Exploring the Relationship Between Age and Fibroids in Women
July 29, 2023
How do fibroids affect women in different age groups? And – can fibroids develop from birth?
This post looks at the effects of fibroids on women in four age groups:
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop within or on the walls of the uterus.
These common benign tumours can affect women of various ages from puberty to post-menopause.
Understanding how fibroids impact women at different stages of life helps us know the associated risk factors and determine the most effective treatment options.
During puberty and adolescence (ages 10 to 19 years), hormonal changes are instrumental in developing fibroids.
Although rare at this age, we think fibroids can happen mainly due to an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels.
While most fibroids in this age group are small and asymptomatic, they can cause menstrual irregularities, such as heavy or prolonged bleeding, leading to anaemia.
So it is rare, but teenage girls can have fibroids. Treatment options typically involve hormonal therapy, including oral contraceptives, to regulate the menstrual cycle and manage symptoms.
Reproductive age (late teens to late 30s/early 40s) is the period of most significant fibroid incidence and impact.
We don’t know the exact cause of fibroids, but various factors contribute to their development during this stage.
Your genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, being obese/overweight, and your ethnicity play significant roles.
At this stage, the most troublesome fibroid s symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, urinary frequency, and fertility issues.
Treatment options depend on the severity of symptoms, the desire for future fertility, and the size and location of the fibroids.
Conservative treatments include medication to manage symptoms or hormone therapy to shrink the fibroids.
Minimally invasive procedures like uterine artery embolization (UAE) and laparoscopic myomectomy are options for women seeking to preserve fertility. In more severe cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary.
Perimenopause (around the early to late 40s and beyond), the transitional phase leading to menopause, is characterized by fluctuating hormone levels.
While fibroids may begin to shrink during this stage due to decreased estrogen levels, they can still cause symptoms.
Common symptoms at this stage include irregular bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, and increased urinary frequency.
Treatment options are similar to those for reproductive age, with hormone therapy or minimally invasive procedures effectively managing symptoms.
In some cases, if the fibroids cause significant issues or are large, your doctor may advise you to consider a hysterectomy.
Post-menopause (51 years and beyond) is the stage after the menstrual cycles have stopped for one year.
Fibroids tend to decrease in size, and symptoms may improve during this period due to the low estrogen levels.
However, post-menopausal women with fibroids still require monitoring as they can occasionally cause symptoms such as pelvic discomfort or urinary problems.
Treatment options depend on the severity of symptoms and may include hormone therapy or, if necessary, surgical intervention.
Do women get fibroids from birth? No, we believe that in addition to other factors, hormone imbalance leads to fibroids developing. This doesn’t start till a girl starts puberty, so fibroids do not exist from birth.
Fibroids can significantly impact women of different ages, from adolescence to post-menopause. Risk factors, such as hormonal imbalances, genetics, obesity, and ethnicity, contribute to their development.
Treatment options range from conservative management with medication or hormonal therapy to minimally invasive procedures like UAE or myomectomy. Hysterectomy may be considered in severe cases or when fertility preservation is not a concern.
Understanding the effects of fibroids at different ages helps doctors to provide appropriate treatment options and support to women dealing with this condition throughout their lives.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners to help promote quality healthcare.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
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