Fibroids are benign smooth muscle tumors of the uterus which usually develop in or around a woman’s uterus. The exact reason behind their appearance is unknown but there are several factors which may play an important role in their development. Some women have no symptoms while others may experience painful or heavy periods on account of their fibroid growth and even severe abdominal pain.
Women from African descent tend to develop fibroids much younger, even in their twenties. Usually, most fibroids shrink after menopause.
If a woman hasn’t been pregnant or borne a child her risk for developing fibroids significantly increases.
- Family history
Fibroids are partly genetic and if a mother or a close relative has had fibroids the daughter has a three times higher risk for developing them as well.
Fibroids are more common in African-American women than in Caucasian.
Obesity may be the most important factor when it comes to fibroids, since it’s known that obese women have a higher risk than women with normal weight.
Even though fibroids are usually harmless and can happen without any symptoms and cause no problems, there are certain cases where they can grow and cause pain and discomfort. Here are 10 warning signs which may indicate that you have fibroids and you should consult your doctor.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
The most common and problematic sign of fibroids is heavy vaginal bleeding. It can happen during your period or even before your period starts. It can be a serious problem because women who have this symptom usually suffer from iron depletion due to the massive blood loss and can even develop anemia and all the accompanying symptoms (weakness, fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath and headaches).
Fibroids can lead to infertility which was proven by numerous research and clinical evidence. If they grow larger they can obstruct the passage of fertilized eggs from the fallopian tubes to the uterus and disrupt the normal anatomy of the uterus.
If you and your husband are having unprotected sex in an effort to stay pregnant but to no results you should visit a doctor and check for fibroids.
- Frequent and painful urination
If you experience frequent and painful urination it’s usually due to an UTI. But if these symptoms continue even after you’ve finished your antibiotics treatment you might need to check for fibroids. Depending on their location, they can pressure the bladder and lead to more frequent and painful urination.
If you notice UTI symptoms which tend to persistent even after therapy you should check with your gynecologist.
- Lower abdominal swelling/mass
Fibroids can often cause an abdominal swelling in the lower abdomen which women tend to ignore and associate it with weight gain. This is one of the most ignored symptoms of fibroid growth and these growths may last for over a year. However, only larger fibroids can cause abdominal swelling and if you notice this symptom consult with your doctor immediately.
- Recurrent miscarriages
Fibroids can cause difficulties for women who are trying to get pregnant and even lead to miscarriages. If they are larger they can take up the space meant for the developing fetus and cause a spontaneous pregnancy loss.
Depending on their size and location, fibroids may pressure the rectum and lead to constipation. It’s been discovered that many women complaining of constipation have after extensive evaluation been diagnosed with fibroids.
- Abdominal/Lower back pains
We often hear people complaining about abdominal and low back pain, and they may be one of the most common problems of modern age. However, back pain can also be a sign that you have fibroids, especially if your pain is dull, aching and you feel severe discomfort in that area. Back and abdominal pain are usually associated with large fibroid growths because the size can interfere with the blood supply to these body parts and cause pain and discomfort.
- Swelling of the legs
In some rare cases fibroids can lead to swelling of the legs.
- Varicose veins
Varicose veins can be another indication that you have fibroids. This is the distention of the superficial veins of the legs produced by the compression of pelvic veins by uterine fibroids.
- Painful sexual intercourse
Fibroids can cause pain during sexual intercourse if they are located near the vaginal opening. Even though it’s not that common, large fibroids located in the lower abdomen can cause pain and discomfort while having sex. If you notice this symptom you should undergo and ultrasounds scan to check for uterine fibroids.
If you suspect you have fibroids you must consult with your doctor because it’s the only way to determine for sure whether you have or not and get the proper treatment. If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms schedule an appointment as soon as you can.