Fibroids Specialist

Nancy Thornton, MD -  - Gynecologist

Nancy Thornton, MD

Gynecologist located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Uterine fibroids are growths that develop in the uterus, usually during a woman’s fertile years. They aren’t ordinarily cancerous, but they may cause menstrual problems and discomfort, which Nancy L. Thornton, MD, FACOG, can help with at her practice in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. If you’re experiencing gynecological problems, Dr. Thornton can diagnose the cause and prescribe the most effective treatment. Call her practice today or book an appointment online.

Fibroids Q & A

What are fibroids?

Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas, are growths that develop in the uterus (womb) and are quite common in women of childbearing age. They’re usually benign, which means there’s very little risk of them becoming cancerous.

Many women who have fibroids have no idea they have them because they don’t experience any symptoms, so the presence of fibroids often only comes to light during routine pelvic exams or an ultrasound. Fibroids start as tiny seedlings but sometimes they grow much larger, and it’s possible for fibroids to multiply to such an extent they distort the uterus or make it expand.

What are the symptoms of fibroids?

Very often there aren’t any symptoms associated with fibroids, and you’ll be unaware there’s anything wrong. If there are symptoms present, they can include:

  • Heavy bleeding during your period
  • Periods that last longer than usual
  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • A feeling of pressure in the pelvic region
  • Needing to urinate more often
  • Problems urinating
  • A backache
  • Leg pains
  • Constipation

If a fibroid outgrows its blood supply, it may start to die, which can cause severe pain, but this isn’t common.

What causes fibroids to grow?

The precise causes aren’t certain, but there are several factors that could influence fibroid development:

  • Changes in the genes
  • Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone
  • Growth factors that stimulate the production of new tissue

There are also risk factors that could make you more likely to develop uterine fibroids, such as:

  • Having female relatives who’ve had fibroids
  • Starting your period at a young age
  • Using birth control
  • Being very overweight
  • Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
  • Eating a diet high in red meat
  • Drinking alcohol

Black women are more likely to develop fibroids and often have higher numbers and larger sized fibroids than women in other racial groups.

What are the treatment options for fibroids?

In many cases, if there are no symptoms you may not need any treatment. Fibroids don’t generally cause any problems during pregnancy and often shrink after menopause. If fibroids are causing you discomfort or you’re experiencing any other symptoms, Dr. Thornton can offer a number of treatments including:

  • Medications that target estrogen and progesterone production
  • Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) releasing progestin to reduce bleeding
  • Non-invasive MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery
  • Uterine artery embolization to cut off blood flow to the fibroids
  • Laparoscopic myolysis to destroy the fibroids with a laser or electric current
  • Cryomyolysis to freeze and destroy the fibroids
  • Laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy to remove the fibroids

Dr. Nancy L. Thornton has extensive experience helping women who have uterine fibroids and is happy to discuss the treatment options available with you. Call her practice today or book an appointment online.