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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Roukoz A. Karam, M.D.[2]; Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [3]; Shanshan Cen, M.D. [4]; Ammu Susheela, M.D. [5]

Synonyms and Keywords: Uterine myoma; Fibroid; Fibroids; Uterine; Fibroid Tumor; Fibroid Uterus; Uterine fibromyoma; Leiomyomata


Uterine leiomyoma was first discovered by Hippocrates in 460-375 B.C and called it “uterine stone”. Uterine leiomyoma may be classified according to their location into 3 subtypes: submucosal, subserous, and intramural. The pathogenesis of leiomyoma is characterized by benign smooth muscle neoplasm. They can occur in any organ, but the most common forms occur in the uterus, small bowel and the esophagus. Chromosome aberrations such as t(12; 14)(q14-q15;q23–24), del(7)(q22q32), rearrangements involving 6p21, 10q, trisomy 12, and deletions of 1p3q has been associated with the development of leiomyoma. Uterine leiomyoma must be differentiated from other diseases that cause uterine mass, such as: uterine adenomyoma, pregnancy, hematometra, uterine sarcoma, uterine carcinosarcoma, and metastasis. Leiomyoma is more commonly observed among patients aged 40 years and older. Common risk factors in the development of uterine leiomyoma include African-American race, early menarche, prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol, having one or more pregnancies extending beyond 20 weeks, obesity, significant consumption of beef and other red meats, hypertension, family history, and alcohol consumption. Physical examination may be remarkable for enlarged, mobile uterus with an irregular contour on bimanual pelvic examination. The mainstay of therapy for uterine leiomyoma is oral contraceptive pills, either combination pills or progestin-only, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs. Surgery is also part of mainstay therapy for uterine leiomyoma.

Historical Perspective

  • Uterine leiomyoma was first discovered by Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, in 460-375 B.C and called it “uterine stone”.
  • In the second century AD, Galen described the lesion as "scleromas".
  • In 1860 and 1863, Rokitansky and Klob coined the term fibroid.
  • In 1854, Virchow, a German pathologist, demonstrated that those tumors originated from the uterine smooth muscle.
  • In 1809, the first laparotomy was conducted by Ephraim McDowell to treat leiomyoma in Danville, USA.[1]




  • Chromosome aberrations in uterine leiomyoma include:[14]
    • T(12;14)(q14-q15;q23–24)
    • Deletion of (7)(q22q32)
    • Rearrangements involving 6p21, 10q
    • Trisomy 12
    • Deletion of 1p3q have been associated with the development of leiomyoma

Differentiating Leiomyoma from other Diseases

Leiomyoma is a cause of abnormal uterine bleeding and can result in infertility. There are several diseases which can result in excessive uterine bleeding and the following table is a description of various causes of excessive uterine bleeding.

Epidemiology and Demographics



  • Leiomyoma usually affects African-American women.[15]
    • Incidence rates are approximately threefold greater in African-American women than in white women.

Risk Factors

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Study of Choice


  • The majority of patients with leiomyoma are usually asymptomatic.
  • Symptoms of uterine leiomyoma may include the following:[30]

Physical Examination

Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy



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