Top 10 Facts Women Should Know About Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors in females, presenting as benign growths on the muscular wall of the uterus (womb). A uterine fibroid is also known as a fibroleiomyoma, meaning a benign smooth muscle neoplasm that contains collagenous fibrous tissue. As many as 1-in-5 women may have fibroids during their childbearing years. Although non-cancerous, fibroids can grow very large and may fill the entire uterus.

Uterine fibroids

Although most fibroids are asymptomatic, many can grow and cause heavy and painful menstruation, painful sexual intercourse and urinary frequency and urgency. Indeed, uterine fibroids are a major indication for hysterectomy in the U.S. [1].

Earlier this month, the Fibroid Treatment Collective (FTC), a medical group of fibroid experts dedicated to curing fibroids with minimally invasive therapy, published on their blog the Top Ten Fibroid Facts, which we’ve republished below.

The Top 10 Fibroid Facts

  1. Uterine fibroids can affect women of all ages but are most common in women ages 40 to 50.
  2. Common symptoms, depending on size, location and number of fibroids, include:
    • Pelvic pain and pressure
    • Excessive bleeding, including prolonged periods and passage of clots, which can lead to anemia
    • Abdominal swelling
    • Pressure on the bladder, leading to frequent urination
    • Pressure on the bowel, leading to constipation and bloating
    • Infertility
  3. No one is sure why women develop fibroids, which affect 40% of women over 35 years in the U.S. and have a high rate of incidence among African Americans. There is a possible link between uterine fibroid tumors and estrogen production.
  4. Fibroids are diagnosed with an ultrasound in the gynecologist’s office. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is also used to determine how fibroids can be treated and provide information about any underlying disease.
  5. Uterine fibroids can be treated with surgery, including hysterectomy, which removes the entire uterus, and myomectomy, which removes the fibroids but leaves the uterus. Both are major surgeries.
  6. Approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the U.S., about 300,000 due to uterine fibroids.
  7. Over 50% of women who get hysterectomies have their ovaries removed, rendering them infertile.
  8. Embolization has emerged as the safest, simplest, cost effective way to treat fibroids. Embolization requires a very small incision. Embolization basically cures fibroids by starving them.
  9. Uterine Fibroid Embolization has an overall success rate of 94%.
  10. Recurrence after embolization has not occurred. This is one of its major advantages over myomectomy, where fibroids which have been surgically removed often grow back.

For news and views on fibroids, follow Dr. Bruce McLucas, founder of the Fibroid Treatment Collective (FTC), a graduate of Yale Medical School and a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist, on Twitter @FibroidDoctor.

To learn more about fibroids and treatment options, watch videos, see important statistics and ask Dr. McLucas questions (all from the comfort of your own home), check out the national fibroid webinar, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 15th at 10 a.m. PT. Visit for details and free registration.

For additional independent information on the symptoms of fibroids and questions to ask your doctor, see Uterine Fibroids FAQ on


  1. Wallach and Vlahos. Uterine myomas: an overview of development, clinical features, and management. Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Aug;104(2):393-406.
    View Abstract

WHI Study Data Confirm Short-Term Heart Disease Risks of Combination Hormone Therapy for Postmenopausal Women

New analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) confirm that combination hormone therapy increases the risk of heart disease in healthy postmenopausal women. Researchers report a trend toward an increased risk of heart disease during the first two years of hormone therapy among women who began therapy within 10 years of menopause, and a more marked elevation of risk among women who began hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause. Analyses indicate that overall a woman’s risk of heart disease more than doubles within the first two years of taking combination HT.

The difference in the initial level of risk does not appear related to age, based on findings that the increased risk of heart disease was similar between women in their 50s on combination hormone therapy and women in their 60s.

The study is in the Feb. 16, 2010, Annals of Internal Medicine. The WHI is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Even With Heart Disease Awareness on the Rise, Prevention Remains Critically Important for American Women

In recognition of American Heart Month, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and its heart disease awareness campaign — The Heart Truth — is reminding all American women that heart disease prevention remains critically important, despite that fact that awareness is at an all time high. More women than ever know that heart disease is their leading killer, yet millions of women are at risk, at increasingly younger ages.

Even with increased awareness, 80 percent of midlife women (ages 40 to 60) still have one or more of the modifiable risk factors “” high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, and smoking. Sixty percent of younger women, ages 20-39, have one or more of these risk factors. Recent data show high rates of overweight/obesity in younger women, which may lead to higher rates of heart disease in later years.