The non-cancerous growth or tumor that may develop in your uterus muscles are myomas or fibroids. Battling menopause and fibroids becomes challenging, especially when you experience uneasiness and painful symptoms.
When you are of childbearing age, the risk of developing fibroids increases as your body generates higher progesterone and estrogen levels. During menopause, hormone production lessens, so does the risk of developing new fibroids.
Symptoms that Indicate Fibroids
Your chances of developing fibroids may increase if you suffer from low vitamin D levels, obesity, extreme stress, or high blood pressure. No pregnancy history or history of fibroids within the family may also make you susceptible to falling prey to this condition.
Should you be premenopausal, the fibroid symptoms you experience may be more severe than postmenopausal women, making it tough to undertake your daily chores.
It is also possible that you may be utterly unaware of fibroids till your healthcare provider detects them during a routine pelvic examination. Subsequently, an imaging test or ultrasound will confirm the size and location of the fibroid.
Treating a combination of menopause and fibroids demands professional intervention. Whether you have one fibroid or an entire cluster, the common symptoms you may experience, regardless of your age, includes:
- Frequent spotting
- Menstrual-like cramping
- Incontinence and frequent urination
- Heavy bleeding resulting in anemia
- Belly bloating
- Lower back pain
- Painful intercourse
- Abdominal swelling
Your fibroids could vary in size, from very large to very small. Should you have hit menopause, your existing fibroids could shrink, resulting in fewer symptoms. If you are on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at this time, you may not experience a decrease in your symptoms.
HRT usually contains progesterone and estrogen, which encourage fibroids to grow. When deciding on a line of treatment, your doctor factors in your age, symptoms, location, and size of fibroids before suggesting a plan.
If you are not experiencing symptoms, a wait and watch policy is usually adopted. During this period, though, your health practitioner needs to examine you and assess further fibroids growth.
In the case of symptoms, you may be prescribed the following medications:
- Iron supplements to combat anemia because of excess blood loss from heavy menstrual bleeding
- Birth control pills in lower doses and progesterone-only contraceptives to control the heavy bleeding
- Pain killers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen help relieve some of the painful symptoms associated with fibroids
- Lupron to shrink the fibroids but, because of this drug’s severe side effects, you are advised to take it for a restricted duration
When the fibroids are excessively large and causing you severe agony, your medical practitioner will advise you to undergo surgery. The corresponding surgical procedures that could be recommended to bring you relief include:
Should you endure severe symptoms and have had children, undergoing hysterectomy or removing your uterus is advisable. If approaching menopause or currently in that phase, the surgeon may also remove your ovaries to end all symptoms of uterine fibroids.
An incision is made through your vagina or abdomen to perform this procedure. A hysterectomy is a wise option when other therapies have failed to deliver desired results, and you have no plans to conceive in the future. Recurring and large fibroids leave you with severe symptoms, in which case hysterectomy is the most definitive treatment.
When premenopausal, undergoing a myomectomy is beneficial as it retains your uterus while removing fibroid growth. The surgeon makes an incision in your lower abdomen to remove the fibroids and close the wound.
Laparoscopic myomectomy can also be undertaken wherein medical instruments are inserted after making small incisions to remove the fibroids.
This procedure is ideal when you are postmenopausal as you cannot conceive after undergoing it. Your uterus lining is either destroyed or removed via an endometrial ablation surgical intervention to control your symptoms.
Uterine Artery Embolization
If you have severe symptoms, would rather avoid a hysterectomy, and have no conceiving plans, this procedure will help shrink your fibroids. It prevents the blood vessels from feeding blood to the fibroid, causing the latter to shrink.
A needle through which either a freezing mechanism or electric current is passed is inserted into your fibroid tissue to destroy it.
Should you complain of vaginal bleeding after menopause, a doctor can help rule out any severe concerns after examining you.
Refer to the health experts who help you cope with such nagging gynecology issues.