Fibroids: Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to fibroids.

  • Fibroids are growths of tissue that are usually found in the wall of the uterus. They can be as small as a pinpoint or as large as a basketball.
  • Although they are called tumors, fibroids are not cancerous.
  • More than half of women with fibroids do not know they have them until their doctor tells them so.
  • The most common problems caused by fibroids are heavy or long menstrual periods, pressure on other organs, and pain in the pelvis. For many women, however, fibroids cause no problems.
  • In most women, fibroids do not lead to cancer.
  • If fibroids are not causing problems, regular checkups may be the only management they need.
  • Surgery is the standard treatment for fibroids that are causing problems. The two kinds of surgery most commonly performed are hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or myomectomy (removal of fibroids without removing the uterus).
  • Several new procedures offer alternatives to hysterectomy or myomectomy, especially for the removal of smaller fibroids. In some cases, fibroids may also be treated with medication.
  • Fibroids usually shrink after menopause.
  • New fibroids do not develop before puberty or after menopause.

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