If you've been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, it’s normal to have some questions. You may wonder why you developed fibroids and whether they will go away on their own. Uterine fibroids can change size over time and sometimes resolve on their own.
Board-certified gynecologist Lillian Schapiro, MD, and our team of board-certified women's health nurse practitioners are dedicated to helping girls and women maintain wellness throughout all phases of life.
Uterine fibroids are a common type of non-cancerous growth that develops on the wall of the uterus. Depending on their size, number, and location, uterine fibroids can cause significant symptoms and impact your quality of life. In this post, we discuss some important facts about fibroids for every woman to know.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are growths that arise from the wall of the uterus. These growths are quite common; in fact, 80% of women have them. Fibroids cause no symptoms in many cases, and some women may not even realize they have them. This is often true when you have small fibroids. Some fibroids can grow large or grow in clusters. When this happens, you may experience:
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
- Heavy menses
- Trouble emptying the bladder
- Back ache
- Low red blood count
- Pain during sex
If you have fibroid-related symptoms, it's best to talk to a healthcare provider instead of waiting to see if your fibroids will resolve on their own.
What causes uterine fibroids?
The exact cause of uterine fibroids remains unknown. However, various factors seem to be at play in their development. A combination of hormones, genetic changes, and growth factors appear to influence the development of the uterine fibroids.
Other factors include that increase the risk of developing fibroids include:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Alcohol consumption
- Diet high in red meat
- Starting your period at an early age
Additionally, African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than women of other racial groups.
Do fibroids change over time?
Fibroids are unpredictable. They can grow larger or shrink suddenly. It can happen because of changes of hormones in the body, such as during pregnancy. Other times there's no explanation. Fibroids tend to improve when women enter menopause because of declining hormone levels.
Treating uterine fibroids
Treatment for uterine fibroids varies depending on the size, location, and number of the fibroids. If fibroids are causing you significant symptoms, it's wise to seek treatment.
Nonsurgical treatments include birth control, which can improve symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding between periods, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRH), which can help to shrink fibroids.
Surgical options require careful consideration and discussion with your healthcare provider. If you're having severe symptoms that are having a major impact on your quality of life, surgical options can be highly effective.
A hysteroscopic myomectomy is a surgical procedure that removes fibroids to provide relief and restore quality of life. The procedure is fast (taking only a couple of minutes) and requires little down time.
If you’re struggling with uterine fibroids, we’re here to help. To discuss treatment options and learn more, give us a call to schedule a visit with Dr. Schapiro. We have offices in Atlanta and McDonough, Georgia. Prospective and existing patients can also send booking requests online.