Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors of muscle that develop in the wall of the uterus. Fibroids are extremely common, occurring in up to one-third of all women. Most fibroids are small and asymptomatic and are, therefore, never detected. Fibroids can, however, lead to problems for some women including heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), pelvic pain, pelvic pressure, back pain, constipation and changes in urinary habits.Uterine fibroid embolization (also known as UFE or uterine artery embolization) is a relatively new, minimally-invasive, non-surgical treatment option for many women with uterine fibroid tumors.
Fibroid tumors can occur in several different locations within the uterus and are often multiple (See image: fibroid locations). Submucosal fibroids are fibroids that grow and bulge into the inner lining (the endometrial cavity) of the uterus. These fibroids are most often associated with heavy menstrual bleeding and infertility issues. Intramural fibroids occur within the muscular wall of the uterus and are completely surrounded by normal uterine tissue. Subserosal fibroids develop on the outside of the uterus. Pedunculated fibroids are attached to the uterus by stalk. The symptoms caused by fibroids can vary significantly depending on the size, number and location of the fibroid tumors. These factors may also affect the best treatment options available to a patient with fibroids.