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 these common, non-cancerous tumors, only about half of 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%.
Because fibroid symptoms can be similar to those of other female health conditions, we recommend discussing your symptoms with your doctor. If you are diagnosed with uterine fibroids, it may be a good idea to visit a fibroid specialist and learn about your full range of treatment options.
Symptoms of Fibroids
If the signs and symptoms of fibroids are impacting your career, social life, personal relationships, or self-esteem, it’s probably time to look into proper diagnosis and treatment. If you’ve been avoiding the doctor because you fear surgery, we have good news.
At USA Fibroid Centers, our fibroid specialists perform a non-surgical, outpatient procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE can shrink your fibroids and bring relief to painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient fibroid symptoms.
Your uterine fibroid symptoms can 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
What Are the Symptoms of Fibroids?
For some women, 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 fibroid symptoms can impact your social life, family interactions, work, and even your sex life. This can lead to depression and low self-confidence.
Heavy or irregular bleeding is the most common of all signs and symptoms of uterine 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.
When fibroids increase the surface area of your uterine lining, excess bleeding can occur. 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.
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, pain during intercourse may impact your emotional relationships. Other fibroid symptoms can also interfere with your sexual health by causing pelvic pain, bleeding after sex, and lower libido from hormonal imbalances.
Remember that pain during intercourse can be a result of a number of different conditions and is not necessarily related to uterine fibroids. We encourage you to discuss this topic with your doctor to determine the cause of your discomfort.
If you’ve ever experienced an urgent or frequent need to urinate, you already know that it’s an unpleasant and stressful feeling. Unfortunately, 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 you up at night to go to the bathroom, ultimately impacting your quality of sleep.
As fibroids grow, they can expand the uterus — which then compresses the bladder, reducing its capacity. 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.
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. In extreme cases, a swollen uterus can make it difficult to bend down or comfortably move into certain positions.
Uterine fibroids can be painful, although experiencing pain is most common with larger fibroids. Pelvic pain can vary in intensity and frequency, ranging from mild and occasional, to severe and chronic. Pain can occur in other areas too, including the back, hips, and legs. Uterine fibroid pain can be severe enough to 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.
Emotional Symptoms of Fibroids
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 uterine fibroid symptoms –– 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.
To help 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 these issues: your fibroids
See more: Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
What to Do if You’re Experiencing the Symptoms of Fibroids
If you’re experiencing any debilitating signs and symptoms of fibroids, there is hope. USA Fibroid Centers offers 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 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.
Compared to fibroid surgery, some of the many benefits of UFE include:
- Lower risk
- Less pain
- Short recovery
- No general anesthesia
- No hospital stay
- No stitches
- No scarring
- Leaves uterus intact
- Retains fertility
Uterine Fibroid Embolization can effectively eliminate your uterine fibroid symptoms and quickly return you to normal life.
Contact USA Fibroid Centers Today!
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 whether insurance covers treatment, contact us today or take the symptom quiz to learn more.
To get started on your path to recovery, simply schedule an appointment online. We are offering two options: in-person consultations or virtual office visits. Either way, we look forward to helping you say goodbye to fibroid symptoms and take back control of your life!