Uterine fibroids are more common than you think, and, while many women will develop these non-cancerous tumors, a lot of them will do so without realizing the change in their body! In fact, about 2/3 of women with fibroids never experience ‘typical’ symptoms, making it harder to diagnose and treat the problem. Adding to the complicated diagnosis process? Many fibroid symptoms mimic the effect of other conditions, which is why it’s important to know and discuss any potential symptoms with your doctor.
Once the tumors are on your radar, fibroids can be diagnosed with a routine pelvic exam or with an ultrasound. If you suspect you might have fibroids, monitor your symptoms carefully–both the ones on this list and any other changes in your body’s natural cycles. Discuss any concerns with your ObGYN so you can receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
5 Common Symptoms of Fibroids
- Heavy periods
Heavy periods often accompany fibroids, especially the ones that grow inside your uterus. Of course, heavy periods can be a sign of other changes in your body, or just your cycle’s natural progression as you age, but if your flow is heavy enough to change your daily activity, it’s worth discussing with your doctor, even if you don’t have fibroids!
- Frequent Urination
Fibroids can press on our bladder, especially when they grow outside your uterus. As they get larger, your need to pee will become more frequent and urgent.
- Pain during sex
When fibroids are located on or near your cervix, they can cause you to experience pain or bleeding during sex. Fibroids in the uterus can also make the additional pressure of sex feel painful. This discomfort may happen during or immediately after intercourse.
Just as fibroids put pressure on your bladder, they can also stress out your rectum. As fibroids press on your rectum, it becomes more difficult to expel waste–that’s when constipation sets in. Typically only larger fibroids lead to constipation, so you should definitely address this symptom quickly.
- Lower back pain
If large fibroids grow near your spine, they can cause lower back pain. Also, due to their location, you may need an MRI to complete your diagnosis. When fibroids are causing back pain, shrinking or removing fibroids may be your only choice for relief.
As you can see, many fibroid symptoms mimic other conditions. When you talk to your doctor about changes in your body, he or she can help you put the pieces together and solve the fibroid puzzle. That’s why our Houston fibroid specialists encourage all women to speak up about what’s going on in their bodies. Any change that bothers you is a change worth discussing with your medical care giver!