Francine Ito, MD
OB-GYN located in South Bay, Torrance, CA
Uterine fibroids are a common cause of irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, and they can also interfere with fertility and pregnancy. At her OB-GYN practice located in Torrance, CA, Dr. Francine Ito offers advanced treatment for fibroids to help women in the South Bay area get the most appropriate and most effective care for their needs.
Fibroids Q & A
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are overgrowths of muscle tissue that form inside the uterus. Fibroids can range in size and shape, with some very tiny fibroids causing no symptoms at all and only being identified during an exam. Other fibroids can grow to be as large as a melon, although most are much smaller. Researchers don’t know the specific cause of fibroid development and growth, but they do know hormonal fluctuations play a role. Fibroid growth tends to slow and stop completely during menopause, when many fibroids shrink. Women with a family history of fibroids may be more likely to develop them themselves. Sometimes, fibroids grow during pregnancy, causing complications and problems for the developing baby. In these cases, frequent prenatal exams and monitoring are important to making sure the baby stays healthy and development and growth are not interrupted.
Are fibroids cancerous?
No, nearly all uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous).
What symptoms are associated with uterine fibroids?
Fibroids can cause many different symptoms, with larger fibroids or more numerous fibroids associated with more severe symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- very heavy periods or spotting between periods
- periods that are very painful
- pain or sensations of pressure in the pelvic region
- painful intercourse
- urinary incontinence or increased urge to urinate
- problems with pregnancy or fertility
How are fibroids treated?
Small fibroids that cause few or no symptoms typically are not treated, but may be monitored to track their growth. When fibroids do cause symptoms, several methods are available to treat them, including:
- surgical removal or excision
- uterine artery embolization, a minimally-invasive procedure that cuts off the blood flow to the fibroids, starving them of nutrients so they shrink
- ablation to remedy fibroids using heat during a minimally-invasive procedure
- hormone therapy which uses natural hormones to help regulate hormonal fluctuations so fibroid growth is better controlled
- hysterectomy to remove the uterus
- The approach used to treat fibroids can vary based on several factors, including whether a woman is through having children or is trying to become pregnant.
Can fibroids recur after treatment?
Yes, in some cases, fibroids can recur. The risk of recurrence can be influenced by different factors including the method used to treat them. All these issues can be discussed during the office evaluation.
*Individual results may vary