Finding out you have a uterine fibroid can sound alarming. Especially when all you hear your doctor say is the word “tumor.” In about 99% of cases, fibroid tumors are benign. Not to mention, they're very common. You can experience several fibroids throughout your life, and never have a problem.
To put your mind at ease, here are three facts you should know about uterine fibroids.
1. Fibroids can be as small as a pea or as large as a grapefruit
Most fibroids grow within the wall of your uterus. But they can also grow outside and inside the uterine cavity. Even their sizes vary. Some can be tinier than a pea and some can be the size of a softball. You may never know how big your fibroid is, or if you even have one.
Don’t worry! Less than one fibroid in 1,000 turns into cancer. Fibroids are not usually a cause for concern. Unless your OB/GYN notices one that's large or you experience symptoms. But in most cases, they shrink on their own after menopause when your hormone levels decrease.
2. As many as 80% of women develop fibroids by age 50
Fibroids are the most common tumor to affect the female reproductive system. According to estimates, most women will have had a uterine fibroid by the time they reach age 50. In fact, you have an increased risk of developing fibroids if you:
- Are African-American
- Are obese
- Eat a lot of red meat
- Have a family history of fibroids
- Are approaching menopause
- Haven’t had any children
It's believed fibroids interfere with pregnancies. But that’s not 100% accurate. While fibroids can cause problems during pregnancy, that’s a worst-case scenario. It's very possible to have a normal pregnancy with fibroids.
3. You may have fibroids and never have any symptoms
As noted earlier, it’s likely you could have a fibroid or two and not even realize it. When fibroids are small, they’re unlikely to cause discomfort. If you have larger fibroids, or several of them, you may experience these symptoms:
- Prolonged periods that last more than a week
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Frequent constipation
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying your bladder completely
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Bloating and fullness in your lower abdomen
- Painful sex
- Complications during pregnancy and labor
- Greater risk of having a C-section
At OB/GYN Specialists, we care about women’s health. Are you experiencing symptoms? Do you want to learn more about fibroids? Schedule an appointment here or call our office at 940-202-0566.