Uterine Fibroid Symptoms - When To Seek TreatmentUterine-Fibroid-symptoms-Image

Uterine fibroids are relatively common among women of childbearing age, as many as 1 in 5 women develop them at some point. Women are most likely to develop fibroids in their 30s or 40s, and very few women under the age of 20 are affected; however, uterine fibroid symptoms can arise at any age after puberty.

Uterine Fibroid Symptoms

While the majority of women experience no uterine fibroid symptoms, others experience a range of symptoms ranging from mild - even indistinguishable from normal menstrual symptoms - to severe, causing extreme pain or fertility issues. Uterine fibroid symptoms include:

  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding, which may cause anemia
  • Painful periods
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Feelings or pain or pressure in the pelvis or abdomen
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination or difficulty urinating
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage, placental abruption, or premature labor

Uterine fibroid symptoms will depend in part on the nature of the fibroids. Size can vary greatly, ranging from microscopic to the size of a melon. Women may have many fibroids or just one. They may be located on any part of the uterus. A combination of these factors determines symptoms.

Uterine fibroid symptoms such as constipation, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, fertility and urination problems tend to be caused by a large fibroid(s) compressing nearby structures. In contrast, heavy menstrual bleeding symptoms are frequently caused fibroids affecting the way the uterus develops and sheds it’s lining each month.

When to Seek Treatment

Women who are asymptomatic do not need treatment; however, patients experiencing moderate or severe uterine fibroid symptoms should seek medical attention. Fibroids can be diagnosed either by pelvic exam or by ultrasound. If a patient presents with symptoms of uterine fibroids, one or both of these methods may be used.

While some discomfort during the menstrual cycle is normal, there are a number of factors, which indicate that a woman should seek medical attention. If periods are consistently long (over 7 days) or very painful, a physician should be consulted. A doctor should be informed if a woman experiences persistent pelvic pain, frequent pain with sexual intercourse, frequent difficulty urinating or moving the bowels, or consistent spotting between periods. Women who experience anemia related to their menstrual cycle should be tested for fibroids, as should women who experience fertility problems, multiple miscarriages, or other problems during pregnancy.

Women who experience sharp, sudden pelvic pain or severe vaginal bleeding should seek immediate medical attention.

While uterine fibroids are generally benign, uterine fibroid symptoms are often indistinguishable from other disorders of the digestive, urinary, or reproductive systems until further testing is performed. This is one reason that timely diagnosis is important. In addition, as with any condition, when uterine fibroid symptoms begin to impinge upon a patient's quality of life, it is time to seek medical treatment. Women who experience menstrual discomfort that is less severe may want to discuss their concerns with their physician during their annual exam, at which time the physician can decide if further testing is necessary.

Patient Information

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