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Fibroids FAQ: What Women Need to Know.
Fibroids are a common problem for women. Below are the most common questions and answers about this condition.
Q: What are fibroids?
A: Uterine fibroids are growths in the womb (uterus). They are made of muscle and other tissue. Fibroids almost never develop into cancer.
Q: Who is at risk for fibroids?
A: African-American women have a greater risk than white women. Also, women who are overweight have greater risk than those who are not.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Many women don't feel any symptoms and may not even know that they have fibroids. Fibroids can cause these symptoms:
- Heavy bleeding or painful periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Feeling "full" in the lower part of your belly
- Need to use the bathroom often
- Pain during sex
- Lower back pain
- Not being able to have a baby (infertility), losing a baby (miscarriages), and early labor during pregnancy
Q: Where do fibroids grow?
A: Fibroids can be found in different areas of the womb.
Q: How can fibroids be treated?
A: The range of possible treatments include:
- Pain medicines
- Shrinking fibroids without surgery:
— By decreasing the blood flow to them (uterine artery embolization).
— By removing the fibroids without taking out the womb (myomectomy).
- Surgery to take out the womb (hysterectomy). Talk to your doctor about the kinds of hysterectomies that are available. A woman would not want this form of treatment if she wants to have children.
Q: What if I still want to have a child?
A: In some cases, fibroids can prevent a woman from getting pregnant. Doctors have ways to treat fibroids and to help a woman get pregnant.
Q: Do fibroids cause cancer?
A: Fibroids almost never develop into a muscle type of cancer. Having fibroids does not increase your risk for getting other kinds of cancer in the womb.
Q: Do they ever go away?
A: Fibroids usually stop growing or shrink after menopause.
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Sources include: McLeod Health, FDA Office of Women’s Health, National Women’s Health Network, Medical News Today, National Institutes of Health, www.health.ny.gov, Modern Drug Discovery (American Chemical Society), American Society for Reproductive Medicine