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. Fibroids can be of different sizes, in different locations, and can be singular or numerous. They can 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.
What Is Fibroid Degeneration and Calcification?
The uterine blood vessels supply the all-important nutrients that keep fibroids alive. With rapid growth, the center of the fibroid gets farther away from where the nutrients are coming from and these areas can 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.
Calcified uterine fibroids can be seen on an x-ray or an MRI. Calcifications in the uterus can also be identified through ultrasound but no matter how they are diagnosed, they have no clinical significance and are not a cause for concern unless they are causing symptoms.
Do Calcified Fibroids Cause Symptoms?
Calcified uterine fibroids often can cause the exact same symptoms as the more common non-calcified fibroids. This is possible because some calcified fibroids in the uterus may not be completely cut off from their nutrient supply. Some may be predominantly alive containing only some areas of calcification.
An MRI scan with intravenous contrast can determine if the calcified fibroids in the uterus are alive or dead (from previous embolization, menopause, or degeneration). If these calcified fibroids enhance with the intravenous contrast this indicates they are still receiving nourishment from the blood vessels. If the patient is experiencing corresponding symptoms, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) can be performed to resolve these symptoms.
To learn more about uterine fibroids or how fibroid calcification in the uterus can take place, contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center to learn more about how to eliminate them through 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.