By age 50, over 80% of women in the United States will develop a condition they may not even be aware: fibroids, which are benign tumors located within the uterine walls or cavity. However, over 53% of women do not think they are at risk for this common, reproductive condition.
Uterine fibroids can cause a decreased quality of life which may include: heavy bleeding, periods lasting more than ten days a month, bleeding between cycles, pain during intercourse, fatigue from anemia, severe pelvic pain, a protruding belly, or frequent urination. Not all women experience these issues; however for some, these symptoms can become unbearable over time. In a recent study, women reported on average waiting between one to three years before seeking treatment.
Discussing Fibroid Symptoms
Many women avoid treatment for numerous reasons, one being that it can often be embarrassing to share. From when we are little, we are conditioned to avoid topics especially those that include bathroom or period issues. These often “taboo” subjects affect many people for a variety of reasons. It’s crucial that topics like these be discussed in order to spread awareness of the root conditions. Sharing and discussing these topics provide women with accurate information about their bodies, so they can take the necessary measures and seek treatment.
Why Do Some Fibroids Cause Urinary Issues?
One of the most common symptoms of large or numerous fibroids is the effect they have on the bladder and urinary tract. When fibroids are left untreated, some can grow up to the size of a six month pregnancy. When the uterus is expanded, it can put excess pressure on the bladder causing it to compact to a smaller size. If the bladder is squeezed enough, it can lead to symptoms such as frequent urination. If the fibroids are causing the uterus to push on the urinary tract, this can lead to the inability to fully empty the bladder.
These symptoms can cause women to plan their entire day around being close to a restroom in case they need to use it at a moment’s notice. Some women may even be forced to wear pads or incontinence underwear in case of an accident. Missing out on events with loved ones and being controlled by your bladder can severely impact your quality of life. In addition, frequent urination can become worse over time if the fibroids continue to grow or new ones develop.
Why Do Some Fibroids Cause Constipation?
In some cases, fibroids can cause constipation. This is because the uterus lies directly in front of the distal end (last section) of the colon which controls bowel movements. Fibroids that develop in the back of the uterus, can press on the colon from the outside which can lead to significant constipation. If a fibroid is subserosal, meaning it is located on the outside of the uterus, it can put pressure on the rectum, resulting in constipation.
In addition, some women that have fibroids causing heavy menstrual bleeding can become anemic, which may require them to take iron supplements. These iron supplements to battle anemia sometimes leads to constipation as well.
These backups can become serious if left untreated. It’s important that you notify a doctor as well as document all bowel changes. If you have noticed significant bowel issues or pain, this should not be ignored. It’s also critical to note that taking laxatives won’t fix your issue and can even make things worse if taken too often.
Treatment for Urinary and Bowel Issues Associated with Fibroids
We stress to our patients the importance of documenting changes in menstruation, bowels, urination, or anything else. If your quality of life is being affected by your symptoms, it’s important to seek help as soon as you possibly can. Waiting for your issues to subside won’t fix the underlying issue.
Thankfully, there are many kinds of fibroid treatments available that can eliminate these symptoms so you can live a healthier, happier life. If you are interested in learning more about non-surgical, outpatient Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), click HERE.
We understand how difficult talking about these symptoms and issues can be. Our fibroid specialists provide empathetic care, so that you know you’ve come to the right place.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we believe that fibroid treatment should be convenient and accessible. Therefore, we have over 30 locations across the United States. Schedule a consultation today and find the closest location near you.