The Mayo Clinic reports that three out of four women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their childbearing years. Not all of them will experience symptoms or need medical treatment. For those who do have symptoms, back pain is among the most frequently reported problems. Understanding how fibroid tumors cause back pain and what can be done about it can improve your quality of life.
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The Mayo Clinic describes uterine fibroids as a reproduction of single cells in the smooth muscle tissue of the uterus. The mass becomes rubbery to the touch and pale in color. Fibroids vary in size and can be as small as a seed or as large as a grapefruit.
When they become large they can distort the uterus, reach up to the rib cage or into the back, causing back pain to develop.
The cause of fibroids remains unclear; genetics, hormones and other chemicals in the body may all play a part in their development.
Studies continue to examine the possible causes, and recent information points to a connection between a woman's insulin system and fibroid tumor development.
The Back Connection
Fibroid tumors create symptoms based on their location and size. When a fibroid tumor causes back pain the pain is usually felt along the lower back, and can sometimes radiate down one or both legs. Back pain from a fibroid tumor happens when the tumor presses on the spinal nerves in your back.
If the fibroid also presses on the rectum you may experience constipation along with lower back pain and leg pain.
Treatments for fibroid tumors depend on the severity of the symptoms and the desire of the patient. Back pain from a fibroid tumor can be mild, intermittent or severe. It can have little impact on your day or completely interfere with your daily activities.
If your fibroid tumor is creating back pain that interferes with your daily activities treatments include over-the-counter pain relievers; GnRH agonists, like Lupron, that deprive the tumors of estrogen; and surgery. Surgery is usually a last resort.
Fibroid tumors are almost never cancerous and rarely pose a danger to the patient unless complications develop. Complications include dangerously heavy bleeding.
Back pain from fibroid tumors is rarely dangerous, but it can be debilitating. The severity of symptoms from fibroid tumors often diminishes once you enter menopause; many physicians take a wait-and-see approach. If your fibroid created back pain interferes with your daily activities, seek medical advice.