Fibroids sometimes go unnoticed as they don’t always cause symptoms. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Sometimes there are no signs or symptoms, so women only find out when they are failing to conceive or go to a doctor for a check-up. Fibroids were traditionally considered a condition for older women though they can occur in women of any reproductive age.
We have rounded up the most prominent symptoms that may indicate that you have fibroids. These symptoms depend on the fibroid size, location and the number of fibroids. For those that experience symptoms here are some of the most common signs for uterine fibroids:
Heavy vaginal bleeding
If you are experiencing exceedingly heavy bleeding or periods that extend over a week long then you may have a fibroid. Excessive bleeding may be described as soaking up your pad in less than an hour and passing many blood clots. Some women may develop anaemia because of the constant heavy period, and this causes fatigue, headaches and dizzy spells. Many women also suffer from “low iron levels” in the blood due to excessive bleeding.
If located close by, fibroids may put pressure on the bladder causing you to urinate more often. When the fibroids push against the bladder, it weakens the ability of the bladder to hold urine or blocks the flow of urine. This often causes the sensation of needing to run to the toilet all the time.
Discomfort in the pelvic area
Some women feel discomfort in their pelvic area in the form of heaviness or pressure. With an enlarged uterus, you may have discomfort lying down on your tummy or exercising. If you experience unusual pain or discomfort, it’s best to have a check-up to determine the cause.
Lower back pain
A not so common symptom is back pain which occurs when the fibroid may be pressing against the lower back muscles or nerves. A fibroid at the back of the uterus can often cause back pain. It’s important to note however that backache may have many other causes which should be ruled out before concluding it is a fibroid.
Another not so common symptom is acute, severe pain. Generally, this occurs when the fibroid undergoes a process called degeneration. Degeneration occurs when the fibroid becomes too large and the blood vessels supplying it cannot provide it with enough blood anymore. The pain is usually on one spot in the uterus and improves on its own after two to four weeks. Chronic pelvic pain can also be a symptom, this is persistent and localized pain but usually milder.
Pain during sexual intercourse
Fibroids may cause pain during intercourse, it’s worth mentioning it to your doctor if you are experiencing this. Although it may be a difficult topic to talk about it is a pertinent issue and could signal an underlying condition, fibroids or other, that may need attention. If this is one of your main symptoms; make sure you get your Doctor to do a PAP smear.
There are minimally invasive treatments that will alleviate the symptoms and get rid of fibroids. Uterine fibroid embolization is a non-surgical, minimally invasive alternative treatment for fibroids. Unlike other treatments, UFE makes sure the uterus is preserved making pregnancy possible after treatment.
If you find yourself having any of these symptoms, it’s recommended you visit your gynaecologist. Your gynaecologist will conduct a pelvic exam and may require you to undergo additional scans and tests to determine the presence of fibroids.