Table Of Contents
- How Fast Do Fibroids Grow?
- What Causes Uterine Fibroids To Grow
- Symptoms Of Fibroids Growing
- How Fast Do Fibroids Grow Over Time
- Which Size Of Fibroid Is Dangerous
- What Is Considered A Fast Growing Fibroid
- Degeneration Of Uterine Fibroids
- How Do I Know If My Fibroids Are Growing?
- Can Fibroids Grow In Six Months?
- Fibroid Treatment
- Contact USA Fibroid Centers
How Fast Do Fibroids Grow?
If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you may be concerned about how fast they grow. Perhaps more to the point, you may wonder how this growth rate will potentially impact your quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about “How fast do fibroids grow?” as well as why fibroid size matters and what you can do to eliminate painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient fibroid symptoms.
Let’s start with some basics. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in or on the uterus. They can grow individually or in multiples, and their location often determines which symptoms are experienced, if any.
Fibroids are a common condition of the reproductive tract; 70 to 80 percent of women develop them by age 50. They tend to run in families, so if you have a close female relative with fibroids, you are more likely to have them. Women of African descent are disproportionately affected.
If you believe you may have fibroids or are at risk of developing them, we encourage you to contact your doctor or a fibroid specialist. Minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment exists that preserves fertility and offers a quick recovery.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids to Grow
Fibroids grow because they receive hormones through the artery they attach to. Hormones can lead to fibroid growth, so they form after puberty and often stop growing after menopause.
When hormone levels increase, fibroids may have a growth spurt during pregnancy. Fibroids have more estrogen and progesterone receptors than other cells in the uterus, which leads scientists to believe that these hormones directly impact the development of fibroids.
Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) is found naturally in your body and is known to stimulate the growth of cells. Many experts believe it also causes fibroids to grow.
Symptoms of Fibroids Growing
As fibroids grow, they can begin causing issues with the uterus and surrounding organs. You may feel a fullness or pressure in your abdomen as the fibroids get larger. If they start to press on the bladder or bowels, you may experience increased frequency of urination and constipation.
Another way to tell fibroids are growing is if your stomach increases in size. As the fibroids get larger, they can cause a distended stomach as if you have gained weight or are pregnant.
How Fast Do Fibroids Grow Over Time?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to “how fast do fibroids grow over time.” The rate of fibroid growth is often unpredictable, which can be challenging and frustrating. For many women, growth is slow and doesn’t involve any significant increase of symptoms. Some women have fibroids that remain stable for many years.
For others, fibroid growth can be rapid and accompanied by debilitating, life-altering effects like heavy bleeding, severe pelvic pain, and a visibly enlarged abdomen. Alternatively, there are times when fibroids tend to shrink, such as after pregnancy or menopause. This can bring about a reduction of related symptoms.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we are committed to educating women on uterine fibroids and their full range of fibroid treatment options. When it comes to fibroid growth, the most important thing to understand is that treatment is recommended based on bothersome symptoms, not actual size.
Generally speaking, when uterine fibroid growth impacts your career, relationships, self-esteem, or ability to perform daily tasks, you may want to explore your treatment options. If you are experiencing new or worsening fibroid symptoms, we urge you to contact a fibroid specialist for full medical evaluation.
Which Size of Fibroid is Dangerous
Fibroids are often more dangerous when they become large because they press on other organs and cause discomfort. They vary in size and can start as small fibroids up to 20 mm. A medium fibroid size is between 20 and 60 mm while large growths are over 60 mm.
Even small fibroids can be dangerous if they form in clusters or groups. These groups can take several fibroids that are less than an inch and form a cluster of several inches, which have a larger impact on the uterus and other organs.
What Is Considered a Fast-Growing Fibroid?
Along with wondering how fast fibroids grow, you may also be curious about what is considered a fast-growing fibroid. A research study revealed that the average growth is 89% over 18 months. As a point of reference, a two-centimeter fibroid – about the size of a blueberry – is likely to take four to five years to double its diameter. This same study also suggests that very small fibroids grow more quickly than larger ones.
If your fibroid is expanding quicker than average, it may be classified a fast-growing fibroid. At USA Fibroid Centers, we know that larger fibroids (or multiple fibroids) are more likely to cause problematic symptoms that require intervention. In other words, it is the resulting fibroid size and number of tumors that impact the quality of life.
Degeneration of Uterine Fibroids
Another thing to remember is that a fast-growing fibroid can result in a rapid increase of fibroid symptoms. Uterine fibroids can also outgrow their blood supply and break down through a painful process called fibroid degeneration.
Signs of fibroid degeneration include:
- Acute abdominal pain lasting a few days to a few weeks
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Fever in addition to other symptoms
- Bleeding during pregnancy, resulting from a type of degeneration called necrobiosis
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend seeking urgent medical care.
How Do I Know if My Fibroids Are Growing?
The only surefire way to know if your fibroids are growing is to undergo an ultrasound or MRI exam. If you visit a fibroid specialist, they will likely order medical imaging when you experience increased symptoms, such as heavier bleeding or more pain than usual. Increased uterine fibroid symptoms can be strong indicators of underlying fibroid growth.
Keep in mind that fibroid symptoms can resemble those of other health conditions of the reproductive tract. Some of these can be serious and potentially life-threatening. Changes in a women’s monthly cycle always require medical evaluation.
Can Fibroids Grow in Six Months?
Fibroids can grow within six months but may not be detectable. Some fibroids won’t show any symptoms during that time, while others may increase enough in size to affect your well-being.
You may look like you’ve gained weight or are pregnant as they grow. Others may start to press on organs as they grow even though the change isn’t detectable on the outside. Changes in hormone levels can also cause fibroids to grow more rapidly, such as when you’re pregnant or begin taking birth control pills.
We recommend contacting your doctor or a fibroid specialist if you’ve noticed any changes in:
- Menstrual bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- Rate of urination
- Abdominal size
- Energy levels
- Comfort during sex
- Other fibroid symptoms
The good news is that we offer a minimally-invasive, non-surgical fibroid treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE can eliminate your fibroids, relieve related symptoms and quickly get you back to normal life.
UFE is an outpatient procedure that allows the interventional radiologist to locate the fibroid through ultrasound technology. They will insert a tiny catheter into the thigh or wrist and inject embolic materials into the artery which is attached to the fibroid. Once the blood flow is restricted, the fibroid can no longer receive nutrients, causing it to shrink and die.
When comparing a hysterectomy vs. UFE, it’s important to understand that UFE preserves your fertility by leaving the uterus intact. UFE also has a much shorter recovery time of typically one to two weeks, while a hysterectomy often takes up to eight weeks to resume normal activities.
Contact USA Fibroid Centers
At USA Fibroid Centers, our experts offer treatment for all fibroid sizes, so there’s no need to worry about how fast do fibroids grow. However, there’s also no need to wait around and suffer any longer when we are ready and available to help.
Because we believe in convenient access to fibroid care, we offer dozens of clinic locations nationwide. To get started, schedule an initial consultation online or call us at 855.615.2555. We offer a choice of in-office or telemedicine appointments and follow strict precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Congratulations on taking your first step toward a better life!