Have you felt a particular pain in your pelvis or lower back, or experienced heavy or prolonged menstruation even when you don’t have your period? You could be experiencing signs of uterine fibroids.
Despite the prevalence of uterine fibroids, only about half of these women believe they’re at risk. The reality is, 33% of women develop these benign tumors that cause uterine fibroid symptoms during their childbearing years, and by age 50, that number increases to as high as 80%.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Your uterine fibroid symptoms could vary based on the number of fibroids you have, the type, their location, and their size. There are four different types of fibroids that can develop:
- Intramural fibroids
- Subserosal fibroids
- Pedunculated fibroids
- Submucosal fibroids
For some women, especially those going through menopause, signs and symptoms of fibroids may seem non-existent. However, it’s important to know what to look for in case you do start experiencing symptoms, such as:
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
These symptoms can bring other problems of their own. For example, many patients with fibroids also deal with poor sleep from frequent urination or pressure on their bladder. Heavy menstruation can lead to anemia which causes fatigue and a general lack of energy.
All of these symptoms can impact your social life, family interactions, work, and even your sex life. This can lead to depression and low self-confidence.
It’s no surprise that an enlarged uterus is associated primarily with pregnancy — especially during the childbearing years. However, there are a variety of other medical conditions which can also cause the uterus to expand.
Uterine fibroids, particularly when large or existing in numbers, are one potential explanation. An enlarged uterus and fibroids can cause weight gain and abdominal bloating. However, some women with uterine fibroids may not experience these symptoms.
If you are experiencing signs of an enlarged uterus with fibroids symptoms, contact your medical provider. A pelvic exam or imaging test will determine if you have an enlarged uterus and fibroids.
Uterine fibroids can be painful, although experiencing pain is most common with larger fibroids. Uterine fibroids pain can vary in intensity and frequency, ranging from mild and occasional–to severe and chronic. The pain is a uterine fibroids symptom that can interfere with work, social activities, exercising, and sexual intercourse. Left untreated, uterine fibroid pain can lead to a loss of self-confidence and even depression.
What Does Uterine Fibroid Pain Feel Like?
Some describe uterine fibroid pain it as heaviness, pressure, or discomfort; others say it involves aching, intense cramping, or acute, stabbing sensations.
Although, severe pain is is a uterine fibroids symptom often only experienced when a fibroid degenerates (meaning the cells of the fibroid have died), even mild to moderate pain can make it difficult to bend over, move normally, or perform simple tasks.
The most common location of uterine fibroid pain is the pelvis and lower abdomen, but uterine fibroids and back and leg pain is also possible. If you are experiencing uterine fibroids pain symptoms, don’t wait around. When treated, the symptoms of uterine fibroids and pain can be alleviated so you can get back to normal day-to-day activities.
Do uterine fibroids cause bleeding? Yes, they certainly do. In fact, irregular or heavy bleeding is the most common of uterine fibroids symptoms.symptom of fibroids.
If you are bleeding outside of your menstrual cycle, your flow is heavier or longer than normal, or you are experiencing bleeding after menopause, you should be evaluated by your physician for uterine fibroids. Although other conditions can also cause these symptoms, it is extremely common that uterine fibroids cause bleeding.
You may be wondering, “How do uterine fibroids cause bleeding?” When fibroids increase the surface area of your uterine lining, additional bleeding occurs and cramps worsen.
Some types of fibroids may cause more bleeding than others. Fibroids can also decrease the uterus’ ability to stop bleeding, compounding the problem. In some cases, excessive blood loss from symptoms of fibroids can lead to anemia and fatigue.
If you’re living with uterine fibroids and irregular bleeding, you should seek treatment for relief from these symptoms.
While a variety of symptoms can be caused by uterine fibroids, pain during sex is perhaps the one least discussed. Along with affecting your physical well-being, uterine fibroids and pain during intercourse may impact your emotional relationships. Fibroid tumor symptoms also interfere with your sexual health by causing pelvic pain, bleeding after sex, and lower libido from hormonal imbalances.
If you’re wondering, “Can uterine fibroids cause painful intercourse?” Remember that pain during intercourse can be a result of a number of different conditions.Sexual pain might not always be related to uterine fibroid symptoms. We encourage you to discuss this topic with your doctor to determine the cause of your discomfort.
Can a fibroid cause frequent urination? If you’ve ever experienced an urgent or frequent need to urinate you already know that it’s an unpleasant and stressful feeling. This is a common symptom of uterine fibroids. Frequent urination may cause you to cancel plans, plan your days around finding the nearest restroom, and constantly wake up at night to go to the bathroom.
As fibroids grow, they can expand the uterus — which then compresses the bladder, reducing its capacity. The size and location of the fibroid(s) determine whether or not frequent urination will occur.
While all subtypes of fibroids can potentially put pressure on the bladder, subserosal fibroids — which grow outside of the uterus — are the most likely to. In some cases, fibroids can also lead to urinary retention and/or incontinence.
To determine if the frequent urination, a uterine fibroid symptom, is a result of fibroids putting pressure on the bladder, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Ultrasound and MRI imaging techniques are used to make an accurate diagnosis and build an effective treatment plan.
Emotional Symptoms and Effects
Many individuals suffering from the painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient physical effects of fibroids also experience difficult, undesirable, and sometimes debilitating emotional symptoms.
While the emotional effects of fibroids can vary, they may include:
NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE AND POOR SELF-ESTEEM
Many women, even those without fibroids, understand first-hand how bloating and weight gain –– both potential symptoms of fibroids –– can negatively impact body image and self-esteem. This can occur even if these physical symptoms are not visible to others. For instance, feeling heavier or less agile can affect your sense of self, even if no one else notices outward changes.
Women that have an enlarged abdomen may be most at risk for potential issues with a negative body image. Some women report that their clothing fits differently after developing fibroids. Others share that they no longer feel as attractive and/or are avoiding intimate situations as a result. In extreme cases, an enlarged abdomen due to fibroids can cause a woman to appear pregnant –– a situation especially scarring for anyone dealing with fertility issues.
FEAR, STRESS, AND ANXIETY
Women with fibroids often report high levels of concern about many areas of their lives –– including family, relationships, and career. Such concerns tend to involve issues like:
- Fear over potential fertility issues or the impact of fibroids on a growing fetus
- How pain during sex may affect personal relationships
- Embarrassment over bleeding through clothing in public
- Anxiety about suddenly needing a bathroom when there isn’t one nearby
- Stress over missing work and how this may affect future career opportunities
SADNESS AND DEPRESSION
Many also experience feelings of sadness –– often over the loss of their ability to go about normal daily activities like work, exercise, social engagements, and sexual relations. In severe cases, such feelings can become overwhelming and ultimately result in depression. Signs of depression can include changes in sleep, appetite, energy levels, concentration, and daily behavior.
If you want to manage the emotional effects of fibroids, we recommend that you:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet
- Use relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga
- Get enough sleep
- Prioritize your emotional health by not over-scheduling
- Discuss your feelings with others
- Spend quality time with loved ones
- Look into treating the root cause of your emotional issues
See more: Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
Contact USA Fibroid Centers
If you’re experiencing some of the debilitating signs and symptoms of fibroids, there is hope. USA Fibroid Centers uses a treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE is a quick and easy outpatient procedure that’s non-surgical and minimally invasive. You won’t need to stay in a hospital, and you can recover at home.
Our medical team uses an ultrasound as a guide and can treat all of your fibroids at once in about 30-45 minutes. Unlike other procedures, you’ll make a full recovery in one to two weeks.
If you notice any uterine fibroids symptoms and signs, contact USA Fibroid Centers today. Our treatment plans can help you get back to being yourself and living life to its fullest. If you’re not sure of your symptoms, or if your insurance covers treatment, contact us today or take the symptom quiz to learn more.