Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are the most common tumours of the female genital tract. You might hear them referred to as “fibroids” or by several other names, including leiomyoma, myoma or fibromyoma. Fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. Fibroids do not always cause symptoms. Nevertheless their size and location can lead to problems for some women, including pain and heavy bleeding.

Uterine fibroids are very common, although often they are very small and cause no problems. 20-40% of women aged 35 and over have uterine fibroids of a significant size. African-American women are at a higher risk: as many as 50% have fibroids of a significant size.

Fibroid tumours may start in women when they are in their 20s, however, most women do not begin to have symptoms until they are in their late thirties or forties. Physicians are not able to predict if a fibroid will grow or cause symptoms.

Treatment with UFE

Known medically as uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE) or uterine artery embolisation (UAE), this approach to the treatment of fibroids blocks the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids, causing them to shrink. It is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it requires only a tiny nick in the skin, and is performed while the patient is conscious but sedated — drowsy and feeling no pain.

For more information on uterine fibroids and their treatment, please click on the related articles in the list above.