If you’re a woman, especially one who is in her 40s or early 50s, the odds are fairly good that you have a fibroid or two in your uterus. These growths affect up to 80% of women and, for most, the benign growths are small and in a location that isn’t problematic. If, however, you have fibroids that become symptomatic, there are several ways in which they can make themselves known.
To help you identify whether your symptoms are related to uterine fibroids, Dr. Ulas Bozdogan and the team here at Advanced Endometriosis Center pulled together the following information.
Fibroids — a mostly silent issue
While the term “fibroids” may sound scary, they usually aren’t. Fibroids are tumors — usually noncancerous — that grow on the uterus. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, fibroids are very common, and they often cause no problems or symptoms.
Because of this, most women live happy, healthy lives and never know they have them. Furthermore, there’s usually no need for treatment.
However, in some cases, they can cause symptoms. In these cases, there are signs that can indicate that you may have a problematic fibroid.
Signs you may have a problematic fibroid
If you experience any of the following issues, you may have a fibroid that needs to be treated.
Fibroids can range from the size of a kernel of rice up to the size of a grapefruit. As you can imagine, if you have a fibroid that grows large inside your uterus, you can start to feel the effects, such as:
- A feeling of heaviness in your lower abdomen
- General pelvic pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination
If the growth is large enough, you might even be able to see an enlargement from the outside of your lower stomach.
Another way in which uterine fibroids can make themselves known is through abnormal bleeding. Three of the symptoms of problematic fibroids are heavy bleeding, spotting in between periods, and painful periods.
There are several reasons why fibroids can influence your periods, including:
- They can interfere with contractions of your uterus
- The fibroid can press uncomfortably against your endometrial lining
- Fibroids can create more blood vessels and more bleeding
Fibroids can also lead to elevated levels of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that are associated with heavier bleeding.
While uterine fibroids don’t usually interfere with conception, they can play a role during pregnancy and delivery. For example, the existence of uterine fibroids increases the risk for needing a Cesarean section by sixfold.
We would like to point out that, in most cases, obstetricians are able to identify a potentially problematic fibroid during pregnancy with ultrasound, so they — and you — can be prepared in advance.
Getting evaluated is the first step
If you recognize any of what we’ve described above and you’d like to know whether your symptoms might stem from fibroids, the best way to find out is to come see us. We can review your issues and perform a simple ultrasound to determine whether there are problematic growths in your uterus.
To get help from a top uterine fibroid specialist in the greater metropolitan area, we invite you to book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today. We have locations in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey.