Fibroids Q & A
by David Ahdoot, MD, FACOG
Do Fibroids Interfere With Pregnancy?
If a woman becomes pregnant while having fibroid growths, it is usually not an issue for the pregnancy if they are small or moderately sized. However, fibroids that are very large, or big groups of moderately sized fibroids, may present some issues during pregnancy. Women with major fibroid growth are more likely to require a C-section to deliver their baby safely. Placental abruption and preterm delivery are also a risk. Ideally, fibroid growths will be treated and resolved prior to pregnancy for these reasons.
How Are Fibroids Diagnosed?
Fibroids are often diagnosed during the course of a standard pelvic examination. They may also be discovered during PAP smear testing. While the fibroids can be felt manually during exams, imaging is usually needed to confirm the size and position of the growths. Ultrasound or MRI are the two most common ways to identify fibroids.
Who Is Most at Risk for Fibroids?
Women in their childbearing years are most likely to develop fibroids, especially women in their 30s and 40s. Fibroids made be traced to a genetic cause, as people who have them are more likely to have other female family members who suffer from fibroids.
Do Fibroids Typically Change Over Time?
This can vary from one patient to the next. Some women experience steady growth of fibroids all through their childbearing years, while others have no fibroid growth at all during the same period. While fibroids may not produce symptoms for some patients, poor fertility, severe cramping, heavy bleeding and erratic menstrual cycles are possible. Women who have completed menopause should not experience any fibroid growth at all, however.
How Are Fibroids Treated?
Treatment depends on the individual. Some women need no treatment at all, especially if they are experiencing no symptoms. Other women may need to undergo a fibroid removal procedure if they are suffering from pain and other symptoms.