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What is an Ovarian Fibroid?

An ovarian fibroid, often confused with uterine fibroids, is a rare benign tumor that can develop on an ovary. Unlike their uterine counterparts, these growths can potentially affect fertility and ovarian function. Intriguingly, their symptoms and treatment options vary. Curious about how these fibroids look and impact health? Dive into our visual guide for a clearer understanding. What might you discover?
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

An ovarian fibroid is a type of abnormal growth, also called a tumor, that develops on a woman's ovary. This growth is solid, which differs from typically fluid-filled ovarian cysts, and is made of smooth muscular tissues that are bound by fibrous tissues. In most cases, fibroids don’t form on the ovaries; they typically form inside a woman's uterus and are only rarely found on an ovary. When they do appear on an ovary, however, they are usually benign, which means they do not contain cancerous cells.

While there are various types of tumors, fibroids are the most common type for females to develop in the pelvic region. This does not mean a woman is more likely to develop one on her ovary than any other type of tumor, however. A woman is usually more likely to develop a different type of ovarian tumor or a cyst than an ovarian fibroid. In general, women have a higher chance of developing fibroids when they are between the ages of 35 and 45. Interestingly, menopause often puts a stop to fibroid growth, and sometimes they disappear altogether.

Ultrasounds may be conducted to diagnose an ovarian fibroid.
Ultrasounds may be conducted to diagnose an ovarian fibroid.

An ovarian fibroid can be very small. For example, one of these growths could be smaller than a sunflower seed. Unfortunately, they can grow very large as well and exceed the size of a baseball. It is, however, unlikely that a woman will develop one that large on an ovary. In most cases, large fibroids affect the uterus instead.

If a woman develops an ovarian fibroid, doctors may first work to confirm that it really is a benign tumor before they decide on a course of treatment. Often, ultrasounds and other diagnostic imaging tests are used to help doctors figure out whether or not a tumor is benign. If doctors believe a tumor many be cancerous, they typically perform a biopsy, which involves removing a sample of tissue from the mass or the entire mass itself and then examining the mass for cancerous cells.

Surgery may be required to remove an ovarian fibroid.
Surgery may be required to remove an ovarian fibroid.

In many cases, it is not necessary to treat fibroids. Doctors may recommend treatment, usually surgical removal, if a patient is in pain or experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, however. Often, women do not experience symptoms at all. When symptoms are present with an ovarian fibroid, they often include abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating. Excessive bleeding can be another symptom of fibroids, but it is more likely to occur when the uterus is affected.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Rundocuri

The symptoms of ovarian fibroids may consist of pain and discomfort that mimics other conditions, such as ovarian cysts or tumors. Therefore, it is important not to make your own diagnosis but to see your doctor if you think you might have ovarian fibroids. This will help you determine the best treatment, if any, once other issues are ruled out and ovarian fibroids are properly diagnosed.

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    • Ultrasounds may be conducted to diagnose an ovarian fibroid.
      By: acherst
      Ultrasounds may be conducted to diagnose an ovarian fibroid.
    • Surgery may be required to remove an ovarian fibroid.
      By: Gennadiy Poznyakov
      Surgery may be required to remove an ovarian fibroid.
    • Ovarian fibroids are abnormal growths that develop on a woman's ovaries.
      By: blueringmedia
      Ovarian fibroids are abnormal growths that develop on a woman's ovaries.
    • If left untreated, a fibroid cyst may grow and cause persistent pain.
      By: Alliance
      If left untreated, a fibroid cyst may grow and cause persistent pain.
    • Ovarian fibroids are the most common type of tumor that women develop in the pelvic region.
      By: javiindy
      Ovarian fibroids are the most common type of tumor that women develop in the pelvic region.
    • Ovarian fibroids rarely appear on a woman's ovaries.
      By: Zsolnai Gergely
      Ovarian fibroids rarely appear on a woman's ovaries.
    • Women have a higher chance of developing fibroids between the ages of 35 and 45.
      By: michaeljung
      Women have a higher chance of developing fibroids between the ages of 35 and 45.