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FIBROID TUMORS OF THE UTERUS
Uterine fibroids are the most common tumors of the female genital tract. They are noncancerous (benign) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. Other names for fibroids include leiomyoma, leiomyomata, myoma and fibromyoma. Uterine fibroids typically do not cause symptoms, but depending on their size and location they may lead to very heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure.
The causes of fibroid development are not entirely understood, but researchers have linked them to both a genetic predisposition as well as development of susceptibility to hormone stimulation. In other words, women may have a genetic predisposition to the development of fibroids and then subsequently develop factors that allow fibroids to grow under the influence of a number of hormones. Fibroids can increase in size during pregnancy, which is thought to occur because of increased estrogen levels. They typically improve after menopause when the level of estrogen decreases.
Fibroids range greatly in size and may be located in various parts of the uterus. In most cases, there is more than one fibroid in the uterus. There are many treatment options available for symptomatic uterine fibroids, including medical therapy as well as two types of surgery (hysterectomy and myomectomy). In addition, there is a relatively new treatment option performed by interventional radiologists called uterine fibroid embolization.
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