Only ten to twenty percent of women with fibroids experience symptoms or complications that require treatment. The remaining eighty to ninety percent do not have noticeable symptoms. These women may only become aware that they have a benign tumor after a pelvic examination.Women who do experience uterine fibroid symptoms may suffer from pelvic pain, abnormal menstruation, and a variety of other conditions. Pregnancy may be complicated, resulting in miscarriage, premature birth, and other difficulties.
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms Check List
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Abnormal Menstruation and Menorrhagia
Fibroids can result in a number of abnormal menstruation symptoms. Periods may be longer and more frequent than normal, and tumor pressure can result in severe cramping. Menorrhagia, or heavy prolonged menstrual flow, is also possible. Women with menorrhagia may pass blood clots, and may develop anemia (decreased red blood cells and hemoglobin).
In addition to heavier menstrual bleeding, women may also experience bleeding outside of menstruation. Like menorrhagia, this unscheduled bleeding can result in anemia. In rare occurrences, blood loss can be life threatening.
Pelvic Pain and Dyspareunia
Pressure from tumor growth can result in dull, aching pelvic pain. This sensation is sometimes reported as pain, or as a feeling of pressure in the abdomen. Pain may also be experienced during sexual intercourse, a condition known as dyspareunia.
Occasionally, the stem of a pedunculated fibroid may twist, blocking the blood vessels in the fibroid in much the same way a kink in a garden hose prevents water flow. This results in sharp, severe pain. In this circumstance, hospitalization and surgical removal of the growth will be required.
Bladder and Bowel Problems
The pressure of a growing tumor can cause bladder and bowel problems. Women may find it difficult to urinate, or conversely, experience urgent and frequent urination. The need to urinate may force women to get up several times a night resulting in sleep deprivation. Constipation, hemorrhoids, and difficult bowel movements may all occur as the fibroid puts pressure on the bowels.
Miscarriages and Pregnancy Complications
Most women with fibroids have normal pregnancies. However, the possibility of a miscarriage is higher if fibroids are present. The increased blood flow to the uterus during pregnancy can cause fibroid growth. If the tumor blocks the uterine passage, a C-section may be required. Large growths also increase the chance of premature delivery, and greater blood loss during delivery. Occasionally, a growth may block the uterus so completely that it causes infertility.
Benign uterine growths can grow to large sizes without producing symptoms. This may only be detectable as gradual weight gain and distention of the abdomen, as if the woman was pregnant. As cancerous tumors can also cause this type of distention, it is important to consult your doctor if you experience sudden, inexplicable weight gain.