Fibroids are noncancerous growths in or on the uterine wall. They’re very common.
Fibroids come in a variety of types and sizes. They include:
Only 20% of women with fibroids experience symptoms. Common symptoms include:
Your doctor may recommend managing symptoms with these lifestyle habits.
Use over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week.
Learn about types of treatments for fibroids.
If you have fibroids, get regular pelvic examinations and ultrasounds to monitor them and determine if you need additional treatment.
Fibroids are extremely common. Eighty percent of women have had a fibroid by the time they are 50 years old—but many never know it.
Genetics and the hormones estrogen and progesterone play a role in fibroid growth. But no one knows for sure what causes fibroids. One theory is that fibroids develop from misplaced cells present in the body before birth.
Because we don’t know the exact causes of fibroids, there’s little evidence on prevention. However, you take these steps to reduce your risk:
Some research suggests that using hormonal contraceptives may be associated with a lower risk of fibroids, but these results are not consistent across all study populations and more research is needed.
Risk factors include:
Uterine fibroids are not associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer. Cancerous fibroids—called leiomyosarcoma—are rare (less than 1 in 1,000 fibroids).
Fibroids may cause infertility. About 10% of infertile women have fibroids. Many women with fibroids can become pregnant after the fibroids are treated or removed. However, most infertility is due to other factors.
Most of the time, fibroids do not cause pregnancy complications. In rare cases, large or multiple fibroids may contribute to miscarriage, preterm birth (delivery before 37 weeks gestation) and breech birth (in which the baby is delivered in a position other than head-down).
Fibroids shrink during menopause due to lower estrogen and progesterone levels. Hormone therapy during menopause will not make fibroids grow, but it may delay shrinkage of fibroids.