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are growths found inside your uterus. Uterine fibroids also may be called tumors or leiomyomas. Uterine fibroids often appear in groups, or you may have only one. They can be small or large, and they can grow. They are almost always benign (not cancer) and likely will not spread to other parts of your body. They may grow when you are pregnant and shrink after you no longer have a monthly period.
Signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids:
You may have no signs or symptoms. Symptoms depend on the size, type, and number of fibroids you have. Symptoms also depend on where the fibroids are inside your uterus:
- Heavy or painful menstrual bleeding
- Pelvic pressure and pain
- Increased pelvic pain during sex
- Constipation or pain when you have a bowel movement
- Need to urinate often
Seek care immediately if:
- Your heart begins to race, and you feel faint.
- You begin to pass large blood clots from your vagina.
Call your doctor or gynecologist if:
- Your symptoms, such as heavy bleeding, pain, or pelvic pressure, worsen.
- You feel weak and are more tired than usual.
- You do not feel like your bladder is empty after you urinate. You also may urinate small amounts more often.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may not need treatment for your fibroids if you do not have symptoms. The following treatments may shrink your fibroids and help your pain:
- Hormones may help shrink your fibroids.
- Contraceptives help prevent pregnancy. They also may help shrink your fibroids.
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Surgery may be used to remove your uterine fibroids. Surgery may instead be used to block or slow the flow of blood to the fibroid. This may make your fibroids shrink or disappear. Surgery called a hysterectomy may be needed if your fibroids are severe. For this surgery, your healthcare provider removes your entire uterus. After this surgery, you will no longer be able to have children.
Prevent uterine fibroids:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can cause fibroids to grow. Talk to your healthcare provider about a healthy weight for you. He or she can help you create a healthy weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy foods, cooked beans, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Fruits and vegetables are especially important for helping lower the risk for fibroids. Your healthcare provider or a dietitian can help you create a healthy meal plan.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed. Alcohol can increase your risk for fibroids. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 1½ ounces of liquor, or 5 ounces of wine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help to quit drinking alcohol.
Follow up with your doctor or gynecologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Uterine Fibroids (Ambulatory Care)
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