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How do you diagnose fibroids in the uterus?

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Quick Answer

Physicians diagnose uterine fibroids by taking a history of symptoms and menstrual periods and performing a pelvic exam to assess the size of the uterus, according to WebMD. An ultrasound or other type of test may be ordered to determine the size and location of the fibroids.

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Full Answer

A transvaginal ultrasound is a pelvic ultrasound used to see reproductive organs, such as the uterus, ovaries, cervix and vagina, explains Healthline. The test uses high-frequency sound waves to allow doctors to see the internal organs. The sound waves bounce off the organs, creating images of their structures. The procedure involves the internal use of an ultrasound wand rather than applying the wand to the outside of the pelvis as in a regular pelvic ultrasound. In a certain type of transvaginal ultrasound called a saline infusion sonography, sterile salt water is inserted into the uterus before the ultrasound to stretch the uterus slightly, providing a more detailed picture of the inside of the uterus.

In the case of heavy menstrual bleeding, the doctor may order a complete blood count to check for anemia, states WebMD. A laparoscopy may be used to locate fibroids on the outer surface of the uterus before removal. While many women have no symptoms from fibroids, others experience long, heavy periods with cramping, low back pain, pain during sex, and frequent urination.

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