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54 and growing fibroids
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54 and growing fibroids

I have regular heavy periods and I am 54.  Sometimes they take a few days later than they used to but pretty much regular.  My period lasted a few days longer than usual last month but otherwise the same and no bleeding in between.  I have been having a lot of abdominal pressure and bladder pressure for over 6 months so my GP ordered a CT scan with contrast.  Nothing showed up except a very englarged uterus.  My GYN is sending me for a vaginal ultrasound because my uterus is the size of a 4 month pregnancy.  I had fibroids on an ultrasound 3 years ago so they have grown.  I want to have a hystorectomy just to get it over with.  I'm just really concerned that my uterus is so large and if the fibroids or fibroid is growing so large does that mean cancer?  I am older and still having periods and my doctor seems concerned I haven't started menopause.  I am a worrier even when I don't need to but I'm really scared.

Thank you,
Mary
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Although most women have gone through menopause by age 54, you are still in the normal window. The mean age in the United States is 51. It will likely happen in the next year. Menstrual patterns like yours are also in the normal range of what happens at 54.

Having fibroids that grow can be normal or can represent a problem. It isn't usually cancer but it can be. If the CT and ultrasound seem normal, then the chances of cancer are pretty slim. Your doctor can do an office biopsy of the uterine lining to be sure there is no cancer of the lining but that does not test the fibroids. However, a normal looking CT/ultrasound means it is probably normal.

Some doctors will put an IUD into the uterus that contains progesterone such as Mireena. Sometimes that stops the bleeding or controls it until menopause comes. Others do endometrial ablation (actually a procedure where the inside lining of the uterus is heated so it can't bleed any more). Others suggest doing the hysterectomy since you are uncomfortable and it sounds like the uterus is pressing on your bladder and other internal organs. This isn't something that is going to make something bad happen, but it is unpleasant. But just because you haven't had menopause yet isn't a reason to panic. Make sure to take iron tablets and a multivitamin to be sure you don't get anemic from the extra bleeding.
Machelle Seibel, MD
5 Comments
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For what it's worth while you're waiting for the doctor's response: I had a fibroid that large taken out last year (at age 44).  And I felt so much better!  My friend had one even larger taken out.  I think they can grow to be much, much larger, and fibroids are rarely cancerous (my doctor said 1 in 10,000)....
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much for the information.  I guess my age is what worries me.  I'm trying to be more rational but I do always worry.  I've heard of very large fibroids but I expect that is mostly women in their 40's.  Just surpised mine seem to be growing at my age.  I think I will just opt for the hysterectomy just to get the worry out of my mind.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a really large fribroid tumor removed and my dr said it was the size of a 5 month fetus.  I only weighed about 100 at the time, but it was not cancerous and my dr said usually they were not.  Now I'm 52, and I have cysts on my ovaries and the main symptom was the swelling in my abdoman (I look pregnant.)  I'm going to get an "internal ultrasound" this week.  I had an MRI done, and I don't understand what the ultrasound will turn up that the scan didn't.  I'm like you--I just want them taken out.  I've gained a lot of weight in my abdoman and it's very uncomfortable.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was wondering what the centimeter size was. I ask because the  vaginal sonogram report I received listed fibroids in centimeters.  I have a Dr. appointment in 2 weeks but I wanted to know where I could get information on size
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