Fibroids: Introduction FeedbackA general introduction to Fibroids.Source: NHS Choices, 02 Sep 2013
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size.
They are sometimes known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas.
Many women are unaware they have fibroids as they do not have any symptoms. Women who do have symptoms may experience:
- heavy periods or painful periods
- tummy (abdominal) or lower back pain
- a frequent need to urinate
- pain or discomfort during sex
In rare cases, fibroids can cause significant complications, such as infertility and problems during pregnancy.
Seeing your GP
As they commonly cause no symptoms, fibroids are sometimes diagnosed by chance during a routine gynaecological examination, test or scan.
However, you should see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of fibroids so they can investigate possible causes.
If your GP thinks you may have fibroids, they will usually refer you for an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Read more about diagnosing fibroids.
Why fibroids develop
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown. However, they are linked to the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is the female reproductive hormone produced by the ovaries (the female reproductive organs).
Fibroids usually develop during a woman's reproductive years (from approximately 16 to 50 years of age) when oestrogen levels are at their highest, and they tend to shrink when oestrogen levels are low, such as after the menopause (when a woman's monthly periods stop at around 50 years of age).
Who is affected?
Fibroids are common, with more than 40% of women developing them at some point in their life. They most often occur in women aged 30 to 50 years.
Fibroids are thought to develop more frequently in women of African Caribbean origin. It is also thought they occur more often in overweight or obese women because being overweight increases the level of oestrogen in the body.
Women who have had children have a lower risk of developing fibroids, and the risk decreases further the more children you have.
Types of fibroids
Fibroids can grow anywhere in the womb and vary in size considerably. Some can be the size of a pea, whereas others can be the size of a melon.
The main types of fibroids are:
- intramural fibroids – the most common type of fibroid, they develop in the muscle wall of the womb
- subserosal fibroids – fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb into the pelvis and can become very large
- submucosal fibroids – fibroids that develop in the muscle layer beneath the inner lining of the womb and grow into the middle of the womb
In some cases, subserosal or submucosal fibroids are attached to the womb with a narrow stalk of tissue. These are known as pedunculated fibroids.
If fibroids do not cause symptoms, treatment is not needed. They will often shrink and disappear without any treatment over time, particularly after the menopause.
If you do have symptoms caused by fibroids, medication to help relieve the symptoms will usually be recommended first.
If these medications are ineffective, surgery or other less invasive procedures may be recommended.
Read more about treating fibroids.
Fibroids: Guidance FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Fibroids from producers of guidance information.
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 April 2011
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Clinical Knowledge Summaries, 01 February 2013
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 January 2007
Fibroids: Commissioning FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Fibroids from producers of commissioning advice.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 26 September 2013
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 September 2013
Information for the public
Fibroids: Information for the public FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Fibroids, from Department of Health accredited producers of patient information.
- NHS Choices, 02 September 2013
- Bupa , 08 July 2014
- Patient UK
- Bupa , 08 October 2013
- Patient UK
- NHS Choices, 30 April 2014
- Patient UK
- Cancer Research UK, 11 September 2014
- NHS Choices, 09 April 2014
- Bupa , 01 August 2014
Fibroids: Ongoing Research FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Fibroids, from research trials.
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 21 February 2013
Treating Fibroids with either Embolisation or Myomectomy to Measure the Effect on quality of life among women wishing to avoid hysterectomy: The FEMME studyUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 02 March 2012
Safety and Efficacy in Premenopausal Women With Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB) Associated With Uterine Fibroids (UF)UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 21 March 2013
A Prospective Multicenter Non-interventional Study of Women Treated With ESMYA (Ulipristal Acetate) as Pre-operative Treatment of Moderate to Severe Symptoms of Uterine FibroidsUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 26 June 2012
Fibroids: Evidence Uncertainty FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Fibroids, highlighting areas where further research is needed.
For women with troublesome fibroids who wish to retain or enhance their fertility, is myomectomy or embolisation better?UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 15 September 2009
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 08 May 2008
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 08 May 2008
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 27 June 2014
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 08 September 2014
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 15 November 2013
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 16 August 2012
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 23 December 2012
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 02 May 2013
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 31 December 2011
Fibroids: Medicines FeedbackAppropriate medicines information for Fibroids supplied by Datapharm, a leading source of trusted, credible information about medicines.
Fibroids - Medicines Information
- Cyklokapron (a brand of Tranexamic Acid)
- Depo-Provera (a brand of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate)
- Esmya (a brand of Ulipristal Acetate)
- Gonapeptyl (a brand of Triptorelin Acetate)
- Goserelin acetate (a generic version of Zoladex)
- Leuprorelin acetate (a generic version of Prostap)
- Mirena (a brand of Levonorgestrel)
- Norethisterone enantate
- Noristerat (a brand of Norethisterone Enantate)
- Primolut N (a brand of Norethisterone)
- Tranexamic Acid
- Triptorelin acetate
- Utovlan (a brand of Norethisterone)
- Results are currently sorted by relevance (Sort results by: date)
- Results 1 - 10 (of 945)
...Pedunculated fibroids may extend into...intracavitary fibroid) or peritoneal...pre-existing fibroids. The risk of symptoms due to fibroid enlargement...on individual fibroids. The ultrasound...heat within the fibroid, inducing aseptic...
Clinical Knowledge Summaries, 01 February 2013
...Treatments for symptomatic fibroids include hysterectomy and...1 The aim of UAE for fibroids is to offer a less invasive...arteries supplying the fibroids, with the aim of causing thrombosis and consequent fibroid infarction. 2.2...
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 November 2010
Magnetic resonance image-guided transcutaneous focused ultrasound for uterine fibroids - guidance (IPG413)
...tumours of the uterine wall. Fibroids can be asymptomatic or cause... 2.1.2 For symptomatic fibroids, treatment options include...focused ultrasound for uterine fibroids is carried out with the patient...to target the centre of the fibroid, followed (after the aiming...
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 November 2011
...Hysteroscopic morcellation of uterine fibroids which was published in April 2014. This...hysteroscopic morcellation for uterine fibroids. The FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration...myomectomy for the treatment of women with fibroids. In order to take account of this...
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 April 2014
...oestrogens. As the fibroid grows, the central...calcification. Fibroids are classified according...Pedunculated submucosal fibroids can cause persistent...pain occurs when a fibroid degenerates or there...presumed uterine fibroids. Gynecol Oncol...versus placebo for fibroid treatment before...
Clinical recommendations on the use of uterine artery embolisation (UAE) in the management of fibroids, Third edition
...Indications for fibroid embolisation ...UAE is symptomatic fibroids (causing heavy...intracavity submucosal fibroids where there is a risk of significant fibroid sloughing into the...large or multiple fibroids with subfertility...Treatment should reduce fibroid volume and might...
Royal College of Radiologists, 11 April 2014
...include women with fibroid related symptoms...palpable uterine fibroids, without confirmation...volume of the fibroids by calculating the maximum fibroid size in each woman...Neoplasms" or "fibroids" or Title CONTAINS "fibroid" or "Leiomyoma...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 30 April 2013 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...reduce haemorrhage during myomectomy for fibroids Eugene J Kongnyuy 1,* , Charles...reduce haemorrhage during myomectomy for fibroids. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews...reduce blood loss during myomectomy for fibroids compared to placebo or no treatment ...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 15 August 2014
...metastasising fibroid or intravenous fibroid (fibroids found in veins) (Biri 2008...11 Keywords CONTAINS "fibroids"or"fibroid size"or"fibroid volume...size" or Title CONTAINS"fibroids"or"fibroid size"or"fibroid volume...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 23 October 2013 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Uterine artery embolisation for symptomatic fibroids: Comparison of gelatin sponge with embospheres as an embolic agent - a randomised controlled trial (GEM trial)Degree of fibroid infarction using contrast enhanced MRI, assessed at baseline, 1, 6 and 12 months.
UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 23 September 2008
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