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Fibroid Symptoms and Complications

While the vast majority of women with fibroids have no symptoms, fibroids can be responsible for a variety of symptoms with a broad range of severity.  While the symptoms can cause a great deal of discomfort, they are rarely life threatening.  The three general symptom categories are heavy menstrual bleeding, unusually frequent urination, and pressure or pain.  Generally, fibroid pain is worst before menses, lessening during your period and afterwards.  The specific symptoms generally depend upon the size, location, and number of the fibroid(s): 

  • Back pain
  • Painful menses
  • Heavy or "flooding" periods, sometimes with clumps of blood clots
  • Fatigue, usually from anemia or blood loss
  • Constipation or rectal pressure
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Lower abdominal pressure, bloating, or a sense of fullness
  • Bladder pressure causing urinary frequency or even leakage 
  • While fibroids don't typically cause irregular periods, they may cause some spotting between periods.
  • Leg pain (especially down the back of the leg) from pressure on certain nerves
  • Infertility or repeated miscarriages
  • Prolapse (when the uterus protrudes into the vagina)
  • Incontinence (leaky bladder)
  • Anemia (low blood count excessive blood loss)

The extent and degree of a woman's symptoms from fibroids will be a major influence on the type of treatment her physician recommends.

Created: 8/19/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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