Uterine fibroid tumors are firm and rubbery growths that form on the uterine lining in women, ranging in size from minuscule lumps to large masses, explains Mayo Clinic. The tumors are most common during the childbearing period and are usually not cancerous.
Symptoms of uterine fibroids include spotting following menstrual periods, bleeding between periods and pelvic pain, explains WebMD. Women may also experience discomfort during sexual intercourse, painful bowel movements and urinary frequency. In certain cases, uterine fibroids only cause minor symptoms and do not require treatment, but the condition can also lead to problems such as miscarriage and infertility.
When treatment is recommended for uterine fibroids, options include anti-inflammatory medications to minimize pain, surgery to remove the growths and iron supplements to replenish iron loss due to heavy bleeding, explains the Office on Women's Health. Low-dose birth control pills and hormonal implants or injections that help to shrink the tumors may also be prescribed. Full hysterectomy procedures are the only way to effectively cure the condition, but the surgery is usually only recommended for women with large growths that cause heavy bleeding and who are close to or past the menopausal stage. The specific cause of uterine fibroids is not known, however, experts believe the condition is linked to hormonal fluctuations and genetics.