80% of women will get fibroids by age 50.
Fibroids are not cancerous.
Symptoms include abnormal bleeding, pain and pelvic pressure but some women have no symptoms at all.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus. The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size. In general, fibroids grow and develop slowly. Higher levels of the hormone oestrogen can speed things up a little. Rarely, a fibroid can become cancerous.
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but they have been linked to the hormone oestrogen produced by the ovaries during reproductive age. Fibroids usually develop from around the age of 16 to 50 when oestrogen levels are at their highest. They tend to shrink when oestrogen levels are low, such as after the menopause when a woman's monthly periods stop.
Fibroids are common, with around 1 in 3 women developing them in their life. They most often occur in women aged 30 to 50. Women of African-Caribbean origin, overweight or obese women with an increased level of oestrogen in the body present the pathology more frequently. Women who have had children have a lower risk of developing fibroids and the risk decreases further the more children you have. Most women with fibroids suffer no pain. However, one in three affected women may suffer from problems. These can be related to the size of the fibroid pressing on other pelvic structures and the increased surface area of the inside of the womb.
Uterine fibroids are frequently found incidentally during a routine pelvic exam. We may feel irregularities in the shape of your uterus, suggesting the presence of fibroids. The ultrasound uses waves to get a picture of your uterus to confirm the diagnosis and to map and measure fibroids. If traditional ultrasound does not provide enough information, we may order other imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This imaging test can show the size and location of fibroids, identify different types of fibroids and help determine appropriate treatment options. Hysteroscopy (small, lighted telescope inserted through your cervix into your uterus) may be also needed to examine the walls of your uterus. There is no single best approach to uterine fibroid treatment. Many treatment options exist, we can discuss with you the best one according to your symptoms, age, size and number of fibroids.