Uterine Fibroids

What are Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are lumps of tissue (tumors) in your womb (uterus). They are not cancer (are benign).

Most women with this condition do not need treatment. Sometimes fibroids can affect your ability to have children (your fertility). If that happens, you may need surgery to take out the fibroids.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor. Your doctor may suggest NSAIDs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) to help with pain.
  • Ask your doctor if you should:
    • Take iron pills.
    • Eat more foods that have iron in them, such as dark green, leafy vegetables.
  • If directed, apply heat to your back or belly to reduce pain. Use the heat source that your doctor recommends, such as a moist heat pack or a heating pad.
    • Put a towel between your skin and the heat source.
    • Leave the heat on for 20–30 minutes.
    • Remove the heat if your skin turns bright red. This is especially important if you are unable to feel pain, heat, or cold. You may have a greater risk of getting burned.
  • Pay close attention to your period (menstrual) cycles. Tell your doctor about any changes, such as:
    • A heavier blood flow than usual.
    • Needing to use more pads or tampons than normal.
    • A change in how many days your period lasts.
    • A change in symptoms that come with your period, such as cramps or back pain.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important. Your doctor may need to watch your fibroids over time for any changes.

Contact a doctor if you:

  • Have pain that does not get better with medicine or heat, such as pain or cramps in:
    • Your back.
    • The area between your hip bones (pelvic area).
    • Your belly.
  • Have new bleeding between your periods.
  • Have more bleeding during or between your periods.
  • Feel very tired or weak.
  • Feel light-headed.

Get help right away if you:

  • Pass out (faint).
  • Have pain in the area between your hip bones that suddenly gets worse.
  • Have bleeding that soaks a tampon or pad in 30 minutes or less.

Summary

  • Uterine fibroids are lumps of tissue (tumors) in your womb (uterus). They are not cancer.
  • The only treatment that most women need is taking aspirin or ibuprofen for pain.
  • Contact a doctor if you have pain or cramps that do not get better with medicine.
  • Make sure you know what symptoms you should get help for right away.
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