The Women's Health Resource Center
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that occur in 20% to 25% of all women. Fibroids can occur at any age, but are most common in women aged 30 to 40. They seem to occur more often in African-American women than in Caucasian women. Many women who have fibroids are not aware of them because they may remain small and may not cause a problem. Fibroids are quite common, but little is known about what causes them. We do know that the hormones estrogen and progesterone affect their growth.
Fibroids may not produce any symptoms; however, if symptoms do occur they can include irregular menstrual periods, abdominal or lower back pain, difficulty or frequent urination, constipation or rectal pain and miscarriages or infertility.
If your fibroids do not cause pain, excessive bleeding or interfere with your quality of life, your health care provider may want only to monitor them. Fibroids often shrink with the onset of menopause due to the decline in hormone production. If your health care provider does recommend medical intervention, there are many options available. Discuss these with your health care provider.
What you can do…
- Have a complete pelvic exam annually.
- Contact your health care provider if you have any changes in your menstrual cycle or pelvic pain.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience excessive vaginal bleeding.