Uterine Fibroids Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Uterine fibroids are the most common cause of non-cancerous pelvic tumors among people with uteruses in their reproductive years. Although most people with uteruses will develop a uterine fibroid during their lifetime, experts still aren't exactly sure what causes them.

This article will cover important facts and statistics about uterine fibroids.

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Uterine Fibroids Overview

Uterine fibroids are growths in the muscle wall of the uterus. They are also known as leiomyomas or myomas.

Different types of fibroids have slightly different symptoms or require various treatments. The types include:

  • Submucosal: Grows under the endometrium and are the least common type of fibroid but may cause the worst symptoms
  • Subserosal: Grows outside the uterus and are the most common type of fibroid
  • Pedunculated: Grows on a long stalk of tissue
  • Intramural: Grows in the wall of the uterus below the endometrium (the innermost layer of the uterus)

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Between 25% to 50% of people with fibroids will experience symptoms. The impact of these symptoms can be severe and may include intense pain and bleeding, missed work days, the need for fertility treatments, and early delivery during pregnancy.

Although fibroid growths are almost always benign (non-cancerous), symptoms can be severe and may include:

How Common Are Uterine Fibroids?

Since not everyone experiences symptoms, it isn't easy to calculate the true prevalence of uterine fibroids. However, researchers estimate that uterine fibroids affect up to 80% of people with uteruses before age 50.

Uterine Fibroids by Ethnicity

Uterine fibroids affect Black women more than any other ethnic group. Black people with uteruses are also more likely to suffer from complications and increased fibroids-related costs. Other statistics include:

  • Black people with uteruses are three times more likely to develop fibroids than White people with uteruses.
  • Black people with uteruses are seven times more likely to have surgery for their fibroids than non-Hispanic White people with uteruses.
  • Black people with uteruses are more likely to require treatment compared to other ethnic groups.

The reasons for these differences are complex, and researchers are still trying to understand exactly why this disparity exists.

More inclusive research on uterine fibroids is needed to understand ethnic differences in prevalence and treatment response. One way to get involved is by joining a clinical trial on uterine fibroids. There is a high need for people of color to participate in research studies so that emerging treatments can better address the needs of all individuals affected by fibroids.

Uterine Fibroids by Age

Fibroids occur during the reproductive years (from the onset of menstruation until menopause). They are more common between 30 and 40, and symptoms may resolve after menopause. Black people with uteruses are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age.

Causes of Uterine Fibroids and Risk Factors

Although researchers are still studying the causes of uterine fibroids, you are more likely to develop fibroids if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • A person with a uterus during their reproductive years
  • Have obesity or high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Have a family history of fibroids
  • Are Black

Your diet may also affect fibroid risk. Various studies suggest high red meat consumption, soy milk consumption, lack of vitamin D, or food additives may contribute to fibroid risk. Furthermore, a high intake of dairy products (defined as four or more dairy products per day) and high fruit and vegetable consumption may help protect against fibroids.

The use of certain contraceptives may reduce risk. One study found people with uteruses who currently use oral contraceptives were 70% less likely to develop uterine fibroids.

Some studies also suggest that pregnancy is a protective factor and that protection increases with the number of pregnancies. Giving birth even once reduces the risk of developing uterine fibroids up to fivefold.

Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. Other treatment options include surgical removal of the fibroids and uterine ablation. These treatment options may not be effective for all individuals, and uterine fibroids can reappear even after treatment.

Common treatments for uterine fibroids include:

The only permanent cure for fibroids is hysterectomy. Uterine fibroids are the reason for more than 200,000 hysterectomies among people with uteruses of reproductive age in the United States every year.

One study found 11% of people with uteruses had a hysterectomy before age 35 due to fibroid symptoms. However, post-surgery surveys found a third of these individuals would have been interested in a uterus-preserving treatment option if it had been available.

Fibroids may also start to degenerate if they outgrow their blood supply. The process of degeneration can be quite painful and may require medical treatment. Fibroids tend to shrink on their own once menopause begins.


Uterine fibroids are very common and affect over 11 million American people with uteruses annually. However, the number of people affected by uterine fibroids is likely much higher since many individuals do not experience symptoms. If you have symptoms of uterine fibroids, including painful periods or heavy bleeding, it's worth speaking to your healthcare provider about treatment options.

13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Elizabeth Morrill, RN
Elizabeth Morrill is a former ER nurse and current nurse writer specializing in health content for businesses, patients, and healthcare providers. Her career has spanned the globe, from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Colombia to Guatemala. You can find her online at www.emfreelancing.com.