Gary Harvey, MD
Urogynecologist located in Missoula, MT
Research shows that 70-80% of women develop uterine fibroids by age 50, though many may be unaware because they don’t always cause symptoms. Urogynecologist and certified robotic surgeon Gary Harvey, MD, treats women with symptomatic fibroids at his practice in Missoula, Montana. If you have fibroids that cause troublesome symptoms, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Fibroids Q & A
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow in the muscle tissue of your uterus. They can develop on the inner lining, outer surface, or embedded within the uterine wall. Fibroids can range in size from a tiny seed to a large grapefruit. You may have only one fibroid or many at the same time.
How do I know if I have fibroids?
Most women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 50, but many don’t know it because these tumors usually don’t cause symptoms. When fibroids do cause symptoms, they can be difficult to live with.
Symptoms of fibroids may include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Enlargement of the lower abdomen
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
Fibroids can also cause complications with pregnancy and labor. In rare cases, they may also contribute to infertility.
How are fibroids diagnosed?
Dr. Harvey may discover you have fibroids if he detects a mass or growth during your pelvic exam. Or he may perform tests to check for signs of fibroids based on the symptoms you describe when he reviews your medical history.
Tests that help diagnose fibroids include:
- Blood tests
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Diagnostic laparoscopy
An ultrasound is a noninvasive test that uses soundwaves to create images of your pelvic organs. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves inserting a thin scope into a tiny incision in your abdomen. The scope displays clear, magnified images of your uterus onto a screen.
How are fibroids treated?
After he diagnoses your fibroids, Dr. Harvey discusses the best course of treatment for your particular condition. If you have small fibroids that don’t cause symptoms, he may recommend watchful waiting. This involves monitoring your fibroids with follow-up imaging tests, such as ultrasound, to check for changes.
Fibroids that are large or cause symptoms that interfere with your life require treatment. This may begin with medications, such as hormonal birth control, to control your menstrual cycle and relieve symptoms.
If medications don’t help, Dr. Harvey may recommend surgery. To treat fibroids, he can perform a minimally invasive laparoscopic or da Vinci® robot-assisted procedure, such as myomectomy or hysterectomy.
A hysterectomy removes all or part of your uterus, while a myomectomy removes the fibroids and leaves your uterus intact.
To find relief from fibroid symptoms, call the office of Gary Harvey, MD, or book an appointment online today.