What Are Fibroids?

Causes or Associated Conditions of Fibroids

Symptoms of Fibroids

What Are They?

Uterine leiomyoma (fibroids) are benign, smooth muscle tumors arising from the myometrium of the uterus. These tumors may be single or multiple, and can be asymptomatic in the early stages. They commonly arise in the third or fourth decade of life and occur in more than 20% women during their reproductive age. These tumors (fibroids) are the most common solid pelvic tumor in women. African-American women are 2-3 times more likely to develop fibroids than any other ethnic group. They tend to develop fibroids at a younger age and the fibroids are more numerous. As a result African-American women with fibroids have over twice the number of hysterectomies.

There are four different types of fibroids.

  • Subserosal -located beneath the outer surface of the uterus. These fibroids are responsible for giving the uterus an irregular shape.
  • Intramural - this type is located in the muscle wall and are the hardest to detect.
  • Submucosal - which lies directly under the inside lining of the uterus, called mucosa. These fibroids are the cause of heavy bleeding and anemia. The most common symptoms associated with fibroids.
  • Pedunculated - these fibroids grow on a stalk and extend to the outside of the uterus.

There are questions as to whether fibroids are genetical or environmental in nature. Little is known about the causes of fibroids or what may trigger their growth. Studies currently being done indicate that fibroid tissue has estrogen and progesterone receptor sites. It is known that in the presence of increased estrogen, fibroids are stimulated to increase in size. And in the presence of low estrogen levels, fibroids decrease in size. It is also suggested that there are estrogen-like substances in our environment that once introduced into the human body can have an estrogen like affect on fibroid growth and development.

The information provided here is for general information or educational purposes only. A complete physical exam and consultation is the only way a medical decision can be reached.