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Atrium Health Navicent Doctors Offer Minimally Invasive Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

July is National Fibroids Awareness Month and physicians at Atrium Health Navicent want women to know about this painful condition that affects 26 million American women ages 15 to 50.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors or growths within the uterus. They are the most common non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age, and it’s estimated that about 65 percent of women have fibroids by time they turn 65. For Black women, that number is 70 percent.

Fibroids usually grow in women of childbearing age, and research suggests that they may shrink after menopause. For Black women, fibroids typically develop at a younger age, grow larger and cause more severe symptoms. While age and race are the leading risk factors, other risk factors include obesity, family history of fibroids and high blood pressure.

Uterine fibroids can cause pain and abnormal bleeding from the uterus. Sometimes, fibroids can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy. Large fibroids can also put pressure on other organs and tissues in the pelvis, leading to frequent pain.

Fibroids can cause uncomfortable or sometimes painful symptoms, such as:

• Heavy bleeding or painful periods

• Anemia

• Bleeding between periods

• Pressure in the pelvis and lower abdomen

• Frequent urination

• Pain during sex

• Lower back pain

• Reproductive problems, such as infertility and miscarriages

• Obstetrical problems, such as increased likelihood of cesarean section

However, many women have no symptoms of fibroids.

“Women may not be aware of the fact that their gynecological issues could be related to fibroids. Many times, we can pick up issues like fibroids before they become a significant burden or problem, which is why annual gynecological visits are so important,” said Dr. R. Edward Betcher, physician leader for women's health at Atrium Health Navicent. During your annual exam, doctors check the size of your uterus. If you have fibroids, your uterus may feel larger than normal, or it may feel irregularly shaped. If something abnormal is detected, your doctor may order an imaging test such as an ultrasound.

Fortunately, treatment options are available. Treatment may vary based on the severity of a patient’s fibroids and symptoms. Sometimes, doctors will just observe the fibroid to monitor it for any changes, especially if there are no symptoms. Other times, doctors may suggest surgical management such as a myomectomy, which is a removal of the fibroid tissue, or a hysterectomy, which is a removal of the uterus.

“We identify the problem and share decision-making with the patient based on their desire for future fertility and the preservation of their uterus. We want patients to know uterine fibroids are a commonly occurring, but very treatable condition, and that minimally invasive surgery is the standard of care for treating women with fibroids,” Betcher said.

“Atrium Health Navicent offers robotic surgery and other minimally invasive options. Many women think they have to live with troublesome fibroids, but that’s not the case.”

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About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit