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Cervical Fibroids

(Cervical Leiomyomas)


Charlie C. Kilpatrick

, MD, MEd, Baylor College of Medicine

Full review/revision Feb 2023
Topic Resources

Cervical fibroids are benign (noncancerous) tumors of the cervix.

  • A cervical fibroid may cause vaginal bleeding or a discharge, interfere with urinating, or cause pain during sexual activity.

  • Doctors can see or feel most fibroids during a pelvic examination.

  • Fibroids that cause symptoms can be removed surgically.

Fibroids Fibroids A fibroid is a noncancerous tumor composed of muscle and fibrous tissue. It is located in the uterus. Fibroids can cause pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, constipation, repeated miscarriages... read more Fibroids (also called leiomyomas or myomas) are benign tumors composed partly of muscle tissue. They seldom develop in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus). When they do, they are usually accompanied by fibroids in the larger upper part of the uterus.

The Uterus, Cervix, and Cervical Canal

Large cervical fibroids may partially block the urinary tract or may protrude (prolapse) into the vagina. Sores sometimes develop on prolapsed fibroids, which may become infected, bleed, or both. Large prolapsed fibroids can block the flow of urine.

Symptoms of Cervical Fibroids

Most cervical fibroids eventually cause symptoms. The most common symptom is

  • Bleeding from the vagina, which may be irregular or heavy

Heavy bleeding can cause anemia, with fatigue and weakness. Sexual activity may be painful.

If fibroids become infected, they may cause pain, bleeding, or a discharge from the vagina.

Rarely, prolapse causes symptoms such as a feeling of pressure or a lump in the pelvis.

Rarely, if a fibroid blocks the flow of urine, women may have a hesitant start when urinating, dribble at the end of urination, and retain urine. Urinary tract infections are more likely to develop.

Diagnosis of Cervical Fibroids

  • Pelvic examination

  • Sometimes imaging tests such as ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Doctors can often detect fibroids during a physical examination. During a pelvic examination Pelvic Examination For gynecologic care, a woman should choose a health care practitioner with whom she can comfortably discuss sensitive topics, such as sex, birth control, pregnancy, and problems related to... read more , doctors may see a fibroid. Or doctors may feel a fibroid when they check the size and shape of the uterus and cervix (with one gloved hand inside the vagina and the other on top of the abdomen).

If the diagnosis is uncertain, doctors may insert an ultrasound device through the vagina into the uterus to obtain an image of the area. This procedure, called transvaginal ultrasonography Imaging tests and procedures Imaging tests and procedures , is also used to check for additional fibroids and blockage of urine flow. Alternatively, MRI may be done.

Blood tests are done to check for anemia.

Treatment of Cervical Fibroids

  • If fibroids cause symptoms, surgery

If fibroids are small and do not cause any symptoms, no treatment is needed.

If fibroids cause symptoms, they are surgically removed if possible (a procedure called myomectomy). If only the fibroid is removed, women can still bear children. However, if fibroids are large, removal of the entire uterus (hysterectomy) may be necessary. Either procedure can be done by making a large incision in the abdomen (laparotomy). Sometimes these procedures can be done with instruments inserted through one or more small incisions near the navel (laparoscopy).

If a fibroid protrudes into the vagina, it is removed with instruments inserted through the vagina (transvaginally) if possible.

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