Signs & Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine fibroids are characterized as noncancerous tumors that grow on the uterus. They may grow as one single tumor or form clusters. According to the Mayo Clinic, three out of four women experience uterine fibroids. Oftentimes, there are no symptoms, and women generally find out about them during a pelvic exam. However, there are some that can cause a wide variety of problems for women. Find out the signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids.

Heavy Bleeding

Heavy menstrual flow is the most common symptom of uterine fibroids. The medical term for this is menorrhagia. An abnormal flow is characterized by soaking through a pad or tampon more than once an hour or a period lasting longer than seven days. Some women begin to feel anemic from the heavy bleeding. Contact a doctor if you start to experience severe fatigue.

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain can flare up during periods, sexual intercourse, exercise or bowel movements. This pain can be quite severe, sometimes flowing down the leg. This pain is caused by the fibroid going through a process of degeneration. This degeneration is sparked by the fibroid outgrowing the blood supply in the uterus. The pain can last anywhere from two to four weeks.

Constipation

If a fibroid grows toward a woman's back, it can enlarge enough to put pressure on the bowels. Constipation may also be a side effect if you are taking an iron supplement for anemia. Treatment is typically consuming more fiber or taking fiber supplements.

Frequent or Painful Urination

Large fibroids can cause frequent or painful urination. If they extend toward the bladder, they can limit its capacity for holding urine or preventing urine flow. Some people with fibroids feel as though they have to urinate, yet cannot produce a flow. Fibroids can get larger during pregnancy, because of the increase of estrogen levels. Generally, they will shrink after the birth of the baby, but some remain the same size. If you're pregnant, it's hard to tell if fibroids or pregnancy is causing frequent urination.

Backache

Back pain is caused by the fibroids growing into the muscles and nerves of the lower back.

Rectal Pressure

Many people with fibroid problems get hemorrhoids. These hemorrhoids are caused by the fibroids pressing against the rectum, making bowel movements painful or more difficult. The stress and strain placed on the bowels can lead to hemorrhoids.

Pelvic Pressure

Women can experience pelvic pressure or a sense of fullness in their lower abdomen from a fibroid pressing against uterus or surrounding organs. Some abdomens actually get larger because of the growth of the fibroid.

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