How Common Are Fibroids?

While the exact percentage of women living with fibroids (the prevalence) is unknown, fibroids are an undeniably common condition. One of the reasons why it is difficult to estimate the prevalence of this disease is that many women living with fibroids are asymptomatic. Estimates of true prevalence range anywhere from 5% to 21% of all women.¹

 

As dedicated fibroid specialists, we like our patients to have access to the most-reliable medical evidence on the topic, so we'll review a few of the highest-quality studies to help you better understand the epidemiology of uterine fibroids.

Prevalence of Symptomatic Uterine Fibroids

One high-quality cross-sectional survey-based study of almost 22,000 reproductive-age (15-49) women across 8 countries (USA, UK, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea) found prevalence of uterine fibroids ranging from 4.5% (UK) to 9.8% (Italy) of women. The prevalence in the US was 6.9%.¹  One of the shortcomings of this research was that asymptomatic women were not included in the study. In other words, the entire 6.9% of US women who reported fibroids were symptomatic - hence the relatively lower prevalence estimates compared to other studies that have counted symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.

Prevalence of Asymptomatic Uterine Fibroids

Another high-quality study randomly-selected US women ages 35-49 and screened them for uterine fibroids. The study found that 60% of African-American women had developed uterine fibroids by age 35.

By age 50, that figure increased to 80%. Likewise, 40% of caucasian women had developed fibroids by age 35, and almost 70% by age 50.² The majority of these women did not report fibroid symptoms.

While the majority of fibroid cases are asymptomatic and therefore go undetected, fibroids are still extremely common even when we only consider symptomatic cases.

References

[1] Zimmermann, A., Bernuit, D., Gerlinger, C., Schaefers, M., & Geppert, K. (2012). Prevalence, symptoms and management of uterine fibroids: An international internet-based survey of 21,746 women. BMC Women’s Health, 12(1), 6.

 [2] Day Baird, D., Dunson, D. B., Hill, M. C., Cousins, D., & Schectman, J. M. (2003). High cumulative incidence of uterine leiomyoma in black and white women: Ultrasound evidence. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 188(1), 100–107. 

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The Fibroid Specialists of University Vascular are leading providers of uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), the least invasive treatment option for women suffering from uterine fibroids. Our physicians have devoted their expertise to helping women overcome fibroids without hysterectomy or major surgery. 

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