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Diagnosis

Your doctor can usually feel fibroids that are large enough to cause symptoms when doing a routine pelvic exam. It is also possible that your doctor will discover a fibroid (or fibroids) when you have no symptoms at all.

If your doctor does discover a lump in the wall of your uterus, she or he will likely recommend a pelvic ultrasound. The combination of your ultrasound results and the results from your pelvic exam is usually enough to confirm a diagnosis of fibroids.

What Is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound directs high-frequency sound waves at the uterus. The 'echoes' produce an on-screen image, which shows whether or not you have fibroids. If you do have fibroids, the image will reveal their size and location. Ultrasound technology has been used for over 35 years and studies show it is safe. It does NOT use radioactive material to produce an image.

There are two types of ultrasound used to diagnose fibroids:

  1. An abdominal pelvic ultrasound uses a probe, which is pressed on the outside of the abdomen to produce an image. The picture is clearer when the bladder is full so you will be asked to drink up to a litre of water beforehand and wait to urinate until after the test is complete. This is often the most uncomfortable aspect of an ultrasound!
  2. A transvaginal ultrasound uses a wand, which is inserted into the vagina to produce an image.

An ultrasound should not be painful, unless a large fibroid is already causing abdominal tenderness.

 

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