Many women who have uterine fibroids have no symptoms and never require treatment. However, one out of four women of childbearing age does suffer from significant symptoms. Uterine fibroid symptoms may vary depending on the location, size and number of fibroids.
The most common symptom of uterine fibroids is:
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
Fibroids bleeding may also involve clotting and pain.
Anemia may result from this extensive bleeding. Abnormal bleeding is the primary uterine fibroid symptom requiring women to seek medical advice.
Other uterine fibroid symptoms may include:
- Weight gain
Since fibroids can grow from the size of an orange to the size of a watermelon, it is not uncommon for a woman with large fibroids to experience weight gain.
- Pelvic pain or pressure
Pain or pressure may appear as a result of the bulk or weight of the fibroids pressing on other structures in the pelvic area.
- Pain in the back of legs
This uterine fibroid symptom appears as the fibroids press on nerves that extend to the pelvis and legs.
- Pressure on the bladder
This uterine fibroid symptom can cause frequent urination, urinary incontinence or urine retention.
- Pressure on the bowel
Bowel pressure can lead to constipation and/or bloating. The constipation may be exacerbated by iron supplements taken for the anemia caused by excessive fibroids bleeding.
- Lower back pain
- A feeling of pressure or fullness in the lower abdomen
- An abnormally enlarged abdomen--this may be mistaken for weight gain or pregnancy
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Reproductive problems can also be another uterine fibroid symptom. Infertility, recurrent miscarriage, or premature labor during pregnancy can be caused by uterine fibroids.
See your health care professional for more information about uterine fibroid symptoms.
Once a diagnosis has been made of the presence of uterine fibroids, there are many different uterine fibroid treatment options.