Fibroids are benign, noncancerous growths, which form on or in the uterus, occurring in more than 50 percent of women at some point in their lives. They are the most common “tumor” of the reproductive organs. They are not associated with an increased risk for cancer, and almost never develop into cancerous growths.

Fibroid Growth Characteristics

Fibroid growth and characteristics varies drastically depending on the individual circumstances and the type of fibroid. They may increase in size during a woman’s reproductive years, but typically stop growing after menopause, as their growth is dependent upon estrogen. They may have growth spurts or may even shrink on their own. There are five types of uterine fibroids:

  • Submucous fibroids grow just under the inner lining of the uterus
  • Intramural fibroids are located within the muscle wall of the uterus
  • Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus
  • Pedunculated fibroids project off the uterus by a thin stalk
  • Intraligamentous fibroids originate from the uterus however they are located in the ligaments which support the uterus


More than 50 percent of women with fibroids do not have symptoms. The location and size of the fibroid however determine the type and severity of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Treatment Options

There are multiple choices for the treatment of uterine fibroids. After a thorough evaluation, a customized treatment plan is determined based on the patient’s symptoms, lifestyle, general health and desire for reproduction. Treatment options include:

  • Watchful observation, usually when there are no symptoms
  • Medical therapy, such as hormone therapy
  • Myomectomy, which removes the fibroids while leaving the uterus in place
  • Myolysis, a laparoscopic procedure in which a laser is used to remove fibroids and shrink blood vessels
  • Hysteroscopic surgery, which removes fibroids inside the uterus
  • Embolization, a procedure performed by a radiologist to block blood flow to fibroids
  • Hysterectomy, the only permanent solution, in which the entire uterus is removed