Uterine fibroids are benign (not cancer) growths in the uterus. Fibroids are most common in women aged 30–40 years, but they can occur at any age. They develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus and are also called leiomyomas or myomas. In some women, fibroids remain small and do not cause symptoms or problems. However, in some cases, fibroids can cause problems because of their size, number, and location.
It is not clear what causes fibroids. Some research suggests that they develop from misplaced cells present in the body before birth. The female hormones estrogenand progesterone may be involved in their growth. Levels of these hormones can increase or decrease throughout a woman’s life. Menopause causes a decrease in estrogen and fibroids often shrink when a woman enters menopause. Hormonal drugs that contain estrogen, such as birth control pills, may cause fibroids to grow.
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