What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign tumours (non-cancerous), formed by fibres very similar to those of the uterus itself. Between 20% and 40% of women will have fibroids by the time they reach the age of 50, most without symptoms.

A patient may have one or more fibroids in the uterus, and their size can range from less than 1 cm to over 20 cm in extreme cases. The severity of the symptoms and how to treat them depends on their size and location.

These symptoms can affect a woman’s quality of life, occurring cyclically with menstruation and decreasing after the menopause.

Uterine fibroids are classified according to their location. The main types are:

  • Submucosal fibroids: These develop in the uterine cavity. The symptoms are heavy bleeding with associated anaemia, and they can lead to infertility problems and miscarriage.
  • Intramural fibroids: This is the most common type and they are located in the thickness of the uterine wall. Depending on their size and location they may or may not cause symptoms.
  • Subserosal fibroids: These are located in the periphery of the uterine wall. In general, if they are not very large, , they do not cause many problems.
  • Pedunculated fibroids: Initially start as a subserous fibroid that grows and separates partially from the uterus, but remains attached to the wall by a stalk-like structure of tissue called a pedicle. These are sometimes confused with ovarian tumours and they can twist and cause pain.
  • Tipos de miomas

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