Fibroids: Are They Serious?

Q: My doctor says I have several small fibroid tumors. Are they serious?

A: You're not alone. Fibroids are common among women older than 40. These noncancerous, smooth muscle tumors can grow within the walls of the uterus, on top of the uterus, or in the uterine cavity. Also called leiomyoma (ly-oh-my-OH-mah), approximately 0.5 percent may be cancerous, but 99.5 percent of the time they are benign.

Fibroids can appear in clusters or individually, and they can range in size from microscopic to the size of a cantaloupe. They often go undetected but can cause several conditions, including:
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Heavy periods
  • Urinary urgency and/or frequency
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
Usually, fibroids stop growing or shrink after menopause. There are multiple options available for treatment. These may include minimally invasive surgery to decrease the size of your fibroid, surgery to remove the fibroid, or hysterectomy (including robotic-assisted surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System®). If you experience symptoms of fibroids, please see your healthcare provider.

Published in Southwest Woman, Fall/Winter 2008
Mieke Lane, DO
Cascadia Women's Clinic
14508 NE 20th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98686
(360) 433-0022