What Are Fibroids?

Fibroids are growths that usually form in the wall of your uterus. They are also called myomas and leiomyomas. Fibroids are the most common tumor in women. They are almost always noncancer (benign) and harmless. Fibroids are made up of connective tissue and muscle cells. They start as pea-sized lumps. But they 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.

Types of fibroids include:

  • Pedunculated. These are connected to the uterine wall by stalks.

  • Submucosal. These grow from the uterine wall into the uterine cavity.

  • Intramural. These grow inside the uterine wall.

Possible 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 a lack of red blood cells (anemia)

  • Frequent urge to urinate

  • Trouble having bowel movements

  • Achiness, heaviness, or fullness

  • Back or belly (abdominal) pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Trouble 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 several things including:

  • How many fibroids you have, their size, location, and how fast they grow

  • How severe your symptoms are

  • If you plan to have children in the future

There are a growing number of effective ways to treat fibroids. After your medical evaluation, your healthcare provider will talk with you about 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 healthcare provider will want to check your progress. Ask your provider about any other follow-up visits you might need.