Conditions InDepth: Uterine Fibroids
(Fibroids; Myomas; Fibromyomas; Leiomyomas)En Español (Spanish Version)
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that develop in the wall of the uterus, part of the female reproductive system, the organ where a fetus develops (also referred to as the womb). About 20%-30% of women of childbearing age—and possibly as many as half of all women—have fibroids. Many do not realize it, and do not develop symptoms until their late 30s or 40s.
These tumors often grow into the uterine cavity. In rare cases, fibroids may protrude outside of the uterus toward nearby organs. Fibroids vary in size from very small, one inch or less (the size of a pea), to eight or more inches in diameter (the size of a grapefruit). These growths are not cancerous. Usually more than one fibroid is present.
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The cause of fibroids is unknown. There is likely a complex interaction between genes, hormones, and environmental factors that cause these growths to occur in the uterus.
What are the risk factors for fibroids?
What are the symptoms of fibroids?
How are fibroids diagnosed?
What are the treatments for fibroids?
Are there screening tests for fibroids?
How can I reduce my risk of fibroids?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
What is it like to live with fibroids?
Where can I get more information about fibroids?
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp074.cfm . Accessed June, 30, 2008.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy . 17th ed. Merck and Co.; 1999.
The National Uterine Fibroids Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nuff.org/health_riskfactors.htm .
Last reviewed June 2008 by Ganson Purcell Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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