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Women's Health

Can Fibroids and Endometrosis Disappear?

08/03/2011

Question:

Can fibroids and endometriosis disappear/come and go without treatment? What types of testing would show if they are still there, or got worse? Could they increase cancer risk, or turn into cancer?

Answer:

Fibroids and endometriosis are two entirely different problems, but they do share a few things in common.  The term "fibroids" refers to leiomyomata, or smooth muscle tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus.  They can be there with no problems at all, or they can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual pain, or difficulty carrying a pregnancy.  Endometriosis is a condition with uterine glandular tissue resting in places outside of the uterus.  Again, it can cause no symptoms, or it can cause pelvic pain, menstrual cramping, or infertility.

Both conditions are very common.  Both are dependent on the hormones that trigger menstrual periods to grow, so that they do not appear before puberty, and usually resolve (or shrink) on their own after menopause.  Also, both are entirely benign and cannot cause or lead to cancer.

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Response by:

Jonathan  A Schaffir, MD Jonathan A Schaffir, MD
Clnical Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University