Are You Wondering What is Considered a Large Fibroid?
Topics Covered in this blog:
- Causes of Large Fibroids
- How Big Can Fibroids Get?
- Uterine Fibroid Health Risks
- Do Large Fibroids Make My Tummy Look Bigger?
- What Size Fibroids Need Surgery?
- Visit USA Fibroid Centers and Connect with a Specialist
A large fibroid refers to a uterine fibroid that has grown to a significant size, typically exceeding 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) or more in diameter. While fibroids can vary in size, those classified as large may cause noticeable symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, frequent urination, and even reproductive issues.
Fibroids may begin to develop quickly but then slow down and speed up at different intervals. This is often seen when fibroid symptoms decrease for a few weeks and then become worse than before. Over time, some fibroids can grow large and cause additional problems. This is why it’s important not to disregard your symptoms and wait for them to improve.
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown. Research has shown that several factors may influence whether you will get fibroids and how large they can grow. Age is one factor with fibroids developing between puberty and menopause. The risk begins to drop as you get closer to menopause because of the reduction in hormones.
Genetics also play a role in fibroids. If you have a family member who has fibroids, you also have an increased risk of developing them. Race may also serve as an indicator as African American women are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with uterine fibroids.
It is believed that estrogen can cause fibroids to continue growing until they get large enough to outgrow the blood supply. Researchers are looking at other lifestyle habits to determine their role in developing fibroids, such as eating red meat frequently , vitamin D deficiency, and obesity.
Fibroids can vary in size from as small as a seed to as large as a melon, and they can develop in numbers. Where a single fibroid may be less than an inch, groups and clusters of fibroids can be much larger. Depending on a fibroids size and location, they can affect various parts of your body, such as expanding the uterus so that it impacts other organs or blocking the fallopian tubes, which may cause difficulty conceiving.
What size of fibroid is considered large?
A fibroid is considered large when it reaches a significant size, typically exceeding 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) or more in diameter. However, the term “large” can be somewhat subjective, as the impact of a fibroid’s size on a person’s health and symptoms may vary. For some individuals, a fibroid of 5 centimeters might cause significant discomfort and require medical attention, while others may experience little to no symptoms with larger fibroids. The diagnosis and treatment of large fibroids depend on various factors, such as the patient’s symptoms, age, and overall health, and our fibroid specialists can provide personalized guidance on the most appropriate course of action.
SIZES OF UTERINE FIBROIDS RANGE FROM SMALL TO LARGE:
- Small Fibroids can be less than 1 cm to 5 cm (.39 to 1.96 inches), the size of a seed to a cherry.
- Medium Fibroids range from 5 cm to 10 cm (1.96 to 3.93 inches), the size of a plum to an orange.
- Large Fibroids can be 10 cm (3.9 inches) or more, ranging from the size of a grapefruit to a watermelon.¹
In 2018, doctors in Singapore successfully removed a so-called giant uterine fibroid weighing about 61 lbs. (28 kilograms) from a 53-year-old woman’s abdomen, according to a new report of the case ¹. The weight of large fibroids can put significant stress on the uterus and body. This, of course, is an extremely rare case of a large fibroid; however, it can be common for fibroids to weigh a few pounds, which can still negatively impact surrounding organs.
Large and medium-sized fibroids can impact surrounding organs by causing an expanded abdominal area, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, or constipation. Because the uterus sits very close to the rectum and bladder, medium to large-sized fibroids may put pressure on these organs. This isn’t inherently dangerous; however, these fibroids can lead to uncomfortable or painful symptoms.
If large fibroids (those over 10 cm) are left untreated, they may grow even larger and potentially rupture or degenerate. Large fibroids can distort your uterus’ shape and cause damage to surrounding organs, such as your bladder and bowel. In some cases, large fibroids can also impact fertility. We typically recommend removing this size of fibroid.
Any fibroid size can eventually cause problems. If left untreated, fibroid symptoms can become progressive, getting worse over time. It is important to treat fibroids early on to live a healthy, full life. Fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, frequent urination, pain during sex, fatigue caused by anemia, pelvic pain, etc., can negatively impact your life. It’s important to remember that fibroids affect both your mental and physical health. If heavy, prolonged periods, or any other symptoms take control over your decisions, it’s time to find treatment.
Without a proper diagnosis by a fibroid specialist, it is difficult to determine your fibroid’s size. Some larger fibroids may make the abdominal or belly area protrude outwards, similar to pregnancy. This can sometimes be a visible indicator that you have larger fibroids. Your doctor will use an ultrasound or magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose your fibroids.
Once diagnosed, they will work with you to create a treatment plan you feel confident with. If you know you have a large fibroid and are experiencing worsening symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a fibroid specialist.
The location of uterine fibroids is another factor that can cause your stomach to extend.
Suserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus, which allows them to press against other organs. They can also cause bloating, which may make your stomach look bigger.
Although many believe that hysterectomy is their only available option, you may be surprised to learn that the best treatment for large fibroids is often a minimally-invasive approach.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization or UFE is a non-surgical, office-based procedure to treat large and numerous fibroids. UFE works by targeting the fibroids’ nutritional and blood source: the artery. Embolic agents flow through a catheter to the fibroid and block the opening. Once the blood flow is blocked, the fibroid will naturally shrink and die. Since the embolic agents permanently stay inside the artery, it is highly unlikely for that fibroid to reoccur.
How To Treat Large Fibroids
Not all fibroid treatments work the same, especially for large fibroids. For instance, a hysteroscopic myomectomy is best suited to small fibroids that are located inside the uterus. An abdominal myomectomy can treat large fibroids, but this is considered major surgery with general anesthesia.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization(UFE), also known as Uterine Artery Embolization, is able to treat fibroids of all sizes as a minimally invasive procedure with less recovery time than other options and less risk than surgery. This treatment stops the nutrients from reaching the fibroid, which will allow it to shrink and die.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we’ve made treating your fibroid symptoms even easier with our minimally invasive treatment. We have multiple locations across the USA to help you get the relief you need regardless of the size of the fibroids.
Connecting with us is easy:
Visit our locations page to find a fibroid clinic near you.
We also offer online scheduling and accept most major insurance plans.
You may also contact us at 855.615.2555 to schedule a consultation and determine if UFE treatment is right for you.