Ask Dr. John Lipman: “Do I Need to Be Worried, I Was Told I Have Calcified Fibroids?”
Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in or on the walls of the uterus. Every woman’s fibroids are different in size and location. They also grow at different rates. In some cases, fibroids can grow so fast that they outgrow their own blood supply which is typically located at the peripheral rim of each fibroid.
The blood vessels bring the all-important nutrients that keep fibroids alive. With rapid growth, the center of the fibroid gets farther and farther away from where the nutrients are coming from and these areas will become ischemic and often die. This process is called degeneration and it can cause sudden pelvic pain in women which can be severe in some cases.
Degeneration can also happen slowly over time and this commonly occurs when a woman enters menopause. This degeneration process can lead to thin, eggshell-like calcification in the fibroid. This calcification can be seen on a plain x-ray or pelvic ultrasound but it has no clinical significance whatsoever.
Calcified fibroids can cause the exact same symptoms as the more common non-calcified fibroids. This is because the calcified fibroid may be predominantly alive and therefore only have a small area of calcification.
With respect to treatment, a pelvic MRI with intravenous contrast will determine if the fibroids are alive or dead (from previous embolization, menopause, or degeneration). If the calcified fibroids enhance with the intravenous contrast (i.e. they’re alive) and the patient is having corresponding symptoms, Uterine Fibroid Embolization can be performed to resolve these symptoms.
Contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center to get advice on uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a non-surgical procedure that helps to get rid of fibroids completely and to get your life without pain and heavy periods back.