Who Is at Risk?
Uterine fibroids are the most common tumors within the female reproductive system, so all women are at a potential risk of developing them.
- The majority of uterine fibroids are diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 54. However, fibroids can occur in women younger than 35.
- Studies demonstrate the prevalence of fibroids in 20-40% of women older than 35 years of age.1
- African American women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids with an earlier age of onset.2
- Most clinicians believe that shrinking of fibroids will occur when a woman goes through menopause.
During your annual gynecological examination, your doctor will perform a vaginal exam and check the size of your uterus. If it feels enlarged, your doctor may prescribe an ultrasound, which can confirm the presence, location, and size of fibroid tumors. Other methods can be used to confirm uterine fibroids, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). After identifying the size and location of your fibroid(s), and also after other diagnostic tests, your doctor may recommend ruling out other potentially more serious conditions and advise you of your options and a recommended course of uterine fibroid treatment.
1. Wallach, E. E. (1992). Myomectomy. In Thompson, J. D., & Rock, J. A. (Eds.), Te Linde’s Operative Gynecology, 7th (pp. 647-662). Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.
2. Huyck, K. L., Panhuysen, C. I., Cuenco, K. T., et al. (2008). The impact of race as a risk factor for symptom severity and age at diagnosis of uterine leiomyomata among affected sisters. Am J Obstet Gynecol, Feb;198(2):168.e1-9.
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