top of page



Fibroids are the most frequently seen tumours of the female reproductive system. They are non-cancerous tumours that grow from the muscle layers of the uterus (womb). Fibroids also known as uterine fibroids, leiomyomas, or myomas or fibromas, are firm, compact tumours that are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus, and can vary from the size of a bean to as large as a melon.


  • Intramural fibroids

  • Subserosal fibroids

  • Pedunculated fibroids

  • Submucosal fibroids

  • Cervical fibroids

  • Intraligametary fibroids



While it is not clearly known what causes fibroids, it is believed that each tumour develops from an aberrant muscle cell in the uterus, which multiplies rapidly because of the influence of oestrogen.


During a woman's reproductive years, oestrogen and progesterone levels are high. When oestrogen levels are high, especially during pregnancy, fibroids tend to swell. When oestrogen levels are low, fibroids may shrink, for example, during a woman's menopause.


Heredity may also be a factor; women whose close relatives have had fibroids have a higher risk of developing them.


There is also some evidence that red meats, alcohol, and caffeine could increase the risk of fibroids. Also, an increased intake of fruit and vegetables might reduce the risk.


Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Most women have no symptoms, but around 1 in 3 will experience symptoms, which may include:

  • Anaemia (as a result of heavy periods)

  • Backache

  • Constipation

  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen (especially if fibroids are large)

  • Frequent urination

  • Heavy, painful periods

  • Pain in the legs

  • Painful sex

  • Swelling in the lower abdomen (especially if fibroids are large)


Other possible symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Labour problems

  • Pregnancy problems

  • Fertility problems

  • Repeated miscarriages

Risk factors

Women are at greater risk for developing fibroids if they have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • pregnancy

  • a family history of fibroids

  • being over the age of 30

  • being of African-American descent

  • having a high body weight



If the woman has no symptoms and the fibroids are not affecting her day-to-day life, she may receive no treatment at all. Even women who have heavy periods but whose lives are not badly affected by this symptom may also opt for no treatment.


Since most fibroids stop growing or may even shrink as a woman approaches menopause, the health care provider may simply suggest "watchful waiting." With this approach, the health care provider monitors the woman's symptoms carefully to ensure that there are no significant changes or developments and that the fibroids are not growing.


In women whose fibroids are large or are causing significant symptoms, treatment may be necessary. When treatment is necessary, it may be in the form of medication or surgery.


Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated February 17, 2017.

To learn more, click on

bottom of page