Can fibroids occur post menopause?

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Women experiencing menopause deal with a variety of changes to their bodies, and fibroids can be one of those changes. If a woman has not dealt with fibroids before, she may not realize what is causing her symptoms. A physician can narrow down the cause of the problem and recommend a solution based on her age, health and the size of the fibroids.

Fibroids Defined

Fibroids are growths that develop within the walls of the uterus. The can also grow on the surface of the uterus or inside the uterine cavity. Most fibroids are benign, and women can have more than one at a time. In many cases, women may not know that they have fibroids until their doctor diagnosis the condition. Some of these growths might be tiny, but others can grow as large as an orange. Symptoms of fibroids include heavy menstrual bleeding, a bloated feeling in the abdomen, pain, and pelvic pressure. Very little information is available that suggests fibroids can be prevented, but women who are at risk for developing them can have their doctor screen them periodically.

Age and Fibroids

Researchers are not certain what cause fibroids, but genetics may provide answers. Women who have relatives who have had fibroids are more likely to develop them. Fibroids are also more common as women age, peaking when women are between 30 and 50 years old. For many women who develop fibroid tumors early, they begin to shrink later, particularly after menopause.


Fibroids After Menopause

Often women experience relief from fibroids after menopause, however a small percentage of women actually begin to develop these growths once their menstruation ceases. Researchers believe that fibroids are more of a problem during reproductive years because estrogen levels can influence their growth. Women who are taking hormone replacement therapy or who are still experiencing normal estrogen levels can still develop fibroids. Sudden drops in estrogen levels can also cause fibroids to begin or continue growing, despite menopause.

Treatment Options

For women who are hesitant to try surgery for fibroids, doctors may first recommend low-dose birth control pills or progesterone injections. These treatments are thought to help balance the hormones that can cause fibroids to continue to grow. Women in menopause may not experience severe symptoms with their fibroids, rendering treatment unnecessary. In some cases, however, surgery for fibroids is necessary due to severe pain, heavy bleeding, or an increase in urinary tract infections. While very few women need to have a hysterectomy due to uterine fibroids, this is an option and is the only permanent solution to developing more fibroids. Another type of surgery, called a myomectomy, removes only the fibroid, leaving the uterus intact but fibroids can, and often do, reoccur. The Acessa Procedure is a minimally invasive way to treating uterine fibroids.

Although they are referred to as tumors, fibroids rarely develop into something more serious, but if they continue to grow, they can cause significant pain and hamper your quality of life. If you feel that you are at risk for developing fibroids, talk to your doctor about regular screening and potential treatment options should the condition occur.