Often discovered during regular gynecological checkups, most uterine fibroids cause no symptoms. Yet, some women have noticeable symptoms that warrant medical attention.
Uterine fibroids are uterine growths that can result in pain and discomfort. These fibroids are muscle and connective tissue. They may range in size from being microscopic to being larger than a grapefruit. However, most uterine fibroids are almost always noncancerous. They still may need surgery to treat symptoms.
Several symptoms may occur with uterine fibroids. Symptoms might be constipation, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, fertility, and urination problems. These symptoms occur by a large fibroid(s) compressing nearby structures. Heavy menstrual bleeding symptoms may be fibroids affecting how the uterus develops and sheds its lining each month.
What Are Uterine Fibroids
Some fibroids, located on the uterus’s outside wall close to the bladder, can press against it. This causes bladder volume loss and requires frequent trips to the bathroom. In rare cases, the fibroid prevents them from urinating even when their bladder is full. This can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. If you cannot sleep through the night or use the toilet more often than usual, you should get it checked out. Additionally, you should visit your doctor if you cannot empty your bladder. Seek immediate medical attention if you are having pain during urination or have trouble urinating.
Some women may experience chronic pelvic pressure or pain. This may happen by the compression of nerves, which can exacerbate the pain. Additionally, cause pain in the lower back and sides. While discomfort during intercourse is not limited to only fibroids, it may occur due to fibroids.
Abdominal pain may be a symptom of uterine fibroids. Fibroids are located in the upper part of the uterus, causing pain and pressure in the abdominal area. Large fibroids can also distend the abdomen, similar to the early stages of pregnancy.
Other common symptoms are painful bowel movements and constipation. This is due to fibroids compressing the rectum. The constant pressure can also lead women to feel perpetually bloated.
Women may also experience abnormal bleeding during menstruation. Fibroids often cause irregularities in menstrual bleeding. Heavy bleeding for longer than usual is a common fibroid symptom. Prolonged heavy bleeding can cause anemia. Fibroids can also lead to spotting or bleeding between periods.
Although rare, some long-term effects may be fertility issues and miscarriage. The presence of fibroids can sometimes make it more difficult to conceive. Very rarely, they can compress the ureter causing kidney blockage.
Patients experiencing moderate or severe uterine fibroid symptoms should talk to their doctor. Fibroids can be diagnosed either by pelvic exam or by ultrasound. Women who experience sharp, sudden pelvic pain or severe vaginal bleeding should seek immediate medical attention.
Uterine fibroids are generally benign. Yet, symptoms are often indistinguishable from another digestive, urinary, or reproductive systems disorders. Testing can help you determine. This is one reason that timely diagnosis is essential. Also, when uterine fibroid symptoms impair a patient’s quality of life, it is time to seek medical treatment.
There are several treatment options. One treatment is a minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). UFE shrinks fibroids and provides immediate relief. UFE occurs in an outpatient setting. This means no incisions, no general anesthesia, and a much shorter recovery time. It gives proven comfort. Allowing a woman to save their uterus can lead to long-term health benefits. Visit our FAQs on Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
Four Things You Should Know About Uterine Fibroid Embolization
- It’s a non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment option for uterine fibroids
- Your uterus remains preserved
- Lower complication rate with reductions in pain and blood loss
- Reduced recovery time, so most patients return home the same day and return to normal activities within one week
What would make me ineligible for UFE?
Patients should discuss their ability to proceed with UFE with their provider. Patients with an active pelvic infection, bleeding problems, endometrial cancer, large fibroids, or a desire for fertility preservation are poor candidates for this procedure.
What happens after my UFE procedure?
Most patients go home the same day or the following day with cramping and pain. Fever is an occasional side effect that is treated with acetaminophen. Many women resume light activity within a few days and regular activity in a week. UFE is effective for multiple fibroids, and the reoccurrence of treated fibroids is very rare.