While up to 75 percent of women have uterine fibroids, or noncancerous growths of the uterus, at some point, many are unaware of them until they present symptoms or doctors discover them during a pelvic exam. Large fibroids, however, can sometimes lead to issues with pregnancy and fertility and merit further investigation.
Generally appearing during a woman’s childbearing years, fibroids can grow very quickly during pregnancy when the body is producing extra estrogen and generally shrink and even disappear after menopause. Women with a family history of fibroids are at greater risk as well as African American women and women with abnormalities in their blood vessel or vascular system.
While most fibroids are not painful, they can occasionally cause abnormal bleeding and heavy periods, pelvic pain and pressure, bladder pressure and pain during intercourse; if you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor to discuss treatment options, which can include medications and surgery. If you know you have a family history of fibroids and are thinking about starting a family, you may wish to set up an appointment with your doctor in the meantime.