Be Aware: Eight Uterine Fibroid Symptoms
Fibroids are abnormal uterine muscle tissue growths. Fibroids are almost always non-cancerous, and can occur inside the uterine cavity, within the uterine wall, on the outside edge of the uterine wall, or even outside of the uterus.
It is estimated that 60-70 percent of women have uterine fibroids at some point in their lives. However, many women may not even be aware that they have them. Fibroids grow at different rates, and can range from the size of a pea to the size of a watermelon. If the fibroids are small and few enough, chances are, a woman will never feel anything.
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms
“Most women with fibroids do not experience any symptoms,” says Dr. Jung Mok Park, obstetrician/gynecologist at PIH Health Women's Center Downey. “Symptoms vary depending on the number of fibroids you have, their locations in the uterus, and how large they are.”
However, if fibroids are large or numerous, a woman can experience the following symptoms:
- Heavy or prolonged periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain and pressure
- Frequent urination
- Low back pain
- Feelings of fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Difficulty getting pregnant
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have a family history of fibroids, it is best to speak with a healthcare provider.
If fibroids are found, your healthcare provider may advise regular pelvic exams and careful monitoring of your symptoms, watching out for any significant changes. If your fibroids are large or cause significant symptoms, treatment may be an option. “Your doctor can help to determine the best treatment options based on the number and size of your fibroids, their locations, your symptoms, and other health conditions,” says Dr. Park. “We also want to make sure that we take into account a woman’s age and fertility goals so we can develop a plan that best meets the needs of the patient.”
There is no proven way to prevent fibroid growth. However, getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet rich in green vegetables may help reduce the risk of getting fibroids. Avoid red meat and processed meats which may contribute to development of uterine fibroids.
Experiencing fibroid pain symptoms? Call your doctor.
If you are experiencing abnormal symptoms and think you may be at risk for uterine fibroids, schedule an appointment with your doctor today. To learn more about women’s health services available at PIH Health, please call 562.967.2876.