Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that can develop in the uterus during a woman’s reproductive years. Uterine fibroids (also known as myomas or leiomyomas) do not raise the risk of uterine cancer as they usually never progress to malignancy.
Smaller fibroids are often invisible to the naked eye, but larger fibroid lumps can alter and expand the uterus. A uterine fibroid may be a solitary mass or a cluster of several. Multiplying fibroids can cause the uterus to swell to the point where it presses against the rib cage, which can cause significant discomfort.
Uterine fibroids are quite common and affect the lives of a significant percentage of women. These growths typically present no symptoms, so you might not even realize you have them. An ultrasound of the pelvis or a pelvic exam may incidentally reveal their presence in or around the uterine cavity. If you think you suffering from uterine fibroids, please contact Mark Medical Care at 877-673-4818
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms
Most uterine fibroid diagnoses are based on the growth’s location. Fibroid tumors that form inside the uterine muscle are called intramural. Uterine submucosal fibroids protrude into the uterus, while subserosal fibroids extend outside the uterine wall. Many women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms, but when symptoms manifest, they may include the following.
Fibroids Heavy Bleeding
A doctor might detect fibroids during a routine pelvic exam; however, this will largely depend on the location and size of the growth. If you’re experiencing pain, fibroids heavy bleeding, and changes in your menstrual cycle and think they’re related to fibroids, talk to your doctor. This is especially true if you have heavy menstrual periods frequently. Here is detailed information regarding heavy menstrual bleeding and uterine fibroids:
As per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, while menstrual periods can continue for up to 7 days, fibroids-related bleeding lasts much longer. If you have fibroids and experience pain or heavy periods, you may require uterine fibroid treatment to reduce the abnormal bleeding until your fibroids shrink from the uterine wall.
Fibroid bleeding: how to stop
- Endometrial Ablation– This outpatient surgical procedure destroys the uterus lining and is often used to treat smaller fibroids within the uterus and treat heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Myomectomy- This outpatient fibroid surgery eliminates uterine fibroids if they are determined to be the cause of irregular bleeding. Although it effectively eliminates existing uterine fibroids, it does little to prevent the growth of new ones. Abdominal myomectomy, laparoscopic myomectomy, and hysteroscopic myomectomy are all viable surgical solutions to control bleeding. Your doctor will determine which approach is best for you.
- Uterine Embolization- Uterine artery embolization (UAE)/Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) stops blood flow to the fibroids, resulting in their shrinkage or complete removal. This is a highly effective and minimally invasive procedure to treat fibroids without aggressive surgery.
- Hysterectomy– This is a major surgical procedure involving the removal of the uterus.
Fibroid Bleeding Signs that are Cause for Concern
Any abnormal bleeding caused by fibroids is cause for concern and may include:
- Longer periods
- A heavier menstrual flow
- Passing larger clots (bigger than the size of a quarter)
- Bleeding in-between periods
If your blood loss increases, your doctor will manage the resulting severe exhaustion and anemia. As an added warning, you should take fibroids seriously if you have sudden, severe abdominal discomfort or pain in your pelvic region that does not go away with pain medicine.
It’s common for women with uterine fibroids to have phases of bleeding that extend more than nine days. Treatment options for excessive bleeding due to fibroids may include medication and surgical intervention. Mild symptoms are frequently treated first with medication.
If you’re experiencing severe bleeding, the doctor may prescribe a low-dosage birth control pill. The intrauterine device, Depo-Provera (a progesterone-like injection), or an IUD are other contraceptive methods to treat uterine fibroids.
Your doctor might prescribe Lupron, a GnRHa (gonadotropin-releasing hormone), to reduce the fibroid’s size to stop bleeding or to reduce its size before a fibroid procedure.
Taking GnRHAs and other hormonal medications could cause your menstruation to cease altogether. However, the fibroids will redevelop if you discontinue them, and the bleeding will likely become more frequent and severe.
Oriahnn, a GnRHa coupled with estrogen and progesterone (elagolix, estradiol, and norethindrone), was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020 to treat fibroid-related heavy menstrual bleeding.
Fibroid surgery as well as minimally invasive treatment options such as uterine fibroids embolization can be used if hormone therapy is considered inappropriate or isn’t effective.
There is evidence that uterine fibroids contribute to digestion/bowel problems. Many uterine fibroid symptoms are related to the size and location of the growths in the uterus. The fibroids’ location influences the severity of the symptoms. Uterine fibroids only create particular digestive issues when they grow on the exterior or interior of the uterus near the bladder, rectum, stomach, or digestive tract.
If fibroids develop in these places or get close enough, they might obstruct the bowels or rectum entirely, leading to severe constipation or an urgent need to use the toilet.
Constant toilet trips resulting from fibroid development can be a source of embarrassment and distress. Constipation is one symptom of the strain that developing fibroids can put on the bladder and bowels, which might give the impression that you have to go all the time. When fibroids increase, they can press on the colon and cause discomfort as the uterus is located near the colon.
Signs that Uterine Fibroids are Causing Bowel/Digestive Problems
When fibroids in the uterus reach a specific size, they can cause abdominal swelling and bloating. The bloating from fibroids is not the same as that from gastrointestinal disorders, yet women might mistake one for the other. If you suspect your fibroids may be the source of stomach pain, it’s best to describe your symptoms and the abdominal area that hurts in as much detail as possible while consulting a doctor.
When estrogen levels increase or fluctuate, as they do during pregnancy or menopause, fibroids can result in bloating and weight gain. During this time, weight gain may occur if the uterine fibroids expand to a large enough size. Even the earliest stages of bloating might feel intestinal, or they can resemble the bloating that happens with a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Fibroids of the uterus may be to blame if you’ve seen a steady increase in abdominal distention. Seek medical attention if the symptoms are accompanied by gas or problematic or frequent bowel movements; this may indicate that fibroids are affecting your digestive tract.
Before trying any new treatments or supplements, it’s essential to see a specialist. Furthermore, laxatives should not be relied on as a solution since doing so might exacerbate the issue. Your doctor will probably try to treat your uterine fibroids themselves if they are the root cause of your constipation rather than merely the symptoms.
If you and your fibroid specialist are on the same page about whether or not your symptoms point to bloating or gas, your specialist can make a more informed diagnosis. Fibroids of the uterus have been linked to gastrointestinal issues. In most cases, this is true. You must schedule an appointment with a specialist to properly diagnose and treat your uterine fibroids.
Bloating, Weight Gain, Stomach Bulge
If you find your stomach is expanding or you are gaining weight without any apparent cause, such as pregnancy or a change in diet or pregnancy, fibroids might be the culprit.
Fibroid symptoms are not often associated with weight gain or abdominal swelling. And yet, these outward manifestations are not unrelated to the development of fibroids inside the uterus. It makes sense to learn about uterine fibroids and how you can determine whether they are the cause of your weight increase. By doing so, you can pinpoint the source of the problem and find treatment options to reduce the swelling.
Gaining weight and experiencing stomach bloating are common complaints among those suffering from fibroids, and their development is likely to blame. Growth of a small fibroid, for instance, may start in response to elevated estrogen levels (like ones that occur during pregnancy or before menopause).
The larger and heavier a fibroid gets, the more room it needs to expand. Your body is adjusting to the mass’s existence within it, resulting in bloating and weight gain. When many big fibroids protrude from the uterus, they can distort the belly
An enlarged belly is among the most misinterpreted and neglected signs of fibroid development since individuals are more inclined to equate it with weight gain. According to research published in Human Reproduction in 2005, nearly six in ten (59.1 percent) of 300 women of different races who had uterine fibroids through descent also experienced abdominal edema.
If you have been attributing the bulge of your abdominal area to your poor diet, consider reevaluating the situation and getting in touch with your gynecologist. Uterine fibroids can be treated in several ways (including through surgical procedures), but one medical management strategy is gaining popularity.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is one of the most popular minimally invasive procedures blocking blood flow to the fibroids in the uterus. Because of this, the fibroid growth is stunted in its development and starts to wither and die.
UFE has certain benefits, one of which is that it can specifically target the blood arteries providing the fibroids with nutrition and oxygen. Therefore, it can eradicate fibroids without impeding normal uterine blood flow. Because of advances in Uterine Fibroid Embolization, patients with big uterine fibroids now have access to a very successful, less invasive medical management options.
Urinary incontinence, or the inability to control one’s urination, is commonly associated with aging and can be exacerbated by fibromyalgia. Continence issues can affect either the bladder or the bowels. Additionally, the bladder is a common site of fibroids damage.
The gastrointestinal system may also be affected by fibroids. In relation to this, this is proportional to their location and size. The pressure from very large fibroids on surrounding organs may make you feel like you must urgently use the restroom. Constipation, not incontinence, is one of the more common symptoms of this condition, which is uncommon.
When it comes to your health, you must never assume anything. See a physician if you have large fibroids and are experiencing the uncomfortable and bothersome common symptoms of having to urinate frequently or pelvic pressure. If your doctor determines that fibroids are causing your frequent bathroom breaks, you should talk to a specialist about your fibroid growth treatment options. It’s vital to know that there’s support accessible, regardless of the cause.
Fibroids Size can Affect Your Bladder
The uterus may enlarge if the fibroid growth increases or there are many. The bladder’s capacity to store urine diminishes due to uterine cavity compression. The inevitable result of this is the need to urinate more often. Subserosal fibroids, which develop on the outer lining of the uterus, can push into other organs, such as the bladder, and exert tremendous pressure on them.
Fibroids are a known source of pelvic pain and back pain and have also been linked to urine retention. Blockage of the ureter, which carries urine out from the kidneys to the bladder, can occur when the uterus becomes excessively large.
If the ureter gets obstructed even slightly, urine will not drain properly. In severe cases, you may require surgery to relieve the obstruction when the ureter becomes entirely blocked due to fibroids. Keep an eye out for urinary retention if you have fibroids. It’s essential to keep tabs on these signs so you can get medical help quickly if your symptoms worsen.
Other Causes of Frequent Urination
Although fibroids are one possible cause of urgency in urination, they are not the only ones. Besides diabetes, pregnancy, a urinary tract infection (UTI), or kidney disease, women might experience an increase in their need to urinate often for other reasons. There are numerous potential reasons for urinary urgency. Therefore it’s necessary to see a doctor for a checkup and a proper diagnosis.
Treatment for Fibroids Exerting Pressure on the Bladder
When you suddenly need to urinate, it might be hard to tell if it is caused by uterine fibroids or some other incontinence problem. You should see a doctor immediately if you frequently have trouble getting to the bathroom in time, have to structure your daily activities around being near a bathroom or are often interrupted by the urge to urinate.
Radiologists trained in interventional procedures employ ultrasound and MRI machines to diagnose patients’ urine urgency. It may benefit you to take some measures such as the following to alleviate your urinary symptoms while you seek a correct diagnosis and possible therapies:
- Don’t consume large amounts of water before bedtime or leaving the house.
- Lower your coffee and alcohol intake.
- Performing kegel exercises might help you strengthen the muscles that support your pelvic area.
Nevertheless, getting minimally invasive fibroid therapy is your best bet if your fibroids are causing urinary frequency or incontinence.
Pain During and After Sex
Fibroids are a common cause of pelvic discomfort. Dyspareunia, the medical word for painful sex, can be caused by factors. Pain in or around the vulva and vaginal entrance is called superficial dyspareunia. Labial soreness, itchiness, burning, or stinging are typical symptoms. The discomfort may start immediately and persist throughout, or something as simple as walking might set it off.
Pain in the upper vagina, pelvis, or thighs is called deep dyspareunia, typically caused by a partner penetrating too far during sexual activity. Many women report experiencing persistent pain for several hours following sexual activity.
Why Do Uterine Fibroids Cause Pain During Intercourse?
Fibroid symptoms are linked to the location of the fibroids in the uterus, their number, and their size. Expanding fibroids close to the cervix opening can make penetration painful during intercourse, and for some women, even the slightest amount of friction can be pretty unbearable.
Fibroids in the upper uterine region can make sexual activity unpleasant and painful. Many women also report moderate to severe cramps or stomach discomfort during intercourse and for hours afterward.
How Fibroids can Affect your Sex Life
When a woman has negative experiences, she may avoid having sex in the future. When a couple goes through this, it can put a lot of stress on their relationship. Many women suffer from discomfort and bleed heavily during sexual activity. This could be humiliating, messy, and a significant dampener. Abdominal swelling is a common problem for many women, and like pregnancy, it can lower self-esteem, make them feel unattractive, affecting their confidence levels.
Fibroids can cause hormonal imbalance, lowering libido, and cause chronic heavy bleeding, leading to anemia. Headaches and extreme exhaustion are two symptoms of anemia, a disorder caused by a lack of iron. Just like exercising, having sex uses energy; if you’re bleeding severely or fatigued from anemia, you’re not exactly likely to be “in the mood.” Relationship satisfaction and closeness are two things that fibroids can
Things you Can do to Alleviate Fibroid-Related Pain During Sex
If fibroids make sexual activity uncomfortable or humiliating, or if you avoid intimate settings owing to fibroid symptoms, communication between you and your sex partner is crucial. It’s better to face the awkwardness of talking than to dodge the genuine issues and risk wounded feelings or a shattered relationship.
After some trial and error, some couples have discovered that switching positions may help reduce discomfort and pressure, making sex more pleasurable for both participants. One alternative is to engage in more foreplay and pleasure without touching each other. Communicating honestly about the difficulties caused by fibroids in sexual activity might help both partners comprehend the other’s experience and, in the meanwhile, find ways to navigate the problem.
Lower Back Pain and Leg Pain
Intense back pain is one of the most prevalent and severe symptoms of uterine fibroids. But why? Fibroids of the uterus can take on a variety of shapes and sizes. Ones that develop within the uterine wall are known as intramural fibroids, whereas those that develop within the uterine lining are known as subserosal fibroids. The latter is a common cause of back pain, and the severity of this pain might vary. The size, position, and number of subserosal fibroids are all significant factors in the severity of the discomfort.
In extreme cases, fibroids that develop outside the uterus can get so enormous that they push on the spinal column. This condition causes excruciating back pain, making walking and moving difficult. Uterine fibroids are a medical emergency that requires prompt medical attention.
How to Eliminate Back Pain Due to Uterine Fibroids
Here are some easy solutions if you’re suffering from uterine fibroids and are worn out with the constant back pain they cause:
- Use Warm Compression/Heating Pads – Uterine fibroids can cause severe back pain, but heating pads and warm compression can give instant relief. It makes you feel better and helps lighten the pressure simultaneously. If you suffer from fibroids and are experiencing stomach cramps, a warm compress may help.
- Consume Dairy Products – Increase your intake of nutritious dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. Include these dairy items as part of your daily diet to reduce the size of the fibroids and associated symptoms like back pain.
- Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes – Both these things can make fibroids worse. There may be an increase in back pain and other indications of uterine fibroids if you continue smoking and consuming alcohol. Therefore, avoiding these harmful habits is a helpful strategy for managing uterine fibroids.
- Relieve Worry and Stress – These factors might aggravate uterine fibroids’ symptoms and hasten their progression. It’s best to include stress-relieving activities that include yoga, meditation, and physical activity into your daily routine. Your general health will improve dramatically, and the symptoms of fibroids will disappear if you do this.
Chronic (or Persistent) Vaginal Discharge
Changes in normal vaginal discharge may occur as a result of uterine fibroids or the therapy for them. The body may sometimes expel fibroid tissue. Moreover, this is uncommon, and a change in vaginal discharge (particularly a highly foul odor) indicates an infection. Fibroids can sometimes exist without noticeable symptoms and produce little more than heavy bleeding and some discomfort.
Fortunately, there are several treatments for fibroids. To remove them, many people choose less intrusive surgical methods. Fibroids have been linked to changes in vaginal discharge both before and following these procedures. Discharge of fibroid tissue following the surgery is rare but has been documented. Nevertheless, some women may require further treatment on occasion. Here is more information on how fibroids affect vaginal discharge and when you may want to seek medical care.
Do Uterine Fibroids cause Discharge?
Fibroids can be symptomatic or asymptomatic, depending on their size and location. Fibroids often cause severe menstrual flow, known as menorrhagia. The indicators of heavy menstrual bleeding are:
- Changing your tampon or pad every hour throughout the day
- Periods last seven days or longer
- Infrequent menstrual bleeding is another symptom of fibroids and is termed breakthrough bleeding.
Fibroids can develop in and around the uterus. The vaginal discharge amount you experience may also increase if you have fibroids. This discharge usually is watery but may seem pinkish if it contains some blood.
Is it Possible to Pass Fibroid Tissue?
Fibroid tissue can be passed. With that said, this is a rare occurrence. Fibroid tissue may be discharged following targeted ultrasound therapy. High-intensity ultrasounds are used in this treatment to destroy fibroid tissue. After this surgery, it is common for part of the damaged tissue to be passed, but this will not happen to everyone.
Symptoms of Chronic (or Persistent) Vaginal Discharge
These are the symptoms of vaginal discharge due to fibroids:
- Slight bleeding in the vaginal area following medical treatment is not uncommon. The color might range from red to pink to brown, lasting for a few days or weeks.
- Minimally invasive fibroid treatments have a low complication rate. Fibroid tissue discharge is possible after them but doesn’t always indicate something severely wrong.
- There is a minimal chance of infection following fibroids treatment. The presence of an unpleasant odor in vaginal discharge, especially a very strong one, indicates the presence of an infection. If you notice this symptom post-treatment, you must discuss it with your doctor.
Multiple procedures may be required to remove the dead tissue if significant tissue is passed or there is bleeding. Fibroid tissue embolized from the uterine artery may descend toward the cervix after the procedure but will not enter the vagina. In such situations, the fibroid will be removed via a surgical procedure, although this isn’t common.
It’s important to note that the unpleasant symptoms that fibroids induce might vary depending on their size. MedlinePlus states that fibroids are a prevalent problem. Fewer than half of the estimated 26 million American women with fibroids aren’t aware they do since they experience no symptoms.
While this is discouraging, it does not change the fact that more than half of women with fibroids are aware of this condition because of the challenges and discomfort it can bring. Fibroid-related pain can be anything from mild pressure to a severe ache to cramping comparable to that experienced during a period, making it difficult to diagnose and identify other causes of pain.
Pelvic discomfort is a common sign of uterine fibroids. You may also experience mild pressure in the pelvic area or experience shooting pain in other places of your body: Fibroids are commonly linked to pelvic pressure concerns, and when they get big enough, they can affect other organs, causing discomfort in unlikely places.
Treatment Options for Pelvic Pain Brought on By Fibroids
There are various uterine fibroid treatment options depending on their location and size, regardless of whether they affect your fertility and cause other symptoms. Some of these options include:
Johns Hopkins’ experts recommended that if your complaints are manageable, you should have regular checkups with your doctor and ultrasounds. The nearer you reach menopause, the weaker fibroid development becomes, so they’ll likely cease developing independently.
Many different surgical techniques can reduce or eliminate fibroids and their associated symptoms. Furthermore, you should carefully consider the risks and downsides of an aggressive surgical procedure such as a hysterectomy to treat fibroids.
Anti-inflammatory Pain Medications
You can try different approaches if you only want to alleviate your pain. Anti-inflammatory pain medications, such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen, help lessen menstrual pain and bleeding if you have occasional discomfort or pain from fibroids.
Hormonal therapy comes in a few different forms. Specific hormonal birth control methods, such as combining estrogen-progesterone pills or the intrauterine device (IUD), can reduce fibroid symptoms, including heavy bleeding, discomfort, and monthly cramps.
The discomfort caused by fibroids differs for each individual. Some women won’t have any symptoms, while some may have moderate ones, and others could have painful symptoms that severely impact their lives.
There are several ways to treat uterine fibroids, from pain medication to surgical intervention. If you experience heavy bleeding or any other symptoms discussed above, consult your doctor to decide on the appropriate uterine fibroids treatment.
Mark Medical Care Provides Fibroid Uterine Embolization: A Minimally Invasive Treatment for Fibroids
Mark Medical Care, led by Dr. Ron Mark, is a trusted provider of advanced, proven and effective treatments for fibroids. Our qualified and experienced doctors specialized in fibroid uterine embolization, a minimally invasive procedure to deliver medication that will shrink fibroids and gradually relieve you of the symptoms.
Patients choose this minimally invasive fibroids treatment with us because the procedure allows us to treat all fibroids in a single intervention and with increased chances of preserving the uterus. The procedure involves the use of only local anesthesia, and is performed on an outpatient basis. You can experience a fast recovery with minimal downtime.
For more information on uterine fibroids, the symptoms, and our non-surgical treatment options, please call Mark Medical Care at 877-673-4818 or fill out this online contact form.