When it comes to fibroid size, you may be surprised to know that they can grow to be as small as a pea or as large as a watermelon. Moreover, they can develop either singularly or in multiples. Where a single fibroid can be as small as an inch in diameter, groups, clusters, or individual fibroids can be significantly larger. In fact, the largest fibroid ever removed from a surviving human weighed over 100lbs. While cases like those above are extremely rare, the question is, does fibroid size really matter?
Here’s what you need to know…
While size or growth can have an impact on your health, it isn’t the only factor that determines whether a fibroid is likely to be problematic. Location can also be a deciding element. Submucosal fibroids, for example, that develop just underneath the uterine lining can expand into the uterus cavity if they are large enough. As a result, they can block the fallopian tubes which may, in turn, cause fertility problems.
Uterine Fibroid Size Chart
For ease of classification, doctors refer to the size of a uterine fibroid utilizing a quick reference chart. This is as follows:
- Small fibroid – less than 1-5 cms in length (Size of a pea to a cherry)
- Medium fibroid – 5cms -10cms (size of a plum to a large orange)
- Large fibroid – 10cms or more (Size of a grapefruit and above)
Of course, larger fibroids (apart from being uncomfortable) aren’t always guaranteed to cause problems, just as a smaller fibroid doesn’t always guarantee that there is nothing to worry about. More often than not, however, without the aid of a proper diagnosis, it isn’t always easy to determine fibroid presence, let alone the size.
Here at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), Dr. Akinwande use the latest diagnostic methods including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to detect the presence of uterine fibroids.
If fibroids are diagnosed, Dr. Akinwande will work closely with you to develop a custom treatment plan to shrink them using the latest minimally invasive, non-surgical methods such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
So, are larger fibroids dangerous?
Fibroids themselves aren’t usually life-threatening although they can cause inherent problems. Medium or large-sized fibroids, for example, can press on the bladder and bowel causing frequent urination or constipation issues. Also, larger fibroids often cause more discomfort and embarrassment because they are usually more noticeable – think extended stomach!
Fibroid Treatment – Is Hysterectomy the Only Answer?
Not a million years ago, the only way to remove a uterine fibroid was for a woman to undergo a full-hysterectomy. While this process works, it is a drastic solution and one that has obvious consequences for women looking to conceive in the future.
Nowadays, however, techniques like Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) utilize minimally invasive keyhole processes to dramatically shrink the fibroid in situ and can be performed on any fibroid size.
The obvious advantage is that the patient doesn’t need to undergo a lengthy operation with weeks of recovery ahead. Instead, patients being treated using the latest UFE techniques can return to normal activity quickly while the uterus remains fully intact – thus being able to maintain fertility.
Do All Fibroids Need Treatment Irrespective of Fibroid Size?
In a word no! Smaller fibroids in certain areas may cause no problems or symptoms at all. For these reasons, your doctor may suggest doing nothing at all and instead will look to monitor the situation closely. It may be that the fibroid doesn’t ever increase in size and this is as big as it gets. Alternatively, slow and steady growth over several months or years may determine that action needs to be taken.
What About Fibroid Shrinkage?
We know that fibroids can grow – some more rapidly than others – but can the opposite occur? Can fibroids shrink too?
It is possible that large fibroids can shrink and become small fibroids, particularly after the menopause, and for this reason, some doctors might suggest waiting to see what happens. However, if you are a long way from reaching menopause and experiencing heavy or prolonged periods or a host of other symptoms that are making your life miserable, you shouldn’t have to suffer. Come and talk to Dr. Akinwande and the team at MINT STL.
We make treating your fibroids, no matter what size, both easy and convenient. Book an appointment today and take the necessary steps to get back control of your life.