What are fibroids?

Uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors that grow in a woman’s uterus) are common and can cause infertility by affecting ovulation, egg fertilization and embryo implantation. By age 50, nearly 50% of women have fibroids. Women of African descent have been shown to have a higher incidence of fibroid formations (up to 80%).

Fibroids that affect fertility tend to be those that change the shape of the uterus or that are within the uterine cavity itself. 

Causes of fibroids

The cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but their growth has been linked to the hormone estrogen. 

Symptoms of fibroids

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding, sometimes with the passage of blood clots
  • Menstrual periods that may last longer than normal
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Need to urinate more often
  • Pelvic cramping or pain with periods
  • Sensation of fullness or pressure in lower abdomen
  • Pain during intercourse

Treatment of fibroids

Fibroids can be diagnosed through pelvic exam, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

Treatment options vary according to the woman’s overall health, age, severity of symptoms, fibroid size and type. They include:

  • Pain management
  • Hormone therapy
  • Surgery