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Uterine fibroids are the most common gynecologic tumors, affecting an estimated 20-50% of women of reproductive age. While they don’t cause cancer, fibroids produce pain and heavy menstrual periods. The doctors at The Association for Women’s Health Care have years of experience diagnosing and treating uterine fibroids. If you have symptoms, please schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in The Loop in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois.

Fibroids Q&A

What are uterine fibroids?

Fibroids are growths that develop in smooth muscles in the wall of the uterus. Fibroids aren’t cancerous, and they don’t increase your risk for uterine cancer. They can be as small as a pea or grow as large as a small grapefruit, but only about one-third of them grow large enough to be detected during a physical examination. They may grow slowly, rapidly, or shrink on their own.

Can uterine fibroids affect pregnancy?

Uterine fibroids can affect your ability to get pregnant by interfering with the uterine lining’s ability to support a fertilized egg. They may also raise your risk for complications during pregnancy.

If you have a family history of fibroids or you’ve been diagnosed with the condition, talk with your doctor at The Association for Women’s Health Care about whether you should treat fibroids before getting pregnant.

Are you at risk for fibroids?

There’s no way to predict who might get uterine fibroids, but some factors can increase your risk:

  • Older than 40 years
  • Obesity
  • African American heritage
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Never pregnant
  • Low levels of vitamin D

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?

Many women don’t have any symptoms. When symptoms do exist, they range from mild to very severe:

  • Abnormal bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent urination or difficulty emptying the bladder

If you have pelvic pain that doesn’t go away, have a hard time urinating, or have any type of abnormal bleeding, please schedule an appointment at The Association for Women’s Health Care. These symptoms may be a sign of many different gynecologic disorders that could be serious.

How are uterine fibroids treated?

Treatment is tailored to each individual woman, depending on her age, overall health, severity of symptoms, and the size and location of the fibroids. Whether you’re pregnant or would like to get pregnant in the future is also a critical part of treatment decisions.

You and your doctor at The Association for Women’s Health Care will work together to come up with the best treatment plan. A variety of medications are available to help relieve pain, reduce heavy periods, or help shrink fibroids. Surgery to remove fibroids or the uterus is also an option.