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Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) uterine growths that can cause irregular, heavy, or painful bleeding.

Fibroids are benign growths inside the muscle portion of the uterus. Women who have fibroids are usually unaware of them because they experience no symptoms. Fibroids usually don’t affect the ability to conceive or have a successful pregnancy, and they often cause no problems at all.

It’s possible for fibroids to develop at any time until menopause, and they can vary in size from microscopic to being large enough to push the walls of the uterus out of shape. There can be one or many fibroids, and a mixture of different sizes at the same time.

What Causes Fibroids?

While doctors don't know the ultimate cause of fibroids, there are a few common risk factors that include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Family history of fibroids
  • Obesity
  • Age (women over 30 are typically at a higher risk)

Although some women develop fibroids without experiencing symptoms, other women suffer a range of uncomfortable and inconvenient problems when they have fibroids, including:

  • Heavy periods
  • Prolonged periods
  • On-again/off-again periods
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvic region
  • Experiencing the need to urinate more frequently than normal
  • Problems emptying the bladder completely
  • Constipation
  • Backache
  • Leg pain

Fibroids Treatments

Symptoms of fibroids can be similar to symptoms of other conditions that affect the female reproductive system. If you are experiencing problems that could be due to fibroids,it’simportant to get an accurate diagnosis before starting any treatment.

Many times women undergo hysterectomy or other procedures to remove fibroids only because of excessive bleeding. However, in the majority of cases there is a minimally invasive 90-second procedure, Advanced Endometrial Ablation, that can stop bleeding caused by most fibroids and can be an alternative to major surgery.

Dr. Clint Ashford is the leading expert in Advanced Endometrial Ablation in Athens, GA and is a trusted specialist, having performed over 4,000 Advanced Endometrial Ablations.

Call the experts at The Ashford Center today, or schedule a consultation online to learn more about this procedure.

Medical Conditions Commonly Associated With Fibroids

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Commonly Asked Questions

What causes heavy periods?

Sometimes women are simply genetically predisposed to having heavy, painful periods despite normal anatomy and the absence of gynecologic pathology. However, several gynecologic conditions may also cause heavy menstrual bleeding, including:

  • Uterine fibroids: Noncancerous growths that develop in the uterine wall
  • Uterine polyps: Small growths that develop in the lining of the uterus
  • Endometriosis: A condition in which cells from the uterine lining grow outside the uterus on the surrounding organs
  • Adenomyosis: A condition in which cells from the uterine lining grow into the uterine wall
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): a common hormonal imbalance problem
  • Thyroid Problems: Both low- and high-thyroid levels may be problematic
  • Anemia: Anemia can be a result of heavy uterine bleeding, but anemia paradoxically can make uterine bleeding worse.

How are “heavy periods” defined?

In 2005, the FDA has formally decided that a woman herself should be the one to determine if her periods are “heavy” or “abnormal”. Therefore, nearly all insurance companies consider Advanced Endometrial Ablation a “covered service” if a woman is tired of having periods and would like to be period-free. In any case, menstrual periods are certainly considered abnormal when they are different from the average cycle. On average, periods last around five days and there should be about 24-38 days between periods.

Your periods are too heavy if:

  • Periods are interfering with your personal life or productivity at work
  • Bleeding lasts more than five days
  • Blood soaks through one or more pads or tampons per hour
  • You need to wear more than one pad at a time
  • You need to change pads or tampons while you sleep
  • You pass blood clots the size of a quarter or larger

If you meet any of these criteria — or if childbearing is complete and dealing with the hassle of periods is becoming a problem— it’s time to schedule a consultation with either Dr. Clint or Dr. Rebecca Ashford at the Ashford Center.