What Women Need to Know about Endometriosis and Fibroids
Millions of women in their 20s to 40s deal with endometriosis and fibroids issues.
While endometriosis and fibroids are common conditions among women, they can cause many health problems and affect overall quality of life.
To help better manage endometriosis and fibroids, Dr. Megan Tirone, chief medical officer for BayCare’s St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, provides helpful tips on signs, symptoms, diagnosis and how women can manage those conditions.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis, also known as endo, is a tissue that lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis occurs when that tissue grows outside the uterus and on other areas in the body. Endometriosis is often found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, tissues that hold the uterus and the outer surface of the uterus.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are benign muscle tumors that grow in and around the uterus. Fibroids often increase during the reproductive years and then decrease after menopause. Fibroids are noncancerous and are not associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer.
Endometriosis and fibroids can cause pelvic pain, severe and irregular periods and fertility problems. They also can trigger painful menstrual cramps, lower back and pelvis pain, fatigue, bleeding or spotting and digestive problems.
While endometriosis and fibroids have similar symptoms, these conditions can be discussed with your obstetrician/gynecologist during your regular pelvic exams and diagnosed with additional testing.
For endometriosis, doctors can order a pelvic ultrasound or MRI to help take pictures of the reproductive organs to diagnose the problem. Often times, they may have to conduct a laparoscopy, a surgery that looks inside the pelvic area to see the endometriosis tissue.
For fibroids, doctors order a pelvic ultrasound called hysterosonography to look for fibroids, the size, location and other details. Doctors also can order an MRI if additional visualization is needed.
Dr. Tirone says it’s always important to check with your primary care physician or your obstetrician/gynecologist about the best exam options for you.
There is no cure for endometriosis or fibroids. However, Dr. Tirone says treatment options are available for symptom management. Some of the treatments available may include hormonal birth control options, surgery, therapies or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relief medicine. It’s always important to check with your primary care physician or your obstetrician/gynecologist about the best treatment options for you.
Lifestyle and diet also play an important role in helping manage both conditions. Regular exercise not only helps maintain a healthy body weight, but also lower pelvic pain and cramps. A balanced diet focused on high fiber foods like legumes, vegetables, whole grains, fish, fruit and nuts, can help manage those symptoms as well. You should also reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
Dr. Tirone recommends checking with your primary care physician or your obstetrician/gynecologist about the best lifestyle and diet options for you.
To schedule an appointment with a physician, visit BayCareMedicalGroup.org.