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OBGYN in Chicago and near Schererville, IN explains causes and treatment for uterine fibroids

Patients near Schererville, IN turn to Northwestern Women’s Health Associates in Chicago and Glenview, IL for diagnosis and treatment of uterine fibroids.

With an office in the heart of Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, the OBGYN team at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates offers comprehensive feminine health care to patients in and around Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana and the surrounding areas. Our practice proudly offers complete care including the use of minimally invasive surgery for uterine fibroids. Our Northwestern OBGYN team explains fibroids causes and treatment.

Also known as leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids are growths on the uterus that may appear during a woman’s reproductive years. They are not associated with an increased risk of cancer and usually do not develop into cancer. Fibroids may appear on the inside, outside, or along the uterine wall. They range in size from barely visible seedlings to large masses that change the shape of the uterus. Patients may have a single fibroid or multiple. Although they generally do not cause problems, for some patients, fibroids may cause abdominal cramping or fullness, heavy periods, and low back pain.

Causes of uterine fibroids

Although the exact cause of uterine fibroids may not be known, research points to certain factors.

  • Genetic changes – Fibroids often contain gene changes that differ from normal uterine muscle cells.
  • Hormones – Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for helping prepare the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle. The same hormones can also stimulate the growth of fibroids. After menopause there is a decrease in hormone production, fibroids tend to shrink at this time.

Aside from being a woman of reproductive age, there are few known risk factors for uterine fibroids. Heredity, race, and environmental factors may have an impact on fibroid development. If fibroids run in your family, you may have an increased risk of developing them as well. Environmental factors such as birth control use, obesity, a vitamin D deficiency, a diet high in red meat, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, and alcohol use may increase the risk of fibroids.

Fibroids may develop from a stem cell in the uterine muscle tissue. The cell divides repeatedly until it creates a firm, rubbery mass that is different from nearby tissue. Fibroids may grow slowly or quickly, or they may remain unchanged. Many fibroids found during pregnancy shrink or disappear after pregnancy.

Fibroid treatment options

Image of a young lady is relaxing on the floor

For many women, fibroids remain undetected until they are found during a routine exam. They do not cause problems and women remain unaware of their presence. In these cases, they are just monitored for changes. There is no need to address fibroids unless they are causing medical problems or symptoms. An open discussion of the patient’s symptoms, condition, and life stage help guide the treatment plan. Surgical options are available. Traditionally, fibroids have been removed using a large abdominal incision for surgery. Medical advances have allowed less invasive measures such as laparoscopy or hysteroscopy.

A hysteroscopy is a form of minimally invasive surgery. It can be a diagnostic or operative tool to examine, diagnose, and correct problems of the uterus. The surgeon inserts a tiny lighted tube called a hysteroscope through the cervix into the uterus. This allows the doctor to see inside the uterus using a video monitor. The surgeon checks for abnormalities including fibroids or polyps.

If you have small, accessible fibroids on the inside of your uterus, your Chicago gynecologist may recommend a hysteroscopy to remove uterine fibroids. This is done without damaging the healthy uterine tissue. A hysteroscopy is a good option for women who may want to become pregnant in the future or who want to maintain the integrity of the uterus. The hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina. Your doctor uses a small instrument or wire loop to remove the fibroids. Benefits of this fibroid treatment include:

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  • Minimally invasive
  • No incisions
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Little recovery time needed

Fibroids in the wall of the uterus can be removed by laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy or by laparoscopic or robotic hysterectomy.

Minimally-invasive procedures come with fewer risks and downtime than traditional surgery. Fibroid treatment with your Northwestern OB GYN is generally an outpatient procedure. The recovery time is very quick. Side effects may include abdominal pain or cramping, vaginal bleeding, nausea, or lightheadedness. Since no incision is needed for hysteroscopy, there is no abdominal wound to care for or to cause discomfort. Laparosocpy and robotic surgery involves small incisions and a quicker recovery time than open incisions. Any discomfort patients do experience is minimal and will subside.

For more information on uterine fibroids and our minimally invasive treatment, contact your Northwestern gynecologist for an appointment. Call 312-440-9400.


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women’s healthcare, our team of experts is dedicated to providing every woman highest level of sensitive, specialized care

At Northwestern Women's Health Associates

your unique needs are our highest priority.

Making use of advanced technology and staying on the cutting edge of women’s healthcare, our team of experts is dedicated to providing every woman who visits our office with the highest level of sensitive, specialized care. At our office in Chicago, you can receive exceptional obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) services from any one of our highly skilled doctors, including Stanley Friedell, MD; Marc Feldstein, MD; Abbie Roth, MD; Lisa Brunengraber, MD; Regina Belmonte, MD; Sharon Wise, MD; Julianne Morton, MD; Whitney Dunn, MD; and Aleena Lakhanpal, MD. With their combined expertise, this team of board-certified doctors at Northwestern Women's Health Associates makes it possible for you to receive efficient, personalized care from the preeminent women’s hospital in the Midwest.

Success Stories

  • 5 Star Review
    "Wonderful experience with Dr. Julianne Morton @ NW Women's Associates. I've recommended her to countless girlfriends. Being a first time mom, I went through many physical symptoms and emotions that accompany pregnancy. She is extremely thorough, patient, and has wonderful bedside manner. I felt confident going into delivery with Dr. Morton taking the lead with my delivery. Wonderful practice!"

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Morton is absolutely amazing. She cared for me throughout my first pregnancy and we found her to be kind and caring and straightforward - could not have asked for a better experience! Dr. Dunn ended up being on call during my delivery and she was great as well. I have always found the nurses and office staff to be friendly and on top of things - very happy with the practice!"

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  • 5 Star Review
    "I had to have a laproscopic hysterectomy done by Dr. Friedell and all went fabulously! They were very detailed in pre-op which made a lot of difference. I came out of surgery feeling great and post op I was back to work within two weeks. Everyone at the practice, at the hospital, at pre-op were incredible."

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr.Julianne Morton is amazing! I was recommended by a friend when I moved to the Chicago area and was looking for an OB-GYN. I have seen her for two years in Chicago for my yearly exam. She is beyond kind and great at what she does. Dr.Morton makes you feel very comfortable and is such an incredible doctor! I have recommended her to all of my friends as well who need a new gyno/OB-GYN."

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Morton is a really great doctor. She has an incredible bedside manner and makes you feel comfortable. She makes sure to ask if you have any questions and will happily answer all of them with you. Would highly recommend!"

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Friedell is amazing! He helped delivered my first baby and the whole process was super smooth and stress free. All the staff in the office are super friendly too. Highly recommend!"

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  • 5 Star Review
    "I visited Dr Feldstein office yesterday. All of his stuff was very kind and nice to me. He has a professional-team, so I know I have nothing to be afraid of. Just wanted to say thanks to all the people I meet. I am in good hands."

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr Freidell is extremely knowledgeable, thorough and really cares about his patients. He is very good at getting to the root of the problem, especially with overlapping symptoms. He guided me through all my options and their implications. I will highly recommend him and his team."

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  • 5 Star Review
    "I love Dr. Belmonte. I have been going to her since 2006! She rocks!!! She is straight to the point, I love that about her. When I leave her office after seeing her I always feel great, like a just left a good friends house or something!"
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  • 5 Star Review

    "I can not tell you how wonderful my experiences have been. Dr. Sharon Wise is my doctor and she is fantastic. She is straightforward and honest about treatments and procedures. I enjoy her sense of humor, and I found her bedside manner when delivering my son to be excellent. "

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