How Are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?

diagnose uterine fibroids in atlanta

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) growths that occur in the muscular tissue of the uterus, called the myometrium. Over the course of a woman's life, fibroids tend to grow and depending on their location and size they may cause significant symptoms. There are a number of tests used to diagnose uterine fibroids in Atlanta to determine whether fibroids are causing your symptoms and how they should be addressed.

Physical Examination

Fibroids are hard and firm tumors which can be felt by the patient or on physical examination with their healthcare provider.

Ultrasound Examination

An ultrasound examination is often used to diagnose the presence of uterine fibroids. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the soft tissues of your body; in this way, your physician can determine whether fibroids are present in the uterus. An ultrasound examination is completely painless and non-invasive, typically taking ~30 minutes to complete.

Sonohysterography

If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, but your ultrasound exam appears normal, your physician may recommend a saline sonohysterography procedure. Prior to placing an ultrasound probe in to the vagina, the uterus is filled with a sterile saline solution, which allows the sonography machine to create a clearer picture of the lining of the uterus to search for fibroids or polyps (tiny growths in the lining of the uterus) that may not have appeared on a traditional ultrasound image.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic and radiofrequency waves (i.e. no radiation) to create an image of the uterus and pelvic organs. MRI exams require more time than an ultrasound exam, but has a significantly higher resolution which allows physicians to diagnose fibroids (or other conditions that mimic fibroids) that cannot be seen on ultrasound. An MRI may also be recommended during the development of a fibroid treatment plan, as it can more accurately show the size and location of uterine fibroids.

Oftentimes, fibroids are not diagnosed until a woman admits to experiencing fibroid symptoms. If you think your symptoms may be associated with uterine fibroids, talk to your physician about diagnosis and treatment options, including the non-surgical option uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), to eliminate the symptoms of fibroids and return you to a normal life.

Categories: Uterine Fibroids