In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our June 2012 issue, we asked Laura Corio, MD, WebMD's women's health expert, about the risk factors for fibroids.
Q : Several women in my family have fibroids. Does that mean I am at risk, too?
By Colleen Oakley
You used to want to have sex. A lot. There was a time when you couldn't wait
to rip your guy's clothes off, when you felt empowered and excited by the mere
thought of a bedroom romp. Ah, the good ol' days. Recently, however, it seems
that watching American Idol — or watching paint dry — are more appealing
options than getting it on with your fella. Whatever happened to that sexy,
flirtatious girl you used to know? Don't worry — she's still in there.
While many of...
A: You may be. Fibroids, which grow in the muscle layers of the uterus and also on the cervix, are the most common pelvic tumors in women. About 80% of women develop at least one fibroid in the uterus by menopause.
Most fibroids don't cause problems. (Fewer than 0.5% are cancerous.) But depending on where they grow, fibroids may cause back pain, constipation, cramping, anemia, pain during sex, and heavy, long periods. They can also make it harder for a woman to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term.
Risk factors for fibroids do include family history, as well as race -- African-American women get fibroids more often, earlier, and more severely than white women. Other factors include having your first period before age 10, never giving birth, and having high blood pressure.
Visit your gynecologist yearly -- more often if you're having fibroid symptoms. Doctors can detect fibroids with a sonogram and remove them surgically. Some women take birth control pills to control heavy bleeding. After menopause, your fibroids will shrink on their own.