As many as 80% of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point during their childbearing years. If you’re newly diagnosed with fibroids, you may be wondering if you need treatment or if the fibroids will go away on their own.
At The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, our experienced OB/GYNs specialize in diagnosing and treating fibroids. While fibroids often resolve on their own and cause no symptoms, sometimes fibroids can be problematic.
In this blog, our providers explain why fibroids occur and when they may need treatment.
Why you might have fibroids
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop on the wall of the uterus. You may be at increased risk for fibroids if you have a family history of them, started your period at a young age, or if you’re overweight or obese.
Fibroids can be very small, and they generally cause no symptoms. In fact, many women have fibroids without knowing it, and they’re often only discovered during a routine pelvic exam. However, some fibroids can grow as large as grapefruits and cause bothersome symptoms, such as:
- Pelvic pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Lower abdominal swelling
Some fibroids can grow large enough to distort the shape of the uterus.
How fibroids can change over time
Fibroids can grow or shrink on their own over time, and this is usually due to hormone changes that occur in the body. If your reproductive hormone levels are high, fibroids can increase in size. If they’re low, fibroids can shrink.
For this reason, women nearing menopause may not need treatment for fibroids. As you get closer to the end of your childbearing years, your reproductive hormone levels continue to decline, and your fibroids and related symptoms may resolve on their own.
If you have discomfort or complications from large fibroids years before you anticipate menopause, our medical team can help. We provide in-office pelvic exams, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic services to locate fibroids and rule out other conditions.
Treating symptomatic fibroids
Fibroids that don’t cause issues may not require immediate treatment. Our physicians can continue to monitor their size before recommending further care.
If you have minor symptoms of fibroids, you may benefit from taking over-the-counter pain relievers to manage discomfort and taking low-dose birth control pills to control heavy bleeding. Hormonal birth control can also slow the progression of fibroid growth.
If you’re not planning on getting pregnant, you might be able to shrink your fibroids and control heavy bleeding by taking injections of progesterone or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists.
If you have severe symptoms because of large fibroids, our providers can perform an endometrial ablation, which is a procedure that uses heat to destroy your uterine lining. Or, we may perform a hysterectomy to remove your uterus. After either of these treatments, you will no longer be able to get pregnant.
If you want to see if fibroids are causing your problems, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group today.