Fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas or myomas, are benign growths that originate in the muscular wall of the uterus. They can vary in size, ranging from small, undetectable nodules to large masses that can distort the shape of the uterus.
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but they are thought to be related to genetic mutations in uterine muscle cells. Hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, also play a role in their growth, which is why fibroids tend to grow during reproductive years and can shrink during menopause.
Although many women with fibroids don't experience symptoms, some may develop heavy and painful periods, abdominal pain, back pain, urinary and bowel problems, and fertility issues. The treatment of fibroids depends on the severity of symptoms and may include medication, surgery, or other procedures.
Some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing fibroids include age, family history, obesity, and being of African American descent. Regular gynecological check-ups and ultrasounds can help detect and monitor the growth of fibroids.