Uterine fibroids (leiomyoma) are benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the uterus. Many women have fibroids and are not aware of them. The uterus could contain a single fibroid of almost any size, or multiple fibroids could enlarge the uterus as much as a pregnancy does. Fibroids of the uterus are very common. Up to 50% of women will develop a fibroid in their life. There is a genetic connection, so this condition tends to run in families.
The problems caused by fibroids depend on the size and location of the fibroid(s). Fibroids affecting the lining of the inside of the uterus are most likely to cause symptoms. But, even fibroids within the wall or on the outside of the uterus can be problematic.
Worsening menstrual bleeding and more painful menses are the most common symptoms of women with uterine fibroids. Excessive blood loss can result in significant anemia. Infertility and miscarriage are related to uterine fibroids as well.
Other symptoms may include frequent urination or waking at night to urinate. Large fibroids can place pressure on the bowel causing pain and constipation. Partial obstruction of the urinary system can result. Large fibroids may cause pain and pressure anywhere within the abdominal cavity.
ASRM Patient Education Video – Fibroids
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