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Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that can develop:

  • Within the cavity/lining of your uterus
  • Within the muscular wall of your uterus
  • On the outer surface of your uterus

Uterine fibroids are currently the most common indication for hysterectomy (an operation to remove the uterus) worldwide, and in Canada they account for 30% of all hysterectomies, the second most common surgery for women after Caesarean section.

On the other hand, depending on the type of uterine fibroids that you may have, these can potentially be removed while leaving the uterus intact. This approach is called a myomectomy.

uterine fibroids

Because fibroids can grow in various sizes anywhere inside and outside of the uterus, they can be associated with the following symptoms depending on their size and location:

  • Abnormal bleeding from the uterus
  • Pelvic pressure (a feeling of fullness)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia (due to excessive or prolonged bleeding)
  • Urinary incontinence because of pressure on the bladder
  • Problems with bowel movements
  • Pain during sex
  • Fertility issues

As with any medical condition, your doctor will request that you share the details of your medical history. You will be asked a number of specific questions about your:

  • General health
  • Previous pregnancies (if any)
  • Menstrual history
  • Experience with abnormal bleeding, pain, or other reproductive system issues
  • Diet
  • Previous illnesses
  • Exercise regimen
  • Any health-related conditions that run in your family

As part of your diagnostic workup, your doctor will likely recommend an abdominal and pelvic exam to assess the size and location of your fibroids. Diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound or an MRI in selected cases, may be necessary.


It is very important that, during discussions with your doctor and before you begin treatment, you have a clear understanding of what to expect from the planned method of treatment. It is imperative that both you and your doctor agree that the expectations and goals are realistic.

To achieve this, you should be fully informed of all the logical options that are available for treatment.