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Definition of Uterine fibroids

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus (the womb). They are the single most common indication for hysterectomy.

Uterine fibroids can be present, but be inapparent. However, they are clinically apparent in up to 25% of all women and cause significant morbidity (disease), including prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, and, in rare cases, reproductive dysfunction. Both the economic cost and the effect of fibroids on the quality of life are substantial.

Fibroids are not cancerous. Drugs that manipulate the levels of steroid hormones are effective in treating fibroids, but side-effects limit their long-term use. Fibroids may be removed if they cause appreciable discomfort or if they are associated with uterine bleeding. Surgery is the mainstay of fibroid treatment. In addition to hysterectomy and abdominal myomectomy, various minimally invasive procedures have been developed to remove fibroids from the uterus.

A uterine fibroid is also medically known as a leiomyoma (or simply a myoma) of the uterus.

Picture of uterine fibroids

SLIDESHOW

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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