Symptoms and Signs of Uterine Fibroids

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/3/2022

Doctor's Notes on Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors of smooth muscle that originate in a woman’s uterus (womb). The medical term for a fibroid is leiomyoma. The cause of fibroids is not well understood, but they are very common in women of childbearing age. 

Fibroids range dramatically in size. They may be microscopic or 8 or more inches across. Typically they are between the size of a marble and a baseball. Fibroids may occur in clusters. In most cases, fibroids do not have any associated symptoms. However, depending on their size, location within the uterus, and proximity to other pelvic organs, they may cause:

What Is the Treatment for Uterine Fibroids?

If they do not cause symptoms, uterine fibroids may not require treatment. If they do cause symptoms, treatment may include:

  • Hormonal medications that can temporarily shrink fibroids or help control heavy bleeding
  • Myomectomy, which is a surgical procedure that removes fibroids but preserves the uterus
  • Uterine artery embolization, a technique that blocks blood flow to fibroids
  • Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.