About Uterine Fibroids

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids (aka myomas) are noncancerous growths that develop in or just outside a woman’s uterus (womb). Although they are composed of the same smooth muscle fibres as the uterine wall (myometrium), they are much denser than normal myometrium. Uterine fibroids develop from normal uterus muscle cells that start growing abnormally. As the cells grow, they form a benign tumour. There can either be one dominant fibroid in the uterus, or a cluster of many small fibroids.  Uterine fibroids are usually round.

20-50% of women of childbearing age have uterine fibroids. While some women do not experience any problems, those who do, can experience symptoms that require treatment.

There are four primary types of uterine fibroids classified primarily by their location within the uterus. (See below)

 

  

Subserosal

These fibroids develop in the outer portion of the uterus and continue to grow outward.

Intramural

The most common type of uterine fibroids. These develop within the uterine wall and expand making the uterus larger than normal (which may cause “bulk symptoms”).

Submucosal

These uterine fibroids develop just under the lining of the uterine cavity. These uterine fibroids tend to cause heavy menstrual bleeding. They can also cause fertility problems and miscarriages.

Pedunculated

Fibroids that grow on a small stalk that connects them to the inner or outer wall of the uterus.

Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroids

Symptoms

Most often, uterine fibroids cause no symptoms at all, so most women don’t realize they have them. When women do experience symptoms from uterine fibroids, they can include:

  • Prolonged menstrual periods (7 days or longer)
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Bloating or fullness in the belly or pelvis
  • Pain in the lower belly or pelvis
  • Constipation
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pressure on the bladder which leads to a constant need to urinate, incontinence, or the inability to empty the bladder
  • An enlarged abdomen which may be mistaken for weight gain or pregnancy

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT UTERINE FIBROIDS please refer to the Fibroid Education Center and Fibroid Relief websites.