SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Fibroids, or myomas, are growths or benign tumours that form inside the wall of the uterus.
- Up to 70 to 80 per cent of women over the age of 50 years have fibroids.
- Symptoms can include heavy and painful periods, infertility and miscarriage in pregnancy.
- Treatment options include the use of medication to shrink the fibroids, MRI-directed ultrasound, embolisation or surgical removal.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths found in the muscle wall of your uterus. Many women have fibroids. There are different treatment options, depending on the type, size, number and location of your fibroids.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths found in the muscle wall of your uterus. They can vary in size from a pea to a rock melon or bigger.
This condition occurs in up to 70% of women aged under 50. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink and may disappear.
Symptoms of fibroids
Fibroids do not usually cause any problems, but 20-30% of women do experience some symptoms.
- heavy or long periods
- bleeding in between periods – this is uncommon
- , due to heavy periods – this might make you feel tired or dizzy
- pain during sex
- feeling heaviness or pressure in the back, bowel and
- feeling like you haven’t emptied your or bowel
- a lot
- swelling in your lower abdomen.
What causes fibroids?
We don’t know exactly what causes fibroids, but we do know the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone stimulate the growth of fibroids.
Getting a diagnosis
Fibroids can be diagnosed in different ways.
- an external on your abdomen
- an ultrasound inside your vagina – this is more accurate than an external ultrasound
- a hysteroscope (under general anaesthetic) – a thin telescope shows the inside of your uterus
- a (under general anaesthetic) – a thin telescope goes into your belly button to see your pelvic organs.
If you are diagnosed with fibroids, your doctor will explain the different treatment options depending on the size, number and location of your fibroids.
If your fibroids are small and not causing any problems, your doctor may monitor them for changes – or they may not need to be monitored at all.
Your doctor might use a combination of hormones, or other medications, to shrink your fibroids, usually if infertility is an issue. After you stop taking the medications, your fibroids can grow back.
You might need different types of surgery, depending on the size and position of your fibroids.
- uterine artery embolisation (under local anaesthetic) – this blocks the blood supply to your fibroids, so they slowly die
- hysteroscopy – removal of submucosal fibroids through the vagina
- – if you have large or multiple fibroids.
Talk to your doctor or specialist about the potential benefits and risks of each option before you decide.
Where to get help
- , RANZCOG Patient Information Pamphlets, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
- ‘’, Lewis TD, Malik M, Britten J, et al. 2018, Biomedical Research International, vol. 2018, article ID 2414609.
- Q.Yang et al. Comprehensive Review of Uterine Fibroids: Developmental Origin, Pathogenesis, and Treatment. Endocr Rev. 2022 Aug; 43(4): 678–719.