So, you just found out that you have uterine fibroids. They sound scary, but your doctor didn’t seem too worried. You can’t help but wonder, is treatment necessary?
What happens if uterine fibroids go untreated? Will it create problems for you down the line or impact your ability to have a baby?
Before delving into the details of whether or not uterine fibroids can go untreated, it’s best to know exactly what uterine fibroids are.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are very common. In fact, a majority of women get them by the time they turn 50. Fortunately, these noncancerous growths in the uterus are usually harmless. Growing either inside or outside of the uterus, there are specific names for uterine fibroids depending on where they present:
- Intramural fibroids grow in the uterine wall muscles.
- Submucosal fibroids bulge into the uterine cavity.
- Subserosal fibroids bulge out from the uterine wall into your pelvic cavity.
- Pedunculated fibroids are attached to the uterine wall by a thin stalk and can grow inside or outside the uterus.
Doctors aren’t exactly sure why women get uterine fibroids, but the hormones estrogen and progesterone are suspected to play a role. These growths may also be hereditary in nature.
Are Fibroids Dangerous?
It’s natural to wonder, “Are fibroids serious?” After all, they are abnormal growths in your body. But, don’t worry. Fibroids are rarely dangerous. Uterine fibroids almost never result in a medical emergency. If it does happen, it might be due to a rupture. This event is usually very painful. The pain may also be accompanied by dizziness caused by blood loss. If you feel a sudden pain in your pelvis, seek medical attention immediately.
However, although it’s rare for fibroids to be dangerous, they can cause other symptoms like pain or pressure in the pelvis, heavy menstruation, constipation, and more. In some cases, uterine fibroids may also cause infertility.
Can Fibroids Turn into Cancer?
It is very rare for uterine fibroids to be cancerous. Fewer than 1 in 1000 fibroids are cancerous. In addition, having uterine fibroids doesn’t increase your risk for uterine cancers.
Can You Die from Fibroids?
It would be extremely rare that someone dies due to uterine fibroids. Typically, these noncancerous growths are discovered and monitored long before they become serious. There are several options for treating fibroids, including simply monitoring. In nearly all cases, it is possible to intervene before a uterine fibroid causes serious damage. Remember, in most cases, you won’t even notice that you ever had a fibroid!
What Happens When Fibroids Are Left Untreated?
Many fibroids don’t require any treatment at all. In fact, for many women, uterine fibroids cause no symptoms. If your doctor even discovers your fibroids, they may simply decide to monitor the fibroids at your regularly scheduled check-ups.
Untreated fibroids may eventually go away on their own. If your fibroid developed during pregnancy, the fibroid may disappear after giving birth. Another common occurrence is that fibroids shrink and disappear after menopause. Researchers believe that these changes happen due to fluctuations in hormones around pregnancy and menopause.
Can You Get Rid of Fibroids Without Surgery?
One of the most common treatments for fibroids that cause moderate to severe symptoms is surgery. However, surgery isn’t always necessary. If you have mild symptoms, your doctor may suggest certain medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers are one popular medication for fibroids. Hormonal medications such as birth control pills and devices can also help control symptoms like heavy bleeding.
In certain cases, your doctor may recommend gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists known as GnRHa. These drugs can shrink fibroids as long as you’re taking the medication. However, it is not a long-term solution as the medication also causes bone-thinning. So, GnRHa therapy is typically recommended for 6 months or less. Another downside is that fibroids often grow back after using this medication. For this reason, doctors usually use GnRHas to make the removal of fibroids through surgery easier.
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Uterine Fibroids
Although uterine fibroids are seldom life-threatening, they can be uncomfortable and diminish your quality of life. If you are experiencing discomfort or are having trouble getting pregnant, don’t hesitate to speak up. There are many ways that we can help!
With a knowledgeable, experienced team of experts on your side, you can address the troublesome symptoms your uterine fibroids are causing and get back to your life. Book your appointment today! We can’t wait to meet you.