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Uterine Fibroids: Overview

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Uterine fibroids, or leiomyoma, are tumors or growths made of smooth muscle cells and other tissue that arise within the wall of the uterus or womb. They are the most common non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. 

Uterine fibroids can cause painful symptoms and abnormal bleeding from the uterus. Fibroids that are located in certain parts of the uterus, such as the uterine cavity, can also make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy. 

Currently the only cure for fibroids is hysterectomy (pronounced hiss-tur-EK-toh-mee), or removal of the uterus.

NICHD scientists are exploring the causes of and treatments for fibroids—including solutions that don't involve removing the uterus—and are seeking ways to prevent fibroids from occurring altogether.

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Common Name

  • Uterine fibroids

Medical or Scientific Name

  • Uterine leiomyoma (pronounced YOO-­ter-­in lee­-oh-­my-­OH­-mah)
Last Updated Date: 07/22/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 05/21/2013
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology