The average age for developing an ovarian fibroma is just under 53. Symptoms of this condition vary, depending on its location and size. While these fibromas are typically benign, occasionally a cancerous tumor can arise inside the fibroma. Ovarian fibromas differ from uterine fibroid tumors, which originate in the uterus and are made of different substances. This condition is considered rare, accounting for only 4 percent of all ovarian tumors.
The ovarian fibroma originates in the connective tissue of the ovary's cortex. When examined, the fibroma appears whitish-yellow in color. There is also typically some surface bleeding associated with the fibroma. Such tumors vary in size, but are usually approximately 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. When more than 3.9 inches (10 cm), this condition is accompanied by ascites, a build-up of fluid in the uterine cavity.
In most fibromas, calcification of the tumor is often seen upon examination. Fibromas are treated by surgical removal. Sometimes, they are discovered during routine examinations, but many times they present with symptoms that cause a woman to seek medical attention.
Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of an ovarian fibroma. The pain can vary in intensity. Patients have reported the pain as sharp and sporadic as well as dull, aching, and constant. Some women describe the pain as a feeling of heaviness.
Bleeding is another common ovarian fibroma symptom. The bleeding signals a problem in many women with this condition because they are in menopause when the bleeding from the tumor begins. Stomach bloating is a symptoms of all ovarian tumors, including a fibroma. The bloating is from uterine fluids, and in some cases have been more than a gallon.
In the case of large fibromas, interference with bladder and bowel function is possible. In such cases, the patient may have trouble urinating or having a bowel movement. This symptom often sends the patient to the doctor to discover the cause.