Uterine fibroids can grow on the
inside wall of the uterus,
within the muscle wall of the uterus, or on the
outer wall of the uterus. They can alter the shape of the uterus as they grow.
Over time, the size, shape, location, and symptoms of fibroids can change.
As women age, they are more likely to have
uterine fibroids, especially from their 30s and 40s through
menopause (around age 50).
Uterine fibroids can stay the same for years with few or no
symptoms, or you can have a sudden, rapid growth of fibroids.
Fibroids are often first found during a routine pelvic exam. To double check, an ultrasound may be performed, either transvaginally or abdominally. A three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) can also be used to find the fibroids, a process called fibroid mapping.
Fibroids do not grow before the start of menstrual periods (puberty).
They sometimes grow larger during the first trimester of pregnancy, and they
usually shrink for the rest of a pregnancy. After
menopause, when a woman's hormone levels drop,
fibroids usually shrink and don't come back.
uterine fibroids aren't common. They include:
Blockage of the urinary tract or bowels, if a
fibroid presses on them.
Infertility, especially if the fibroids grow inside the uterus and change the shape of the uterus or the location of the fallopian
Ongoing low back pain or a feeling of pressure in the lower
abdomen (pelvic pressure).
Infection or a breakdown of uterine
Fibroids can cause problems during pregnancy, such
The need for a
cesarean section delivery. This is the most common
effect of fibroids on pregnancy.1
Premature labor and delivery.
Miscarriage. This can happen when fibroids are located inside the uterus.