Symptoms of Fibroids
Fibroids are benign tumors formed from smooth muscle tissue that originate in the uterus. They are also known as myoma, fibromyoma or uterine leiomyoma. They typically surface in women aged 30 to 40 and in various sizes, quantities and locations within the uterus. They can appear as several small growths the size of a golf ball or just one big mass the size of a grapefruit.
The symptoms of fibroids can develop gradually over time or rapidly over a short period. Most women with fibroid conditions feel mild symptoms while others feel none at all. The symptoms of fibroids are felt in increased levels during the later reproductive years or when the extremely rare malignant version called leiomyosarcoma occurs.
Approximately 25% of women with fibroids have symptoms. It is all the more important that women are made aware of the symptoms of fibroids so that they will know what to do or what not to do when they notice symptoms like the following:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding – Abnormal menstrual bleeding, heavier menses, prolonged periods, bleeding or spotting between periods and menstrual cramps and pain are signs to watch out for. The passage of large clots and gushing or flooding are also signs that fibroids may be developing.
- Abdominal pressure and pain – Pressure, pain and bloating can be felt in the abdomen if large fibroids cram up the area. Developing fibroids can as well cause discomfort in the lower back.
- Abdominal enlargement – As the uterine area is filled up with growing fibroids, the uterus becomes enlarged and this shows up in an expanding abdomen. This results in a feeling of heaviness and a semblance of pregnancy.
- Urinary discomfort – This is a common fibroid symptom wherein large fibroids may squeeze the bladder and urinary tract, especially when a woman is lying down. This causes frequent urination or the urge to urinate. On the other hand, the flow of urine may be blocked if the ureters, or the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder, are pressed by large fibroids.
- Pelvic pressure and pain – This typically happens when there is cramping in the pelvic area associated with unusually heavy menstrual flow. If nerves are constricted by pressing fibroids, pain can extend to the lower back, flank or legs with the pain ranging from manageable to severe.
- Constipation – Fibroid pressure against the rectal area can block normal bowel movement.
- Pain or bleeding during intercourse – As fibroids grow and extend to the cervical area, a woman may experience painful sex or bleeding during intercourse. In extreme cases, sexual intercourse might become almost impossible.
It is not clear what causes fibroids but what is clear is that there are medically proven symptoms of fibroids that tell they are real. For women who are feeling some symptoms, it is best to see a doctor for early diagnosis. For those who are feeling many or all of the symptoms of fibroids or an increasing intensity of the symptoms, there is urgency in seeing a doctor for immediate medical intervention and care.
Some symptoms that are often related to fibroids and should be evaluated by a doctor include:
- Abnormally heavy bleeding
- Extremely painful menstruation
- Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
- Persistent pelvic and lower back pain
- Frequent urination, constant urge to urinate or difficulty in urinating
- Chronic constipation