What Causes Fibroids, and What Can I Do About Them?

What Causes Fibroids, and What Can I Do About Them?

Although about 30% of American women over the age of 30 have uterine fibroids, when you get the diagnosis, you’re not happy to join that team. You may have never even heard of fibroids before. What did you do to get them? And what should you do now?

Rafiq Mian, MD, our expert OB/GYN, diagnoses and treats uterine fibroids at Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland. Here’s what you need to know about your fibroids, and how to manage them. 

Fibroids aren’t dangerous

The good news is that you can relax your fears about cancer or other serious consequences of fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors that are basically just lumps of the same muscle cells that make up your uterus. 

Fibroids can grow anywhere in the uterus. You can have one or all of the types of fibroids:

Intramural 

These fibroids are localized to the uterine wall. They don’t push inward into the uterus.

Submucosal 

Submucosal fibroids originate inside the uterine wall, but they also extend into the uterine cavity. 

Subserosal

These fibroids are located on the exterior of the uterus.

Pedunculated

Pedunculated fibroids can appear anywhere. Unlike other fibroids, which look like balls or lumps, these fibroids rest on stalks that extend from the uterus. Sometimes the stalks twist, causing pain, nausea, and fever.

Fibroids can range in size from smaller than a pea to as large as a soccer ball. 

You can’t control most risk factors

The bad news is that you can’t prevent fibroids ahead of time if you know that they run in your family, or if you simply don’t want them. We don’t yet know any particular mechanism of action that causes the uterus to develop fibroids. 

Risk factors for getting fibroids include:

As you can see, most of the risk factors are related to your genetics, so they can’t be controlled. However, you’re less likely to develop fibroids if you’ve been pregnant at least once.

You can also reduce your risk — especially if you don’t have other risk factors — if you lose excess weight and eat a healthy diet. Women who minimize red meat and eat lots of green vegetables seem to have a reduced risk for fibroids. 

You don’t necessarily need to do anything

If you have fibroids and don’t have any symptoms, you don’t have to do anything to treat or remove them. However, when fibroids grow large enough, they can make your periods heavy and uncomfortable or cause urinary urgency or incontinence. 

Symptoms of fibroids include:

If you’re trying to get pregnant and your fibroids are large, you may need to shrink or remove them to increase your chances of conception and a successful pregnancy.

How to treat fibroids

When fibroids interfere with your quality of life or your fertility, we can help. Depending on how large your fibroids are, we may first recommend short-term hormonal therapy that helps to shrink them. That therapy may be sufficient to allow you to be more comfortable. 

Smaller fibroids are less likely to impair your fertility. We may also recommend hormonal therapy before you undergo surgery, to help make the fibroids easier to remove. 

Mechanical means of removing fibroids include:

Some procedures that remove fibroids aren’t appropriate if you hope to become pregnant. These include endometrial ablation, which destroys the uterine lining; uterine artery embolization, which cuts off blood supply to the fibroids; and hysterectomy, which removes the uterus.

If your fibroids impair your quality of life or fertility, contact us for relief today. You can reach us at Mian OB/GYN & Associates by phone or through our online booking form

You Might Also Enjoy...

Regular Pap Tests Can Save Your Life

If you knew about a 5-minute test that could save your life, would you take it? You can and should. Routine Pap smears at your gynecologist’s office identify cervical cancer at early, treatable, and curable phases. Here’s why you need Pap tests.
When Is a C-Section the Best Delivery Option?

When Is a C-Section the Best Delivery Option?

Whether you ever considered a cesarean section before or not, sometimes it’s the best option for you and your baby. Although vaginal delivery is medically preferable, it’s not always possible or safe. Here’s why you might need a C-section.

6 Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

For a long time, due to a series of flawed studies, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) got a bad rap. Since then, the science has caught up to anecdotal experience: HRT relieves prime symptoms of menopause and has other benefits, too. Here are six.
I Think I Have an STD: What Should I Do?

I Think I Have an STD: What Should I Do?

When you think you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the last thing you want to do is ignore it. If you don’t get a diagnosis and treatment, you could develop complications and pass the infection to somebody else. Here’s what to do instead.
Does an Abnormal Pap Smear Mean I Have Cancer?

Does an Abnormal Pap Smear Mean I Have Cancer?

The last thing you expect when you go in for your regular Pap smear is to learn that your latest results are “abnormal.” What does that mean? Do you already have cancer? Can it be cured? What are your next steps?
Understanding the Two Types of IUDs

Understanding the Two Types of IUDs

When you’re ready for reliable, long-term birth control, one of your best and most hassle-free options is an intrauterine device (IUD). Both types of IUDs — hormonal and non-hormonal — are effective, safe, and reversible. So what’s the difference?