We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Fibroid Cyst?

By Janis Bennett
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A fibroid cyst is a type of common, non-cancerous tumor that is most often found in the uterus. Most cases are slow growing and do not cause any symptoms, and only a small percentage of cases will require medical treatment. Fibroid tumors are categorized according to where they grow in the uterus. Some studies suggest that up to 75% of women will develop fibroid cysts during their lifetime.

Although the term "fibroid cysts" is often used, they are not technically cysts. A cyst contains air, fluid, or a semi-solid material, while fibroid cysts are made up of fibrous material, which makes them tumors. As a result, they are also referred to as "fibroid tumors," "fibrolids," "myomas," or simply "fibroids." Varying in size from about 0.04 inches (1 mm) to about 8 inches (20 cm) or more, a fibroid tumor can grow as one nodule or in a cluster.

Causes

The cause of fibroids has not yet been determined, but appears to be linked to estrogen production in a woman's body. These tumors only seem to develop during the reproductive years, and existing fibroids may even start to shrink after menopause. They can grow quickly during pregnancy when estrogen production and blood flow to the uterus increases, but they usually do not cause complications.

Risk Factors

Fibroid tumors are quite common among women who are at a reproductive age, particularly those in their 30s and 40s. Many cases go undetected when there are no symptoms, and they are not always found during an ultrasound. In addition to being more at risk while at a reproductive age, women whose mothers or sisters had fibroids, and women of African descent are generally more at risk for the condition.

Symptoms

Most women who have fibroid tumors have no symptoms at all. In women who do have symptoms, some more common ones include pain, excessive bleeding during menstrual cycles, constipation or bloating, and changes in urinary frequency. Infertility is not a common result of fibroids, but they do account for a small percentage of infertility cases. Where the cyst is located can influence which symptoms a woman experiences.

Types of Fibroid Cysts

There are three types of fibroid tumors, determined by where the fibroid grows in the uterus:

  1. Intramural fibroids, which grow in the uterine wall, are the most common type. They can cause the uterus to swell, and sometimes protrude either into or outside of the uterus.

  2. Submucosal fibroids, also called submucous fibroids, are usually the most likely to cause noticeable symptoms. These fibroids are found within the lining of the uterus, and may extend inside the uterus itself. As a result, submucosal fibroids can cause heavy bleeding during menstruation.

  3. Subserosal fibroids, also called subserous fibroids, grow on the outside of the uterus. These fibroids often cause the fewest symptoms, but can grow to be very large. Some subserosal fibroids become so large that a woman may look up to six months pregnant.

Treatment

Usually, a fibroid cyst will not require treatment unless a woman is experiencing symptoms. In the past, hysterectomies were common practice for curing fibroid tumors, but alternative treatments have since been developed. These newer treatments include surgery to remove the tumor, medication to control symptoms, ultrasound treatments to destroy the fibrous tissue, or an injection of polyvinyl alcohol beads to block blood flow to the fibroids.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon991404 — On Jun 18, 2015

I have a cyst attached to my uterus. What does this mean and what type of cyst could it be?

By anon347719 — On Sep 09, 2013

Has anyone answered the question about "fibroid cysts" appearing elsewhere in the body? I have a number of lumpy growths on my forearms which have been referred to as fibroid cysts. They are ugly, but don't seem to cause any other problems. I would very much like to get rid of them, but am uncertain as to whether doing so would cause any problems.

By anon167022 — On Apr 11, 2011

@rallenwriter: I was googling the same question and found that you also were asking if it was possible to have cysts anywhere else on your body.

I have been suffering severe lower back pain (pain worsened by period) and irregular periods and a host of other problems and my doctor told me I had Coccydynia (inflammation of my coccyx) but I don't think I have!

I am going to have a cyst removed from my breast tomorrow and I wondered if the two were related and if I should go and see my GP about being checked for fibroids or POC. It feels as though I'm wasting my GPs time when I go and list all my problems but I know my own body and I'm not running quite right!

By anon166940 — On Apr 11, 2011

I have fibroid cysts, and they are causing me excruciating pain! So much so that I am actually looking forward to my hysterectomy!

By yournamehere — On Nov 12, 2010

That' so sad that so many women had to undergo radical hysterectomies just to treat their uterine fibroid cysts.

I recently read that today you can even treat them without surgery -- they have some kind of ultrasound treatment that can encourage the cysts to dissolve, provided that they are small enough.

And even if you have to have surgery, I understand that a lot of it is done laparoscopically; it's very rare for a woman to have to have a hysterectomy for almost any reason these days. I'm so glad for the advances in medicine when I read about old treatments, aren't you?

By closerfan12 — On Nov 12, 2010

Ooh, these things are just horrible. My friend had a fibroid ovarian cyst, and she had to undergo several fibroid surgeries to get it entirely removed.

This was back in the day before fibroid treatments other than a total hysterectomy were really practiced, so even though she tried keep one of her ovaries, it became clear that the condition had spread throughout both her ovaries and her uterus, so she had to get the whole thing taken out. They said that there was a risk of fibroid embolization or something like that, and so out it all went.

It was really sad for her though, since she had really wanted to have children. However, eventually she moved on, though not without a lot of hormone therapy! So just remember, ladies, if you start showing fibroid cyst symptoms, get yourself checked out as soon as possible -- you really don't want to have to go through what my friend went through.

By rallenwriter — On Nov 12, 2010

Is it possible to have a fibroid cyst somewhere else in the body? I have heard a lot about fibroid cysts in the uterus, but surely these things occur in other parts of the body, right?

Or since they are so closely linked to estrogen, do they only occur in the uterus? But even if that is the case, wouldn't it be possible to get a fibroid cyst in the breast, since that is also closely linked to estrogen?

Could you give me a little more information on the topic?

By anon124265 — On Nov 05, 2010

The correct spelling is estrogen. It helps to spell words correctly if you wish your information to be regarded as coming from a knowledgeable source.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.