Benign Uterine Growths (Growths of the Womb)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideWomen's Health Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Uterine Fibroids

Women's Health Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Uterine Fibroids

What are the complications of uterine fibroids?

Fibroids themselves do not require treatment, but women with fibroids can develop complications as a result of fibroids, including bleeding and pelvic pain (as discussed previously). It is because of symptoms that doctors may suggest treatment for a fibroid. Only 20% to 50% of women with fibroids have symptoms due to the condition, primarily bleeding or pelvic pressure.

In addition to bleeding and pelvic pressure, fibroids can cause recurrent miscarriage, infertility, premature labor, and labor complications. However, a substantial majority of women with fibroids are able to have successful pregnancies unless the uterine cavity is unusually distorted.

What is adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is the growth of uterine tissue from one particular layer of the uterus (the endometrial glands from the lining tissue of the uterus) into the "wrong" layer (the muscle layer, called the myometrium). It is a benign condition, but it can enlarge the uterus, clinically appearing as a growth. Adenomyosis is similar to endometriosis, which is the growth of cells similar to those that form the inside of the uterus (endometrial cells), in a location outside of the uterus. In adenomyosis, the abnormal growth of endometrial cells occurs within the muscular layer of the uterus itself rather than outside the uterus.

The cause of adenomyosis is not well understood. Some researchers believe that previous surgeries on the uterus (including Cesarean births) can cause the endometrial (uterine lining) cells to spread and grow in an abnormal location (the muscular layer of the uterine wall). Another possibility is that adenomyosis arises from tissues in the uterine wall itself that may have been deposited there during development of the uterus.

Adenomyosis is more common after childbirth.

What are the symptoms of adenomyosis and what does it look like?

Adenomyosis may not produce any symptoms, although some women may experience:

Picture of an adenomyosis
Picture of Adenomyosis
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/2/2015

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