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Birth Control/Fibroadenomas and birth control

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Question
I'm a 23-year-old with a history of multiple benign fibroadenomas since age 19. (Have had 3 fibroadenomas removed and 1 phyllodes removed because they reached 3+ cm, and I currently have 14 supposed fibroadenomas left, just hanging out in my breasts...which is fun...). I have never been on birth control and have recently become sexually active, and no doctor can give me a straight answer as to whether or not I can/should take hormonal birth control because of their unknown relationship with fibroadenomas. I've read a ton of literature and journal articles on the matter and still don't know what to do. I don't want to risk pregnancy or rely on condoms, but I don't want more tumors, or for my current ones to grow.

I should note that my periods are incredibly heavy (8-9 days long every single time, going through 10+ super tampons a day for the first few days), and, over the last year, have been incredibly irregular, fluctuating between my normal 32-day cycle to random 13-day cycles. So Paragard seems like a poor choice for me, based on my knowledge of its cramping and increased bleeding.

I would love to know if you have any insight, or if you could point me in a direction. I hate that I have to take this decision into my own hands, so hopefully you have some knowledge. Thank you!

Answer
As far as I can tell from the literature, birth control pills decrease the incidence and size of fibroadenomas, at least when taken past the age of 20  It seems that pill use before the age of 20 can increase the chance of developing a fibroadenoma.

So I believe you would be well served by taking the pill.  It has the extra benefits of causing your periods to be regular and lighter.

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Norman Solberg

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I am an OB-GYN physician. I can answer almost any question related to women's health.

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35 years in an active OB-GYN practice.

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Fellow, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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