Do uterine fibroids get worse over time?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Uterine fibroids may continue to grow if they're left untreated, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll cause worse symptoms over time. If uterine fibroids aren't causing any symptoms, doctors may not recommend any treatment other than frequent check-ups to make sure that the fibroids aren't growing. Usually, uterine fibroids start out as tiny growths, and some may stay small but others may grow as large as a basketball. The larger the fibroid, the more likely that it will cause symptoms and require treatment. Sometimes, fibroids can re-grow and worsen even after they're treated once. If you experience any new symptoms, or if your symptoms suddenly worsen, see your doctor to make sure your uterine fibroids aren't growing.

The symptoms from uterine fibroids (most commonly heavy uterine bleeding, pelvic pain, and increased urinary frequency) can get worse over time as the fibroids grow under hormonal stimulation. However, there are many women who can have fibroids in their uterus throughout their entire life and not have any symptoms from them (i.e. "passenger" fibroids), and therefore not need any treatment. Diet (low fat, increase fruits/vegetables) and exercise (lower weight, lower body fat) are always helpful, and if their are no symptoms or the symptoms are mild, these may be the only things a woman needs to do. Fibroid symptoms typically cease when a woman goes in to menopause (i.e. withdrawl of hormonal stimulation). 
Rafael J. Perez, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Uterine fibroids can become worse over time in the presentation of the symptoms. The patient may experience heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual periods, bleeding in between periods, abdominal fullness accompanied by gas or constipation, painful periods, increase in urinary frequency and painful intercourse.

Continue Learning about Uterine Fibroids

What increases my risk for uterine fibroids?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Although the exact cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, there are several factors that may affect y...
More Answers
Should I be concerned about fibroids if I’m entering menopause?
Dr. John C. Lipman, MDDr. John C. Lipman, MD
No. Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous tumors). They are usually are not an issue for women in menop...
More Answers
How Large Can Fibroids Grow?
How Large Can Fibroids Grow?
When Is a Myomectomy Better Than a UFE?
When Is a Myomectomy Better Than a UFE?

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.