Leiomyoma: A benign tumor of smooth muscle, the type of muscle that is found in the heart and uterus. A leiomyoma of the uterus is commonly called a fibroid.
Uterine fibroids are the single most common indication for hysterectomy. Fibroids can be present and be inapparent. However, they are clinically apparent in up to 25% of women and may cause significant morbidity, including prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, and, in rare cases, reproductive dysfunction. Both the economic cost and the effect of fibroids on quality of life are substantial.
Fibroids are not cancerous. Drugs that manipulate the levels of steroid hormones are effective in treating fibroids but side-effects limit their long-term use. Fibroids may be removed if they cause discomfort or if they are associated with uterine bleeding. Surgery is the mainstay of fibroid treatment. In addition to hysterectomy and abdominal myomectomy, various minimally invasive procedures have been developed to remove fibroids.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016