Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

A woman with symptoms of fibroids

A woman with symptoms of fibroids
beginning of content

Fibroids

3-minute read

On this page


What are fibroids?

A fibroid is a non-cancerous tumour that grows in and around the womb (uterus). It is also known as a myoma. Fibroids develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus. They can vary in size, from being so tiny you can’t see them with the naked eye to being the size of a melon.

Illustration of uterine fibroids.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that grow in and around the uterus.

Back to top


What are the symptoms of fibroids?

Most women with fibroids do not experience symptoms. When fibroids do cause symptoms, the most common ones include:

Sometimes, fibroids can cause complications. Large fibroids may cause infertility by preventing a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb or blocking the fallopian tubes, although this is rare. Fibroids in pregnant women may also cause difficulties during labour, and the loss of pregnancy (miscarriage) in rare cases.

Back to top


What causes fibroids?

The cause of fibroids is unknown. However, the female hormone oestrogen has been linked to the growth of fibroids.

Fibroids usually develop during a woman’s reproductive years, and may shrink after menopause due to reduced oestrogen levels.

When should I see my doctor?

If you are experiencing pelvic pain or symptoms, or have been trying to get pregnant, speak to your doctor.

Back to top


How are fibroids diagnosed?

Fibroids are usually found during a gynaecological examination, pelvic ultrasound or during surgery for other conditions.

Fibroids may be found during a hysteroscopy, in which a thin telescope is used to examine the uterus, or during a laparoscopy (keyhole surgery), in which a thin telescope is inserted through a small cut in the abdomen to look at the uterus.

Back to top


How are fibroids treated?

Fibroids don’t necessarily have to be treated unless they cause bothersome symptoms or complications. The type of treatment will depend on your symptoms, and the fibroid’s position and size.

Treatment options include:

  • hormone medications, which shrink the fibroid
  • a hormone-releasing device placed in your womb, which reduces heavy periods
  • uterine artery embolisation, which shrinks the fibroid by blocking its blood supply
  • surgical removal of the fibroid
  • high-intensity focused ultrasound waves to destroy the fibroid
  • removal of some or all of the womb — usually only for women who don’t wish to have children

Back to top

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Fibroids - myDr.com.au

Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths of the uterus (womb). The most common symptoms associated with fibroids are heavy or irregular periods, but often there are no symptoms.

Read more on myDr website

Fibroids | Jean Hailes

What exactly are fibroids and are they dangerous? Read information on the diagnosis, management and treatment of fibroids.

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Fibroids - Better Health Channel

Often, fibroids do not cause any problems, but they are occasionally associated with infertility, miscarriage and premature labour.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Uterine Fibroid Embolisation - InsideRadiology

InsideRadiology provides free and easily accessible, accurate, up to date and credible information about medical imaging tests and procedures.

Read more on InsideRadiology website

Menstruation - pain (dysmenorrhoea) - Better Health Channel

Women of any age can experience painful periods and some women find periods are no longer painful after pregnancy and childbirth.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Female infertility - myDr.com.au

There are several factors that can affect a woman's fertility. Treatments are available for many of the causes of female infertility and assisted reproductive technology such as IVF can help some women get pregnant.

Read more on myDr website

Menstruation - abnormal bleeding - Better Health Channel

Heavy or abnormal periods may be an indication of other health problems.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Finding out about medically-induced early menopause: Women’s experiences - Healthtalk Australia

Read more on Healthtalk Australia website

Fertility treatments

There are a number of fertility treatments that are available to both and your partner if you are struggling to fall pregnant.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Menstruation problems - myDr.com.au

Find out about common menstruation problems: amenorrhoea (absence of periods), dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) and menorrhagia (heavy periods).

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo