What are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) turmours that grow inside of the uterus.

They are also called leiomyomas, fibromyomas or uterine myomas.

They are found in different layers of tissue in the uterus and have names to identify their location specifically.

Their size can vary significantly from as small as a watermelon seed to some as large as a melon.

They are known to grow in size, shrink and even disappear on their own.

Are They Cancerous?

Fortunately, fibroids are not cancerous so they do not spread to other parts of the body. Even so, large fibroids may cause debilitating symptoms (see below) and infertility.

These growths are made up of connective and smooth muscle tissues that show up on the walls of the uterus.

How Common Are Uterine Fibroids?

Research studies show that they are quite common.

Over 50% of women will eventually have fibroids although many women may go through life without any symptoms. Typically one in five women will develop fibroids during their child-bearing years.

Indeed, the risk of developing fibroids is one of the reasons for removal of the uterus (called hysterectomy) even if the women presents with no symptoms.

Most fibroids are accidentally discovered when a woman go in for an ultrasound or some similar types of medical examination.

And depending on the location or size, doctors may decide not to operate to remove them.

What Causes Uterine Fibroids?

Although experts do not know for certain why some women get them and other do not, here are some known risk factors.

Age - Fibroids most commonly appear between the ages of 30 to 40 years old.

Ethnicity - It appears that black women are more likely to develop fibroids.

Family history - There seems to be a genetic link in the development of fibroids.

Hormone levels - High levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone seem to be a root cause in the development of fibroids. This may be due to xenoestrogens (estrogens from pesticides and non-organic meats and dairy products), obesity, low thyroid functions and ovulation problems.

What Are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Fibroids?

The signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids vary depending on the location and size of the fibroid growth. Small fibroids may not show any symptoms. Other larger fibroids may cause the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding during menstruation
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Incontinence
  • Infertility
  • Low blood iron levels (anemia)
  • Miscarriages
  • Pains in the leg or the lower back
  • Pain or pressure around pelvic region
  • Painful intercourse
  • Swelling in the lower abdomen
  • Urinary frequency

Uterine Fibroid Diet

If you suffer from uterine fibroids, what you eat may be of importance according to some health experts.

Some foods are believed to worsen the symptoms and promote uterine growth while others may help to shrink them (or at least keep them from growing).

Much more studies will need to be done in this area for us to reach a definitive conclusion.

See our report Uterine Fibroid Diet to learn more and find out if you could benefit for a change in diet.

What Are Some Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids?

Around the world, there are many natural remedies that have traditionally been used to shrink uterine fibroids and to also boost fertility.

A few have been shown to have positive impact while other are still under investigation for their benefits.

See our article entitled Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids to get detailed information and the recommended dose to use for each natural supplement.

Find out if one or more of the natural supplements may be right for you. As always, discuss with your health care professional before taking any of these supplements.

Related to What are Uterine Fibroids

Return to Health Conditions List

References for What are Fibroids

Revised: 29.04.2014