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How Uterine Fibroids Affect Each Trimester of Pregnancy

can uterine fibroids affect your pregnancy

You have uterine fibroids. You’re also pregnant. What should you expect in the months ahead? Many women with fibroids will have a normal pregnancy. The hormonal changes associated with being pregnant often encourage fibroids to grow. Can uterine fibroids affect your pregnancy? Depending on where they are and how big they become, things could get complicated. No need to panic. Just prepare.

Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that commonly appear in 30% to 60% of all women over 35. In many cases, fibroids are unlikely to be problematic during pregnancy. But fibroids are estrogen responsive, meaning they tend to grow when estrogen levels rise. During pregnancy, your body will produce more estrogen. Often that causes a fibroid growth spurt. When fibroids located in the wall of your uterus or directly in the uterine cavity begin to grow larger, they can impact how well you carry the baby or how the baby is delivered.

Women with fibroids should be closely monitored by their ob/gyn. Usually, patients require no immediate fibroid treatment. But your doctor should be aware of the condition and prepare for any potential issues. The primary concerns with fibroid growth can change over different stages of a pregnancy. Here’s what to know.

First Trimester

About one-third of all uterine fibroids grow in size during the first three months of pregnancy. Estrogen surges are highest at this point, so fibroids are likely to expand. The most common fibroid-related issues in the first three months of pregnancy are pain, bleeding and the possibility of miscarriage.

Pain is generally related to the location of the fibroid. Especially if grows to a size where it begins pressing on other internal organs.

Bleeding during early pregnancy can happen when the placenta implants near a fibroid.

Miscarriage is a risk in any pregnancy. If you have fibroids, the chance is about 14%.

Second and Third Trimester

In mid to late pregnancy, fibroid-related concerns change as the baby gets closer to delivery. Fibroids may trigger unusual pain, impact fetal health, cause pre-term birth or birthing complications. Women with fibroids are also 6 times more likely to need a C-section delivery.

Pain experienced early in the pregnancy can elevate, especially if fibroids are large. In addition to putting pressure on internal organs, fibroids can sometimes twist and compress, causing extreme discomfort.

Placental abruption is a medical term for the placenta tearing away from the wall of the uterus before the baby is delivered. While this can also happen in women without fibroids, the condition occurs more often when fibroids are present. It’s serious because the placenta provides oxygen to the baby. Also because it can result in severe blood loss to the mother.

Pre-term delivery is more common among women with fibroids than those without. The normal pregnancy period is 37 weeks. Fibroids may cause you to go into labor earlier.

Cesarean/C-section delivery is 6 times more likely if you have fibroids. They can impair the uterus’ ability to contract normally during delivery, block the birth canal, slow or inhibit labor. The potential for complications during delivery makes a c-section delivery safer for you and the baby.

Ok. You made it through this information. It wasn’t easy. But it really does help to know. Remember, most women with fibroids will have a normally uncomfortable, normally challenging pregnancy. For the few that won’t, awareness is everything.

Want to know more about fibroids and fertility?

Not yet pregnant? Learn more about non-surgical fibroid treatment.

Fibroid Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Doctors and patients sit and talk

What are the symptoms of fibroids? Addressing your concerns immediately can save you years of future fibroid pain and infertility. Ask your doctor any and all questions. The more you know about fibroids, the better you can understand which fibroid treatment is right for you. To get in touch with the best fibroids doctor in Los Angeles, contact the Fibroid Treatment Collective to consult with Dr. McLucas.

When speaking with your doctor, you may want to begin by asking how, and why fibroids may be growing in your uterus. While each woman’s case is unique, your doctor may tell you that fibroids have been linked to increased estrogen, and for many women, fibroids begin during pregnancy, and before menopause. If your symptoms began around these times fibroids may be the cause.

Outline Your Fibroid Symptoms

Give your doctor an overview of your symptoms, in addition to asking any specific symptom related questions. If you are experiencing an unusually heavy menstrual cycle, ask about the differences between a very heavy period, and fibroid related bleeding. It may be difficult to tell for most women on their own, so be as thorough as possible when explaining your symptoms. Fibroid related bleeding usually results in large clots, chunks of tissue in the blood, the irregular intensity of flow, and a longer-lasting period.

If your stomach is enlarging unexpectedly, ask your doctor if it could be related to fibroid growth. Fibroids may be the cause if you have gained weight with no apparent dietary changes, are not pregnant, and are experiencing abdominal bloating. In some cases, fibroids have been known to press on organs and nerves, causing back and leg pain, and constipation, and urinary frequency.

Fibroid Treatment Options

After going over possible fibroid symptoms with your doctor, ask about your treatment. A hysterectomy and myomectomy are common surgical procedures that many women undergo to remove the uterus or fibroids. However, be sure to also ask your doctor about non-surgical fibroid treatments, which are often a preferable option for women who want children or are looking for an alternative to surgery.

Medical therapies, which include birth control pills, progestins, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), analogues, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs), and aromatase inhibitors have been used to treat fibroid symptoms, but have also shown side effects. If you are interested in medical therapy, it’s important to ask about the risks involved and how well they treat fibroids. For instance, progestins alone (oral, intramuscular, or intrauterine) may control bleeding by reducing endometrial hyperplasia, but their use will not result in tumor shrinkage and may, in fact, induce tumor growth.

Non-Surgical Fibroid Treatment

Ask your doctor about uterine fibroid embolization, another non-surgical option that has helped over 90% of patients experience relief from their symptoms and shown significant fibroid shrinkage. If you are interested in any of these fibroid treatment options, remember to be clear with your doctor about each of your symptoms as well as any concerns or treatment preferences you may have, to help you make an informed decision. To learn more about fibroid symptoms and to get in touch with the best fibroids doctor in Los Angeles, contact us at (888) 296-9422.

Embolization After Traditional Surgical Procedures

If you’ve tried other fibroid treatment methods that were unsuccessful, Uterine Fibroid Embolization can be a plausible option after other treatments have presented unsuccessful.

I had a myomectomy in 2008. I am again bleeding heavy. I know it’s the fibroids that have grown. Can I do Uterine Fibroid Embolization at this point.

Even after a myomectomy, Uterine Fibroid Embolization can still be a plausible option for fibroid treatment.  Many women who have tried myomectomy and witnessed  re-growth in their fibroids look to UFE to treat their existing fibroids.  Because the UFE procedure uses tiny  particles to successfully block off the blood supply that feed fibroids, the subsequent  chance of re-growth for these fibroids are unlikely.  Therefore, UFE patients are less likely to witness fibroid re-growth than their myomectomy counterparts.

In addition to a decreased chance of re-growth, UFE patients also experience the advantage of immediate symptom relief. Heavy bleeding, bloating, pain, pressure-all of these symptoms can immediately become lessened after the procedure.  On average, many post-operative UFE patients state that their symptoms were either eradicated or lessened following UFE.  Therefore, embolization would be an optimal choice of fibroid treatment for your situation.  Not to mention a quick recovery period of less than 7 days!

It is never too late to treat your fibroid issue. Let us help you in your journey to explore treatment options, give us a call at 866-362-6463.  By calling this number, you can request to have an in-office consultation with Dr. McLucas, or you can opt to engage in a FREE phone consultation in which he can give you a general assessment of your individual situation and offer you suggestions. Either way, we are here to help!

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Premature Menopause After UFE

Menopause after UFE, although uncommon, can sometimes occur. There are a number of factors that play a role in premature menopause, which occurs in women before the age of 40. At times, premature menopause may be caused by premature ovarian failure (abnormal functioning of the ovaries). This may be a result of non-target embolization of blood vessels leading to the ovaries. In this case, blockage of the blood supply to the ovaries can cause premature failure.

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Uterine Polyps vs. Fibroids

Polyps and fibroids can share many of the same symptoms and can be confused for one another. Read inside to learn more about what factors distinguish the two growths.

Fibroids and polyps are benign (non-cancerous) uterine growths —tissue enlargement in a woman’s uterus. While they may be benign, they can also cause problems such as infertility or recurrent miscarriage.

Fibroids, on the one hand, are masses of tissue that start in the uterine muscle and then grow into the cavity, within the wall, and push outward toward the uterus.

There are four kinds of fibroids:

  1. Intramural fibroids are the most common and grow inside the wall of the uterus.
  2. Subserol fibroids grow outside the uterine cavity.
  3. Submucous (submucosal or intracavitary) fibroids grow inside the uterine cavity.
  4. Pedunculated fibroids grow on a stalk and develop either in the uterus or outside the uterus

Although it is not known what causes uterine fibroids, they tend to require the hormone estrogen to grow. A fibroid will likely continue to slowly grow as long as the female is menstruating. At the onset of menopause, when hormone levels drop, fibroids are likely to shrink or disappear.

Uterine polyps, on the other hand, are small, fingerlike growths, similar to a wart or skin tag, that are found on the cervix. They are common and are most often found in women over age 20 who have had children.

A woman can have one or several polyps. Although they are usually not cancerous, all polyps should be evaluated by a an OB/GYN or fertility doctor. Polyps are easy to remove and do not usually grow back.

The cause of cervical polyps is not clearly understood. They might develop from an infection, chronic (long-term) inflammation, or an obstruction or any alteration in blood vessels in the cervical canal. Researchers believe polyps may also be an abnormal response to an increase in estrogen levels.

Many polyps do not interfere with the ability to get pregnant. However, large or multiple polyps can sometimes cause problems with fertility or result in recurrent miscarriage.

What is the main difference between the two?

The main difference between uterine polyps and uterine fibroids is that fibroids are composed of muscle tissue and polyps are made of endometrial tissue. Additionally, polyps are usually very small. They range in size from just a few millimeters to several centimeters. Fibroids, however, may range in size from just a few millimeters to the size of a watermelon.

Because many of the symptoms of these two conditions are similar– including irregular menstrual bleeding that varies in duration and heaviness, spotting and sometimes infertility. If think that you are experiencing any of these issues, visit your Gynecologist to be evaluated.

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Periods After UAE

Click inside to learn more about what happens to your periods after the uterine fibroid embolization procedure.

Will I still have menstrual periods after I have the embolization procedure?

Generally speaking, approximately 95% of women will continue to have menstrual periods after Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Roughly 5% of women in one study did enter menopause after UFE, but the reason for this is unclear. It may have been coincidental, but there is also a small possibility that some of the injected particles caused a reduction of blood flow to the ovaries.

Additionally, if you are reaching the typical age range in which most women experience menopause, there is a possibility that you may enter menopause. Often times, this is not caused by the procedure itself, but rather a natural phenomenon that is unavoidable.

At any rate, most women continue to have their periods and are happy to find that they no longer experience the burdensome symptoms that they experienced prior to UFE. After UFE, periods are often much lighter, less painful, and quite manageable.

Embolization patients are often very satisfied with the less-invasive procedural outcomes and are able to experience normal menstrual cycles, while leaving fertility options open.

To learn more about fibroids and the embolization procedure, please feel free to contact the Fibroid Treatment Collective at 866-362-6463 or request a free phone consultation. We would love to help you answer any additional questions that you might have or help you find out if UFE is an option you would like to explore!

Learn more about fibroids and Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling 866-362-6463 or by requesting a free phone consultation. Additionally, you can find us on Twitter @fibroiddoctor and on Facebook at facebook.com/fibroids.

 

Abnormal Bleeding and Fibroids

I think I may have abnormal menstrual bleeding, but what does it consist of and can fibroids be causing this problem for me?

You may be experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding if you change pads or tampons more often than every one or two hours, or having a period that lasts over seven days.

Uterine bleeding is abnormal when:

  • Bleeding occurs between periods
  • Bleeding occurs following sexual intercourse
  • Spotting occurs at any time during the menstrual cycle
  • Bleeding is heavier or lasts longer than usual
  • Bleeding occurs after menopause

Abnormal uterine bleeding or heavy menstruation, referred to as menorrhagia in medical terms, is typically the result of a hormonal imbalance in adolescents during the years following the onset of menstruation, or in women who are approaching menopause. Another common cause of abnormal uterine bleeding is fibroid tumors.

How fibroids cause abnormal bleeding is unknown. Fibroids are believed to alter muscular contraction of the uterus, which may prevent the uterus from controlling the degree of bleeding during a patient’s period. This may result in abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding.

Heavy menstrual bleeding is usually caused by fibroids deep within the wall of the uterus (intramural) or those just under the inner lining of the uterus (submucosal). Very small fibroids in the wall of the uterus or the outer part of the uterus (subserosal) usually do not cause abnormal bleeding.

There are many other potential causes of heavy menstrual bleeding; for this reason, careful review of gynaecologic history and physical examination is an important part of the evaluation of a patient with heavy bleeding.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling 866-362-64633 or by requesting a free phone consultation.

 

Hormonal Changes After Fibroid Embolization

Want to avoid the hormonal swings associated with traditional fibroid surgeries? Look to UFE!

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a non-surgical procedure that cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. The procedure does not include the ovaries in the process, which means that the ovaries are often not affected by the procedure.

There are very few accounts of women that experience hormonal changes as a result of  UFE, with the exception of the small percentage of women that experience early menopause as a result of the procedure. Most women will not experience hormonal changes or depression, both of which are common with hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) patients. Women that are approaching the age of menopause, however, may be more likely to start menopause after UFE.

Learn more about fibroids and Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling 866-362-6463 or by requesting a free phone consultation. Additionally, you can find us on Twitter @fibroiddoctor and on Facebook at facebook.com/fibroids.

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Does Rapid Growth of a Fibroid Signify Cancer?

Does a fibroid equal cancer? Read on to learn the relationship between the two and how fibroids can be treated successfully.

A rapid increase in fibroid size has been thought to be associated with malignancy (sarcoma). Fortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Leiomyosarcoma, the malignancy that sounds similar to fibroids (leiomyomata), is a tumor that does not represent degeneration of a preexisting benign fibroid. These tumors more typically arise in postmenopausal women and are usually associated with a pelvic mass, abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain. Because the symptoms associated with leiomyosarcoma can be quite similar to those of fibroids, they are often mistaken for one another; however, upon diagnosis, it is evident that fibroids are not the cause of cancer.

It is important to state, however, that there is no screening test that can reliably detect this malignancy. Other gynecologic malignancies of concern include cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. Since Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a uterine sparing treatment it is important to rule out these diagnoses prior to the procedure. A Pap smear is used to screen for cervical cancer, endometrial biopsy is used for excluding endometrial cancer and other non-fibroid causes of abnormal uterine bleeding, and Ultrasound and MRI are used in evaluating for ovarian cancer. Because fibroids can often block and hide the ovaries and other parts in the uterus, careful examination is necessary before performing UAE.

Learn more about fibroids and Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling 866-362-6463 or by requesting a free phone consultation. Additionally, you can find us on Twitter @fibroiddoctor and on Facebook at facebook.com/fibroids.

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Fibroids and Your Sex Life

Fibroids and Sex Life

You’re experiencing fibroid symptoms and Valentines Day is just around the corner. In the spirit of love, apply some of that good ‘ol tender love and care on your body and treat your fibroids . Click inside to find out how you can restore your health in time for the big day and get your health back up to par.

You have been diagnosed with fibroids and immediately your mind starts racing with questions. How did this happen? What does this mean in terms of your health? What is going to happen next?

First, take a deep breath and relax, uterine fibroids are not cancer and they do not increase the possibility of cancer. It is only on rare occasions that fibroids actually transform into cancerous growths. Uterine fibroid tumors are benign lumps that grow on the uterus of most women, most often during childbearing years.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Typically fibroids do not cause any symptoms and therefore do not need any form of treatment. Usually your doctor will unintentionally discover the fibroids during a regular pelvic exam because most women are unaware that they even have this condition.

At any rate, sometimes these fibroids can produce some uncomfortable symptoms like discomfort, pelvic pain, or increased menstrual bleeding that can interfere with your sex-life. At times, fibroid symptoms may be present, but women are unaware that the cause is uterine fibroids.

Fibroids and Loss of Sex Drive

Another such symptom is the loss of libido. Suddenly sex is painful and not worth the struggle or you just don’t have a need for it. With Valentine’s Day peeking around the corner, the last thing you want to come in between you and that special someone are your fibroids. Not to mention, Valentines Day is about love, right? Who better and more capable of providing you with the right amount of love and affection than yourself? In the spirit of the season, treat your mind and body by tending to your health and treating your fibroids.

First things first, do not ignore sudden changes that occur in your body because these changes could be the sign of a deeper issue. Make sure to set up an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss these symptoms.

One explanation for the pain is the size of the fibroids. Large fibroids can produce pressure in the uterus and can cause intercourse to become painful. Additionally, when benign fibroid tumors grow in the area of your cervix at the end of the vaginal tract, they can make penetrative sex highly uncomfortable for women.

The aforementioned cervical fibroids can either press on the cervix or actually hang through the cervical opening, making it exceedingly difficult for women to enjoy sexual relations. To make matters worse, fibroids growing in this area can also result in bleeding during sexual activity.

Another explanation for the loss of interest is your hormones. Even if the fibroids are of smaller size they can impact your life. The small fibroid tumors can cause hormonal imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, which, in turn, creates the loss of interest in sex.

Treatment Options for Fibroids

The key to reclaiming your sex drive and making sure that you’re back up to speed for the “season of love” is to research your options and talk to your doctor about finding a medical option that is best for you.

One such option that is appealing to most women due to its advantageous qualities of being safe, effective and having a speedy recovery time is UFE. It requires no major surgery and the recovery times with UFE are dramatically faster than with hysterectomy or myomectomy, both of which require abdominal surgery. Many women resume light activities in a few days, and the majority of women are able to return to normal activities within seven to ten days. Choosing UFE as your fibroid treatment can allow you to be back on your feet and looking forward to a romantic day filled with endless possibilities in no time.

If you have been diagnosed with fibroids or suspect that you may have fibroids, feel free to give us a call at 866-362-6463 so that we may schedule you for a FREE consultation with Dr. Bruce McLucas. By taking advantage of this consultation, you will allow yourself the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the doctor himself, discussing treatment options and deciding whether UAE is a viable option for you.

 

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