Can I get uterine fibroids again even if I've been treated for them before?

Edmond E. Pack, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
When a doctor removes fibroids, he or she may not see others that have not yet grown enough. In this video, I will explain that it's these fibroids that present later.
Yes. There are global treatments and local treatments for fibroids. The 2 global treatments are hysterectomy and UFE. Local treatments for fibroids include surgical myomectomy (surgically removing of a portion of the fibroid burden) and more recently MRI guided focused ultrasound (MRIgFUS). If a women undergoes hysterectomy, she will never have fibroids again. The vast majority of women treated with UFE (particularly over 40 years of age) will never deal with fibroids again because it treats all of the fibroids that a women has at the time of the procedure (i.e. a global therapy). Surgical myomectomy is a procedure, which attempts to remove a number of the fibroids from the uterus surgically. Because fibroids are commonly numerous in the uterus, living fibroids are often left behind that cannot be removed surgically, because the surgeon needs to ensure an intact uterus at the end of the operation. In fact, there is a small percentage of patient's that undergo myomectomy that will wake up with a hysterectomy (2%-5%). The fibroids that remain after the surgery will grow over time and often lead to a recurrence of symptoms. MRIgFUS is an innovative procedure that can target (usually no more than 3) fibroids with a special MRI machine. The machine is directed by the physician to deliver a beam of focused ultrasound energy the size of a jellybean, which will destroy the fibroid but leave the adjacent normal tissue unharmed (analogous to burning a spot on a leaf with a magnifying lens). Many jellybean spots are delivered to treat the entire fibroid, and therefore currently the procedure times can be rather lengthy (3-4 hours). However, once the procedure is over the patient can leave the treatment center and can resume normal activities the following day. The biggest obstacle facing this treatment modality currently is the paucity of insurance companies that will cover this procedure. None of the other treatments have this limitation.
Evelyn Minaya, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Watch as Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Evelyn Minaya discusses if you can get uterine fibroids again, even if you've been treated for them before. health.

It's possible to develop uterine fibroids again even if you've already been treated for them. If you've had fibroids that you've treated with medication, chances are that they never really went away - medications usually just reduce symptoms and shrink the fibroids without actually getting rid of them. Some women may undergo surgical procedures to remove the fibroids alone. This may be done through myomectomy (cutting them out), uterine artery embolization (blocking blood flow to the fibroids), ultrasound surgery, or a variety of other procedures. However, after most of these treatments, the fibroids may grow back. If they grow back without causing symptoms, no further treatment is needed. But if they grow back and are problematic, further treatment, including hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), may be needed.

Continue Learning about Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

If you have uterine fibroids, you may never even notice that they are there. Ranging from the size of a small seed to grapefruit-sized, fibroids are tumors on the uterus that rarely cause harm. Some women have true discomfort with ...

fibroids, including pain in the abdomen or low back, or pain during sex. Sometimes, uterine fibroids can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, or even lead to infertility. Women in their 40s and 50s, women of African-American descent and women that are overweight are at higher risk of developing fibroids, although an estimated 20-80% of women will have them at some point before they turn 50. If your doctor notices fibroids during an ultrasound or pelvic exam, he or she may want to treat them with medication or surgery.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.