Understanding the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow on the smooth muscle of the uterus. They are also called leiomyomas — ‘leio’ means smooth, ‘myo’ means muscle, and ‘oma’ means tumor.

Fibroids are not usually dangerous, and in most cases, they aren’t cancerous. But they can cause a range of symptoms, some of which can impact your health and quality of life. 

Uterine fibroid symptoms can range from uncomfortable and mild to severe. The symptoms a woman experiences depend on the size of the fibroids and where they grow. 

Common Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

It’s estimated that 26 million women in America between the ages of 15 and 50 have uterine fibroids. In some cases, they grow steadily until menopause. Others stay the same size for years. 

You might not know you have fibroids if you don’t have symptoms or until they become large enough to cause symptoms. Here are some of the most common uterine fibroid signs and symptoms:

  • Heavy or prolonged periods
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Pain in the lower back or leg
  • Stomach swelling or bloating
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Anemia 

Heavy or Prolonged Periods

When fibroids press against the uterine lining or stop the uterus from contracting, they can cause excess bleeding. They may also stimulate the growth of blood vessels, leading to spotting between periods. 

Heavy or irregular bleeding is one of the most common signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids. It’s estimated that about 30% of women with fibroids experience heavy menstrual bleeding.

Pelvic Pain or Pressure

Pelvic pain or pressure is a symptom often associated with larger uterine fibroids. The intensity and frequency of this pain can vary. It may be mild and occur sporadically, or in rarer cases, it can be severe and almost constant. The location of the fibroid within the uterus plays a crucial role in determining the severity and nature of the pain.

One significant concern is fibroid degeneration, which occurs when a fibroid outgrows its blood supply and begins to die. This process can lead to acute, sometimes severe, pain and discomfort. While these symptoms are common with larger fibroids, subserosal fibroids, located on the outer wall of the uterus, might cause different symptoms. They often exert pressure on adjacent organs, leading to pelvic or back pain and possibly affecting bowel or bladder function, but typically have less impact on menstrual bleeding.

We encourage you to schedule a consultation online to understand the different types of fibroids and determine whether your symptoms are related to fibroids. Our specialists can provide a comprehensive evaluation and recommend the most appropriate care based on your condition.

Lower Back Pain or Leg Pain

Fibroids can cause pain in your lower back and legs. If a fibroid presses on the sciatic or pelvic nerve, it can cause pain radiating down your legs. They can also push on the muscles or nerves in the back, causing lower back pain. Usually, larger fibroids are behind lower back or leg pain. 

Bloating or Enlarged Uterus

If you feel like you’re always bloated and your clothes no longer fit comfortably, you could have an enlarged uterus from fibroids. 

Large fibroids or many fibroids can cause the uterus to increase in size. This can lead to a swollen abdomen and chronic discomfort. In more extreme cases, an enlarged uterus can make bending down or comfortably moving into certain positions difficult.

Bladder or Bowel Problems

When uterine fibroids push on the bladder or bowels, they can cause frequent urination and constipation. Subserosal fibroids — which grow outside the uterus — are the most likely to lead to these uterine fibroid symptoms.

Pain During Sex

If you have fibroids growing near your cervix, you might feel pain during or after sex. The pain can range from mild to severe. Depending on where your fibroids are putting pressure, you might also notice pain in the pelvic area or abdomen after sex.


Anemia is a condition characterized by low levels of healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen to the rest of the body. When you are anemic, you might have low energy levels, making staying active, working, and enjoying your life difficult. 

When uterine fibroids cause severe bleeding, they can also lead to anemia. In rare cases, the anemia can be so severe it becomes life-threatening, so it’s important to see a fibroid doctor if you notice this uterine fibroid symptom.


It’s estimated that between 2% and 3% of cases of infertility in women can be attributed to uterine fibroids. Fibroids, especially submucosal fibroids, are linked with lower fertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Our symptom checker may be helpful if you are not sure if you are suffering from fibroid symptoms:

Fibroid Symptom Checker

Uterine fibroid symptoms can create other problems. For example, many patients with fibroids also deal with poor sleep from frequent urination or pressure on their bladder. Pain, heavy bleeding, and abdominal swelling can also impact your social life, family interactions, work, and even your sex life. 

Take Control of Your Symptoms — Schedule a Fibroid Consultation Today

If you have symptoms of uterine fibroids, schedule a consultation with a fibroid specialist near you. USA Fibroid Centers is a nationwide network of fibroid clinics staffed by caring doctors who are focused on treating uterine fibroids with a safe, effective non-surgical procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

Schedule a consultation today and find out how our fibroid specialists can help you get relief from your fibroid symptoms. We offer both in-office and virtual appointments. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you have fibroids during pregnancy?

If you become pregnant with fibroids, you may experience an increase in symptoms. This is because the increase in hormones may cause the fibroids to grow during pregnancy.

Fibroids that weren’t causing symptoms previously may start to cause issues, such as spotting, painful cramps, and fatigue. Doctors will want to avoid fibroid treatment during pregnancy if possible, but they will monitor you closely.

What should you do if you notice uterine fibroid symptoms after menopause?

Often, fibroids go away after menopause. This is because of hormone changes — estrogen levels drop, and the fibroids start to shrink. However, some women still notice symptoms after menopause. 

If you have uterine fibroid symptoms after menopause, consult with a fibroid specialist. You can still benefit from a treatment to get rid of the fibroids

Are there uterine fibroid infection symptoms I should know about?

Uterine fibroids don’t cause infections. However, if you’re wearing pads frequently to deal with heavy bleeding, you may be at a higher risk of a vaginal infection, which can cause a change to vaginal discharge. 

What are the different types of fibroids and their symptoms?

Your uterine fibroid symptoms can vary based on the type of fibroids you have. There are four different types:

  • Intramural fibroids
  • Subserosal fibroids
  • Submucosal fibroids
  • Pedunculated fibroids

Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. Rather than impacting the uterus itself, they can affect surrounding organs, such as the bladder and colon. Symptoms of subserosal fibroids include fullness in your abdomen, a frequent need to urinate, leg pain, and constipation.

The other types of fibroids grow within the uterus.

For instance, intramural fibroids grow in the uterine muscles. They often grow in clusters and may be asymptomatic. When you have symptoms with this type of fibroid, you may experience pain in the pelvic and lower back areas, heavy bleeding, and bleeding between periods. You can also develop a protruding abdomen, making you look pregnant.

Submucosal fibroids develop in the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. They are the type most likely to cause increased menstrual bleeding. 

Pedunculated fibroids are growths that are attached by a thin stalk. They may develop on the inside or outside of the uterus. This type of fibroid may cause pain when the fibroid rotates on the stalk. 

Can you get relief from uterine fibroid symptoms without surgery?

Yes, you can get relief without surgery. Our doctors offer an FDA-approved 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.

Learn more about treating fibroids with UFE

What should I do if I notice signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids?

If you have fibroid symptoms, schedule an appointment to see a specialist. An experienced fibroid doctor can diagnose your fibroids and offer treatment so you can get relief.

At USA Fibroid Centers, we diagnose and treat fibroids in our state-of-the-art outpatient clinics, allowing you to get rid of your symptoms with a convenient in-office procedure. Call us at 855.615.2555 to book a fibroid consultation or schedule online today. 

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Don’t Suffer Another Day

Life with fibroids can be painful and challenging. Timely detection and treatment of fibroids can relieve symptoms, as well as reduce your risk for hysterectomy.

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