Oasis Women's Health
Heather Skanes, MD
Obstetrician/Gynecologist located in Birmingham, AL
Fibroids are a common gynecological problem, especially among women of color. Though fibroids don’t always cause symptoms, they can cause severe pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, and fertility problems. Dedicated to providing comprehensive care, Heather Skanes, MD, at Oasis Women's Health in Birmingham, Alabama, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of fibroids. Call the office or book an appointment online today.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign muscular tumors that grow in the lining of a woman’s uterus. You may have one single tumor or multiple tumors. They also vary in size and may be smaller than a pencil eraser or larger than a softball.
Fibroids are common and develop in 20-80% of women before they reach age 50. However, women of color are three times more likely to be diagnosed with fibroids than white women.
Additionally, fibroids in women of color tend to develop at an earlier age, grow very large, and cause severe symptoms.
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Not everyone with fibroids develops symptoms. However, women who experience fibroid symptoms may find them disruptive to daily life.
Common symptoms of fibroids include:
- Pelvic pain
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Increase in abdominal girth
- Pain during sex
- Increase in urination
- Back pain
Fibroids may also cause infertility or complications during pregnancy. As noted, women of color are more likely to have severe symptoms from their fibroids, as well as related health complications.
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Dr. Skanes may incidentally find fibroids during your annual pelvic exam or when you come in with concerns about abnormal uterine bleeding or pelvic pain. To confirm a diagnosis, she runs imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI.
The imaging tests not only confirm your diagnosis but also help Dr. Skanes determine the size, location, and number of fibroids you have.
How are fibroids treated?
Dr. Skanes takes a patient-centered approach to care and develops personalized treatment plans for fibroids based on the severity of your symptoms and your personal preferences.
In some cases, she may recommend medical management of your fibroids to alleviate symptoms, which may include:
- Hormonal birth control
- Iron supplements for anemia
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist (to shrink the fibroids)
When medical intervention fails to alleviate your fibroid symptoms, Dr. Skanes may recommend minimally invasive surgery to remove the tumors. However, removing your fibroids won’t prevent new ones from forming, and tumor recurrence is found to be more common in women of color.
Dr. Skanes works closely with you to develop a plan that matches your health needs and goals and addresses all your concerns. If you have no future pregnancy plans and your fibroids cause severe symptoms, she may suggest a hysterectomy.
Call Oasis Women's Health or book an appointment online to schedule your fibroid consultation.