Fibroids are tumors or growths that develop in the uterus muscles. These growths are common and may affect up to 50% of women during some point in their life.
Fibroids tend to mainly affect women in their 30’s and 40’s. Fibroids tend to affect Black women more frequently.
Fibroids are almost always benign. Fibroids need estrogen to grow. After menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels decrease, which usually decreases the chances of developing fibroids. Oftentimes, fibroids shrink or cause fewer symptoms for women who reach menopause.
Symptoms of fibroids remain the same regardless of a woman’s age, however. Common symptoms include:
- Enlarged or swollen abdomen
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Pain in the back of the legs
- Painful sex
- Pressure on the bladder or bowels
- Lower back pain
How to Prevent and Treat Fibroids After Menopause
Treatment for fibroids is wide-ranging. Some women without symptoms elect to watch and wait, while women who have severe symptoms may need a complete removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
Factors that go into a treatment plan include:
- Location of the fibroids
- Size of the fibroids
- The woman’s age