Both of these gynecologic conditions are related to the uterus. There is some overlap in symptoms, however, they are two different conditions and require different treatments. What’s the difference between fibroids and endometriosis?
Fibroids are benign, or non-cancerous tumors that form in the uterus, outside the uterus, or in the wall lining of the uterus. There may be one fibroid or groups of them. They can be small and not cause any symptoms, or they can be large enough to increase the size of the abdomen.
Endometrium is tissue that lines the uterus. Sometimes this tissue is found outside the uterus and attached to other organs like the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and large intestines. When it normally is inside the uterus, it is shed with each menstrual cycle, but abnormal tissue outside the uterus stays in place and this is known as endometriosis. It has nowhere to go and causes many symptoms.
These two conditions have a few similar symptoms.
- Pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse
- Growths that can vary in size
- Fertility issues
- Heavy painful periods and bleeding between cycles
Other Distinctive Symptoms
If you have endometriosis you will have symptoms that may include chronic pain and fatigue, pain during bowel movements and urination, and as scar tissue forms, you will suffer from more pain, bleeding, and inflammation. You may also experience pain even before the menstrual cycle begins.
With fibroids you will have both prolonged and painful menstrual periods, constipation and bloating, pelvic pressure, and frequent urination.
Some women actually have both conditions! The only way to know for sure if you have fibroids, endometriosis, or both is through medical imaging and other tests ordered by Dr. Albert Odom.
It is essential to have a clear diagnosis. Only then can you explore your treatment options.
For endometriosis, there are two main treatment options. The first one is hormone therapy through medication. The second treatment is surgery to remove any affected tissue.
For fibroids, there are three main treatment options. The first one is medical therapy. The second treatment option is uterine fibroid embolization. The third treatment option is surgery through a hysterectomy or myomectomy procedure.