What You Should Know About Fibroids

Alice Shin, MD, Mass General Brigham

September 21, 2022 By Mary Kate Paris, Community Outreach Manager for Mass General Brigham and Alice Shin, MD

Did you know that fibroids affect 70 percent of people with a uterus by the time they reach menopause? While many are asymptomatic, 25 percent of these cases may cause problems requiring treatment. I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Alice Shin, who offers full service obstetrical and gynecological care including cervical cancer screening, menstrual cycle management, contraception, and care for high and low risk pregnancies, as well as major and minor gynecological surgeries.

What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are growths of muscle and fiber cells that add bulk to the uterus. They can range in size from only a few millimeters to several centimeters. They are the most common tumor found in women.

What are the symptoms of fibroids?
Symptoms, which depend on the size and location of the fibroids, can include:
1. Abnormal bleeding/heavy menstrual cycles
2. Pelvic pressure
3. Pain during sex
4. Infertility
5. Constipation
6. Frequent need to urinate
7. Complications during pregnancy

Are uterine fibroids dangerous?
While uterine fibroids are common, the vast majority of them are benign.  It is estimated that only 5 per 100,000 patients with fibroids in the United States have cancerous fibroids.

What are the treatment options for fibroids?
Treatment options can vary based on the patient's needs and priorities and include systemic or local hormonal suppression, interventional radiology procedures, or surgery such as myomectomy of hysterectomy.

You can learn more about Uterine Fibroid Treatment Options on the Brigham Health Hub.

Sponsored by Mass General Brigham.

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