Diagnosing fibroids

If your GP suspects fibroids, they'll usuallycarry out a pelvic examination to look for any obvious signs.

They may also refer you to a local hospital for further tests outlined below to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.

Sometimes fibroids are onlydiscovered during routine gynaecological (vaginal) examinations or tests for other problems, because they often don't cause any symptoms.

Ultrasound scan

One of the main tests carried out to diagnose fibroids is an Ultrasound scan . This is a painless scanthat uses a probe to produce high frequency sound wavesto create an image of the inside ofyour body.

Two types of ultrasound scan can be used to help diagnose fibroids:

  • an abdominal ultrasound scan where the ultrasound probe ismovedover the outside of your tummy (abdomen)
  • a transvaginal ultrasound scan where a small ultrasound probe is inserted into your vagina

Images produced by these scans are transmitted to a monitor so your doctor can see if there are any signs of fibroids.

If an ultrasound scan suggests you have fibroids, youmay be referredto a gynaecologist (a specialist in the female reproductive system) for the tests described below.


A hysteroscopy is where asmall telescope (hysteroscope) is inserted into your womb through the vagina and cervix, so your doctorcan examine the inside ofyour womb. It takes about five minutes to carry out.

A local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic may be usedso you won't feel any pain during the procedure. However, most women don't need anaesthetic. Some women experience cramping during the procedure.

A hysteroscopyis most often used to look for fibroids within your womb (submucosal fibroids).


A laparoscope is a small telescope with a light source and camera at one end. The camera relays images of the inside ofthe abdomen or pelvis to a television monitor.

During a laparoscopy , asurgeon will make asmall incision inyour abdomen. The laparoscope will be passed into your abdomen to allow the organs and tissues inside your abdomen or pelvis to be examined. General anaesthetic is used,so you'll be asleep during the procedure.

A laparoscopy can be used to look for fibroids outside your womb (subserosal fibroids) or fibroids in the layer ofmuscle surrounding the womb (intramural fibroids) that have affected its size and shape.


In some cases, a small tissue sample( biopsy )may be removed during a hysteroscopy or laparoscopy for closer examination under a microscope.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016