Uterine fibroids are noncancerous (benign) tumors that develop in the uterus. Uterine fibroids are common. As many as 1 in 5 women may have fibroids during their childbearing years (the time after starting menstruation for the first time and before menopause). Half of all women have fibroids by age 50.
The cause of uterine fibroids is unknown. However, their growth has been linked to the hormone estrogen. As long as a woman with fibroids is menstruating, a fibroid will probably continue to grow, usually slowly. Fibroids can be so tiny that you need a microscope to see them. However, they can grow very large. They may fill the entire uterus, and may weigh several pounds. Although it is possible for just one fibroid to develop, usually there are several.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of fibroids, but pain or pressure in the pelvis, pain during intercourse, frequent urination and infertility can occur in some cases. To discuss fibroids further please contact your provider.
Page Updated November 29, 2012.