Understanding Fibroid Symptoms

Up to 70-80% of women are diagnosed with fibroids by age 50.

Prevalence in African-American women
60% by age 35
80% by age 50

Prevalence in Caucasian women
40% by age 35
70% by age 50

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003, 188 (1): 100-107

Approximately 35% of women with fibroids are symptomatic. If you’re living with fibroids and experiencing symptoms that stop you from living a normal life, advanced treatment options at Houston Fibroids can help.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are growths made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They are classified as common, non-cancerous tumors that can range in size from 1 mm to over 8cm in diameter (8 inches) or more. They appear on the inside or outside of the uterus and can cause mild to severe symptoms that, when left untreated, can continue to grow and impact daily life.

It is important to note that uterine fibroids do not increase your risk of uterine cancer but can be detrimental to your day-to-day routine based on the symptoms they can cause.

Uterine Fibroid Symptoms

Although rare cases do not cause any symptoms, most women experience moderate fibroid symptoms. The most common symptoms can include heavy and prolonged periods, pelvic pain and pressure, and urinary incontinence.

Let’s dive deeper into the most notable symptoms.

Excessive Menstrual Bleeding

Excessive menstrual bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of uterine fibroid tumors and is the most prevalent symptom for intramural and submucosal fibroids.

Passing clots is very common with excessive menstrual bleeding. You may also experience prolonged cycles of bleeding and longer monthly periods.

Abnormal uterine bleeding that is prolonged can have serious side effects over time. Untreated, it can lead to fatigue and anemia, resulting from a low red blood cell count. These factors can eventually lead to blood transfusions in the most severe cases.

Pelvic Pain and Pressure

As fibroids grow in size, they can put additional pressure on the surrounding organs, which can be extremely painful. In addition, the growth of fibroids can cause consistent lower abdominal pain and swelling, which is sometimes mistaken as weight gain or pregnancy.

Pelvic pain and pressure can be caused not only by the size of a uterine fibroid tumor but the location as well.

Additional conditions can accompany the uterine fibroid tumor, such as adenomyosis and endometriosis.

Adenomyosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus grows within the middle layer of the uterine wall. Typically the uterine lining prevents adhesions from occurring. However, when uterine fibroids develop and begin to grow, the possibility for adhesions also grows, leading to an increase in pelvic pain.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus and increases the chances of experiencing pelvic pain and pressure.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain and pressure or any other type of uterine fibroid symptoms, a complete gynecological exam should be done immediately to determine the cause.

Urinary Frequency

One of the organs commonly affected during the growth of fibroid tumors is the bladder. As added pressure is applied to this organ, the risk of frequent urination and sometimes urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control increases. Not only can this cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, but it can also become a hindrance in your everyday activities.

Other Fibroid Symptoms

Although symptoms vary by person, other notable symptoms include:

  • Anemia
  • Pain in the back of the legs
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • An enlarged abdomen

Depending on the size and location of the fibroid tumors, symptoms can become so severe that they affect the ability to maintain daily activities. However, many women live with fibroid tumors and still maintain a good quality of life.

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of uterine fibroid tumors and are finding it difficult to perform your daily activities and maintain your way of life, you should consider uterine fibroid treatment right away. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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