Benign pelvic masses, or uterine fibroids, are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the wall or the cavity of the uterus. Other benign pelvic masses include, ovarian tumors (can be solid or cystic) abscesses, hydrosalpinx, endometriomas, myomas and leiomyomas. They can range in size and symptoms. Many women do not know they have fibroids because they do not cause symptoms. Other women can experience pelvic pain, pressure, abnormal heavy bleeding, difficulty with urination or bowel movements and painful intercourse. Infertility is another common problem with certain types of fibroids, especially the ones that grow within the cavity of the uterus. No one knows what causes fibroids although they seem to occur more in women of the same family or in women of African American descent. It is thought that each fibroid arises from a single muscle cell in the uterus that experiences a mutation and leads to uncontrolled growth. Studies have shown that fibroids are more likely to grow during pregnancy and less likely to grow during menopause.
Fibroids can be diagnosed during pelvic examination, by pelvic ultrasound, by pelvic CT or MRI. The most common imaging studies to visualize fibroids are ultrasound and MRI. Fibroids that are located inside the cavity of the uterus can also be visualized by hysteroscopy and saline infusion ultrasound.
If you think you have one of the many benign pelvic masses or uterine fibroids, contact Dr. Frederick Hoover at Advanced & Minimally Invasive Gynecology at 407.303.2780 to schedule an appointment.