Fibroid Specialist in Columbia, SC
While uterine fibroids are common, many cause no symptoms and can even go undetected. Other fibroids can grow to be large, causing significant symptoms and even resulting in miscarriages. At our gynecology practice in Columbia, SC, Dr. Albert Odom helps women get the treatment they need for their uterine fibroids with medication or minimally-invasive procedures to shrink or remove these benign tumors. Contact Dr. Odom for your appointment to see how he can help get back to life without pain. He will take the time to fully assess your needs and answer any questions you may have. Call (803) 907-7300 to request an appointment at our women’s health clinic in Columbia.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that occur inside or on the uterus and are the most common type of female reproductive system tumor. Composed of muscle and connective tissue, fibroids can be located inside the uterus, in or on the wall of the uterus, or just outside the uterus and attached by a “stem.”
Estimates say anywhere from 30% to 77% of women will develop one or more fibroids during their childbearing years, but most fibroids will be too small to initiate symptoms or be diagnosed.
The cause of fibroid development is unknown, but a family history of fibroids and hormonal fluctuations seem to play significant roles for women near Richland County. Uterine fibroids can range in size from about the size of a pellet to the size of a softball in some women.
What kinds of symptoms do uterine fibroids cause?
Some very small fibroids may cause no symptoms at all in women, but when symptoms occur, they can include:
- Cramping that is painful during periods
- Periods that are very heavy and long, or spotting between periods
- The urge to urinate more frequently
- Pain when having intercourse
- Pressure in the lower belly or pelvic region
- Pain in the lower back region
Are fibroids a type of cancer or pre-cancerous?
Very Rare. Less than 1% of uterine fibroids are cancerous.
Are some women at higher risk for developing fibroids?
Some women may be at a higher risk of developing uterine fibroids than other patients. One of the factors is ethnicity as the lifetime risk (cumulative incidence) of fibroids varies among ethnic groups. Black women in particular have a lifetime cumulative incidence of developing fibroids at approximately 80%. This means that at some point from birth to death black women have an 80% chance of having fibroids. For Caucasian women, that cumulative incidence number falls to around 60-70% while for Asian woman it’s even lower.
What steps are taken to diagnose fibroids?
Diagnosis for fibroids begins with Dr. Odom’s review of a woman’s symptoms and medical history, followed by a pelvic exam. Other techniques used to confirm a diagnosis can include X-rays, transvaginal ultrasound, an MRI, and hysteroscopy, which utilizes a flexible instrument called a hysteroscope to see inside the uterus.
If I have fibroids, can I still have a baby?
Many women with fibroids can still become pregnant and carry a baby to term. However, if the fibroids begin growing during pregnancy or are large, they can cause complications and even miscarriage. To help prevent complications, women in South Carolina with a history of uterine fibroids will need to be managed carefully during pregnancy.
What Are the Different Types of Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids can appear in various areas of the uterus, leading to different categorization based on the location of the patient’s tissue mass. There are 4 distinct types of fibroids, which include:
- Pedunculated fibroids: A fibroid that develops a supportive stem that forms at the base of the tumor.
- Subserosal fibroids: A type of uterine fibroid that grows along the outside of the uterus.
- Intramural fibroids: The most common kind of uterine fibroid, which appears within the uterine wall itself.
- Submucosal fibroids: Similar to the intramural fibroid type, these fibroids also develop within the uterine wall, though they more specifically exist within the submucosal layer of this muscular tissue.