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Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that originate in the uterus (womb). It is not known exactly why women develop uterine fibroids. Most women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. However, fibroids can cause a number of symptoms depending on their size, location within the uterus, and how close they are to adjacent pelvic organs. These are most commonly abnormal bleeding, pain and pressure.
Uterine fibroids are diagnosed by pelvic exam and by ultrasound.
If treatment for uterine fibroids is necessary, there are several options available that include surgery (hysterectomy, myomectomy, cryosurgery, MRI-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (MRgFUS or HIFU), and uterine artery embolization (UAE). Medical treatments include medications such as mifepristone (RU-486, danazol (Danocrine), raloxifene (Evista), GnRH analogs (Lupron and others), and low-dose formulations of oral contraceptives.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that originate in the uterus (womb). Although they are composed of the same smooth muscle fibers as the uterine wall (myometrium), they are much denser than normal myometrium. Uterine fibroids are usually round. In most cases, fibroids do not cause pain or other symptoms. However, exceptionally large fibroids may cause pressure on the bladder or other organs, leading to specific symptoms (see: What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are often described based upon their location within the uterus.
Subserosal fibroids are located beneath the serosa (the lining membrane on the outside of the uterus). These often appear localized on the outside surface of the uterus or may be attached to the outside surface by a pedicle.
Submucosal (submucous) fibroids are located inside the uterine cavity beneath the inner lining of the uterus. Intramural fibroids are located within the muscular wall of the uterus.
Intramural fibroids are located within the muscular wall of the uterus.
edunculated fibroids grow on a stalk of tissue known as a pedical (like a mushroom), extending either inside the cavity of the uterus or outside the uterus from its outer surface.