Healthy New Jersey

Periods (menstruation)


Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop within the uterus.

They can vary in size from tiny seeds to grapefruit-sized tumors, and one or multiple fibroids can be present.

Although they are quite common, many women are not aware they have fibroids because they are too small to cause any symptoms.

Large fibroids often result in discomfort, swelling, pain, heavy bleeding, and urination.

Having uterine fibroids does not increase the risk of developing cancerous fibroids or other types of cancer in the uterus.

Fibroids rarely develop into cancer.


Not all women with fibroids experience symptoms, but common signs include:

  • Heavy bleeding during your period lasting seven days or more
  • Frequent urination
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Constipation
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower back pain
  • Complications during pregnancy and labor


The exact cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but there are some factors that contribute to their development:


There is evidence that uterine fibroids are hereditary. A higher chance of developing fibroids is possible if present in other family members such as a mother or grandmother.


Estrogen and progesterone affect the growth of fibroids. Fibroids may shrink after menopause or when using anti-hormone medications.


If fibroids are suspected, a health care provider could:

  • Perform a pelvic examination
  • Order imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI
  • Recommend other diagnostic procedures to confirm the presence, size, and location of the fibroids


Treatment for fibroids depends on:

  • Severity of symptoms
  • Size and location of the fibroids
  • Future fertility desires
  • Overall health

Treatment options could include:

Watchful waiting (monitoring without intervention)

If the fibroids are small, asymptomatic, and not affecting your quality of life, your healthcare provider may recommend a watchful waiting approach. This involves regular monitoring through pelvic exams and imaging to track the growth and development of the fibroids over time.


Medications can be prescribed to help manage the symptoms associated with fibroids, including:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce menstrual bleeding
  • Hormonal birth control to regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce heavy bleeding
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists that temporarily induce menopause-like conditions to shrink the fibroids
Non-invasive procedures
  • Ultrasound-guided focused ultrasound surgery FUS: This procedure uses high-intensity ultrasound waves to heat and destroy the fibroid tissue, without the need for incisions. It is typically recommended for smaller fibroids and may provide relief from symptoms.
  • Uterine artery embolization (UAE): In this minimally invasive procedure, tiny particles are injected into the blood vessels that supply the fibroids, blocking their blood flow. Without a blood supply, the fibroids shrink, and symptoms improve.
Surgical interventions
  • Myomectomy: This surgical procedure involves the removal of the fibroids while preserving the uterus. It is often recommended for women who wish to maintain their fertility or have a desire to keep their uterus intact.
  • Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus. It is considered a definitive solution for fibroids, as it eliminates the possibility of fibroid recurrence. It is typically recommended for women who have completed their childbearing years or had other treatment options that were ineffective.
Lifestyle management

Making certain lifestyle changes can help manage fibroid symptoms. These include maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, managing stress, and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.


  • Each woman's experience with fibroids is unique.
  • Treatment options should be tailored to individual needs.
  • If fibroids are suspected or for reproductive health concerns, consult with your health care provider for an accurate diagnosis and personalized care.

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