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Women's Health:

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids (myomas) are non-cancerous growths that occur in the wall of the uterus (womb). Uterine fibroids may be as small as a pea or larger than a cantaloupe. About 10% to 20% of women with uterine fibroids develop symptoms that may include heavy or long menstrual periods, increased menstrual cramps, pain or pressure in the pelvis or lower back, pain during intercourse, frequent urination, constipation and bloating.

Uterine fibroids account for about 4% of infertility cases. A fibroid that grows in certain areas may prevent the transport of eggs. Fibroids may also interfere with placental growth and cause miscarriage.

Depending on the size and location of the uterine fibroid, surgical removal and reconstruction of the uterus may be recommended. Fibroids growing inside the uterus may be removed via a hysteroscope (small instrument inserted through the vagina). Fibroids growing in the uterine wall may require surgery through the open abdomen or through a laparoscope (small instrument inserted through the belly button and in the bikini line).

If you have uterine fibroids or a family history of uterine fibroids, you should request a uterine evaluation from your gynecologist.