Residents who live in and around the Brenham, Texas area are encouraged to visit Brenham Women’s Health for all of their reproductive health care needs. Dr. Aaron Campbell is a board certified OB/GYN who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of fibroids and other benign tumors of the female reproductive system. He is able to offer state of the art minimally invasive surgical techniques right here at home in Brenham.
Fibroids Q & A
by Aaron Campbell, MD, FACOG
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are small, fibrous tumors that can grow within the uterus, along the outside of the uterus and ovaries, or within the ovaries. Fibroids may not have any symptoms in the beginning. Fibroids can range in size from extremely small to the size of an orange or grapefruit. Fibroids rarely cause cancer but can be extremely painful if they grow too large and put pressure on nerves and blood vessels throughout the abdomen. While little is known about what actually triggers the formation of the fibroids, it’s believed that fluctuations in hormone levels may be the biggest factor. Hormone replacement therapy and laparoscopic removal of the fibroids may be recommended if the symptoms become too severe.
What is the difference between fibroids and cysts?
Both fibroids and cysts can range in size, but the main differences involve their formation and structure. Fibroids are dense and fibrous, while cysts are commonly filled with fluid. Cysts can be filled with either blood or a clear fluid, similar to that found in the lymph system. While fibroids normally grow to a certain size and remain in place, cysts may develop and grow for a few days or weeks and then gradually disappear. Because cysts are filled with fluid, the body can easily break them down and reabsorb them. Fibroids may eventually break down as well, but their thick, fibrous nature may cause the process to take much longer.
How are fibroids treated?
Individuals who are susceptible to fibroids may receive hormone replacement therapy or birth control medication to help control the formation of new fibroids. If the fibroids aren’t causing any serious health problems or symptoms, Dr. Campbell may recommend just leaving them where they are. If they begin to cause pain or discomfort, the doctor may use a laparoscopic procedure to remove them. If the fibroids are severe and their growth cannot be controlled, he may recommend performing a partial or full hysterectomy to remove existing fibroids and prevent future ones from developing.