Are Fibroids Bad?

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that form in the uterus and are one of the most commonly found conditions affecting the female reproductive system. They affect a large majority of women, mostly during their childbearing years, and their cause is still largely unknown. We are often asked, “Are fibroids bad?” and the short answer is that yes, they can be due to the symptoms they can cause.

Today we are going to provide some insight into these growths, what can make them worse, and answer the question, “are fibroids harmful to women?

Fibroid Facts

Although fibroids are a very common condition and affect a large number of women, many people do not have a good understanding of what they are or the issues they can cause. Here are some quick facts about fibroids:

  • Fibroids affect almost 80% of adult women before they reach the age of 50;
  • Many women do not know they have fibroids because they experience no symptoms;
  • Some women have symptoms that are so bad that fibroids are harmful to their physical and mental health;
  • Fibroids can cause fertility issues;
  • Fibroids are often misdiagnosed;
  • Fibroids are more likely to develop in women who started their periods very young, have a family history of fibroids, have a vitamin D deficiency, suffer from obesity, or are women of color;
  • They are exacerbated by exposure to excess estrogen;
  • Women can have a singular fibroid or they can be numerous;
  • They can be as tiny as a grain of rice or grow to be as large as a basketball;
  • They are the most frequently cited reasons for hysterectomy surgery;
  • Fibroids can be safely eliminated without surgery.

Is Having Fibroids Bad For Your Health?

You may be thinking, “If the growths are not cancerous, how are fibroids harmful? The answer is related to the symptoms they can cause, which are dependent on where the fibroids are growing, how many fibroids you have, and how large they have grown.

Major symptoms of uterine fibroids
Major symptoms of uterine fibroids

Some of the reasons fibroids can be bad to have include:

Bleeding

These growths can cause excessive heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) during menstruation that lasts longer than normal and can affect a woman’s quality of life.

Anemia
Losing too much blood can deplete the supply of healthy red blood cells and cause the serious condition of anemia and symptoms of extreme fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, headaches, problems with concentration, and more.
Professional And Social Disruptions
Heavy bleeding can cause women to worry about bleeding through pads or their clothing, cause issues in their careers, or interfere in their personal relationships. The fear of embarrassment can cause them to miss important work-related functions that have an impact on their job performance or cause them to avoid social gatherings. The ongoing struggle of dealing with this situation every cycle can take a toll on a woman’s mental health, stressing her out and causing anxiety.

Pain And Pressure

Depending on where fibroids grow and how big they are, they can press against organs and nerves, often causing symptoms that are tricky to diagnose.

Back and Leg Pain
A large fibroid that is pressing on the sciatic nerve can cause pain to shoot down the legs or be localized to the lower back. Many do not realize that fibroids can cause back and leg pain, so it is often misdiagnosed as sciatica.
Abdominal Pain
Some women complain of a feeling of pressure in their abdomen or a feeling of heaviness that can make lying on their stomach or even bending over painful or uncomfortable. Women with numerous or large fibroids can also appear several months pregnant due to the fibroids enlarging their uterus and causing their abdomen to protrude.
Pain During Sex
Depending on their location and size, fibroids can cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse. When located near the vaginal canal or cervix, large or numerous fibroids can exert pressure on other nearby structures and organs during penetration. This can not only cause physical pain but also create feelings of anxiety and impede a woman’s desire for sex, negatively impacting her intimate relationships.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization in Atlanta, GA

Fertility

Although they only make up about 3% of the fertility issues women face, uterine fibroids can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. They can cause a kink in the fallopian tube, prevent the egg and sperm from ever meeting, or keep the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus to implant. Large submucosal and intramural fibroids can change the shape and structure of the uterus and inhibit the implantation of the embryo.

A recent study in Germany determined that women with fibroids experienced more issues with fertility, implantation, and instances of miscarriage than women without these tumors.

Pregnancy

We are often asked if fibroids are bad during pregnancy, and the answer is that they can be, depending on the circumstances.

Studies have shown that myomas are prone to growing larger in estrogen-rich environments, and during the first three months of pregnancy, a woman’s body produces an increased amount of estrogen. This can result in the rapid growth of any preexisting fibroids and can be potentially dangerous. Sometimes, after these fibroids grow large, they can outgrow their blood supply and begin to break down, causing a condition called necrobiosis. As these fibroids break down they can produce sharp abdominal pain, bleeding, vomiting, and a high temperature.

Fibroids can take up space that is designated for the baby to grow and develop, or they can even begin to siphon off some of the blood supply that is needed by the growing baby.

Fibroids can also cause issues for women during labor and delivery, such as causing their water to break early triggering the onset of labor, or experiencing complications like a breech birth, placenta previa, or blockage of the birth canal, requiring an emergency C-section.

Treatment For Fibroids

While these growths are very common and do not always cause symptoms, they can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant or experiencing a full-term pregnancy. Pre-existing fibroids can become worse during your first trimester and may even cause preterm labor. Whether you are planning to become pregnant or not, if you are dealing with symptoms related to uterine fibroids, there is a safe and effective treatment that does not require surgery or the removal of your uterus.

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is an outpatient procedure that is performed by an interventional radiologist who has been specially trained for this procedure. The doctor uses a special catheter to inject tiny particles into the blood vessels that the fibroids have created to siphon off blood from the uterine artery. These particles stop the blood flow which causes the fibroids to shrink and die, taking all of their nasty symptoms with them.

The procedure takes about 45 minutes, and patients go home the same day to recover. Most women are back to their normal routine in a week or less. Most women find relief from their fibroid symptoms within three months of having the UFE procedure. Many women have become pregnant after UFE without any complications and delivered healthy babies. In fact, Dr. John Lipman at the Atlanta Fibroid Center has an entire wall dedicated to the adorable pictures of babies that were born after he helped their mothers eliminate their fibroids.

Contact The Atlanta Fibroid Center

If you are tired of fibroid symptoms affecting your work and social schedules or if you have fibroids and are trying to become pregnant, set up a consultation today with the Atlanta Fibroid Center. Their track record exceeds 25 years, and women from all over the nation and beyond have traveled to the Atlanta Fibroid Center to be freed from the grip of fibroid symptoms. Make an appointment today and take back control of your schedule and your life.

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