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 rate of growth will potentially impact your quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about fibroid growth, 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.
Common fibroid symptoms include:
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
Uterine fibroids range in size from as small as a pea to larger than a melon. Although not usually considered dangerous, they can sometimes harm surrounding organs, like the bladder or bowel, as well as impact fertility.
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 for 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.
How Fast Do Fibroids Grow Over Time?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer as to how fast your uterine fibroids will grow over time. The rate of fibroid growth is often unpredictable, which can be challenging and frustrating. For many women, fibroid 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 fibroids impact 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.
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 average fibroid growth is 89% per 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 tend to grow more quickly than larger ones.
If your fibroid is growing faster than average, it may be considered a fast-growing fibroid. However, the rate of fibroid growth is not necessarily a reason for concern. 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 not usually the rate of fibroid growth but the resulting fibroid size and number of tumors that impacts quality of life.
Another thing to keep in mind 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 an increase in 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.
When to Contact a Doctor About Fibroid Growth
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.
Contact USA Fibroid Centers!
At USA Fibroid Centers, our experts offer treatment for all fibroid sizes, so there’s no need to worry about your rate of fibroid growth. 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 disease.
Congratulations on taking your first step toward a better life!