Are fibroids dangerous? These muscular tumors form in your uterus and aren’t inherently bad for you. Yet, for many women, they cause disruptive symptoms, including heavy periods, pelvic pain and painful intercourse, just to name a few. Even worse? New evidence suggests that they can increase your risk for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). And since that can be a life-threatening condition, it’s worth paying serious attention to your fibroids.
What are Fibroids?
These are common, non-cancerous tumors that range in size from 1mm to over 8cm in diameter or more. They’re formed from smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue, and can develop inside or outside your uterus.
What is a DVT?
Simply put, this is a blood clot that develops in your body’s deep veins, buried well beneath the surface of your skin. This clot is dangerous because it can dislodge from your vein, travel through your blood and reach your lungs, where it can get stuck and block all blood flow. (We call this a pulmonary embolism.)
Are Fibroids Dangerous? The DVT Connection
On their own, fibroids shouldn’t be dangerous. (Although, over time, heavy bleeding from fibroids can leave you with anemia.) Still, a study in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology revealed that people with uterine fibroids have a higher risk of developing DVT.
To reach that conclusion, researchers collected data related to adult women who had fibroids and who had a blood-clot-related complication. Then, they followed those 73 women on their health journey between the dates of January 2012 and December 2019. Here’s what they learned:
- All the women with fibroids had a DVT in their lower body. That was true even for the women whose clots broke free and became a pulmonary embolism.
- For almost 66% of those women, there was no clear reason why their clots formed. And, for the remaining women, the clots formed after patients chose to treat their fibroids with a hysterectomy.
This study is important because it helps us see that delaying fibroid treatment can be dangerous. (As can choosing surgery over less invasive fibroid treatment options.) Clearly, if you’re living with a uterine fibroid diagnosis, it’s important to carefully research your treatment choices. And, while you wait, make sure to learn the signs of a DVT. These include:
Sudden or unusual pain, swelling, or warmth in your leg or arm
Skin that turns red or loses color
Abnormally large, visible veins near the surface of your skin
Sudden unexplained seizure or severe headache
Want to avoid a fibroid-related DVT? It’s important to follow the advice of your vein health specialist. But it’s equally important to treat your fibroids in ways that won’t increase your risk for DVT. So, for that reason, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our Houston area fibroid specialists. Together, we’ll discuss whether uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE, is right for you!