What Are Fibroids?

Fibroids are growths made up of connective tissue and muscle cells that usually form in the wall of your uterus. Other names for fibroids are myomas and leiomyomas. Fibroids are the most common tumor in women. They are almost always noncancerous (benign) and harmless. Fibroids start as pea-sized lumps, but can grow steadily during your reproductive years. Many fibroids just need to be watched. Others may need treatment if they become too large or cause symptoms.

Potential problems

Fibroids often cause no symptoms. But a fibroid that grows quickly in your uterus can cause 1 or more of the following problems:

  • Excessive uterine bleeding, leading to anemia (lack of red blood cells)
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Difficulty having bowel movements
  • Achiness, heaviness, or fullness
  • Back or abdominal pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficulty getting pregnant or being unable to get pregnant
  • Problems with pregnancy
  • Enlargement of the lower abdomen

Treatment is tailored for you

No 2 fibroids are the same. The type of treatment you will have depends on their number, size, location, and rate of growth. Your treatment decision also depends on the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you plan to have children in the future. There are a growing number of effective ways to treat fibroids. After your medical evaluation, your health care provider will be able to discuss with you the best options to solve your particular problem and meet your needs.

Your future checkups

Treating your fibroids is likely to relieve your symptoms. But your health care provider will want to check your progress. Ask your health care provider about any additional follow-up visits you might need.