Surprising Facts about Fibroids

Have you been diagnosed with uterine fibroids? Do you suspect your symptoms may be caused by a fibroid?  You may have a lot of questions about what they are and how they can be treated. Fibroids are smooth muscle tumors of the uterus that are common, however symptoms can vary and may depend on the type and location of fibroid(s) you have.

The cause of fibroids is a mystery, however, there are some facts we do know about fibroids which can be helpful. Knowing all you can about these tumors can help you make more informed decisions for yourself as you work with your medical team for the best outcome for your health.

By age 50, 50% of all women will be diagnosed with a fibroid.

Fibroids are a common gynecologic condition which affect many women of childbearing age. It’s estimated that up to 50% of all women will be diagnosed with a fibroid by age 50, but the actual number of women with fibroids could be higher. It is uncommon for fibroids to develop before age 30, and they can resolve or become less bothersome during menopause.

Fibroids do not always cause symptoms.

Fibroids are not always symptomatic, so sometimes they are only diagnosed incidentally. Fibroids that are asymptomatic may not require any treatment or medical intervention. If fibroids do cause symptoms, how your health and quality of life are impacted could help determine which treatment option is best for you.

There are several different kinds of fibroids.

Fibroids can grow inside or outside of any part of the uterus, though they usually occur in the fundus, or upper portion. Fibroids are named by where they are located in or on the uterus: Submucosal (in the endometrium), Intramural (in the muscular wall), and Suberosal (on the surface). If they grow on a stalk, they are considered pedunculated fibroids.

Fibroids are rarely cancerous.

Fibroids are benign tumors which are rarely cancerous. Though uncommon, there are times when a fibroid may actually be a uterine leiomyosarcoma (ULMS), a cancerous tumor. The risk is small, but if you have risk factors for ULMS or suspect your fibroid may be a ULMS, consult with a gynecologic oncologist regarding diagnosis and treatment. The sooner a ULMS is diagnosed, the better prognosis can be.

There are several different treatment options for fibroids besides a hysterectomy.

A hysterectomy for fibroids is one of the most invasive treatment options, while a wait and see approach is the most conservative option. In between these choices are  non-surgical options like an IUD or medications. The new Acessa procedure brings hope to women without surgery. Minimally invasive procedures such as an ablation or uterine artery embolization, or myomectomy. To determine to which fibroid treatment is best for you, share your symptoms with your doctor and also seek a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in fibroids treatments.

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