What To Know About Pseudo-Meigs’ Syndrome and Uterine Fibroids

What To Know About Pseudo-Meigs’ Syndrome and Uterine Fibroids

Many symptoms of uterine fibroids can be treated by reducing the fibroid’s size. In rare cases, however, shrinking fibroids can cause a secondary condition called Pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome. It is a serious condition that can affect your kidney, lungs, and other important organs.*

What is Pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome?

Pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome is when tumors in your body, including non-cancerous tumors like fibroids, cause extra fluid to build up around the tissues in your chest or abdomen. It can affect your lungs, kidneys, and other vital organs.

Treatment to shrink fibroids may be involved

Reducing a fibroid’s size is commonly used to help reduce symptoms of uterine fibroids, like heavy bleeding and pelvic pain. 

There have been reports, however, that suggest shrinking a fibroid, particularly with GnRH agonists may lead to Pseudo-Meigs’ syndrome, although this is rare. 

Some scientists believe that, as a fibroid shrinks, it could release excess fluid into the abdominal cavity, a condition known as ascites. The fluid can also make its way up into your chest, and engulf your lungs. When this happens, it’s known as pleural effusion.

When to call your doctor

When fluid is in your abdomen, it’s common to experience:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Feeling bloated or full
  • Increased weight
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling in your legs

Fluid buildup in your chest can also cause a variety of symptoms. You may experience:

  • Pain in your chest
  • Sharp pain when you cough or take a deep breath
  • Fever
  • Frequent hiccups
  • Shortness of breath

If you have fibroids and notice any of the above symptoms, especially if you have undergone therapy to shrink fibroids, speak with your healthcare provider.

Removing the fibroid will generally resolve the issue, but your doctor may also suggest diuretic medications to help lower the amount of fluid in your body, or removing the excess fluid with a small needle.

*Odaka, H., Asahi, R., Shimada, K., Tokairin, T., et al. (2023). Pseudo-Meigs’ Syndrome in a Patient With Uterine Fibroids With Massive Pleural Effusion After Starting Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonist Therapy: A Case Report. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.33520