Could fibroids be responsible for my heavy bleeding?

Ah, periods: one of the great joys of being a woman, right? (I’m kidding, obviously.) Bleeding for several days out of every month is generally inconvenient, often messy, and not at all fun… But it is a fact of life. However, not all periods are created equal; some women have heavier periods than others.

While “heavy” is somewhat of a subjective term, there are certain characteristics that distinguish abnormally heavy periods. Bleeding that could be described as “gushing” or “flooding”, for example, is not normal. Going through eight or more pads or tampons in a single day is also not normal. If you’re experiencing atypical bleeding of this nature, uterine fibroids may be the source of the problem.

Heavy bleeding is one of the most common symptoms associated with fibroids. Research has shown that women with large fibroids are two and a half times more likely to require eight or more pads or tampons on their heaviest days than women who do not have fibroids. In a study examining the link between heavy bleeding and uterine fibroids, researchers interviewed a randomly-selected group of women between the ages of 35 and 39 about their heavy menstrual bleeding (also known as menorrhagia). Of those women who were diagnosed with fibroids, 46% described having experienced “gushing” or “flooding” during their period, while only 28% of women without fibroids reported bleeding of that nature.

Why fibroids can cause excessive bleeding is unclear. However, there are plenty of theories: some experts in the field of Gynecology believe that intramural fibroids (those that grow inside the walls of the uterus) stretch the lining of the uterus, enabling more of it to be shed during menstruation. Another theory suggests that the bleeding results from fibroids impinging upon veins in the uterus, creating pressure that dilates veins in the endometrium which, during menstruation, increases blood loss. One group of researchers identified small irregularities in the contractions of uterine veins surrounding fibroids and concluded that, since the contraction of these veins plays a role in regulating blood loss, the heavy bleeding was the result of this phenomenon. None of these theories have been universally accepted as an explanation for the link between fibroids and heavy bleeding, but as fibroid research continues, a clear answer may soon emerge.

Whether your heavy bleeding is attributable to fibroids or a different issue, it can lead to further problems if left untreated, particularly anemia. An iron deficiency associated with excessive blood loss, anemia is characterized by symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, and headache. To prevent complications of heavy bleeding like anemia, women who experience especially heavy periods should consult a gynecologist right away; if you need help finding a gynecologist, our Physician Finder tool can help you identify qualified doctors in your area.

Sources:

  1. Istre, O. “Management of symptomatic fibroids: conservative surgical treatment modalities other than abdominal or laparoscopic myomectomy”, Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2008;Vol. 22, No. 4, p. 737
  2. Wegienka G, et al. “Self-reported heavy bleeding associated with uterine leiomyomata”. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2003, Vol 101: pp. 431–437
  3. Burbank, F. Fibroids, Menstruation, Childbirth, and Evolution: The Fascinating Story of Uterine Blood Vessels, p. 107. Wheatmark, 2009. Tucson, AZ.
  4. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding in Fibroids” Fibroid.net retr.12/22/14 http://www.fibroid.net/heavy-menstrual-bleeding-in-fibroids
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Fibroids’ 5 Most Common Symptoms

Uterine fibroids are more common than you may think: various studies have shown the incidence of fibroids in women of reproductive age to be anywhere from 50%to more than 80%! That level of prevalence may seem surprising, given how little we hear about the condition. However, many women don’t realize they have fibroids, often for a simple reason: nearly 50% of women who have uterine fibroids experience no noticeable symptoms whatsoever.

Then there’s the other half: those women whose fibroids cause them to suffer with one or multiple bothersome, inconvenient, and sometimes downright painful symptoms. Among the smorgasbord of irregularities that may be symptomatic of uterine fibroids, a handful stand out as the most common. Five of the most reported symptoms are: heavy menstrual bleeding, backache, urinary symptoms, constipation and painful intercourse. These symptoms fall into two major categories—bleeding and what are known as “bulk symptoms”—and are attributed to separate types of fibroids, either submucosal, intramural, and subserosal.

Heavy bleeding during menstruation, the most common symptom experienced by women with fibroids, can be connected to one of two different categories of fibroids. The first of these, submucosal fibroids, are defined as fibroids that grow inward, protruding into the cavity of the uterus. Intramural fibroids, by contrast, are those that grow within the uterine wall. Studies have linked both intramural and submucosal fibroids to heavy bleeding.

1. Heavy periods
Heavy menstrual bleeding (also known as menorrhagia), is one of the most widely reported symptoms associated with uterine fibroids. One particular study concluded that women with large fibroids were 2.5 times more likely to require eight or more pads/tampons on the heaviest day of their period. Especially long periods (lasting more than 7 days), and flooding (sudden gushes of blood) have also been connected to the presence of fibroids. True, heavy bleeding isn’t particularly rare, nor it is linked exclusively to the condition of uterine fibroids; however, when a team of researchers in Washington D.C. surveyed a randomly selected group of women between the ages of 35 and 39, 46% of women with fibroids reported experiencing “gushing” during their menstrual periods, while only 28% of women without fibroids had that same experience. In addition to creating a major inconvenience, heavy bleeding of this nature can cause a woman to become anemic and fatigued.

Other common symptoms of uterine fibroids are connected to a third type of fibroid, the subserosal type. Instead of growing inside the cavity or wall of the uterus, subserosal fibroids develop on the outer surface of the uterus. As subserosal fibroids grow outward from the uterus, they may press against neighboring organs in the abdominal cavity and are largely responsible for bulk symptoms. Intramural fibroids that grow large or are abundant can also contribute to bulk symptoms. Depending on their size and location, pressure from these fibroids can create a host of other common, uncomfortable symptoms, including backache, urinary symptoms, constipation, and painful intercourse.

2. Backache
If the fibroids are located on the back surface of your uterus, they may press on spinal nerves, which causes a backache.

3. Urinary Symptoms
Fibroids that push against the bladder can cause urinary irregularities. Frequent urination, urgency, and difficulty emptying the bladder are all common symptoms afflicting fibroid sufferers.

4. Constipation
Another possible result of fibroid interference is constipation. If a large, subserosal fibroid presses on the rectum, difficulty passing stools may result.

5. Painful intercourse
Just as the location of a large, subserosal fibroid can cause it to get in the way of surrounding organs, the effects of a fibroid’s placement can potentially cause pain during sex. If intercourse is consistently painful, fibroids are one possible explanation.

Remember: while these five symptoms are very common among fibroid sufferers, none of them directly indicates the presence of uterine fibroids. However, a woman who experiences one or more of these symptoms should talk to her gynecologist about the possibility of fibroids being the cause.

Sources:

  1. Istre, O. “Management of symptomatic fibroids: conservative surgical treatment modalities other than abdominal or laparoscopic myomectomy”, Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2008;Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 735–747
  2. Baird, D et al. “High cumulative incidence of uterine leiomyoma in black and white women: Ultrasound evidence”, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 188, No. 1, p. 105
  3. Stovall, D. “Clinical symptomatology of uterine leiomyomas”, Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2001; Vol. 44:364-71
  4. Wegienka, G et al. “Self-reported heavy bleeding associated with uterine leiomyomata”. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2003; 101: pp. 431–437
  5. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding in Fibroids” Fibroid.net retr.12/22/14 http://www.fibroid.net/heavy-menstrual-bleeding-in-fibroids
  6. “Uterine Fibroids”: “Symptoms”. Mayo Clinic website. retr. 12/24/14. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/basics/symptoms/con-20037901
  7. Burbank, F. Fibroids, Menstruation, Childbirth, and Evolution, p. 104. Wheatmark, 2009. Tucson, AZ.
  8. Galen, D. et al.”Does Menstrual Bleeding Decrease After Ablation of Intramural Myomas? A Retrospective Study”, The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, 2013
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What are the Warning Signs of Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids of the uterus are very common, with between a quarter and one half of women in their reproductive years believed to have fibroids. Not all of these fibroids will be detected, as they vary greatly in size, ranging from as small as a pebble to roughly the size of a softball. Because of the small size of many of these uterus fibroids, they will not be detected by a physical examination.

What are the Warning Signs of Uterine Fibroids?

One of the reasons that these fibroids are regarded as so serious is because they are much more difficult to detect than many other medical conditions. In some cases, a woman with fibroids in her uterus will not experience any symptoms at all. However, some women may experience very significant symptoms, while other women will have symptoms of moderate intensity.

Among the most common symptoms are aches and pains. These may include pain in the pelvis, where a fibroid presses on the pelvic organs, or pain in the lower back. Pain during sexual intercourse may also occur due to fibroids. Additionally, fibroids may cause complications in normal bodily functions, such as frequent urination, abnormal bleeding between periods, or unusually heavy or long periods. In addition to these physical warning signs, you or your physician may be able to feel a fibroid as a hard mass near the middle of your pelvis.

Fibroids can produce significant pain and reduce your quality of life. Because of this, some women have opted for hysterectomy to treat their fibroids. However there are less invasive treatment options that allow women to keep their uterus, such as the Acessa Procedure, where there is a low chance that the symptoms will return and patients can look forward to improvement in their quality of life.

Sources:

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/basics/definition/con-20037901
  2. http://www.lvhn.org/conditions_treatments/womens_health/uterine_fibroids/learn_about_uterine_fibroids/symptoms
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Symptoms of Fibroids | Learn the Telltale Signs of Uterine Fibroids

Learn-the-Telltale-Symptoms-of-Fibroids_blog-pic_LI-00-0244-ALearn the Telltale Symptoms of Fibroids

The wall of your uterus, or the myometrium, is made of smooth, muscular tissue, which is strong enough to support the weight of a baby and the amniotic fluid supporting the new life among other things. Sometimes a single myometrial cell divides and keeps dividing. This action creates a fibroid tumor, which is a rubbery mass that is not incorporated into the surrounding tissue.

Many of these masses start out no larger than a seed and stay that way without ever causing symptoms of fibroids or being detected. Others can grow and then shrink again, while others grow steadily until they become large enough to push the top of your uterus up into your rib cage. They can develop one at a time or in clusters.

Types of Fibroids

There are three types of fibroid tumors, each with its own and overlapping symptoms of fibroids.

Intramural fibroids grow within the walls of your uterus, not projecting into your uterine cavity or the surrounding tissues. This type of fibroid can change the shape of your uterus, causing pain and a feeling of pressure, as well as causing your periods to become longer and your flow heavier than normal.

Submucosal fibroids grow from the uterine wall into your uterine cavity. They also cause longer, heavier periods and they can also interfere with a fertilized egg attaching to the uterine wall, making pregnancy more difficult.

Subserosal fibroids grow from the uterine wall outward. Depending on where they develop and how large they grow, they can press on your bladder or rectum, causing problems for healthy elimination.

Symptoms of Fibroid Tumors

While there are some differences in the symptoms of fibroids according to type, the most common indicators are:

  • Unusually heavy periods happen to most women from time to time, but several periods in a row with markedly increased flow may be an indication of fibroids.
  • Periods that habitually last more than one week. Most periods take less than seven days from start to finish. If your periods usually last only five days or so and you have several that last for seven or more, you may have developed fibroids.
  • Issues with urination are another possible sign of developing fibroids. This can manifest as trouble urinating or having to go far more often. Recurring constipation not linked to changes in diet or medication may also be an indication of fibroids.
  • Backache or leg pains with no easily explainable cause, such as changes in daily routine, can indicate a fibroid pressing on the nerves in your back.

While the phrase “fibroid tumors” sounds a bit alarming, the Mayo Clinic estimates that nearly three out of four women will experience them at one time or another and they are overwhelmingly likely to stay benign. If you are experiencing any symptoms and have concerns, consult your physician. The sooner you know exactly what is causing your symptoms, the less stress you’ll have.

Know Your Options

It is a good idea to discuss all available treatments for fibroids with a health care professional if you feel you may have the symptoms of uterine fibroid tumors, or if you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors.

Click on Physician Finder to find an Acessa-trained physician near you to see if the Acessa procedure is right for you. Or for more information, please contact Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.

Sources

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078
  2. http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/uterine-fibroids-and-hysterectomy
  3. http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/a-new-treatment-option-for-uterine-fibroids
  4. http://www.health.ny.gov/community/adults/women/uterine_fibroids/
  5. http://www.acessaprocedure.com/2013/04/16/fibroid-pain-how-to-cope/
  6. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151405.php

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Fibroid Pain | Options for Uterine Fibroid Pain Relief

Managing-Fibroid-Pain--Your-Options-for-Pain-Relief-and-Treatment_blog-pic_LI-00-0243-AManaging Fibroid Pain: Your Options for Pain Relief and Treatment

Uterine fibroids, also known as myomas, fibromyomas and leiomyomas, are small growths that occur in and on the muscle tissue of your uterus. They can be so small they cannot be seen with the naked eye or so large that they cause pressure on your diaphragm, bladder or rectum. Approximately three out of every four women will develop fibroid tumors, usually during their childbearing years. This type of tumor almost never becomes cancerous, according to the Mayo Clinic, but they can cause many symptoms, including pain.

Painkillers

The first line of defense against abdominal and back fibroid pain is over the counter– or OTC — painkillers. Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen all ease the milder forms of pain associated with fibroids. Aspirin and ibuprofen also relieve inflammation, while acetaminophen does not. Read the labels of all OTC medications to make sure that they are designed to alleviate your particular symptoms.

Prescription medications such as acetaminophen with codeine can help ease pain that is too severe for over the counter medications. With increased potency come increased risks ranging from enhanced side effects to the possibility of addiction. Tempting as it may be to ask for the most powerful painkillers your doctor is willing to prescribe, it is best to start with the mildest form and give it time to work. Increase potency and dosages in the smallest increments possible.

Non-Surgical Options

If painkillers are not easing the symptoms of fibroid pain and you are experiencing extremely heavy periods that last more than seven days, you may want to consider an intra-uterine device, or IUD. These are most often used as a method of birth control, but the progesterone some types contain and release can reduce heavy bleeding. The type of fibroids you have must not be distorting the shape of your uterus for an IUD to be effective and safe.

There are two other non-surgical procedures for dealing with fibroids that are worth a little personal research. Uterine Artery Embolization uses a tiny catheter inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to inject particles into the blood vessels feeding each fibroid tumor. This causes the tumor to shrink and die.

The second procedure is known as ExAblate. It uses focused ultrasound waves to break down the tissues of the fibroids, destroying them.

Surgical Options

In cases of extreme fibroid pain, unmanageable periods and effects on your diaphragm, bladder and rectum, you may want to consider surgery. This option can range from removing only the fibroids to removing the entire uterus, which is called a hysterectomy. While this used to be the standard medical response to fibroid tumors, most medical professionals see it only as a last resort.

One innovative and effective alternative to a hysterectomy that recently became available is the Acessa System. This system uses a laparoscopic procedure and is able to shrink or completely eliminate fibroids while keeping the uterus protected and healthy. The procedure also can be done without an overnight hospital stay, has a short recovery time and produces little scarring.

Alternative and Complementary Options

If you prefer the methods of alternative and complementary medicine, the prevailing theory is to avoid all inflammation-causing foods such as alcohol, dairy, meat and sugar. In addition, make use of the phytoestrogens found in plants that lower your body’s natural estrogen levels, most notably soy. Increase your intake of both A and B vitamins and if you are having heavy periods, take an iron supplement. All of these methods cannot only ease pain, but they may help to reduce the length and severity of your periods.

Women’s bodies are as unique as their personalities, so what works for your best friend – or even your sister – may not work for you. Relief is available, so don’t be afraid to try several different methods of pain and symptom relief until you find the one that works for you.

Know Your Options

It is a good idea to discuss all available treatments for fibroids with a health care professional if you feel you may have the symptoms of uterine fibroid tumors, or if you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors.

Click on Physician Finder to find an Acessa-trained physician near you to see if the Acessa procedure is right for you. Or for more information, please contact Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.
Sources

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078
  2. http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/uterine-fibroids-and-hysterectomy
  3. http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/a-new-treatment-option-for-uterine-fibroids
  4. http://www.health.ny.gov/community/adults/women/uterine_fibroids/
  5. http://www.acessaprocedure.com/2013/04/16/fibroid-pain-how-to-cope/
  6. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151405.php

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What are the symptoms of fibroid tumors?

What-are-the-symptoms-of-fibroid-tumors-blog-picAsk any woman who has experienced the symptoms of uterine fibroid tumors, and she will tell you what a toll it can take on your everyday life, making simple daily activities almost impossible to perform. That’s why it is important to understand what uterine fibroid tumors are and their symptoms in order to find the treatment options best for you. These symptoms may be cyclical since fibroids are hormonally sensitive. Even the most minor symptoms should not be ignored, as many may tend to underestimate the severity of the fibroids.

Common Symptoms Of Uterine Fibroid Tumors:

  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding – Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding is a common symptom. As a result, some women develop anemia, also known as a low blood count. Anemia can cause fatigue, headaches and lightheadedness.
  • Prolong Menstrual Cycles – These can last seven days or longer.
  • Pelvic Discomfort Or Pain – Women with large fibroids may feel pain or pressure in their lower abdomen or pelvis.
  • Frequent Urination – A woman may wake up several times during the night to empty her bladder.
  • Difficulty Emptying Your Bladder – Occasionally, women are unable to urinate despite a full bladder.
  • Rectal Pressure — Fibroids also can press against the rectum and cause a sensation of rectal fullness, difficulty having a bowel movement or pain with bowel movements.
  • Low Back Pain — Fibroids can press against the muscles and nerves of the lower back and cause back pain. A large fibroid on the back surface of the uterus is more likely to cause back pain than a small fibroid within the uterine wall.
  • Discomfort With Sexual Intercourse — Fibroids can make sexual intercourse painful or uncomfortable.

Location Of Tumors

Something that may determine the symptoms one experiences with uterine fibroids is the location of the tumors. For instance, submucosal fibroids grow into the inner cavity of the uterus are thought to be primarily responsible for prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding and are a problem for women attempting pregnancy. Subserosal fibroids that appear to the outside of the uterus can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing constipation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache.

When To See A Doctor

If you have any of these signs and symptoms of fibroid tumors listed above, you should contact your primary physician or OB/GYN as soon as possible. A consultation with your doctor can rule out other complications that could cause the above symptomatic conditions.If you have these symptoms as a result of uterine fibroid tumors, you can then have a conversation about all the treatments available to you, including alternatives to hysterectomy.

Looking For More Information On Treating Uterine Fibroids?

Call Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.

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When To Worry About Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

LI-00-0190Menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual bleeding, is something many women face at one time or another. Heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as having a period that lasts over a week or bleeding so much the person must change their feminine napkin once or twice an hour. The question with heavy menstrual bleeding is when to worry? The answer is, you should consult with your doctor about heavy menstrual bleeding.

Hormones

During any time of hormonal change, a woman may experience a change in her menstrual cycle. This can occur when she is young or when she is entering menopause. These may not be cause for alarm and likely will not persist. Estrogen and progesterone imbalances may cause abnormal uterine bleeding, and are usually treated with pharmaceutical agents. Heavy menstrual bleeding may also be the result imbalances associated with hormones secreted by the thyroid. Your doctor will be able to perform the necessary tests and recommend treatment options.

Uterine fibroids

These are normally non-cancerous growths within a woman’s uterus. While many women have uterine fibroids and no symptoms, symptomatic uterine fibroids frequently cause heavy menstrual bleeding and pain. Having a doctor examine you for fibroids is the start toward treatment and relief from both the bleeding and the pain.

Cervical or Uterine Cancer

In rare cases, abnormal uterine bleeding may be an early indication of cancer in either the cervix or uterus.It is important to have a doctor examine the woman and test to see if either of these is the cause. Catching either cancer while it is still in its early stages provides a woman with the best chance of safely and effectively treating it.

Looking For More Information On Treating Uterine Fibroids?

Call Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.

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A Fibroid Patient’s Symptoms

What are some symptoms indicating you may have fibroids? Watch this video to hear one women’s story of how she discovered she had fibroids, and what problems started to arise prompting her to see a doctor.

In this case, we have a 50 year-old woman with four children, originally from Northern California. In 2007, her work required her to relocate to Florida for approximately one year. Once there, she started having issues with bleeding, so severe as she describes, “On a scale of 1 to 10, it was probably a 14.”

Being new to the area, she did not have a doctor locally, but had previously seen a doctor in California who recommended she have a hysterectomy. She felt that this was not an option for her. While in Florida, she visited another doctor about her symptoms, who also recommended a hysterectomy.

One day while listening to the radio, she heard a commercial for a clinical study on fibroids. She already knew she had fibroids, as they were previously detected in x-rays and suspected to be the cause of her symptoms. This commercial prompted her to call the number and receive the treatment she needed to resolve her problems and give her a peace of mind.

Learn More About Acessa

If you, or someone you know, have experienced these symptoms and would like more information on the Acessa Procedure, or to locate a physician near you, please click here to contact Acessa Health or call us at 877.412.3828.

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Symptoms of Fibroids

Symptoms-of-Fibroids_LI-00-0162-A-Fibroids are benign tumors formed from smooth muscle tissue that originate in the uterus. They are also known as myoma, fibromyoma or uterine leiomyoma. They typically surface in women aged 30 to 40 and in various sizes, quantities and locations within the uterus. They can appear as several small growths the size of a golf ball or just one big mass the size of a grapefruit.

The symptoms of fibroids can develop gradually over time or rapidly over a short period. Most women with fibroid conditions feel mild symptoms while others feel none at all. The symptoms of fibroids are felt in increased levels during the later reproductive years or when the extremely rare malignant version called leiomyosarcoma occurs.

Approximately 25% of women with fibroids have symptoms. It is all the more important that women are made aware of the symptoms of fibroids so that they will know what to do or what not to do when they notice symptoms like the following:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding – Abnormal menstrual bleeding, heavier menses, prolonged periods, bleeding or spotting between periods and menstrual cramps and pain are signs to watch out for. The passage of large clots and gushing or flooding are also signs that fibroids may be developing.
  • Abdominal pressure and pain – Pressure, pain and bloating can be felt in the abdomen if large fibroids cram up the area. Developing fibroids can as well cause discomfort in the lower back.
  • Abdominal enlargement – As the uterine area is filled up with growing fibroids, the uterus becomes enlarged and this shows up in an expanding abdomen. This results in a feeling of heaviness and a semblance of pregnancy.
  • Urinary discomfort – This is a common fibroid symptom wherein large fibroids may squeeze the bladder and urinary tract, especially when a woman is lying down. This causes frequent urination or the urge to urinate. On the other hand, the flow of urine may be blocked if the ureters, or the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder, are pressed by large fibroids.
  • Pelvic pressure and pain – This typically happens when there is cramping in the pelvic area associated with unusually heavy menstrual flow. If nerves are constricted by pressing fibroids, pain can extend to the lower back, flank or legs with the pain ranging from manageable to severe.
  • Constipation – Fibroid pressure against the rectal area can block normal bowel movement.
  • Pain or bleeding during intercourse – As fibroids grow and extend to the cervical area, a woman may experience painful sex or bleeding during intercourse. In extreme cases, sexual intercourse might become almost impossible.

It is not clear what causes fibroids but what is clear is that there are medically proven symptoms of fibroids that tell they are real. For women who are feeling some symptoms, it is best to see a doctor for early diagnosis. For those who are feeling many or all of the symptoms of fibroids or an increasing intensity of the symptoms, there is urgency in seeing a doctor for immediate medical intervention and care.

Some symptoms that are often related to fibroids and should be evaluated by a doctor include:

  • Abnormally heavy bleeding
  • Extremely painful menstruation
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
  • Persistent pelvic and lower back pain
  • Frequent urination, constant urge to urinate or difficulty in urinating
  • Chronic constipation

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Fibroid Pain – How To Cope

Fibroid_Pain-How_to_Cope_LI-00-0161-AFibroids are the most common type of pelvic growth, affecting up to 30 percent of women at some time in their lives. As fibroids grow differently in every woman, treatments differ in every person. The amount of fibroid pain does not always depend on the size of the fibroid but is more often determined by the location of the growth.
Although fibroids are made from muscle tissue as found in the uterus, they are not only found within the uterine cavity. Fibroids can also grow outside the uterus, in the uterine walls and become attached to the uterus on a stem. When fibroids grow outside of the uterus, they may affect other organs.

  • If the fibroid is pushing down the rectum, it can make bowel movements difficult causing constipation and pain when defecating.
  • A fibroid growing toward the bladder may cause frequent urination along with pain or difficulty urinating.
  • In the rare cases when a fibroid grows very large, it can affect the ureter (the tube connecting the kidney and bladder). This leads to painful urination, urinary urgency and fibroid pain on one side of the body. This can lead to kidney damage in the future. In these cases, surgery is often required.

Fibroid Pain Can Vary

Fibroid pain can range from mild to chronic requiring surgery to relieve the patient from symptoms. Along with pelvic pain, lower back pain and dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain), fibroids can cause an abnormally heavy menstrual flow and even infertility in severe cases. Usually, fibroids shrink and pain begins to decrease at the onset of menopause.

Ways To Manage Fibroid Pain

In most cases, fibroid pain is mild and easily treated through over the counter drugs such as Aspirin, Tylenol or Advil. In addition, heat pads placed on painful areas can help to ease discomfort. If the above medications are ineffective, it is necessary for the woman to consult her medical practitioner who can prescribe NSAIDs to control mild to moderate fibroid pain.

Many women also find alternative therapies effective in providing natural pain relief. Holistic therapies that have found to reduce fibroid pain include hypnosis, acupuncture and herbal medicines. Symptoms may also be controlled through stress reduction techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation, practiced daily to relieve tension.

Fibroid pain can also present a problem during sexual intercourse when pressure is applied to the abdomen or when the fibroid is pressed during penetration. This can be resolved by finding the most comfortable position.

In some cases, gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists may be able to cause fibroids to diminish in size although the effects are not always permanent. Another option is hormone treatments, such as progesterone injections or birth control pills, which can prevent fibroids from increasing further in size.

When all other methods fail and fibroid pain is so severe that it begins to affect daily living, surgery is often the necessary option. Patients may be required to undergo a myomectomy, hysterectomy, uterine fibroid embolization orendometrial ablation. While surgery is very effective in most cases, some procedures such as hysterectomy and endometrial ablation can leave women infertile.

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