Telemedicine options available. Schedule now. Learn more about our COVID-19 response. | Se habla EspaƱol.

Are Uterine Fibroids Dangerous?

Uterine fibroids, medically known as myomas or leiomyomas, are noncancerous muscular tumors that grow within the uterine lining, within the uterine cavity, or outside the uterus completely, usually during a woman’s childbearing years. They don’t create an increased risk for uterine cancer and don’t usually develop into any form of cancer.

Some fibroids are so small you can’t see them, while others are bulky masses that enlarge and distort the uterus and abdomen. You can have just a single mass or a bunch. And not every case produces symptoms; most doctors find them during a routine pelvic exam or a prenatal ultrasound.

At Heart Vascular & Leg Center, our expert team of vascular, wound care, and podiatric specialists knows how uncomfortable uterine fibroids can be, so we offer fibroid embolization at our office in Bakersfield, California. Patients often wonder whether fibroids are dangerous or just a nuisance. Here’s what the experts have to say.

What causes uterine fibroids?

The exact cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but research suggests they arise due to multiple factors, including genetics, and especially hormones — both estrogen and progesterone, the two major female sex hormones. Fibroids grow rapidly during pregnancy when both hormone levels are high. They shrink or stop growing if you use an anti-hormone medication or enter menopause.

One theory is that uterine fibroids develop from a stem cell in the smooth muscle of the uterus wall. This cell, which normally would also become smooth muscle, divides repeatedly, creating a firm, rubbery mass different from the surrounding tissue. 

What are fibroid symptoms?

If your fibroids don’t cause any symptoms, there’s not much to do for them and nothing to worry about. However, if you start experiencing symptoms, getting them checked out is best, as an accurate diagnosis informs treatment.

The most common symptoms include:

If you develop pain that comes on suddenly and/or won’t go away or have heavy bleeding between periods, make an appointment as soon as possible.

Are uterine fibroids dangerous?

Uterine fibroids usually aren't dangerous, but if you have symptoms, they can be uncomfortable and, sometimes, concerning. Heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to anemia, a drop in your red blood cell count, so careful monitoring is essential.

Fibroids can also affect pregnancy. If they bulge into the uterine cavity, they could lead to infertility or pregnancy loss. Again, with a doctor’s supervision, you can prevent most problems from occurring and treat them early and effectively if they do.

Between 70% and 90% of pregnant women with fibroids don’t experience complications. For those who do, the most common are minor abdominal pain and light bleeding, neither of which will affect the developing fetus. 

Fibroids can cause the fetus to move into an abnormal delivery position, but a C-section delivery can ensure the baby’s health. Women with fibroids are six times more likely to require C-sections than those without.

Treating uterine fibroids

If you have symptoms, especially pain and heavy bleeding, your Heart Vascular & Leg Center provider may suggest uterine fibroid embolization. It’s a minimally invasive procedure during which the doctor injects small particles into uterine arteries. They act to block blood flow to fibroids, causing them to shrink and disappear over time.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of uterine fibroids, it’s time to come into Heart Vascular & Leg Center for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Call our office at 661-443-5524 to set up a consultation with one of our doctors, or book online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Importance of Treating Nonhealing Wounds

The Importance of Treating Nonhealing Wounds

Unhealed, untreated wounds run the risk of becoming infected, which can lead to more pain, more discomfort, and more problems. Learn why it’s vital to treat nonhealing wounds as soon as possible.
What to Expect During and After a Stress Test

What to Expect During and After a Stress Test

If you’re experiencing cardiac symptoms, a stress test evaluates your condition and reveals crucial information about your heart. Here’s what you can expect both during and after the test.

The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Speech

The effect that a traumatic brain injury can have on a person’s ability to communicate can be very significant. Here, we look at the three main speech and communication issues that are linked to brain trauma.