Uterine fibroid, also called uterine leiomyoma or simply myoma, is a benign tumour of the uterus composed of smooth muscle and varying amounts of connective tissue, it is the commonest tumour of the uterus and autopsy studies had shown that between 20-50% of women over 30 years old habour uterine myomas of various sizes. Exactly what causes the initial development of leiomyomas is not known. There is evidence of genetic predisposition for myoma formation, however the pattern of familial inheritance has not been well studied. For unknown reasons, uterine leiomyomas are 2-3 more prevalent in black women compared with white, Hispanic and Asian women. Women of African descent leaving else where do not appear to have as high incidence as those on the continent- an indication that diet or other environmental factors are at work in the development of fibroids. Onset of menstruation before the age of 12 (which prolongs the time a woman is subject to estrogen) and being overweight (which raises estrogen levels).
Most fibroids cause few or no symptoms. When they occur, the most common symptom is prolonged and heavy bleeding during menstruation. others include; abdominal swelling, abdominal pain, urinary symptoms such as increased urinary frequency.
Although a large array of options exist, there are still data upon which to base decisions regarding treatment approaches. About 70-80% of uterine fibroids are asymptomatic and are discovered initially due to routine pelvic examinations. For most of such people, explanation, reassurance and reexamination at periodic intervals are all that may be needed. However, for those with symptoms medical or surgical intervention could be necessary depending on the severity, the age of the woman and her desire to conceive.