Fibroids are abnormal growths of muscle tissue that can vary in shape and size. Some fibroids can be very small and cause no symptoms, while others can grow to the size of a melon. The exact cause of uterine fibroids has not been determined, but researchers do know hormonal fluctuations play a role in fibroid growth. Having a family history of uterine fibroids can also increase a woman’s chances of developing fibroids herself. Fibroids tend to grow during the childbearing years, with growth stopping after menopause. Sometimes, fibroids can grow during pregnancy, posing a threat to the developing fetus. If a pregnant woman has or develops fibroids, frequent monitoring will be needed to ensure the fetus remains healthy.
No, nearly all fibroids are benign - not cancerous.
Very small fibroids may cause no symptoms. Those that are larger can cause symptoms like:
Fibroids that aren’t causing symptoms typically do not require treatment. When symptoms become problematic, treatment can include traditional or minimally-invasive surgery to remove fibroids, uterine artery embolization to cut off the blood flow to the fibroids, MRI-guided ultrasound procedures or ablation to remove fibroids, or hormone replacement therapy to shrink fibroids and control their growth. Treatment options will be considered based on each patient’s symptoms as well as their age and whether they’re through having children.
Yes, fibroids can recur after treatment; the risk of recurrence varies based on how they’re treated and other factors. Recurrence risks can be discussed during the examination and consultation appointment when all treatment options can be reviewed and their relatives “pros and cons” will be discussed.
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