Stamford Health Fibroid Center
Meet Scott Chudnoff, MD, Chair of the Hugh K. Miller, MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology (OBGYN). Dr. Chudnoff specializes in women’s health, gynecology, minimally invasive surgery, medical technology and medical education, and is certified as a sexuality counselor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).
Uterine fibroids are a common challenge among 50% of women nationwide who share concerns and questions such as: is a hysterectomy my only option? How do I get the heavy bleeding to stop? Will having fibroids impact my fertility?
The Fibroid Center at Stamford Health is here to help you answer these questions. Our team offers a comprehensive, streamlined approach to managing all aspects of care for your uterine fibroids. Our expert physicians are here to meet with you about personalized treatment plans, minimally invasive treatment options and access to the latest clinical trial.
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If you have questions or would like to learn more about the clinical trial, please call 877.455.4HER or fill out this form.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are firm tumors that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus. In many cases, women can have more than one fibroid in the uterus. Fibroids are not cancerous, nor do they increase risk for uterine cancer. While research continues to be conducted, we still don't know the exact cause of uterine fibroids.
What are some major risk factors of uterine fibroids?
- Women approaching menopause
- Family history of fibroids
- Diet high in red meat
- High blood pressure
- African American women have a higher incidence
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Some women show no symptoms at all, especially if the fibroids are small. Others may have one or more of the following:
- Bleeding between periods
- Heavy bleeding and fatigue during periods
- A firm pass, located near middle of pelvis
- Passing of blood clots
- Pelvic pain and/or pressure; low back pain
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Fibroids are most often found during a routine pelvic exam. Your doctor may feel a firm, irregular pelvic mass during an abdominal exam. Other tests may include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound: An ultrasound test using a small instrument, called a transducer, that is placed in the vagina.
- MRI: A noninvasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure.
- Hysteroscopy: Visual exam of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina.
Fibroid Treatment Options
- Myomectomy or fibroid excision
- Uterine artery embolization (uterine fibroid embolization): A nonsurgical therapy to treat fibroid symptoms and preserve the uterus with little to no blood loss. Non-hormonal medications
- Endometrial ablation: removing a thin layer of tissue that lines the uterus
- Hormonal medications & intrauterine devices
- Hysterectomy: a complete removal of the uterus, often performed laparoscopically (minimally invasive).
What are the different types of uterine fibroids?
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Although there are four main types of fibroids, women can have any combination of the following:
The most common, these fibroids develop within the wall of the uterus and expand from there. This type causes symptoms such as heavy bleeding during periods, longer cycles, clot passing and pelvic pain, all of which can cause pressure on surrounding organs. Intramural fibroids can also be mistaken for pregnancy when they expand.
These fibroids form outside the uterine wall, therefore not typically interfering with menstruation itself. However, as these tumors grow outward, pelvic pain and pressure become common.
The least common, these fibroids develop under the lining of the uterine cavity. Larger versions can block the fallopian tubes which can ultimately lead to infertility. Inconvenient and challenging symptoms of submucosal fibroids include passing clots, frequent soiling and anemia and/or fatigue if left untreated.
These fibroid tumors grow on a stalk either in the uterus or outside the uterine wall. As the fibroids twist around on the stalk, pain and pressure are often key symptoms.