fibroids
- Hysteroscopy, for which we insert a small telescope through your cervix and into your uterus so we can carefully examine the walls of your uterus
Fever Dizziness & Fainting
You should not be feeling feverish or miserably ill while you’re on your period. That is not normal, and it could indicate an infection, like pelvic inflammatory disease, which is often contracted via sexually transmitted illnesses and involves infections of the reproductive organs. It can also be a sign of the rare condition known as toxic shock syndrome, which can be associated with tampon use and needs immediate medical attention. Whatever’s happening, a fever of more than 102 degrees while on your period needs a GP or emergency room visit ASAP.
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You Have Ongoing Spotting
Irregular bleeding that looks like a few spots of reddish brown blood at unexpected times of the cycle can be normal, Dr. Ross says. “Some women can have spotting that lasts a couple of days then stops and restarts again during the middle of the month. Brown spotting can also happen mid-cycle or during ovulating.” But if brown spotting continues for more than 2-3 months, contact your doc to figure out the cause. Anything from sudden weight changes and emotional or physical stress to thyroid disorders and sexually transmitted infections can cause it, she says, so don’t try to get a Google diagnosis.
You Dont Have To Live With Fibroids And Heavy Bleeding
Many patients come to us after struggling with symptoms for years and sometimes decades. We as women tend to put our own health behind our careers, caring for our families, and other responsibilities.
Ladies, please remember: Your health is important, and you deserve to live free of pain and heavy bleeding. When your symptoms improve, youll be able to do more for those who depend on you and enjoy a better quality of life.
Diagnosing uterine fibroids is generally quick and simple. Your gynecologist can help you find out whats going on in your uterus and recommend a personalized care plan to help you feel like yourself again.
To find out whether you or a loved one might benefit from uterine fibroid treatment, call orrequest an appointment online.
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What Are The Symptoms
Often fibroids do not cause symptoms. Or the symptoms may be mild, like periods that are a little heavier than normal. If the fibroids bleed or press on your organs, the symptoms may make it hard for you to enjoy life. Fibroids make some women have:
- Long, gushing periods and cramping.
- Fullness or pressure in their belly.
- Low back pain.
- Pain during sex.
- An urge to urinate often.
Heavy bleeding during your periods can lead to anemia. Anemia can make you feel weak and tired.
Sometimes fibroids can make it harder to get pregnant.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids are growths of muscle and fibrous tissue in or on the wall of the uterus. They often develop in women between the ages of 35 and 50. Researchers have several theories about uterine fibroid causes, but much is still unknown.
Fibroid growth is related to the following:
- Complications during pregnancy and labor, including a six-time greater risk of cesarean section
- Reproductive problems, such as infertility
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How Are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed
Fibroids are most often found during a physical exam. Your health care provider may feel a firm, irregular lump during an abdominal or pelvic exam.
Scans can confirm a diagnosis. These tests are the two main options:
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is the most commonly used scan for fibroids. It uses sound waves to diagnose fibroids and involves frequencies much higher than what you can hear. 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. However, it relies on the experience and skill of the doctor or technician to produce good results. Other tests such as MRI may be better for other conditions, such as adenomyosis.
- MRI: This imaging test uses magnets and radio waves to produce images. It allows your provider to gain a road map of the size, number and location of the fibroids. We can also distinguish between fibroids and adenomyosis, which sometimes gets misdiagnosed. We use MRI to confirm a diagnosis and help determine which treatments are best for you. MRI may also provide a better option for related conditions such as adenomyosis.
Do Fibroids Cause Pain
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow on the walls or lining of the uterus. Many women will have uterine fibroids at some point, but most women dont know they have them since they typically dont have symptoms.
For some women, the pain from fibroids can be severe. Apart from heavy menstrual bleeding and prolonged periods, fibroids can cause:
They can even make you feel like you need to urinate frequently.
The pain may come and go or occur only during sex or menstruation. It may be sharp or a dull ache. Symptoms can also vary depending on the location, size, and number of fibroids you have.
The symptoms of fibroids may be similar to other pelvic disorders, such as:
If you have pelvic pain that wont go away, heavy and long periods, and problems with urinating, its important to see a doctor for a correct diagnosis.
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