Posts Tagged ‘fibroids’

What are fibroids?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths made up of muscle tissue. They range from pea-size to 5 to 6 inches across. If you have them, you’re in good company. About 20 to 40 percent of women develop fibroids during their reproductive years, most frequently in their 30s and 40s.

Many women with fibroids have no symptoms, while others have symptoms such as:
– Heavy menstrual bleeding
– Anemia (resulting from heavy menstrual bleeding)
– Abdominal or back pain
– Pain during sex
– Difficulty urinating or frequent urination

Your health care provider may first detect fibroids during a routine pelvic exam. The diagnosis can be confirmed with one or more imaging tests.

Small fibroids usually don’t cause problems during pregnancy and usually require no treatment. However, fibroids occasionally break down during pregnancy, resulting in abdominal pain and low-grade fever. Treatment includes bedrest and pain medication. Multiple or large fibroids may need to be surgically removed, generally before pregnancy, to avoid potential complications associated with pregnancy. Due to pregnancy hormones, fibroids sometimes grow larger during pregnancy. Rarely, large fibroids may block the uterine opening, making a cesarean birth necessary.

Most women with fibroids have healthy pregnancies. However, fibroids can increase the risk of certain pregnancy complications, including:
– Infertility
– Miscarriage
Preterm labor
– Abnormal presentation (such as breech position)
– Cesarean birth (usually due to breech position)
Placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus before birth)
– Heavy bleeding after birth

If a health care provider determines that a woman’s infertility or repeated pregnancy losses are probably caused by fibroids, he may recommend surgery to remove the fibroids. This surgery is called a myomectomy. In some cases, myomectomy can be done during hysteroscopy.

Pregnancy in your late 40s

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

pregnant-womanMany of us have heard that Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, is pregnant at the age of 47. Wow, you go girl!  I hear some women asking “If she can, why can’t I?”  Good question, complicated answer.

Women over age 35 may be less fertile than younger women because they tend to ovulate (release an egg from the ovaries) less frequently. Certain health conditions that are more common in this age group also may interfere with conception. These include endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes and fibroids.

A woman over age 35 should consult her health care provider if she has not conceived after 6 months of trying. Studies suggest that about one-third of women between 35 and 39 and about half of those over age 40 have fertility problems.  At age 47, most babies are conceived with some form of fertility treatment.   This can be time consuming and expensive.

Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester for women of all ages. The risk of miscarriage increases with age. Studies suggest that about 10 percent of recognized pregnancies for women in their 20s end in miscarriage. The risk rises to about 35 percent at ages 40 to 44 and more than 50 percent by age 45. The age-related increased risk of miscarriage is caused, at least in part, by increases in chromosomal abnormalities.

Women in their late 30s and 40s are very likely to have a healthy baby. However, they may face more complications along the way than younger women. Some complications that are more common in women over 35 include: gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, placental problems, premature birth, stillbirth.  About 47% of women over age 40 give birth via cesarean section.

All these things taken into consideration, many women who do conceive in their late 40s, either on their own (unlikely but not impossible) or with some fertility treatment, do manage to have healthy babies.  The important thing to remember is to have a preconception checkup and early and regular prenatal care.

What is hysteroscopy?

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

doctorHysteroscopy is a procedure that permits a doctor to view the inside of a woman’s uterus.  A hysteroscope is a thin instrument with a light and camera attached to its end.  It is inserted into the vagina, through the cervix into the uterus and, among other things, can investigate the cause of problems such as repeat miscarriage or infertility.  These problems can include abnormal bleeding; the shape of the uterus; the presence of scar tissue, non-cancerous growths like small fibroids or polyps; the blockage of one or both fallopian tubes.  In many cases, other small instruments can be inserted during a hysteroscopy to remove a blockage, polyp or fibroid and correct the problem.

This procedure usually is performed by a gynecologist in the operating room of a hospital or surgery center. A sedative to help her relax and a local, regional or sometimes general anesthesia usually is given, and most women go home in the same day. In some cases, the hysteroscopy can be done in your doctor’s office.

A gas or fluid is inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope to help the doctor obtain as clear a picture of the uterus as possible. The image from the camera is projected on a screen for easy viewing. The process takes about 30 minutes, unless corrective procedures or a biopsy of the uterine lining are required which can take a little longer.  A woman may experience some light spotting, cramping and gas pains for a day or so afterward.

A woman who is pregnant, has a vaginal or urinary tract infection, or is known to have cancer of the uterus should not have a hysteroscopy.  This is a safe procedure but some risks do exist, so any woman offered hysteroscopy should discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure with her doctor.