July is Fibroids Awareness Month, and when it comes to this surprisingly common gynecologic condition, there’s a lot to learn. If you have fibroids, a condition we specialize in treating here at Viva Eve, read on for answers to some of the most popular questions.
Q: Who gets fibroids?
A: Fibroids develop most often in women who are of reproductive age. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 70-80 percent of American women will develop fibroids by the age of 50 (although not all will experience symptoms). There are a number of factors that make a woman more likely to develop fibroids, such as race, genetics, and family history. Learn about all the risk factors for fibroids on our Fibroid Causes webpage.
Q: Are fibroids hereditary?
A: While the science is not exact, research shows that having a family member with fibroids increases a woman’s risk of developing fibroids. According to the Office of Women’s Health, if a woman’s mother had fibroids, her risk of having them is about three times higher than average.
Q: Do fibroids cause infertility?
A: Fibroids can make it difficult to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy. Depending on the location, size, and number of the fibroid(s), there are numerous ways fibroids can pose challenges to successful conception.
Some fibroids may compete for the space where implantation of a fertilized egg would happen. Fibroids can also create a physical barrier to pregnancy if they’re positioned in the uterus where the baby needs to be. Large fibroids may prevent a fetus from growing fully due to decreased room in the uterus. Fibroids blocking the cervix or fallopian tubes obstruct the journey or sperm of a fertilized egg, preventing pregnancy from occurring. While these problems only happen with some women, it helps to have a fibroid expert at your side. Learn more about infertility and fibroids on our website.
Q: What causes fibroids?
A: It’s unknown exactly what causes fibroids. However, studies show that hundreds of genes within fibroids are dysregulated, including those responsible for cell proliferation, which may be linked to uncontrolled cell growth. Once fibroids form, the hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate their growth. Doctors sometimes prescribe fibroid hormone treatment, which block these hormones, as a temporary measure to shrink fibroids.
Q: Is surgery the only option for removal of fibroids?
A: No. Today there are many safe alternatives to major surgery. At Viva Eve, we offer a range of minimally invasive and nonsurgical treatments for fibroids, including uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) and fibroid hormone treatment. We add new procedures as they undergo thorough testing and we determine whether they are medically sound.