Fibroids can be very small or grow as large as a melon. You may have more than one fibroid.
Around one in five women between 30 and 50 years have fibroids. The risk of having them is higher if you:
You may not realise you have fibroids, as sometimes there are no symptoms. However, the condition can cause problems, including heavy or painful periods and, occasionally, infertility, so it's important to see a GP if you're concerned.
Fibroids mostly disappear naturally after the menopause.
Tell your GP if you have ongoing fibroid symptoms.
They'll perform a pelvic examination and, if necessary, an ultrasound scan which will show any fibroids in your womb.
You may be referred to a gynaecologist (a doctor specialising in the female reproductive system) for further investigations, such as:
During these procedures a small tissue sample (biopsy) may be removed to examine under a microscope.
The exact cause isn’t always known. However, oestrogen and progesterone may cause fibroids to grow. These are female sex hormones that cause the lining of your womb to develop again after each menstrual cycle.
If you're pregnant, the natural increase in production of oestrogen and progesterone can cause fibroids to grow quickly.
Fibroids without symptoms don't need treatment. They'll often shrink and disappear by themselves over time.
If symptoms are a problem, treatments include: