If you’re a woman, there’s a good chance you have uterine fibroids. Nearly 80 percent of women do, although many will never show any symptoms. Even though they are often called tumors, it’s important to know they’re not cancerous.
Women usually develop uterine fibroids — fibrous growths that develop from
muscle cells of the uterus — between the ages of 35 and 50. They can cause heavy bleeding, anemia and pelvic pain. Fibroids can range in size from microscopic to a grapefruit, at which point they can press on the bladder and cause frequent urination. The most troublesome symptom reported is periods so heavy they interfere with normal life. In some cases, fibroids can also affect fertility.
Available treatment options.
Most fibroids do not need treatment, as they are too small and do not produce any symptoms. Women in their late 40s and 50s may also not need treatment as fibroids often shrink after menopause. The only cure is a hysterectomy but there are a number of other treatments that can provide relief from symptoms:
- Myomectomy — removes just the fibroid. Doctors perform the procedure through a tiny incision in the stomach or through the cervix. Although fibroids may recur, it is a good option for women who want to become pregnant in the future.
- Uterine Artery Embolization — cuts off blood supply to fibroids.
- Medication and hormonal treatments — shrinks fibroids by blocking estrogen production. These are often used only in women who are close to menopause.
If you experience heavy bleeding, pelvic pain or other unusual symptoms, speak to your physician to see if uterine fibroids, or another condition, is causing it.