What Are Fibroids?

Benign tumors in the uterus, called fibroids, are relatively common among women. 50% of all women will have at least one fibroid.   Though their exact cause is unknown, women with a family history of fibroids are at higher risk.

Symptoms of Fibroids 

  • Pelvic pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Bloating and constipation
  • Urinary incontinence and/or increased urinary frequency



Treatment depends on the size and location of the fibroids, as well as the patient’s specific symptoms, age and desire to maintain fertility. Fibroids may also be a cause of infertility and removing them may help a woman conceive or have a successful in vitro fertilization treatment. There are new minimally invasive treatments available depending on each patient’s needs. 


illustration of vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries


Treatment Options


  • In the absence of problematic symptoms, your physician may wish to keep an eye on fibroids and begin treatment only when you become symptomatic.


  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may reduce pain and contraceptive steroids may help control abnormal bleeding.
  • Tranexamic acid may reduce abnormally heavy periods or prolonged bleeding caused by fibroids.
  • Hormones may be used to shrink fibroids in preparation for surgical removal.
  • New medications are now available that work by decreasing the body’s estrogen levels, causing fibroids to shrink, and decreasing bleeding by up to 80%.


  • Hysterectomy—For women who do not wish to preserve fertility, removal of the uterus results in a high level of patient satisfaction and improved quality of life.
    • Addresses all fibroids
    • Addresses bloating and heavy periods
    • Recovery time: 4-6 weeks
  • Myomectomy—Removing only the fibroids preserves the uterus for future pregnancy, but patients are advised there may be a need for further treatment. Laparoscopic/robotic surgery may be considered for fibroids growing outside of or within the muscle of the uterus.
    • Minimally invasive
    • Addresses most fibroids
    • Addresses heavy periods
    • Recovery time: 4-6 weeks
  • Endometrial ablation may be used to manage bleeding in some cases.
  • The Acessa® procedure is now available.  This laparoscopic procedure uses radiofrequency energy to destroy fibroids causing them to soften, shrink, and in some cases, be reabsorbed.
    • Minimally invasive
    • Identifies more fibroids
    • Addresses fibroids in most locations
    • Addresses bloating and heavy periods
    • Recovery time: 4-5 days