Watchful waiting period for uterine fibroids

If you have uterine fibroids but have mild or no symptoms, you do not need medical treatment. Instead, your health professional will check for fibroid growth and symptoms over time. This is called watchful waiting.

You may also be able to consider watchful waiting if your symptoms are tolerable and you are getting close to menopause. (When estrogen levels drop after menopause, fibroids usually shrink and symptoms subside.)

During watchful waiting, you will see your health professional for regular pelvic exams to check for fibroid growth and symptoms. Talk with your health professional to determine how often you need a checkup.

  • Large fibroids (which cause the uterus to be larger than it would be during the 12th week of pregnancy) may need to be examined every 6 months.
  • Ultrasound may be needed to monitor fibroid growth if fibroids interfere with the usual pelvic exam.

A watchful waiting period is the treatment chosen most often when fibroids have been diagnosed and:

  • They are not causing symptoms or are causing only mild symptoms.
  • You do not have anemia or severe pain.
  • Fertility is not affected or is not a concern.
  • You are approaching menopause.

Home treatment may control mild symptoms of uterine fibroids. If you develop bothersome symptoms, talk to your health professional about your treatment options.

Last Updated: August 11, 2009

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