Can Fibroids Shrink On Their Own?
Published on 05/20/22
If you find yourself experiencing intense cramps, heavy periods, and frequent urination, you may be experiencing uterine fibroid symptoms. Many women who experience these symptoms find that they are a hindrance to their life and can interrupt their ability to perform daily tasks.
How To Deal With Uterine Fibroids
Most patients wonder what the procedure is when it comes to dealing with fibroids. Do they shrink on their own? Do they require treatment? Here’s some information to note: sometimes fibroids can shrink when women go through hormonal changes like menopause or post-pregnancy. However, these hormonal changes only come once or a couple times in a lifetime and may not be enough for daily relief. Aside from shrinking, there are a few ways to manage fibroids with lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy body weight by exercising regularly, keeping your body mass index at a healthy number, and eating a more fibroid-friendly diet.
These can improve your symptoms but the cause for the issue may still be a mystery. As a treatment option – there is a minimally-invasive treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, which is an outpatient procedure known for its effectiveness to shrink the fibroids while still preserving the uterus and resolving any inconvenient symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about what works best for you.
Fibroids May Go Away On Their Own
If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you’ve probably wondered, “Will my fibroids shrink on their own?” It depends. These circumstances rely on your age and possibly a few other factors that vary per patient. Eventually your fibroids may go away by themselves, but there is no guarantee that this can or will happen. If you are suffering from symptoms that affect your daily life, the best recommendation is to look into treatment options to avoid suffering for years hoping your symptoms go away on their own.
Fibroid treatment can be both surgical or non-surgical. Talk to your healthcare provider to help make the best informed decision.
How Do Fibroids Shrink?
Because the cause of fibroids are not entirely understood, it is hard to determine if and when fibroids will shrink and go away, if at all. The cause of these types of growths have been linked to hormones like progesterone and estrogen. Uterine fibroids develop when these hormones are at higher levels, more commonly during pregnancy. It’s been known that many women notice that their fibroids often shrink when these hormone levels reduce. Notably around menopause and after childbirth. The majority of women experience fibroids by age 50, which is approximately 70 to 80% total.
Fibroids can increase in size at different rates in different people. Some people experience rapidly growing fibroids with worsening symptoms, whereas other women hardly notice their fibroids and they gradually disappear on their own. A fibroid-friendly diet – rich in fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole milk, eggs, and low in fats and red meat, may slow the growth of fibroids or at least, reduce symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your fibroids will shrink and it’s recommended that you look into treatments like Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
Are There Signs Of Fibroids Are Shrinking?
Whether you’re experiencing hormonal changes or chose the UFE treatment, you’re going to want to keep tabs on the signs that your fibroids are shrinking. Aside from the reduction in your symptoms, you may also experience:
- Less or no pain during intercourse
- Lighter periods
- Less frequent urination
- Less severe cramping
- More energy
- Less or no back pain
The best general rule is if you’re experiencing any major changes to contact your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis.
The Benefits Of Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Whether you decided to not wait and see if your fibroids shrink on their own and decided on UFE treatment over surgery. There are some major benefits to consider when treating fibroids with UFE:
- Takes only 30-45 minutes
- General anesthesia is not necessary
- Less overall risk
- Doesn’t effect the uterus
- Fairly quick recovery of one to two weeks
- A minimally-invasive technique
- Less pain involved
- Hospital stay is not necessary
- No stitches or scarring
Other Treatment Options
A fibroid’s growth is dependent on a woman’s estrogen production. So as a woman approaches menopause most fibroids will stop growing or shrink. Your healthcare provider may first recommend “watchful waiting” depending on your symptoms and age. “Watchful waiting” means your symptoms may be monitored to ensure your fibroids aren’t growing or causing any major symptoms.
Your healthcare provider may not see treatment as necessary if you’re not in major discomfort such as excessive bleeding or bladder problems. Fibroids will continue to grow each year until menopause. Your doctor will conduct examinations to determine the treatment that is best for you. The types of treatment options recommended could be dependent on::
- Overall health
- Medical history
- Desire to conceive
- Your preference
- Tolerance to procedures, therapies, and medications
- The condition of your fibroids
- Your expectations
There are also other options for shrinking fibroids without the need for surgery. They may, or may not include:
Medication. This could help improve symptoms like bleeding and pain. It doesn’t make the fibroids disappear permanently but it could be beneficial to explore the idea before any procedures. The medication options could include:
- Hormonal contraceptives like birth control or shots
- Leuprolife acetate which creates a temporary menopause and reduces estrogen production
- Tranexamic acid, a non hormonal medication taken during the menstrual cycle
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin
These options could benefit specific demographics of women. Contraceptives may be a better and more appropriate option for younger, sexually active women, however, older women may prefer a non hormonal treatment.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization. As mentioned, this is a minimally invasive treatment option that has been proven to be 85% successful. This treatment is appropriate for women who deal with an enlarged uterus. UFE shrinks fibroids by using imaging to identify the artery that supplies blood to the fibroids. Once the artery is found, the blood flow is restricted and deprives the fibroids of nutrients. This will help shrink the fibroids without surgery. This procedure is great for women who are not pregnant and have symptoms like severe cramping, bloating, excessive bleeding, frequent urination and cramping.
Endometrial Ablation. Another option for women with a normal-sized uterus and over the age of 44 is an endometrial ablation. This treatment destroys the lining of the uterus and doesn’t allow for future pregnancies. However, this procedure can increase the risk for a hysterectomy for younger women.
If You’re Dealing With Uterine Fibroids, Call Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine Today
Uterine fibroids represent the most common gynecologic tumors, affecting about 20-50% of women of reproductive age.
These uterine growths can produce pain and heavy bleeding and may interfere with your ability to get pregnant. The doctors at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine have years of experience treating fibroids, including using minimally-invasive surgery. If you have pelvic pain, please call their office in the Midtown East area of New York City, or schedule an appointment online.