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Benign Uterine Growths (Growths of the Womb)

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What are uterine growths?

Uterine growths are tissue enlargements of the female womb (uterus). Uterine growths can be caused by either harmless or dangerous conditions. Growths are sometimes referred to medically as masses or tumors. An example of a harmless (benign or non-cancerous) growth, which does not pose a threat, is a polyp of the cervix. Some growths, such as uterine fibroids, are benign, but they can still cause some annoying problems, such as bleeding. Dangerous growths of the uterus include cancerous (malignant) tumors.

While the majority of uterine growths are benign, cancers of the uterus do occur. This article will discuss the benign conditions that cause uterine growths or masses. Benign growths, or non-cancerous, growths include uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and uterine polyps.


The uterus (or womb) is a hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's pelvis between the bladder and the rectum. The narrow, lower portion of the uterus is the cervix; the broader, upper part is known as the corpus. The cervix forms the transition between the uterus and the vagina. The vagina, or birth canal, connects the uterus to the outside of the body.

Female Illustration of Female Reproductive 
Female Illustration of Female Reproductive System

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign masses that grow in the uterus for unclear reasons. Uterine fibroids are commonly called by the shorter name, "fibroids." The medical term for a fibroid is leiomyoma, which refers to a proliferation or abnormal growth of smooth muscle tissue. Uterine fibroids arise from the tissue in the muscle layer of the wall of the uterus, called the myometrium. They are not usually cancerous.

The reason why some women develop fibroids is not yet understood. Family history may play a role, since there is often a history of fibroids developing in women of the same family. For poorly understood reasons, fibroids are more common in African American women (who have a two to three fold increased risk) than in white Americans or Asian women. Fibroids are most common between the ages of 35 to 49. In addition, women who are overweight have an increased risk of fibroids. Most women with fibroids probably go through life not even knowing they have them, because fibroids are often found incidentally during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/28/2016



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