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Posted on in Women's Health

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.

To find a physician, click here.

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

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