Signs of Fibroids Breaking Down

Uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors that grow inside or on the muscular uterine walls, impact up to 80% of women in the United States. While some women with fibroids do not experience symptoms, others with large fibroids may struggle with heavy periods, severe cramps, and a range of other issues.

Fibroids can also cause acute pelvic pain, which can be a result of fibroid degeneration. Below, we discuss this process  and the common signs of fibroids breaking down. If you believe you are experiencing uterine fibroid degeneration, our experienced fibroid specialists will help you determine the correct  treatment.

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The first step in determining the best treatment for degenerative fibroids is understanding how they grow. The causes of fibroids are not entirely understood. However, hormones like estrogen and progesterone may contribute to their development and growth.

Fibroids are made up of living cells and require oxygen and other nutrients in the blood to grow. They receive the nutrients they need through a uterine artery and attached blood vessels.


When the connecting blood vessels cannot provide enough oxygen to a fibroid, the cells begin to die, or degenerate. When a fibroid degenerates, it shrinks back to a smaller size that the blood supply can support.

Though fibroid degeneration occurs naturally, it can cause discomfort and other concerns if not treated. The good news is that when you recognize the symptoms, you can seek help from a fibroid specialist.

Degeneration Symptoms 

  • Acute pain: The most common symptom of a degenerating fibroid is acute pelvic pain focused on the site of the fibroid. You may experience it as a sharp pain in the abdomen accompanied by swelling. This symptom can last from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Chronic pain: People with fibroids sometimes experience less severe, though longer-lasting, pelvic pain as a result of fibroid degeneration. Though this symptom may seem less significant, it’s still important to mention it to your doctor. Treatment for fibroids could significantly improve your comfort and quality of life.
  • Fever: Fibroid degeneration can cause a mild fever. If you have a fever and don’t know the cause, seek advice from your doctor.
  • Bleeding: In rare cases, a degenerating fibroid may cause severe bleeding. You should seek immediate care for abnormally heavy bleeding during menstruation, even if it occurs during your period.
  • Discharge: Some women experience fibroid degeneration discharge. This can be watery or tinged with blood. 

In rare cases, a fibroid growing inside the uterus can become twisted, blocking blood flow to the fibroid entirely. When this happens, symptoms last significantly longer than they would normally, and may require treatment.

Are Degenerative Fibroids Painful?

Degenerative fibroids can be painful, causing severe abdominal pain. You may experience acute pain on the side where the fibroid is located. The pain may subside in a few days. However, the pain may also return if the fibroid grows and begins to degenerate again.

Can Degenerative Fibroids Be Cancerous?

Degenerative fibroids are benign, or non-cancerous, tumors. They are not associated with any increase in the risk of uterine cancer. However, these growths can be mistaken for cancer if they aren’t diagnosed correctly. It is important to visit a fibroid specialist for an accurate diagnosis.

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Fibroid Degeneration and Pregnancy

Some women with fibroids may have difficulty getting pregnant or experience complications while pregnant. Fibroid degeneration can occur during pregnancy, usually during the second or third trimester, and typically involves large fibroids. This can be alarming for pregnant women, especially if abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding.

If you are pregnant and experience signs of fibroid degeneration, be sure to contact your doctor immediately.


A degenerating fibroid during pregnancy is known as necrobiosis. The primary symptoms of this condition are severe bleeding and sudden, sharp abdominal pain. The symptoms of a necrotic fibroid can even be mistaken for a miscarriage, so your first step should always be to contact your doctor for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options. A heating pad may provide temporary relief, but over-the-counter pain medications should be avoided until you’ve spoken with your doctor.

Treatment with Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Minimally invasive treatment exists for uterine fibroids in the form of Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). If you suffer from degenerative fibroids, this safe, non-surgical procedure may provide relief. One of our expert fibroid specialists will insert a tiny catheter into the artery connected to the fibroid, injecting embolic agents that stop blood flow. This treatment can cause the fibroids to shrink and die instead of regrowing, as with degenerative fibroids.

UFE is an outpatient procedure with an average recovery time of one or two weeks. No anesthesia is required, and the treatment doesn’t cause any scarring. Patients generally experience less pain than other treatment options, and because the uterus is left intact, UFE does not affect fertility.

Explore Your Treatment Options at USA Fibroid Centers

In the short term, you may be able to manage fibroid degeneration symptoms at home. However, you should always have new symptoms evaluated and notify your fibroid specialist if your symptoms begin to worsen or impact your normal activities.

To break the cycle of fibroid degeneration and prevent additional suffering, we recommend seeking treatment for uterine fibroids. USA Fibroid Centers provides uterine fibroid embolization that can shrink fibroids and may prevent fibroid degeneration.

UFE is performed in an outpatient setting and involves a short recovery period that typically takes only one to two weeks.

The leading fibroid specialists at USA Fibroid Centers can help identify the best treatment for your individual situation. Initial consultations are available at dozens of locations nationwide. We also offer telemedicine options. Our services, including telemedicine visits, are covered by most insurance plans. If you want to verify your coverage before you schedule a consultation at one of our locations, call us at 855.615.2555.

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Don’t Suffer Another Day

Life with fibroids can be painful and challenging. Timely detection and treatment of fibroids can relieve symptoms, as well as reduce your risk for hysterectomy.

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