Most women develop at least one fibroid throughout their childbearing years, but unless you have symptoms, you might not even realize you have one. Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas, aren’t always asymptomatic though. About 15 million of the 126 million women who have fibroids struggle with unpleasant symptoms.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that can cause a variety of problems, and some of the symptoms might surprise you. Dr. Essam Taymour and our team at Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group have created this guide to shed light on six signs of uterine fibroids and to let you know treatments are available to ease your discomfort.
1. Heavy menstrual bleeding
There are many reasons you might have heavier periods — including fibroids. Heavy periods aren’t just a nuisance; they can also leave you tired and depleted of your energy. You might suspect your periods are heavier than normal if:
- You soak through a pad or tampon every hour
- You resort to doubling up (pads and tampons) to control bleeding
- You have to change your pad overnight
- Your period lasts more than seven days
- Your period is accompanied by clots (the size of a quarter or larger)
Additionally, heavy bleeding can be accompanied by lower back pain and cramping.
2. Long periods
In addition to heavy blood flow, uterine fibroids can cause extended bleeding. Most women’s periods last from three to seven days, but anything over seven days is considered an extended menstrual cycle.
Tip: Use a period tracker app to monitor your cycles. A one-off cycle that’s longer than normal isn’t as concerning as repeated issues. Tracking your period can help you pinpoint trends.
3. Abdominal and pelvic pain
It’s not uncommon for women to experience cramping in the lower abdomen when they get their period, but fibroids can cause discomfort throughout the month. In addition to pain and abdominal cramping, fibroids may cause chronic pelvic pressure and pain. Depending on the size and location of the fibroid, pelvic pain may be exacerbated during intercourse.
4. Problems with urination
If a fibroid grows large enough to press on your bladder, you may experience either frequent urination or difficulty urinating. Frequent urination can also be caused by a urinary tract infection.
While constipation has many causes, including dehydration and dietary factors, fibroids can also cause constipation. They contribute to constipation if they press on your bowels.
Occasional constipation isn’t uncommon, but it usually resolves with adequate hydration, adding more fiber-rich foods into your diet, and exercise. If you’re staying hydrated and eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, it’s worth mentioning constipation during your appointment.
6. Back and leg pain
If your fibroid is on the posterior side of your uterus, you might experience back pain. If the fibroid pressures on your sciatic nerve, you might feel sharp pain through the back of your leg.
Exploring your next steps
If you suspect your symptoms are related to uterine fibroids, you don’t have to suffer in silence any longer. Our team at Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group helps women find relief from fibroids through a variety of treatments, including medications and minimally invasive procedures.
No matter which of the above signs you see, we want to help you feel better. To learn more about fibroids or to explore your treatment options, call our Long Beach, California, office at 562-247-3038. Alternatively, you can request an appointment anytime through our convenient online booking tool.