A fibroid is a benign (non-cancerous) growth of the womb (uterus). They are also called uterine myomas, fibromyomas or leiomyomas. Their size can vary. Some are the same size as a pea and some can be as big as a melon. Fibroids can increase in size, decrease in size or even go away with time.

A fibroid is like an overgrowth of smooth muscle cells. (The womb is mainly made of smooth muscle.) It is not clear why they develop. Fibroids are sensitive to oestrogen, the hormone that is made in the ovary. Fibroids tend to swell when levels of oestrogen are high - for example, during pregnancy. They also shrink when oestrogen levels are low - after the menopause. This shrinkage of the fibroids after the menopause may be delayed if you take hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

There are numerous treatments available for fibroids which are outlined in the information leaflet below.

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