Fibroids - Benign Tumors That Can Cause Problems

Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. Another medical term for fibroids is "leiomyoma". Fibroids are almost always benign. Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them. They can be as small as a pea or as big as a melon. About 50 percent of women develop fibroids by the time they reach age 50. Fibroids are most common in women in their 40s and early 50s. Most fibroids do not cause any symptoms, but some women with fibroids have:

  • heavy menses which can be heavy enough to cause anemia
  • painful periods every month
  • pain during sexual activity
  • lower back pain
  • enlargement of the abdomen
  • feeling of fullness in the pelvis
  • frequent urination and constipation
  • complications during pregnancy and labor, including a greater risk of cesarean section
  • reproductive problems, which are very uncommon

For women who do have symptoms, there are treatments that can help. Depending on the problems: medications, endometrial ablation, myomectomy (surgical removal of fibroids), uterine artery embolization (blocking blood supply of the tumor) and finally hysterectomy if necessary are possibilities.