Description An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of uterine fibroids.

Alternative Names Hysterectomy and uterine fibroids; Leiomyoma; Myoma Highlights Uterine Fibroids Uterine fibroids, also called leimyomas or myomas, are non-cancerous growths that originate in the muscular wall of the uterus. Fibroids are the most common type of tumor found in female reproductive organs. Uterine fibroids are very common, especially among African-American women. Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids Common symptoms of uterine fibroids may include:

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Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding Pressure and pain in the abdomen and lower back Frequent urination Constipation Pain during intercourse Some women with fibroids do not have any symptoms Complications of Uterine Fibroids Fibroids can increase pregnancy complications and delivery risks. Anemia due to iron deficiency may result from heavy menstrual bleeding. Large fibroids may reduce fertility, although this is not very common. Treatment Many women with fibroids choose not to have treatment, especially if they are approaching the age of menopause. Fibroids grow slowly and usually shrink after menopause. Treatment includes various drug and surgical options. Medications for Fibroids Continuous-dosing oral contraceptives can reduce or eliminate menstrual periods. Progestin-releasing intrauterine devices can help control excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia). The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (Mirena) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of menorrhagia. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists reduce estrogen and progesterone levels, which diminishes the size of fibroids. Surgical Options Invasive and less-invasive surgical methods include: Myomectomy Uterine artery embolization Endometrial ablation Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (still not commonly available) Hysterectomy Introduction A uterine fibroid (known medically as a leiomyoma or myoma) is a noncancerous (benign) growth of smooth muscle and connective tissue. Fibroids can range in size from as small as a pinhead to larger than a melon. Fibroids have been reported weighing more than 20 pounds. Fibroids originate from the thick wall of the uterus and are categorized by where they grow: Intramural fibroids grow within the middle and thickest layer of the uterus (called the myometrium). Subserosal fibroids grow out from the thin outer fibrous layer of the uterus (called the serosa). Subserosal can be either stalk-like (pedunculated) or broad-based (sessile). Submucosal fibroids grow from the uterine wall toward and into the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Submucosal fibroids can also be stalk-like or broad-based.

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Ovaries are egg-producing organs that hold 200. with its walls pressed against each other. It consists of two parts.Fibroid tumors may not need to be removed if they are not causing pain. This chemical. Leading off each side of the body of the uterus are two tubes known as the fallopian tubes. The Female Reproductive System The primary structures in the reproductive system are as follows:      The uterus is a pear-shaped organ located between the bladder and lower intestine. During pregnancy the walls of the uterus are pushed apart as the fetus grows. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the master gland because of its important role in many vital functions.400. or ova.000 follicles (from folliculus. the endometrium is shed as part of the menstrual flow. It is not clear what causes fibroids. Estrogen. The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus. when estrogen levels decline. progesterone. Near the end of each tube is an ovary. many of which require hormones. Menstrual flow also consists of blood and mucus from the cervix and vagina. Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause. bleeding excessively. but estrogen and progesterone appear to play a role in their growth. in turn.000 . the body and the cervix. These cellular sacks contain the materials needed to produce ripened eggs. which allows menstrual blood to flow out of the uterus into the vagina. During pregnancy this inner lining thickens and becomes enriched with blood vessels to house and support the growing fetus. stimulates the pituitary gland to produce follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). or growing rapidly. six key hormones serve as chemical messengers that regulate the reproductive system: The hypothalamus first releases the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). When a woman is not pregnant the body of the uterus is about the size of a fist. meaning "sack" in Latin). Reproductive Hormones. In women. If pregnancy does not occur. The hypothalamus (an area in the brain) and the pituitary gland regulate the reproductive hormones. It has a canal opening into the vagina with an opening called the os. The inner lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. and the male hormone testosterone are secreted by the ovaries at the command of FSH and LH and complete the hormonal group necessary for reproductive health.    .

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