What a mystery fibroids are. But what doesn’t seem to be a mystery is that they seem to be dependent upon the female hormone estrogen which is why although fibroids can develop in any woman of any age, they seem to begin in women of child-bearing age when estrogen levels are at their highest levels. This can lead you think that once menopause comes around, they should go away because natural estrogen levels during this time are at an all-time low which is why many women ask “will fibroids shrink after menopause?”
While there are many other hormones in the body such as progesterone and so forth and maintaining a proper balance between these various hormones is said to promote gynecological health, the focus when uterine fibroids are discussed is usually on estrogen.
This is because while the exact causes of fibroid tumors remain unknown, it has been noted that women in an estrogen dominant state (which your doctor may be able to determine using various tests including urine tests), have been shown to have large and rapidly growing fibroid tumors.
In addition, during certain times in a woman’s life such as pregnancy or during perimenopause when hormone levels are extremely high or fluctuate, the rapid growth of fibroids has also been noted as well as the various symptoms of fibroids usually making their presence known during these estrogen dominant times.
But just because you have an estrogen dominant state does not mean that you will necessarily develop fibroids or have rapidly growing myoma which is where the mystery of fibroids comes into play because other factors some known and some unknown may also come into play.
With the onset of menopause which results in decreased levels of estrogen signaling the end of ovulation in a woman’s life, fibroids rarely develop during this period. The fibroids during menopause are usually those that are carried over from the previous stage of a woman’s life. No new tumors usually develop because the estrogen that fibroids feed upon is significantly decreased during menopause.
While most women are believed to develop fibroids at some point in their lives (with black women in greater numbers than women of other races), most do not produce any symptoms and many may even go away on their own. By the time menopause rolls around, about 40 percent of women or so will cruise into menopause with these tumors.
Will fibroids shrink after menopause? As has been noted above, high levels of hormones such as estrogen have been associated with the development and the rapid growth of fibroids but at the same time, it has been noted that fibroids seem to shrink in menopausal women however, it is not a given that just because you are in menopause, your fibroid tumors will completely disappear although it is possible that some of the smaller fibroid tumors may disintegrate completely during menopause. How much they will shrink will also vary from one woman to another.
What is most common in menopausal women with fibroids is a general decrease in size and if you suffered from various symptoms of uterine fibroids prior to menopause, these symptoms should go away during menopause and you should be able to ignore the fibroid tumors even if they do not completely go away because they will usually not interfere with your life.
But it is still possible to deal with the various symptoms during menopause such as heavy bleeding. If you are still dealing with these during menopause, you may want to have a talk with your doctor to rule out cancer which is rare with fibroids but it is still something to consider.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and fibroids
With menopause come various symptoms that are experienced by most menopausal women such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, etc, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is usually used and raved about by many menopausal women because it can be effective is managing these symptoms.
But it is important to be aware that HRT which contains various hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, etc, can worsen fibroids if you still have your uterus. But it is important to remember that HRT will not necessarily lead to fibroid growth or the worsening of symptoms.
In addition, not all HRT therapy is created equal so if one leads to a growth in fibroids, another may not do so. In addition the causes of fibroids vary in women so while HRT may affect one’s fibroids, another’s fibroids may not be affected when they are both using the same HRT so you will definitely need to experiment with what helps to relieve menopause symptoms without worsening fibroids and monitoring of the fibroid tumors while you are on HRT may be required especially during the first year when using HRT which contains estrogen and you have fibroids.
But overall, it is probably doubtful that HRT will affect fibroids because the amount of hormones contained in most HRT is usually significantly less than the amount of hormones that would be produced during your pre-menopausal stage. HRT will give you some hormones but nothing close to the amount that would be produced naturally if you were still able.
But like I said, every woman’s different and some women may not even be able to deal with a tiny amount of estrogen obtained through HRT without it causing fibroids to grow or the development of various symptoms of uterine fibroids due to these small amounts of estrogen.
Besides using HRT to manage menopause symptoms, some women opt to get the hormones they need from plant sources because there are many plants and herbs that contain phytoestrogen which are similar to the estrogen produced by the body but they are not as powerful and damaging as the latter. Because they are not as powerful as normal estrogen, phytoestrogen may give you the additional hormones you need without affecting fibroids.
If you are considering going the natural route to get the hormones you need to manage menopause symptoms, there are various foods and herbs that are a rich source of phytoestrogen such as flaxseed, soy products, vitex, black cohosh, etc, but do talk to your doctor first because while they may be able to help some women, they may be bad for some women who can’t deal with any type of estrogen even that from a plant source.
But going the natural route may work just as effectively as HRT without the expense and possible side effects. Besides using various foods and herbs, you may want to consider using the natural remedy MellowPause which is designed to help promote hormone balance naturally during perimenopause and menopause. Click here for more on this popular herbal remedy.
Will fibroids shrink after menopause? It’s very possible due to the decreased estrogen levels as well as a significant reduction in the symptoms of these benign tumors. It is very common for them to shrink during this time although they may not necessarily disappear unless they are very small. It is also possible that HRT can negatively affect fibroids because of the estrogen and other hormones contained in this therapy.