Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” is available in the About Uterine Fibroids section. Answers to other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) specific to uterine fibroids are in this section.
If you have fibroids, you may still be able to get pregnant. Many women who have fibroids get pregnant naturally. Advances in treatments for fibroids and for infertility have greatly improved women’s chances of getting pregnant. If you have fibroids and wish to become pregnant, consult with a knowledgeable health care provider about your fibroids and your chances of getting and staying pregnant.
Some women with fibroids do have trouble getting pregnant. Current research suggests that certain kinds of fibroids that change the shape and size of the space inside the uterus can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, even with in vitro fertilization.1 But treating fibroids can improve your chances of getting and staying pregnant.
Fibroids can also cause pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage, preterm delivery, abnormal position of the fetus, and the need for cesarean (C-section or surgical) delivery. Fibroids can also increase the risk of heavy bleeding after delivery.2
Hysterectomy (pronounced hiss-tur-EK-toh-mee) is the removal of the uterus. It is the only certain cure for uterine fibroids. But it is not the only treatment option, and it is not the best treatment for every woman with fibroids.
If you want to keep your uterus and/or get pregnant in the future, talk to your doctor about other treatments before having a hysterectomy. If your fibroids are small or if you have minor or no symptoms of fibroids, medical treatments may be effective good option. Surgeries that remove the fibroids without removing the uterus are also possible treatment options.
To learn more about treatment options, read the section What are the treatments for uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are not cancerous, and they very rarely develop into cancer.3
In a very small number of patients with a condition called hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC), the fibroids are linked to kidney cancer. However, this association is not seen in women who do not have HLRCC.4
In most cases, fibroids stop growing or they shrink without treatment. Once a woman goes through menopause, fibroids often shrink, but this is not true for all women. Interestingly, each of a woman’s fibroids may grow or shrink at different times.
- Yan, L., Ding, L., Li, C., Wang, Y., Tang, R., & Chen, Z. J. (2014). Effect of fibroids not distorting the endometrial cavity on the outcome of in vitro fertilization treatment: A retrospective cohort study. Fertility and Sterility, 101(3), 716-721. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24424367
- National Library of Medicine. (2015). Uterine fibroids. MedlinePlus. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000914.htm
- Levy, B., Mukherjee, T., & Hirschhorn, K. (2000). Molecular cytogenetic analysis of uterine leiomyoma and leiomyosarcoma by comparative genomic hybridization. Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics, 121(1), 1-8.
- Pithukpakorn, M., & Toro, J.R. (2015). Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1252/