How likely is it to have uterine fibroids? It highly varies by age. Overall about 1/100 American women have uterine fibroid according to the Nurses Health Study. However that varies from 4/1000 between ages 25-29, to 9/1000 ages 30-34; and about 15/1000 in women between 35-39, and then finally about 22/1000 or about 2/100 in women in their early 40s. Women have a lot to discuss with their gyno if they've been diagnosed or suspected as having uterine fibroids. . Many fibroids are found on pelvic exam or pelvic ultrasound, and it's a surprise as the woman wasn't seeking consultation for period symptoms. Not all fibroids progress to having symptoms, and in fact a significant percent of women who do have symptoms won't need medicine or surgery because they report reduction of symptoms with observation alone. But for those with uterine bleeding, pelvic pains, or women with bulk symptoms such as abdominal swelling, pelvic heaviness, frequent urination, discomfort with sex, or bladder discomfort. Both surgical and medical therapy for uterine fibroids are used commonly. The chances of successful resolution of your symptoms depends upon what your symptoms are and what your plans for the future are. At Women's Health Practice we take into consideration the size of the fibroids (also called myoma(s)), the location of the fibroids within the uterus, and the symptoms just mentioned, your desire for future childbearing, and your reproductive age (specifically how near menopause you are). The first medication proven to treat the size of the the uterus and the uterine bleeding casused by fibroids was a GNRH agonist called Lupron. We know the medication can shrink fibroids, however it is not known if the medication can overall prevent a fibroid from reaching it's 'predestined' size. It can cause menopausal symptoms but these can be managed with birth control pill use called add-back therapy. Either progeserone only pills or very low dosage oral contraceptive pills (such as Lo LoEstrin) are usually tried first. If bleeding and uterine fibroids are a problem then an ablation and often will work well. At Womens’s Health Practice we use 3-D imaging, images of the lining, color flow studies as well as other testing to try to predict how successful the treatment really will be.  For women who have no contraindications to hormone or progesterone therapy, age alone is not a contraindication for continued use. Lysteda is another alternative for non-surgical therapy. In our practice we are also enrolling women in the VENUS study, there are a number of sites enrolling this trial designed to treat women with fibroids with medication. Call 217-356-3736 if interested.

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