We know that it’s scary learning you have a uterine fibroid, especially since they’re often called “tumors.” However, even though fibroids are abnormal growths, they almost never turn into cancer. They also don’t increase your risk of uterine cancer.
At Memorial Women’s Specialists in Houston, Texas, our team of OB/GYNs specialize in diagnosing and treating gynecological conditions, like uterine fibroids. They shared these insights into three facts about uterine fibroids to help put your mind at ease.
1. Fibroids vary in size and location
When it comes to fibroids, no two are exactly alike. While most grow within your uterine wall, they can also develop both inside and outside of the uterine cavity. On top of that, their sizes vary too. Some can be smaller than a pea, but others can be the size of a softball or grapefruit or larger. Many women who have fibroids are completely asymptomatic and do not know they have fibroids.
Less than one fibroid in 1,000 becomes cancer. And, in most cases, they shrink on their own after menopause as your hormone levels decrease. Because of that, fibroids usually aren’t cause for concern. However, your doctor could recommend treatment if your fibroid is large or causes uncomfortable symptoms or abnormal bleeding.
2. Fibroids are common
Your chances of having fibroids increases if you:
- Have a family history of fibroids
- Are approaching menopause
- Are obese
- Are African-American
- Haven’t had children
- Eat a lot of red meat
3. Fibroids don’t always cause symptoms
As we noted above, it’s quite possible that you have a fibroid or two and don’t even know it. When these growths are small, they usually don’t cause discomfort. However, if you have larger fibroids — or several of them — you could experience symptoms such as:
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Prolonged periods lasting more than a week
- Lower back, pelvic, or leg pain
- Frequent constipation or urination
- Difficulty emptying your bladder completely
- Bloating and fullness in your lower abdomen
- Painful sex
- Complications during pregnancy and labor
- Greater risk of having a C-section
Fortunately, there are several options for addressing fibroids if needed. Our team could recommend various therapies. These may include medications, minimally invasive surgeries performed laparoscopically or with robotic-assisted technology, ablation, or other surgeries. Frequently, medications can be utilized to avoid surgery.