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Uterine fibroids, also known simply as fibroids, are benign tumors that develop in the muscular layer of the uterus. Most women will develop fibroids at some point in their lives, but many will be unaware because fibroids often don’t cause any symptoms. Fibroids can range in size from microscopic to large enough to cause a noticeable enlargement of the abdomen. While generally harmless, fibroids can lead to significant health issues in some women. The size and location of fibroids can affect their ability to cause symptoms; larger fibroids or those situated in inconvenient locations can lead to pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, fertility issues, and other complications. Although many women live with fibroids without any problems, for others, uterine fibroids can pose a serious challenge to their health and quality of life.


The diagnosis of uterine fibroids usually starts with a gynecological exam, followed by confirmation through an ultrasound. Additional diagnostic methods, such as hysteroscopy, which involves inserting a thin, lighted tube through the vagina and cervix into the uterus for direct examination, can also be helpful.


The approach to treatment depends on the symptoms, size, and location of the fibroids. In many cases, especially when fibroids are asymptomatic, monitoring without active treatment may be recommended. When treatment is necessary, options include medication to help reduce symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding and pain. This may involve hormone therapy that regulates the menstrual cycle and decreases bleeding.

Surgical interventions, such as myomectomy, where fibroids are removed while leaving the uterus intact, are a common option for women who wish to preserve their fertility. In more severe cases, when other treatments are ineffective, a hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the entire uterus, may be considered.