Fibroids (also known as uterine leiomyomas or myomas) are the most common benign gynaecological tumour.
- they are monoclonal tumours of the smooth muscle cells of the uterine myometrium
- disorderd myofibroblasts buried in a large amount of extracellular matrix forms a hard, round, whorled tumour
- may be single or multiple with the tumour size varying from few millimetres to 30 cm or more (1,2)
- have minimal malignant potential but may grow to enormous size (1,2)
The incidence of uterine fibroids increases with age.
- in a randomised study carried out in women between the ages of 35-49 years, nearly 70% of white women and more than 80% of black women have had at least one fibroid by the age of 50 years (1)
- 11880 Canadian women between the ages of 20-49 years who were screened for fibroids reported that 12% had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids (including 3.2% reporting current fibroid) (2)
Most fibroids shrink after menopause since the growth is dependent on the ovarian steroids oestrogen and progesterone
Majority are asymptomatic and do not require treatment. However, some may cause menorrhagia, infertility and dystocia.