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Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas or myomas, are tumors of the uterus or womb. Fibroids can range from microscopic in size to the size of a grapefruit or larger.
Fibroids are very common and can occur in as many as 50-80% of women. More than 99% of the time these tumors are benign and not cancerous.
The majority of fibroids are small and do not cause any symptoms at all. However, some women with fibroids have very heavy menstrual bleeding or pelvic pressure or pain that interferes with their daily lives.
Fibroids are more likely to cause symptoms if the fibroids are large, if there are many fibroids, or if the fibroid is located in certain places in the uterus. Fibroid symptoms tend to get better when a woman no longer has menstrual periods, at menopause.
Symptoms may include:
Although the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, fibroids seem to grow in response to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. When these hormone levels decline at menopause, fibroid-related symptoms often improve. However, it is not clear that hormones actually cause the fibroids.
Women who do not have symptoms of fibroids do not need treatment. Women with symptoms may need medical or surgical treatment. The type of treatment depends on many factors such as age, general health, desire to give birth in the future and the type, size
and location of fibroids.
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