While many women with uterine fibroids (UF) experience no symptoms at all, approximately 50% of women with fibroids do end up having symptoms. The Mayo Clinic offers a complete list of what the symptoms of uterine fibroids are, ranging from mild to extremely severe.
What fibroids symptoms are the most common?
Some of the most common symptoms of fibroid growth include:
Heavy and/or extended menstrual bleeding
Fibroids connected to your uterine lining can cause pressure that makes your endometrial tissue bleed more than usual. Endometrial tissue is what grows in the uterus to prepare the womb lining for ovulation. Even small fibroids located within the lining of the uterine wall can cause excessive bleeding.
Pelvic pressure or pain
The size, weight, placement, and quantity of your fibroids can pull, stretch, push, and place undue compression or strain on the inside and outside of the uterus—as well as the surrounding organs—resulting in pelvic pressure or pain.
Interference with sexual intercourse
Fibroids can cause painful sexual intercourse, although this typically only occurs in specific positions or at certain angles. They can also lower your sex drive by altering your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels.
Weight gain and bulging of the lower abdomen
Your uterus is approximately the size of a pear. While some fibroids are only the size of a pea, others, if left untreated, can grow to be the size of mangos, cantaloupes, or watermelons. Even a medium-sized fibroid can create a tummy bulge that mimics pregnancy.
Frequent urination and/or urinary incontinence
Fibroids can push on the bladder—creating a sense of needing to urinate frequently and sometimes interfering with bladder control. The size and placement of your fibroids may make urination painful, too.
Fibroids may exert pressure on your bowels, causing constipation and/or uncomfortable elimination.
Lower back and leg pain
Depending on location, a medium to large fibroid may press on the pelvic nerve—sending pain to your lower back, buttocks, hip, or thigh. Pressure on the sciatic nerve may send shooting pains down the back of your leg.
Are there any other potential uterine fibroids symptoms?
Complications during pregnancy and/or labor
Women with fibroids are at higher risk of requiring a cesarean section (C-section) when giving birth than women without fibroids.
Difficulty conceiving and/or infertility
Fibroids may interfere with conception by blocking the reproductive organs. On rare occasions, fibroids can cause infertility.