Uterine fibroids affect 20-80% of women by the time they reach the age of 50. Should you be concerned? Here’s what you need to know about this common condition.
Uterine fibroids are fairly common among women, affecting 20-80% of women before the age of 50. While fibroids may be common, there’s still much that’s misunderstood about the condition.
At our practice, under the experienced and expert care of Dr. Amy Bruner, our goal is to educate our clients. Through education, we can ensure your health through every stage of your life.
To help provide the missing pieces when it comes to fibroids, we’ve pulled together the following five facts that you may not know.
Uterine fibroids are almost never cancerous
While the thought of a growth in your uterus may cause you to leap to a cancer conclusion, fibroids are largely noncancerous (less than one in 1,000 are cancerous). Despite their intimidating name — leiomyomas — these tumors are typically benign, and the problems they can cause are usually due to size or location.
Size matters when it comes to fibroids
Uterine fibroids can range in size from a kernel of rice up to the size of a watermelon. Most women who have small fibroids remain unaware of their condition. If you develop larger fibroids, these growths can make themselves known in several ways, from pelvic pressure, pain during intercourse and frequent urination to an outward bulge in your abdomen.
Cause unknown, but there are risk factors
When it comes to the exact cause of fibroids, the mystery remains unsolved. Medical researchers have uncovered many links to fibroids, especially their connection to your hormones. Many women develop fibroids during their reproductive years, but when their hormones start to ebb as they pass through menopause, their fibroids can, but not always, shrink and disappear.
In addition to this hormonal link, researchers have uncovered several factors that put you more at risk of developing fibroids, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Race — black women are more susceptible to fibroids than other races
- Diet — too much red meat and/or alcohol
Another interesting contributing factor may be the early onset of puberty.
Fibroids might affect fertility and pregnancy
Women with fibroids have an increased risk of needing a cesarean section during delivery and these tumors are also linked to a higher incidence of preterm delivery and miscarriage. This risk varies depending on the size and location of the fibroid. Fibroids that cause an irregularity in the shape of the uterine cavity are the highest risk and the most likely to need treatment. Those in the wall, but do not cause changes in the cavity are controversial and those on the surface usually do not cause problems.
Some fibroids don’t need treatment, but others do
Most women don’t require treatment for fibroids. If you’re one of the few who experience ongoing problems with numerous or sizable fibroids, we have a number of effective treatments, from hormone therapies to outpatient vascular procedures to surgical removal of your problematic fibroid. If you’d like to learn more about uterine fibroids, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.