Skip to Main Content

Uterine fibroids

Overview of uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids, also called uterine leiomyomas, are noncancerous growths of the uterus. These growths are attached to or embedded within the muscular wall of the uterus. About 20 to 80% of women develop uterine fibroids by age 50, but they are not associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer.

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of fibroids, our doctors at Dignity Health are here to provide personalized care. Find a Doctor and make an appointment today.


Symptoms of uterine fibroids vary from woman to woman and may depend on the size of the fibroids, their location in the uterus, and how many are present. Some women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms.

At Dignity Health, our doctors have years of experience diagnosing uterine fibroids. Contact your doctor if you experience any fibroid symptoms, such as:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual periods that are longer than usual
  • Painful periods
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Feeling of fullness in the pelvic or lower abdominal area
  • Enlarged uterus and abdomen
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Lower back pain
  • Reproductive problems, including infertility and miscarriages


No one knows exactly what causes uterine fibroids. Researchers think genetics and changing hormone levels may play a role in their development.

Risk factors

Despite the fact that the cause of uterine fibers is not known, there are a number of risk factors that have been shown to play a role in their development. These include:

  • Heredity – A woman whose mother or sister has fibroids is more likely to develop them.
  • Ethnicity – Black women are at higher risk of developing uterine fibroids.
  • Age – Girls who begin menstruation at an early age are at a higher risk.
  • Diet – A diet that is low in green vegetables, fruit, and dairy, and high in red meat increases the risk.
  • Alcohol – The consumption of alcohol increases risk.


There is no evidence to suggest that there is any way to prevent the formation of uterine fibroids. The best thing you can do is live a healthy lifestyle that includes:

  • A healthy diet of whole, fresh foods (including plenty of fruits and vegetables) and few, if any, refined and processed foods
  • Plenty of exercise
  • Weight maintenance
  • Minimal consumption of alcohol
  • Not smoking

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.