Most fibroids are benign and may not cause any symptoms or complications. Some women may have problems with pregnancy. Pregnancy complications, like symptoms, depend on the size, location, and number of fibroids a woman has. It is even less likely that the fibroids will become cancerous.
Anemia: Because heavy bleeding is a common symptom of fibroids, losing a lot of blood may lead to anemia. The most common anemia is a deficiency in iron. A doctor may recommend iron supplements to correct this anemia.
Cancer: Cancer is not likely to develop in women with fibroids, with a rate of less than 0.1%. However, one in every 1,000 women with fibroids can develop a form of cancer called leiomyosarcoma. Leiomyosarcoma is a rare cancer of the smooth muscle, which is found in the uterus. A fibroid may be malignant if it is growing rapidly or growing after menopause. Having fibroids does not seem to increase the risk of developing other cancers.
Infertility: Fibroids can cause infertility in some women. Fibroids may cause a distortion in the fallopian tubes or block them completely. This may also interfere with sperm passing into the fallopian tubes. Submucosal fibroids may prevent the embryo from implanting and growing by affecting the surrounding endometrial lining.
Pregnancy problems: If a woman with fibroids becomes pregnant, a number of problems may occur. There may be an increased risk of miscarriage, premature labor, abnormal fetal position, and placental abruption (placenta separating from the uterine wall). However, studies have not confirmed these associations. Localized, benign pain during the first and second trimesters is the most common pregnancy complication. This pain could be due to fibroids growing larger, putting pressure on surrounding tissues, or pedunculated fibroids twisting around their stalks.
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