Houston Fibroids Logo
What Are Fibroids
Schedule an Appointment

What Are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids affect millions of women each year.

With common symptoms like an enlarged uterus, excessive menstrual bleeding, and debilitating pain, uterine fibroids are anything but easy to live with.

In fact, for many women, fibroids can disrupt their everyday lives and cause significant strain during their monthly menstrual cycles.

At Houston Fibroids, we understand that fibroids can affect much more than just your physical health, especially if they alter your appearance or negatively impact your daily life.

The good news is that there are advanced uterine fibroid treatment options to end symptoms without requiring extensive surgeries or extended hospital stays.

As experts in fibroid care, we take a full-body, comprehensive approach to uterine care.

If you’re experiencing symptoms or have recently been diagnosed with fibroids, our team is here to help. Start a fibroid-free future with us today.

Let’s discuss uterine fibroids in more detail, including a more comprehensive answer to the common question, “What are fibroids?” below. 

So, What Are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous tumors found on or in the uterus.

They can vary in size from as small as a grape to as large as a cantaloupe and can measure between 1 mm to over 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter.

Fibroid Types

There are five main types of fibroids. All fibroids consist of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that attach to the uterus in some way.

The five types include:

  1. Subserosal: One of the most common types of fibroids, which grows outside the uterus.
  2. Intramural: These fibroids develop within the muscular uterine wall.
  3. Pedunculated: This fibroid type grows separate from the uterus and is attached by a stalk-like growth to the outer surface or inside the uterus.
  4. Submucosal: These fibroids are considered the least common and develop under the lining of the uterine cavity.
  5. Calcified fibroids: A type of fibroid tumor that has hardened due to the accumulation of calcium deposits. This can cause the fibroids to become less pliable and more challenging to remove, leading to symptoms such as pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and infertility.

Although uterine fibroids directly impact the uterus, they have not been linked to an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.

Fibroid Symptoms

Now that we have the answer to the question “What are fibroids?” let’s discuss fibroid symptoms in more detail.

Fibroid symptom type and severity differ from person to person and may include:

It is essential to note that although most women experience symptoms of fibroids, a small number of those affected may not realize they have fibroids until they receive an ultrasound examination during pregnancy.

Causes and Risk Factors

The direct cause of fibroids is still widely unknown. Still, various factors increase your chances of developing them, including:

Along with these risk factors, race plays a significant role in your fibroid risk. 

While any woman can develop fibroids, the ones at highest risk have a family history, are Black or Hispanic, and have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). 

In fact, according to a recent study in the BJOG Journal, black women have a two-threefold higher fibroid risk. That’s why about 70% of black women develop fibroids, according to the study. The Society for Interventional Radiology estimates that 80% of black women will develop fibroids by the time they turn 50. 

Still, as more Caucasian women present with elevated BMIs, their fibroid risk increases. 

Environmental Risk Factors for Fibroid Growth

According to a study in Fertility and Sterility, when pregnant women expecting daughters were exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC), the babies seemed to have a higher rate of developing fibroids. While researchers aren’t sure why, these hormones seem to change the developing uterus in ways that make fibroid growth more likely.

EDCs can be man-made or natural and directly interfere with your endocrine system. As a result, they can harm your developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune health. BPA and phthalates are some of the best-known EDCs.

In fact, reviews in 2017 and 2019 found that exposure to phthalates at any point in your life increases your risk for fibroid development. In the first study, researchers in China discovered that having more phthalate DEHP in your urine (often added to plastic to make it flexible) translated to a higher risk for fibroids. In the second study, Black women with higher phthalate levels in their urine had larger fibroids and enlarged uteruses.

Genetic Testing Can Play a Role in Determining Your Risk for Fibroids 

A study in Human Genetics identified certain gene combinations that point toward your risk factors for fibroids. 

After identifying these genes, they can assign screened women a uterine fibroid polygenic risk score (PRS). The higher your PRS, the more likely you are to develop fibroids. Doctors can screen patients for these genes and determine each woman’s PRS score. After receiving an elevated PRS score, women could place their symptoms in context if they appear.

Along with finding a more solid link between genetics and fibroid development, this study aimed to help women receive a fibroid diagnosis sooner and reduce their risk of severe symptoms. 

After studying the test results of almost 500 women with fibroids, researchers compared their genetic markers to women without these growths. They found that 30 specific genetic chromosomal locations can be linked to an increased fibroid development risk. 

Now that we know their connection, if your mother or grandmother had fibroids, you can ask doctors to screen you for these markers. Then, if you have any, you can receive treatment sooner than ever.

Uterine Fibroid Treatment

Various treatment options are available to eliminate symptoms by complete fibroid removal.

Common treatments include:

In rare and severe cases, a hysterectomy may be recommended.

For women who do not experience any symptoms, most fibroid specialists will follow a “wait and watch” approach to see if fibroids shrink on their own.

Effective Uterine Fibroid Treatment in Houston

If you have been diagnosed with fibroids or are experiencing symptoms impacting your daily activities and quality of life, you should consider uterine fibroids treatment immediately.

Many non-surgical fibroid treatment options are available to help you effectively eliminate symptoms.

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment to begin a fibroid-free future.

Take the Quiz
Houston Fibroids leaf icon
Contact Us
Is UFE right for me?
Find out if UFE is the best treatment option for your needs and goals. Schedule a consultation with our team of specialists today.
Schedule an Appointment
Houston Fibroids Logo in white


Please contact our dedicated specialists to schedule a consultation today.

Schedule an Appointment
Sister site - Texas Knee Institute logo in white

2024 Houston Fibroids. All rights reserved. Website Design by Healthcare Success