Uterine fibroids are frequently found incidentally during a routine pelvic exam. Your doctor may feel irregularities in the shape of your uterus, suggesting the presence of fibroids. If you have symptoms of uterine fibroids, you doctor may order these tests:
- Ultrasound. If confirmation is needed, your doctor may order an ultrasound. It uses sound waves to get a picture of your uterus to confirm the diagnosis and to map and measure fibroids. A doctor or technician moves the ultrasound device (transducer) over your abdomen (transabdominal) or places it inside your vagina (transvaginal) to get images of your uterus.
- Lab tests. If you're experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, your doctor may order other tests to investigate potential causes. These might include a complete blood count (CBC) to determine if you have anemia because of chronic blood loss and other blood tests to rule out bleeding disorders or thyroid problems.
Other imaging tests
If traditional ultrasound doesn't provide enough information, your doctor may order other imaging studies, such as:
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- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This imaging test can show the size and location of fibroids, identify different types of tumors and help determine appropriate treatment options.
- Hysterosonography. Hysterosonography (his-tur-o-suh-NOG-ruh-fee), also called a saline infusion sonogram, uses sterile saline to expand the uterine cavity, making it easier to get images of the uterine cavity and endometrium. This test may be useful if you have heavy menstrual bleeding despite normal results from traditional ultrasound.
- Hysterosalpingography. Hysterosalpingography (his-tur-o-sal-ping-GOG-ruh-fee) uses a dye to highlight the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes on X-ray images. Your doctor may recommend it if infertility is a concern. In addition to revealing fibroids, it can help your doctor determine if your fallopian tubes are open.
- Hysteroscopy. For this, your doctor inserts a small, lighted telescope called a hysteroscope through your cervix into your uterus. Your doctor then injects saline into your uterus, expanding the uterine cavity and allowing your doctor to examine the walls of your uterus and the openings of your fallopian tubes.
- Stewart EA. Overview of treatment of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Stewart EA. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and natural history of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Stewart EA. Histology and pathogenesis of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Laughlin SK, et al. Uterine leiomyomas: Individualizing the approach to a heterogeneous condition. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2011;117:396.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ074. Uterine fibroids. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq074.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130423T1546469165. Accessed April 23, 2013.
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- Van der Kooij, et al. Review of nonsurgical/minimally invasive treatments for uterine fibroids. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012;24:368.
- Uterine fibroid symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/uterine-fibroids/. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Hesley GK, et al. MR-guided focused ultrasound for the treatment of uterine fibroids. CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology. 2013;36:5.
- Frequently asked questions. Special procedures FAQ084. Hysteroscopy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq084.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130507T1056219214. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Liu JP, et al. Herbal preparations for uterine fibroids. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005292.pub3/abstract. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Pundir J, et al. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic vs. abdominal and laparoscopic myomectomy: Systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. In press. Accessed April 17, 2013.
- Stewart EA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 31, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 15, 2013.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 14, 2013.
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