Doctors put them into three groups based on where they grow:. Some fibroids grow on stalks that grow out from the surface of the uterus or into the cavity of the uterus. They might look like mushrooms. These are called pedunculated pih-DUHN-kyoo-lay-ted fibroids. No one knows for sure what causes fibroids. Researchers think that more than one factor could play a role.
Herbal preparations for the treatment of women with uterine fibroids
These factors could be:. Because no one knows for sure what causes fibroids, we also don't know what causes them to grow or shrink. We do know that they are under hormonal control — both estrogen and progesterone. They grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormone levels are high. They shrink when anti-hormone medication is used.
They also stop growing or shrink once a woman reaches menopause. Rarely less than one in 1, a cancerous fibroid will occur. This is called leiomyosarcoma.
Having fibroids does not increase the risk of developing a cancerous fibroid. Having fibroids also does not increase a woman's chances of getting other forms of cancer in the uterus. Women who have fibroids are more likely to have problems during pregnancy and delivery. This doesn't mean there will be problems. Most women with fibroids have normal pregnancies. The most common problems seen in women with fibroids are:.
Talk to your obstetrician if you have fibroids and become pregnant. All obstetricians have experience dealing with fibroids and pregnancy. Most women who have fibroids and become pregnant do not need to see an OB who deals with high-risk pregnancies.
Fibroids Treatment | UCSF Health
Your doctor may find that you have fibroids when you see her or him for a regular pelvic exam to check your uterus, ovaries, and vagina. The doctor can feel the fibroid with her or his fingers during an ordinary pelvic exam, as a usually painless lump or mass on the uterus. Often, a doctor will describe how small or how large the fibroids are by comparing their size to the size your uterus would be if you were pregnant.
For example, you may be told that your fibroids have made your uterus the size it would be if you were 16 weeks pregnant. Or the fibroid might be compared to fruits, nuts, or a ball, such as a grape or an orange, an acorn or a walnut, or a golf ball or a volleyball. Your doctor can do imaging tests to confirm that you have fibroids.
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These are tests that create a "picture" of the inside of your body without surgery. These tests might include:. You might also need surgery to know for sure if you have fibroids. There are two types of surgery to do this:. A second opinion is always a good idea if your doctor has not answered your questions completely or does not seem to be meeting your needs. Most women with fibroids do not have any symptoms. For women who do have symptoms, there are treatments that can help. Talk with your doctor about the best way to treat your fibroids. She or he will consider many things before helping you choose a treatment.
Some of these things include:.
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If you have fibroids but do not have any symptoms, you may not need treatment. Your doctor will check during your regular exams to see if they have grown. If you have fibroids and have mild symptoms, your doctor may suggest taking medication. Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used for mild pain. If you have heavy bleeding during your period, taking an iron supplement can keep you from getting anemia or correct it if you already are anemic.
Several drugs commonly used for birth control can be prescribed to help control symptoms of fibroids. Low-dose birth control pills do not make fibroids grow and can help control heavy bleeding. The same is true of progesterone-like injections e. Other drugs used to treat fibroids are "gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists" GnRHa. These drugs, given by injection, nasal spray, or implanted, can shrink your fibroids. Sometimes they are used before surgery to make fibroids easier to remove.
Side effects of GnRHas can include hot flashes, depression, not being able to sleep, decreased sex drive, and joint pain. Most women tolerate GnRHas quite well. Most women do not get a period when taking GnRHas. This can be a big relief to women who have heavy bleeding. It also allows women with anemia to recover to a normal blood count. GnRHas can cause bone thinning, so their use is generally limited to six months or less.
These drugs also are very expensive, and some insurance companies will cover only some or none of the cost. GnRHas offer temporary relief from the symptoms of fibroids; once you stop taking the drugs, the fibroids often grow back quickly. If you have fibroids with moderate or severe symptoms, surgery may be the best way to treat them.
Here are the options:. The following methods are not yet standard treatments, so your doctor may not offer them or health insurance may not cover them. For more information about uterine fibroids, call womenshealth. Steve Eisinger, M. Department of Health and Human Services. Citation of the source is appreciated. This content is provided by the Office on Women's Health. Language Assistance Available.
Skip to main content. Popular topics Vision and mission Leadership Programs and activities In your community Funding opportunities Internships and jobs View all pages in this section. FDA warning on power morcellators in treatment for uterine fibroids If your doctor recommends a hysterectomy or myomectomy to treat your uterine fibroids, ask your doctor if a power morcellator will be used. Related information Hysterectomy fact sheet. Subscribe To receive Publications email updates.
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Expand all. What are fibroids? Why should women know about fibroids? Who gets fibroids? There are factors that can increase a woman's risk of developing fibroids.