Are Fibroids Painful?

Did you know that a common side effect of uterine fibroids is pain? Although not all women are impacted, fibroid pain can be debilitating for others. Some women experience chronic abdominal pain from uterine fibroids, making it difficult to move or perform normal tasks. Many of our patients have told us that severe pelvic pain or intense cramping has prevented them from going to work, exercising, or participating in activities with friends or family.

Common fibroid pain symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful and heavy menstruation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Lower back or leg pain

If you are suffering from uterine fibroid pain or any other undesirable effect of fibroids, we want you to know that there’s help available. Please read on to discover everything you need to know about fibroid pain, fibroid pain relief, and fibroid treatment

What Does Fibroid Pain Feel Like?

There’s really no simple answer to this question. The reality is that uterine fibroid pain can vary from woman to woman. Some don’t have any symptoms at all, while others have a variety of issues that can severely impact their daily life. You may experience pain as soon as your fibroids develop which intensifies over time, or you may experience pain or pressure on and off for months –– or even years

The site of fibroid pain or pressure can vary and include the following areas:

  • Pelvis
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Leg

The intensity of uterine fibroid pain can also differ for each woman. For those who do experience fibroid pain symptoms, you may have mild pain that is easily treated with over-the-counter painkillers, or severe pain that requires you to remain at home or even in bed. 

If this occurs, you may find yourself regularly calling in sick to work or cancelling social engagements. You may also notice a negative effect on your personal relationships or sex life. For some, fibroid pain can ultimately lead to a loss of self-esteem, feelings of depression, or –– in extreme cases –– suicide.

Pain Fibroid Symptoms

Pelvic pain, pressure, and discomfort from uterine fibroids is common and most often occurs in women with large fibroids. You may feel a heaviness or pressure in your lower abdomen or stomach described as more of a discomfort than pain. Or your uterus could enlarge, and your abdominal pain might make it difficult to bend over or exercise.

Can Uterine Fibroids Cause Back Pain?

How Fibroids Cause Back Pain

  1. Size and Location:
    • Large Fibroids: Large fibroids (generally those over 5 cm) can press against the muscles and nerves of the lower back. This pressure can cause persistent or intermittent back pain.
    • Posterior Fibroids: Fibroids located on the back side of the uterus (posterior fibroids) are more likely to cause back pain because they are closer to the spine and nerves in the back.
  2. Nerve Compression:
    • Sciatic Nerve: In some cases, fibroids can press on the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs. This can cause pain that radiates down the leg, a condition known as sciatica.
  3. Pelvic Pressure:
    • General Pressure: The presence of multiple or large fibroids can cause a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the pelvic region, which can extend to the lower back. This is often due to the extra weight and space that fibroids occupy in the pelvis.

Pelvic Pain and Fibroids

Although it’s less common, you could experience acute, severe pelvic pain when a fibroid degenerates. Fibroid degeneration occurs when a fibroid outgrows its limited blood supply. When a fibroid degenerates, it shrinks back to a smaller size than its blood supply can support. Unfortunately, a degenerated fibroid is likely to expand and degenerate again –– so this risk should be addressed when making fibroid pain treatment decisions. 

Many women may think their pain and discomfort is normal.

Understandably, many confuse uterine fibroid pain with normal menstrual cramps –– particularly since it is difficult to compare this personal experience with others. However, unlike menstrual cramps, fibroid pain can intensify and become debilitating over time. Some women experience sharp, acute pain, while others may only feel a chronic, dull aching or an uncomfortable pressure. If your pain –– whether menstrual or another type –– has become unbearable or has started to interfere with your daily life, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor as soon as possible to get checked for fibroids. 

If your provider suspects you may have uterine fibroids, they will likely order an ultrasound or MRI imaging exam to confirm their presence and gather information on size, location, and number in order to make appropriate treatment recommendations. 

Fibroid Pain Relief

If you are constantly swallowing over-the-counter pain medications, there are probably better options available to treat your fibroid pain. The first step to finding uterine fibroid pain relief is talking to your doctor or a fibroid specialist. You will soon discover that fibroid pain can be treated in a variety of ways. 

Natural pain-relieving methods include:

  • Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen
  • Exercising to release pain-relieving endorphins
  • Getting an adequate amount of sleep
  • Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Trying to relax via yoga or meditation

While this type of approach to fibroid pain treatment may be helpful for some, it is often not enough to alleviate symptoms. If fibroid pain is consistently impacting your ability to live the life you desire, we recommend looking into treating the pain at its root source –– the fibroids themselves.  

Fibroid Treatment

The great news is you don’t need to choose between major surgery and living with your fibroid pain forever. Many women believe that hysterectomy –– the complete surgical removal of the uterus –– is the only fibroid treatment option, but this isn’t true. At USA Fibroid Centers, we take a different, less invasive approach to fibroid pain treatment with a non-surgical option called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

UFE is an outpatient, minimally-invasive procedure that can eliminate your symptoms and leave your uterus and surrounding organs intact. Treatment takes only 30 to 45 minutes, after which you can go home the same day to begin your recovery. Most women are back to regular activity within one to two weeks. 

UFE is the fibroid pain treatment you need in order to take back control of your life. Get started on your path to recovery by scheduling an appointment 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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