Can uterine fibroids cause permanent damage?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Up to 80% of women have fibroids by the time they reach age 40. Fibroids can prevent a pregnancy from taking hold and can cause enough bleeding to trigger severe blood loss and anemia. While most are less than a few centimeters in diameter, some can grow as large as a grapefruit and can elbow organs in the abdomen, causing urinary frequency and changes in bowel habits.
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No. Fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus. They may or may not cause symptoms to the woman, but irrespective of this, they do not cause any permanent damage to the uterus or other adjacent organs. The decision to treat fibroids is based entirely on whether or not there are significant symptoms experienced by the patient. If not, these fibroids are mere "passengers" in the uterus, and can be left alone, as they do not cause any damage to the uterus.

Uterine fibroids themselves may be permanent if women don't undergo treatment, but in those cases, they aren't dangerous and cause no real damage. Women whose uterine fibroids are causing severe symptoms usually undergo treatment, which gets rid of the fibroids and generally prevents any permanent damage. Sometimes, though, the treatment itself may cause permanent damage: The only guaranteed cure for uterine fibroids is hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the entire uterus. After hysterectomy, women are no longer able to have children.

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.