Q:

What is a myomatous uterus?

A:

A "myomatous" uterus contains fibroids, notes Mayo Clinic. Fibroids are benign growths that begin in the smooth muscle of the uterine wall. They are also called leiomyomas or myomas, which is where the term "myomatous" originates.

Painful periods that last longer than usual, frequent urination, pain during intercourse and pelvic pressure or fullness are some common symptoms of uterine fibroids, states MedlinePlus. Additionally, periods may be heavy, or there may be bleeding between periods. In many cases, especially when fibroids are small, there are no symptoms.

Treatments for uterine fibroids vary. They begin with conservative watchful waiting and progress to surgical interventions, according to Mayo Clinic. Drug therapy and ultrasound therapy are moderate treatment options that can provide symptomatic relief or shrink the fibroids entirely. Even among surgical options, procedures range from the minimally invasive to traditional open surgery.

Uterine fibroids occur in up to 20 percent of women in their childbearing years, explains MedlinePlus. By age 50, half of all women have fibroids. They rarely occur in women younger than 20. Fibroids are more common in African-American women than in Caucasians. Doctors do not know why fibroids develop, though fibroids may grow in response to hormones. They may also run in families.

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