Alecia Giovinazzo MD
Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecology located in Staten Island, NY
Uterine fibroids occur in about 70-80% of women at some point in their life and often do not cause problems. But occasionally fibroids do cause problems, such as irregular bleeding or pain, and there are many options for help. Board-certified OB/GYN Alecia Giovinazzo, MD, offers expert treatment for women with fibroids at her private practice in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Staten Island, New York City. Often surgery is not needed. If you think you may have fibroids, call the office or book an appointment online today.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign, or noncancerous, tumors that develop in the muscle tissue of your uterus. Also called myomas or leiomyomas, fibroids can vary greatly in size, shape, number, and location.
You can have one fibroid or many at the same time. These tumors can grow inside your uterus, on its outer surface, embedded within the uterine wall, or they can be attached to your uterus by a stem-like structure. They range in size from a microscopic seed to a grapefruit-sized mass that can stretch and enlarge your uterus.
How do I know if I have fibroids?
Most women who have fibroids don’t experience any symptoms. The team may discover you have fibroids if they detect an abnormal mass during your pelvic exam.
If you do experience fibroid symptoms, they can vary depending on the size, number, and location of the tumors. Common signs and symptoms of fibroids include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding that may cause anemia
- Menstrual periods that last longer than one week
- Vaginal bleeding in between periods
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Enlarged uterus or abdomen
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Difficulty urinating or frequent urination
- Constipation or difficult bowel movements
Rarely, fibroids can lead to reproductive problems, such as difficulty getting pregnant. If fibroids are the cause of your infertility, your provider can give treatment to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
How are fibroids diagnosed?
First, the team performs a physical and pelvic exam and reviews your symptoms and medical history. If you have signs and symptoms of fibroids, they may perform additional tests, including:
- Ultrasound to view your uterus and pelvic organs
- Blood tests to check for other causes of abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Hysteroscopy to view the inner wall of your uterus
Ultrasound is a noninvasive, painless imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of your pelvic organs through a handpiece (transducer) placed on your skin. Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic imaging procedure that involves inserting a thin, lighted instrument through your cervix and into your uterus.
How are fibroids treated?
Treatment for fibroids depends on the severity of your symptoms and whether you want to get pregnant. Your provider takes time to discuss the best treatment options for your specific needs, which may include:
- Medications, such as hormonal birth control, to relieve symptoms
- Endometrial ablation to remove the inner lining of your uterus
- Minimally invasive surgery to remove the fibroids (myomectomy)
Fibroids that are extremely large or cause severe symptoms may require a hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus.
To learn more about your options for treating fibroids, call the office of Alecia Giovinazzo, MD, or book an appointment online today.