Uterine Fibroids

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Uterine fibroids are growths found inside your uterus (womb). Uterine fibroids also may be called tumors (lumps) or leiomyomas. Uterine fibroids often appear in groups, or you may have only one. They can be small or large, and they can grow in size. They are almost always benign (not cancer) and likely will not spread to other parts of your body.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • During surgery to remove uterine fibroids, you may lose a large amount of blood and need a blood transfusion. After surgery, you may have pain, and you may get an infection. You may get a blood clot. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood flow in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. This problem can be life-threatening. Even with surgery, your fibroids may grow back, and you may need another surgery.

  • Without treatment for your uterine fibroids, your symptoms, such as heavy bleeding, may get worse. Excess bleeding can lead to anemia (low red blood cell count) and low iron levels in your blood. This may cause you to feel weak and more tired than usual. You may have worse pelvic pressure and pain. It may be hard for you to get pregnant with uterine fibroids. When pregnant, you may be at risk for a miscarriage, or you may have your baby too early. Talk with your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your condition or treatment.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Blood tests:

You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

Tests:

  • Pelvic exam: This is also called an internal or vaginal exam. During a pelvic exam, your caregiver gently puts a speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a tool that opens your vagina. This lets your caregiver see your cervix (bottom part of your uterus). With gloved hands, your caregiver will check the size and shape of your uterus and ovaries.

  • Vaginal ultrasound: During this test, your caregiver places a small wand in your vagina. Sound waves from the wand show pictures of the inside of your uterus (womb) and ovaries.

Surgery options:

The type of surgery you may have depends on the size, number, and location of your fibroids. Ask your caregiver for more information about the following:

  • Embolization: This surgery blocks or slows the flow of blood to the fibroid. This may make your fibroids shrink or disappear.

  • Myomectomy: This surgery removes your uterine fibroids.

  • Hysterectomy: For this surgery, your caregiver removes your uterus from your body. You may need a hysterectomy if your condition is severe (very bad). After this surgery, you will no longer be able to have children.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroids (Inpatient Care)

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