If you have uterine fibroids, you may wonder what causes them to grow. Although the exact cause of fibroid growth is unknown, we know that fibroids are influenced by estrogen. It is often observed that fibroids go through growth spurts. 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 Size and Location of Fibroids
What is considered a large fibroid? 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 their size and location, fibroids 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 Is Considered a Large Fibroid?
A large fibroid is one that is 10 cm or more in diameter. The largest fibroids can range from the size of a grapefruit to the size of a watermelon.
The Sizes Of Uterine Fibroids Range From Small to Large:
- Small Fibroids can be less than 1 cm to 5 cm, the size of a seed to a cherry.
- Medium Fibroids range from 5 cm to 10 cm, the size of a plum to an orange.
- Large Fibroids can be 10 cm or more, ranging from the size of a grapefruit to a watermelon.
The largest fibroid ever removed was reported to weigh over 100 lbs. You can imagine how the weight of large fibroids can put 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.
Without a proper diagnosis by a fibroid specialist, it is tough 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. When fibroids go untreated and continue to grow, they can cause even more health complications.
Which Size of Fibroid Is Dangerous?
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.
What Size Fibroids Should Be Removed?
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 size of fibroid can eventually cause problems, though. 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.
Do Large Fibroids Go Away on Their Own?
We understand that you may prefer to avoid treatment in hopes that your fibroids will disappear. However, we want you to be aware that large fibroids don’t just go away on their own in the vast majority of cases.
While large fibroids can shrink enough over time to alleviate painful and unpleasant symptoms, this process is unusual. The reduction in size tends to occur when hormone levels in the body are reduced, such as after menopause or childbirth.
Size is not the only factor to consider when discussing treatment. While we may recommend intervention for large fibroids to avoid additional health issues, small- and medium-sized fibroids can also cause problems and require treatment.
The bottom line is that individual cases vary. No matter your situation, consulting with a fibroid specialist can help you determine the best course of treatment.
How Many Fibroids Are a Lot?
Women are often diagnosed with more than one fibroid, although it is also possible to have just a single growth. The average number of fibroids is six or seven when diagnosed. More fibroids than this are considered higher than average.
How Many Fibroids Is Too Many?
It is difficult to say exactly how many fibroids are considered too many. The answer really depends on whether your fibroids are causing life-altering symptoms. Some women with a single fibroid experience significant pain and discomfort, while others with dozens of fibroids are completely asymptomatic.
If you have multiple fibroids, Uterine Fibroid Embolization is likely a better treatment option than surgery. This is because the more fibroids you have, the more surgical incisions are required.
Best Treatment for Large Fibroids
What size of fibroids needs surgery? 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.
Contact USA Fibroid Centers Today!
At USA Fibroid Centers, we’ve made treating your fibroid symptoms even easier. Our centers are rooted within the communities we serve; therefore, there’s a good chance we have a fibroid treatment center in your neighborhood. Visit our locations page to find a clinic near you or give us a call at 855.615.2555 to schedule your initial appointment today.