FACT SHEET covering top issues on fibroids
- 1Fibroids are a hormone dependent tumor – both estrogen and progesterone is necessary for the fibroid to grow
- 2Women may begin to develop fibroids as young as the early twenties
- 3Fibroids may cause reproductive problems
- 4Some fibroids grow in multiple numbers they often look like a single fibroid due to their tendency to grow in a cluster
- 5The most common symptom of fibroids is abnormal periods
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are the tumors that originate in the uterus. The uterus is the organ which carries the pregnancy until birth and from which monthly periods, which we call menstruation, occurs.
These tumors usually arise at the muscle portion of the uterus. The uterus has two portions. One is the opening, or the mouth, which is the cervix. The other is the corpus - the body of the uterus. Fibroids generally come from the body portion of the uterus and are usually found in the muscle layer (myometrium).
These uterine tumors are so common that 40% of the African-American female population and 20% of the Caucasian female population will get fibroids their reproductive years. Approximately 30% of women have fibroids large enough to cause symptoms. Studies suggest many more women have fibroids, however those particular tumors remain small enough to not cause any symptoms, therefore they do not require treatment
Fibroids may also be called myomas, fibromyomas, fibromas, myofibromas or leiyomyomas. There uterine growths are the major cause behind the removal of the uterus via a hysterectomy.
Fibroids may be as small as an apple seed or as large as a melon and the average affected uterus usually has around 6 or 7 fibroids.
Leiomyomas are the most common solid pelvic tumor in women, causing symptoms in approximately 25% of reproductive age women. However, with careful pathologic inspection of the uterus, the overall prevalence of leiomyomas increases to over 70%, because leiomyomas can be present but not symptomatic in many women. They are rare in women under the age of 20, most common in women in their 30s and 40s, and tend to shrink after the menopause.