Published: May 24, 2011
Updated: May 24, 2011
Read an overview of common fibroid symptoms.
Bleeding is the most common symptom associated with fibroids. It typically presents as heavy menstrual bleeding, often with passage of clots.
As a woman progresses toward menopause, bleeding can become unpredictable or continuous. Anemia, which may be severe, is a common side effect.
It is not known how fibroids cause heavy cycles, but they are believed to alter the ability of the uterus to control the degree of bleeding during a menstrual period.
Pain is another common symptom that may present as cramping or pressure.
Fibroids can also press on the nerves that supply the pelvis and legs causing pain, which may mimic back problems.
Women often experience severe menstrual cramps with the growth of their fibroids.
Frequent urination is a common symptom due to the pelvis having limited space available for the female genital tract and bladder.
As fibroids grow, they compete for space within the pelvis. This decreases the ability for the bladder to expand resulting in feeling the need to urinate. This can occur during the day or night.
Many times women with these issues will change their lifestyle including limiting their intake of fluids to prevent having to urinate frequently.
Bloating is probably the result of the enlarged uterus in combination with the increased blood flow associated with the growing fibroids.
As the fibroids increase in size, they can compress vascular structures causing heaviness within the pelvis, which will progress during the day and will typically worsen during menstruation.
Other suspected symptoms include infertility or repeated miscarriage. However, the statistical evidence for infertility is lacking and other factors are more likely to cause infertility in patients with fibroids.
Some researchers have suggested that the presence of fibroids may predispose a patient to miscarriage, but reliable evidence to support this possibility is not yet available.
You may contact the offices of Michael J. Miller MD, David Sopko, MD, and Waleska M. Pabon-Ramos, MD, MPH, Division of Vascular-Interventional Radiology, at Duke University Medical Center at 919-684-7280 or e-mail Debbie Semmel, FNP-BC, at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.