How Do I Know If I Have Fibroids?

Two thirds of women with fibroid tumors do not have symptoms, but the third of women who do have some common indicators. Uterine fibroid symptoms can develop slowly over several years or rapidly over several months. In some cases, there may be no symptoms or indicators at all. The type of symptoms you have can depend on where the fibroid is located in the uterus, the size of it and the number of tumors present. For some women, uterine fibroid symptoms become a problem and affect the ability to maintain daily activities. Pain and heavy menstrual bleeding are the most common symptoms, but there are others you need to be aware of.

Do you have…

✻ Heavy, prolonged periods?  Excessively heavy and/or prolonged (7 days or more) menstrual bleeding is a common symptom. Women describe passing blood clots, soaking through sanitary protection in less than an hour and being unable to leave the house during the heaviest day of flow.  As a result of this loss of blood, some women develop anemia, also known as a low blood count. Anemia can cause fatigue, headaches and lightheadedness.

✻ Bleeding between cycles?  Spotting before or after periods may be an indicator of fibroids.  Abnormal uterine bleeding is the most common symptom of a fibroid. If the tumors are near the uterine lining or interfere with the blood flow to the lining they can cause spotting between menses.

✻ Frequent urination?    This is caused by fibroids pressing against the bladder, reducing its capacity for holding urine or blocking the outflow of urine.  The most common bladder symptom is needing to urinate frequently.  You may run to the bathroom many times in a day to empty your bladder.

✻ Difficulty emptying bladder?  Occasionally, women are unable to urinate despite a full bladder due to the pressure and possible block in flow.

✻ Enlarged uterus?  An enlarged uterus makes it difficult to lie face down, bend over or exercise without discomfort.  It is often this is described as a vague discomfort rather than a sharp pain.

✻ Pelvic pressure or pain?  Usually, the pain is localized to a specific spot and improves on its own within two to four weeks. Using a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, can decrease the pain significantly but only temporarily.

✻ Back aches?  Depending on the size and location of the fibroid, you may experience back pain as they press against the muscles and nerves of the lower back. Because back pain is so common, it is important to look for other causes of the pain before attributing it to fibroids.

✻ Constipation?  Fibroids can cause pressure on the rectum with painful or difficult defecation.

✻ Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse?  Fibroids can make sexual intercourse painful or uncomfortable. The pain may occur only in specific positions or during certain times of the menstrual cycle. Discomfort during intercourse is a significant issue.

✻ Miscarriage or Infertility? While fibroids do not interfere with ovulation, some studies suggest that they may impair fertility and lead to poorer pregnancy outcomes. Occasionally, fibroids are the cause of recurrent miscarriages. If they are not removed in these cases, the woman may not be able to sustain a pregnancy.

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 let the doctors at Interventional Physicians of Indiana help.