How do healthcare providers diagnose fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are common, and they often go undetected. Most cases of uterine fibroids are discovered during routine pelvic exams, when providers check the uterus for any signs of irregularities. Another way for a provider to notice potential fibroids is for the patient to describe some of the most common symptoms which include fertility problems, pelvic pressure, bladder problems, or pain or excessive bleeding during menstruation.

Once a provider notices abnormalities or certain symptoms, they’ll diagnose the fibroids using any of the following methods.

  • Ultrasound: These provide a clear image of the uterus and any fibroids in it. The device is either moved over the patient’s abdomen or placed inside the vagina to get images.
  • Blood test: A complete blood count is usually obtained to check for anemia, which is a possible complication of uterine fibroids. The woman will also usually take a pregnancy test.
  • Hysterosonography: The provider first inserts a small amount of saline solution into the uterus to enlarge it and make things easier to see. They then use a special device to perform an ultrasound examination of the uterus.
  • Hysteroscopy: For this procedure, the provider will insert a thin, lighted device into the vagina, and the device will project images onto a screen. Hysteroscopies are used when doctors need to see the uterus in better detail.

It’s only when they grow and start to cause physical symptoms that women need treatment for fibroids. Once a provider notices fibroids or symptoms of fibroids, he or she can consult with the patient and determine the best way to go about treating them.

  • “Uterine Fibroid Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.” SIRWeb. Society of Interventional Radiology, 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Uterine Fibroids: Diagnosis.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jul 6 2016. Web.
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