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What are fibroids?

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in and around a woman’s womb.

Please note: Some advice, such as visiting a GP face-to-face, may not be relevant while COVID-19 social distancing measures are in place

Around 1 in 3 women develops fibroids at some point, but only some experience symptoms that affect their everyday lives.

Who is likely to get fibroids?

Fibroids develop most often in women aged 30 to 50.

They’re also thought to occur more frequently in women of African-Carribbean origin, and women who are overweight.

Women who have had children are less at risk.

What are the symptoms of fibroids?

Fibroids usually develop during your reproductive years, and are thought to be linked to the hormone oestrogen.

Symptoms might include:

  • heavy or painful periods
  • constipation
  • feeling bloated or tummy pain
  • lower back pain
  • pain during sex
  • needing to urinate more.

When should I see a GP?

See a GP when you are experiencing these symptoms, especially if they are affecting your day-to-day life.

If a GP thinks you may have fibroids after discussing your symptoms, they might examine your tummy and vagina.

They may also refer you to a local hospital for further tests such as an ultrasound scan.

They might also refer you for a hysteroscopy – when a thin narrow tube with a camera and light is used to examine the inside of your womb via your vagina.

What treatments are available?

There are many surgical and non-surgical treatments for fibroids, including:

  • an intrauterine system (IS), a small plastic device inserted into your womb
  • tranexamic acid tablets, which stop the small blood vessels in the womb lining from bleeding
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
  • the combined oral contraception pill
  • surgery to thin or remove the lining of the womb (endometrial ablation)
  • blocking blood vessels by injecting a special solution (uterine artery embolisation)
  • surgery to remove the fibroids (a myomectomy)
  • surgery to remove your womb (a hysterectomy).

There are other tests and treatments for fibroids. Find out more:

Visit the NHS website