What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are
noncancerous growths in the
uterus. Fibroids can grow on the
inside of the uterus ,
within the muscle wall of the uterus , or on the
outer surface of the uterus . Fibroids can alter the shape of the uterus as
they grow. This can cause pregnancy problems. Over time, the size, shape,
location, and symptoms of fibroids may change.
The cause of
uterine fibroids is not known. But after fibroids develop, the hormones
progesterone appear to influence their growth. A
woman's body produces the highest levels of these hormones during her
childbearing years. After
menopause, when hormone levels decline, fibroids often
shrink or disappear.
Fibroids are also called myomas, leiomyomas,
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
women age, they are more likely to have uterine fibroids, especially from their
30s and 40s until menopause. About 80% of women have uterine fibroids by the
time they reach age 50. Most have mild or no symptoms.1 But fibroids can cause serious problems that need treatment.
Uterine fibroids usually need treatment when they cause:
- Anemia from
heavy fibroid bleeding.
- Ongoing low back pain or a feeling of
pressure in the lower abdomen (pelvic pressure).
- Blockage of the urinary tract or bowels.
if the tissue of a large fibroid dies (necrotic fibroid).
Fibroid problems that need treatment-but not with
- Infertility caused by fibroids that change
the shape of the uterus or the location of the
- Complications during
pregnancy, such as
miscarriage or premature labor.
How does GnRH-a therapy work?
gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue puts your body into a state like
menopause for as long as you take it. This lowers your body's estrogen. This
- Stops menstrual periods.
the growth of and reduces the size of uterine fibroids.
GnRH-a therapy is not usually used to relieve fibroid
symptoms only, because fibroids grow back fairly quickly after GnRH-a therapy
ends. But it is sometimes used to shrink large fibroids before fibroid surgery
or to stop heavy bleeding from fibroids.
For women who are
approaching menopause (when fibroids shrink), short-term relief from GnRH-a
therapy can be a reasonable option.
For more information, see the topic