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So…What is a Fibroid, Exactly?

Acessa Health | October 13, 2020

Every year in the US, nearly 6.5 million women seek treatment for fibroids (1). What’s more, up to 7 out of 10 women will develop one or more fibroids in their lifetime (2). This means fibroids are extremely common - but many women don’t know what they are, how to treat them, or even if they should treat them. We’re here to tell you the basics:



Uterine fibroids - also referred to as uterine leiomyomas or myomas - are benign smooth muscle tumors that can form in or on the uterus (2). No two fibroids are the same. Some are as small as a blueberry, some are as big as a cantaloupe, some women have many, some women have just one. The thing to remember is fibroids are incredibly common, so you’re never suffering alone.



Fibroids are classified by their location (3)

  • Intramural:
    • Within the muscular walls of the uterus and typically can cause heavy bleeding or pressure symptoms.
  • Submucosal:
    • Either inside or abutting the uterine cavity and typically cause heavy bleeding (least common type).
  • Subserosal:
    • Outer wall of the uterus and typically cause bulk or pressure symptoms.
  • Pedunculated:
    • Fibroids on a thin stalk (less common).



    • It’s currently unclear why fibroids develop, but we do know what occurs biologically is a rogue cell becomes a fibroid cell instead of a uterine one. That cell then replicates over and over, growing into a non-cancerous fibroid tumor.
    • Some research and clinical studies suggest fibroids are hereditary. However, there has been no scientific evidence to prove they arise from hormonal, behavioral, or environmental factors.



    • Many women don’t show any symptoms and may never know that they have fibroids. It’s only when they experience uncomfortable symptoms that women consider treating them. For those women who suffer from symptomatic fibroids, it can be debilitating. Some common symptoms to look out for are:
      • Extreme periods
      • Stomach and Pelvic Pain
      • Leg & Back Pain
      • Anemia, causing exhaustion
      • Stomach Swelling and Bloating
      • Pain During Sex
      • Digestive Issues
      • Frequent urination


* Take our brief quiz to help you determine if you have any of the common symptoms of fibroids.


The good news? Women have options to treat their fibroids.

If you experience any of the fibroid symptoms listed above, finding the right treatment option can sometimes feel overwhelming and scary. Many women are told that hysterectomy is their only treatment option, but we’re here to let you know, you have more options. Below is a list of fibroid treatment options currently available to women from least invasive to most invasive.

The truth is treatment decisions should be made with a physician and be driven by what’s most important to you (go get that second opinion if you feel like you need it!). There are risks and benefits associated with every procedure, and not all procedures are right for every woman. It’s important to see a doctor to determine if you have fibroids.

Visit our website to learn more.

Interested in the Acessa procedure? We’ll help you find a physician.


  1. Internal Analysis based on US Census population information total population women aged 15-64 (104 million women), Kaiser Family Foundation information for the number of Medicaid (25 million) and commercial lives (79 million), Wakely Actuarial Firm claims analysis for Fibroid ICD-10 diagnosis code prevalence in commercial claim data (6% of women in data set sought care for fibroid related diagnosis code) and internal assumption for Medicaid prevalence (6%)
  2. Baird DD, Dunson DB, Hill MV, Cousins D, Schechtman JM. High cumulative incidence of uterine leiomyoma in black and white women: ultrasound evidence. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003; 188:100 –107.
  3. Mayo Clinic—Uterine Fibroids—



Acessa Health encourages patients to seek medical attention for typical and atypical symptoms associated with fibroids to help achieve and maintain good health with as high a quality of life as possible. Information contained on this site is not to be used as a substitute for talking to your doctor. You should always talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

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