It’s estimated that up to 77% of all women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years. Although only about a third of fibroids are large enough to cause you problems, that small percentage can make life miserable some days. You might think you know everything about fibroids, but Dr. Ahdoot wants to make sure you have the facts and myths right.
Facts about fibroids
Fibroids are are a type of tumor.
When you hear the word tumor, you might immediately worry about cancer. However, more than 99% of fibroids are benign, or non-cancerous. These tumors are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develops in the uterus. Fibroids can also form on the outside of the uterus and remain connected to it by a cord of tissue. They can range from the size of a pea to the size of a small grapefruit.
Fibroids can shrink.
You might think that fibroids will continue to grow throughout your life. However, most fibroids stop growing or even shrink as you age and get close to menopause. This is why Dr. Ahdoot might recommend “watchful waiting” so that he can monitor your symptoms carefully to identify any significant changes or growth of the fibroids.
You have options.
If the fibroids are causing significant symptoms, such as heavy or prolonged periods, low back pain, or pain with intercourse, Dr. Ahdoot may recommend treatment. The good news is that this doesn’t always mean that you need a hysterectomy. Other options include painkillers to control discomfort, anti-hormonal agents, or a procedure called a myomectomy in which the fibroids are removed, but your uterus remains intact.
A few myths about fibroids
Fibroids always cause pain.
You can have fibroids and not even know they’re there. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids, but have no symptoms, you don’t need treatment. Because most fibroids are noncancerous, they don’t always have to be removed.
Fibroids, uterine tumors, and cysts are the same.
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. A cyst usually develops on the ovaries and can be cancerous. Uterine tumors can be either benign or malignant, but fibroids are almost always non-cancerous.
Fibroids only happen to women over 30.
Fibroids are more common in older women, but if you’re experiencing prolonged or heavy periods in your 20s, don’t rule out the possibility of fibroids. There’s also research that black women are more likely to develop fibroids at a younger age.
Fibroids cause infertility.
Fibroids can make getting pregnant challenging. However, it isn’t impossible, and you aren’t considered infertile because of fibroids. Even if you need to have surgery to remove the fibroids, some options leave the uterus fully intact.
An ultrasound is always needed.
Most fibroids are found during routine pelvic examinations. Diagnostic testing is done to get a clear picture of the fibroids and to make a final diagnosis. You might have a routine ultrasound to get a clear picture, but often this test fails to give an image of all of the fibroids you might have. Other tools used to diagnose fibroids include X-ray, transvaginal ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
If these facts and myths shattered your thoughts about fibroids, you might be you ready to get to the bottom of your painful symptoms. Give our Burbank or Palmdale offices a call today, or book online. We’re here to help you find relief.