Uterine Fibroids: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are growths in the uterus. Fibroids aren't cancer. Doctors don't know what causes fibroids. Fibroids are very common in women during their child-bearing years.

Fibroids can grow on the inside of the uterus, in the muscle wall of the uterus, or near the outside wall of the uterus. In some women, fibroids cause painful cramps and heavy periods. In these cases, taking anti-inflammatory medicines, birth control pills, or using an intrauterine device (IUD) often helps decrease symptoms. Sometimes surgery is needed to treat fibroids. But if you are near menopause, you may want to wait and see if your symptoms get better.

Most fibroids shrink and go away after menopause, when your menstrual periods stop completely.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor gave you medicine, take it as exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medicines for pain. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Use heat, such as a hot water bottle or a heating pad set on low, or a warm bath to relax tense muscles and relieve cramping. Put a thin cloth between the heating pad and your skin. Never go to sleep with a heating pad on.
  • Lie down and put a pillow under your knees. Or, lie on your side and bring your knees up to your chest. These positions may help relieve belly pain or pressure.
  • Keep track of how many sanitary pads or tampons you use each day.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of exercise a week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • If you bleed longer than usual or have heavy bleeding, take a daily multivitamin with iron.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding. This means that you are soaking through your usual pads every hour for 2 or more hours.
  • You have new belly or pelvic pain.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have new or unexpected vaginal bleeding.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have new vaginal discharge.
  • You have ongoing heavy or irregular vaginal bleeding.
  • You have pelvic pain or a heavy feeling in your lower belly that doesn't go away.
  • You have to urinate often.
  • You are more constipated than usual.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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