Uterine fibroids are the most common, non-cancerous (benign) growths which originate from the cells forming the muscular wall of the uterus (womb). They can grow on the uterine wall and push out into the bladder, bowel or intestine. They can also grow within the uterine wall, or even project from the wall of the uterus on a narrow stalk into the uterine cavity. The growth pattern of uterine fibroids vary — they may grow slowly or rapidly, or they may remain of the same size. Some fibroids go through growth spurts, and some may shrink on their own. Many fibroids that have been present during pregnancy shrink or disappear after pregnancy, as the uterus goes back to a normal size. As many as 1 in5 women may have fibroids during their childbearing years (the time after starting menstruation for the first time and before menopause). Half of all women develop fibroids by age 50. Fibroids account for about one-quarter of all hysterectomies, usually not associated with malignancy; which rarely develop into cancer called sarcoma. The risk that a sarcoma develops from a fibroid is estimated to be between 0.2 to 0.5%. Sarcomas tend to develop in older women. Generally, fibroids do not increase a woman’s risk for uterine cancer in the female. Most of the women are unaware of them because they often cause no symptoms and are silent. Your doctor may discover fibroids incidentally during a pelvic exam or ultrasound.
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