Uterine fibroids are common among women of childbearing age. About 40 to 60 percent of women may have them, and most don’t even know it.\nWhat Are Uterine Fibroids?\nUterine fibroids are tumors of smooth muscle tissue that grow inside or outside the uterus. They can grow alone or in a cluster.\nThese growths are almost always benign and do not increase your risk of cancer. For most women, they are small and don’t cause symptoms.\nWhat Increases My Risk?\nDoctors don’t know exactly what causes the growths, but it seems that they may have a genetic cause. Estrogen and progesterone also make them grow larger.\nOther factors that contribute to the growth of fibroids include:\n\nAfrican-American descent\nFamily history\nObesity\nA diet high in red meat\nFirst period before age 10\n\nVegetables seem to protect against developing fibroids.\nWhat Are the Symptoms and Complications of Fibroids?\nOnly about a quarter of women with fibroids experience symptoms or problems because of them. They may grow very slow or can be fast growing.\nSigns that you may be developing fibroids include:\n\nHeavy bleeding during periods\nBleeding between periods\nPain in your low back or belly\nPressure or fullness in your belly\nPain during sex\nSeveral miscarriages or trouble getting pregnant\n\nInfertility because of fibroids is rare, but their location in the uterus can make it more challenging to become pregnant.\nHeavy bleeding with your periods can cause you to feel tired or become anemic. Over-the-counter iron supplements can help. You can also take ibuprofen or other pain relievers to help with cramps.\nLarge fibroids can cause your stomach to swell, giving you a bloated look. They can also put pressure on your bladder, making you need to use the bathroom more often.\nSerious complications from fibroids are uncommon. If you begin having trouble, talk to your doctor about treatment options for fibroids. Birth control pills or other hormone therapy may be able to improve the symptoms of fibroids. You have many other treatment options available if needed.\nIf you are nearing menopause, you may not need treatment. Once women enter menopause, their estrogen levels drop, and the fibroids shrink or go away.\nFor more information on uterine fibroids, please contact the Magee Fibroid Treatment Center at\u00a0412-641-4435.