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The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that uterine fibroids also called leiomyomas or myomas, refer to abnormal growths within the muscles of the uterus (womb). These can be located inside or on the outer wall of your uterus.

Uterine fibroids are benign (non cancerous) growths in the uterus. They are the most common type of growth found in a woman's pelvis. They are found in all shapes and forms. Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them.

The percentage of infertility patients where fibroid presence can be the sole cause of failure of the couple to achieve pregnancy or carry the pregnancy to fetal viability is small and stands at about 3%.

Who gets fibroids?

There are factors that can increase a woman's risk of developing fibroids.

  • Age . Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink.
  • Family history. Having a family member with fibroids increases your risk. If a woman's mother had fibroids, her risk of having them is about three times higher than average

Race/Ethnic origin. Black women are more likely to develop fibroids than white women of same age and parity although fibroids are found in all races.
  • Obesity. Women who are overweight are at higher risk for fibroids. For very heavy women, the risk is two to three times greater than average.
  • Eating habits. Eating a lot of red meat (e.g., beef) and ham is linked with a higher risk of fibroids. Eating plenty of green vegetables seems to protect women from developing fibroids.


Where can fibroids grow?

Most fibroids grow in the wall of the uterus. THEY CAN BE CLASSIFIED BY THEIR LOCATIONS INTO:

  • Submucosal fibroids grow into the uterine cavity.
  • Intramural fibroids grow within the wall of the uterus.
  • Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus.

Some fibroids grow on stalks that grow out from the surface of the uterus or into the cavity of the uterus. They might look like mushrooms. These are called pedunculated fibroids.


Fibroids can be found in 50-70% of all black women over the age of 35 years. They occur with a greater frequency as the woman advances in age. Fibroid conditions are found in all races.