Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine fibroids are small, noncancerous growths that typically occur during childbearing years. When they grow, multiply, or distort the uterus, they can cause pain, bleeding, cramping, and difficulty emptying your bladder or having a bowel movement. If you’re struggling with uterine fibroids, our gynecologists can help. We offer both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. 

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Treatments

Fibroids need treatment when they cause pain, bleeding, or other symptoms or when they affect your fertility.

Medical Therapy

Medical therapy can ease pain and reduce bleeding, and may help shrink your fibroids. There are several types of medications that can help. Your provider will discuss which one(s) may be appropriate for you, based on the size, number, and location of your fibroids.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

This nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure involves injecting a fluid called polyvinyl alcohol into the artery that supplies blood to the fibroid. The fluid blocks blood flow, and the fibroid begins to shrink and die. UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist.

Myomectomy

Surgery to remove fibroids is called myomectomy. The procedure leaves your uterus in place and intact. 

  • Hysteroscopic Myomectomy: Depending on where in your uterus your fibroids are located, your doctor may be able to remove them through your cervix.
  • Abdominal Myomectomy: When your fibroids cannot be removed through your cervix, they may be removed through an incision on your abdomen. This is usually performed through an incision in the bikini area. When removing fibroids, our goal is to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, to help you avoid fertility issues and pregnancy complications in the future.
  • Laparoscopic Myomectomy: Some of our surgeons specialize in performing myomectomies through small abdominal incisions using a laparoscope -- a device with a camera at its tip -- and tiny surgical tools. In some cases, laparoscopic procedures may involve robotic technologies. 

Hysterectomy

In women who don’t wish to bear children in the future, hysterectomy may be an appropriate option for symptomatic fibroids. Depending on the nature of your fibroids, you and your surgeon will decide upon the best approach. Sometimes this means an open incision in your lower abdomen. When possible, some of our surgeons use a minimally invasive approach to remove your uterus through small incisions in your abdomen. This results in less pain and a faster recovery when compared to surgeries performed with larger incisions.

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Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

Ultrasound

Sound waves create images of fibroids affecting your uterus and ovaries.

Hysterosonography

In this test -- also called saline infusion sonography -- the uterus is filled with a saline solution. This allows us to obtain more detailed ultrasound images and diagnose fibroids with greater accuracy.

Hysteroscopy

A thin, lighted tube equipped with a camera is inserted through the cervix. This allows your doctor to see inside the uterus and to identify fibroids. Your doctor can also pass tiny tools through the hysteroscope to remove fibroids or tissue samples. May be performed in a doctor’s office or in an operating room.

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Why Choose Duke

Tissue-Sparing Approach
We explore all nonsurgical and medical treatment options before recommending surgery or hysterectomy. Our minimally invasive surgical options and drug therapies are designed to spare healthy tissue and reproductive organs for women of childbearing age.

Personalized Care
We develop personalized treatment plans that take into account your age, goals, and stage of family planning. We offer a wide range of treatment options, including hormone therapies and noninvasive options. Together we choose the best option for you.

Research on New Therapies
Our dedicated researchers study fibroids and their causes and work to develop more effective, targeted treatments.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals
In addition to being one of the best in the country, Duke University Hospital is proud to be nationally ranked in 11 adult and nine pediatric specialties.
Reviewed: 03/13/2019