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What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that originate in the uterus (womb). Although they are composed of the same muscle fibers as the uterine wall (myometrium), they are many times more dense. Uterine fibroids are usually a round or semi-round in shape. Uterine fibroids are among the most common tumors in women. These noncancerous growths of the uterus appear during your childbearing years. Also called fibromyomas, leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids aren't

associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer. Most of the time, uterine fibroids aren't harmful.

As many as three out of four women have uterine fibroids, but most are unaware of them as they often cause no signs or symptoms. Your doctor may discover them incidentally during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound. Fibroids cause problems for about one in four women, most frequently during their 30s or 40s.

Fibroids can require emergency treatment if they cause sudden, sharp pelvic pain. But this is rare. In general, fibroids cause no problems and seldom require treatment. Medical therapy and surgical procedures can shrink or remove fibroids if they cause discomfort or troublesome symptoms.

Fibroids are extremely common. More than 75 percent of women can be found to have small fibroids using MRI, a very sensitive imaging technique. However, only about 30 percent of all women will have fibroids large enough to be noted during a pelvic exam, and the vast majority of even these women, more then 80 percent, will never have symptoms and will never require treatment. And for the rare patient who does have problems, there are a number of sound and effective options available. Hysterectomy should be the solution of last resort.

More information on uterine fibroids

What are uterine fibroids? - Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that originate in the uterus (womb). Uterine fibroids are among the most common tumors in women.
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids? - Fibroids are often asymptomatic but can cause menorrhagia, menometrorrhagia, severe pressure or pain, urinary or bowel complaints, recurrent abortions, and infertility.
What causes uterine fibroids? - Fibroids begin when abnormal cells grow in the muscular wall of the uterus (myometrium). Uterine fibroids develop from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium).
Why do women get uterine fibroids? - It seems that continued estrogen stimulation of the uterus without the presence of progesterone hormone is one of the most important underlying risk factors for developing fibroids.
How are uterine fibroids diagnosed? - Typically, fibroids are first diagnosed during a gynecologic internal examination. The presence of fibroids is most often confirmed by an abdominal ultrasound.
What is the treatment for uterine fibroids? - When treatment is necessary, treatment goals include relieving symptoms of pelvic pain or pressure and preventing anemia by correcting abnormal menstrual blood loss.
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