Uterine fibroids are a benign growth that appears on your uterus, uterine wall, or on the surface. These growths can be so small your doctor won’t notice them during an exam or significant enough to change the shape of your uterus, giving you severe discomfort.
Statistics show that a whopping 25 percent of women suffer from uterine fibroids. As many as one-third of those women will experience pain or abnormal bleeding due to their fibroids.
While uterine fibroids don’t cause pain in every woman, they have been known to create complications for some. Depending on the location of your fibroids, you may experience symptoms that can affect your daily life.
You should consult your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing, especially if you have been trying to conceive.
Symptoms Caused by Fibroids
Uterine fibroids affect each woman differently. Women who suffer from uterine fibroids can have varying degrees of pain, especially during menstruation.
Women who are at high-risk for uterine fibroids are between the ages of 25-45. African-American women also are more likely to suffer from them. Research is still unclear why this may be. Women who are considerably overweight are 2-3 times more likely to get uterine fibroids.
If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, you may have uterine fibroids.
- Changes in Menstruation. A typical menstrual cycle will last seven days. It should be heavier in the first several days and become lighter. Women who have fibroids can experience longer, more frequent or heavier periods. Bleeding or spotting at times other than your period are more likely to occur as well.
- Difficulty or Frequent Urinating. You may feel the need to use the restroom more often if you have uterine fibroids. Urinary leakage can be another side effect of having fibroids.
- Abdominal or Lower Back Pain. Generally, this pain will be a dull, heavy ache. However, you may experience a sharp pain as well.
- Pain or Pressure during Sex. Sex can be uncomfortable when you have fibroids, depending on the size and location of them.
- Infertility. Although there are many reasons you may be unable to conceive, your doctor will want to check to see if you have uterine fibroids.
If you believe that you have uterine fibroids, you might want to consider speaking with your doctor about diagnosing them. Once diagnosed there are many treatment options available.
Relieving Uterine Fibroid Symptoms
There are several non-surgical options your doctor will suggest to help relieve the symptoms you may be feeling. If you are near menopause, your OB-GYN may recommend waiting out the fibroid symptoms if you can. Fibroids are linked to high estrogen levels, so they are likely to disappear with menopause.
Use some of the following techniques to alleviate they symptoms of your uterine fibroids.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine. If you suffer from painful, long lasting periods, drugs such as ibuprofen may help alleviate some of your pain.
- Birth Control. These pills can be prescribed to help control heavy bleeding during your period.
- Relax. Some research has determined a link between high-stress levels and your fibroids. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, medication, and exercise to manage stress.
- Manage Your Blood Pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to fibroids. Talk to your doctor about lowering your blood pressure through diet, exercise or medication.
- Steer Clear of Smoking. Cigarette smoking can reduce the amount of oxygen that can reach your pelvic area and can worsen your menstrual pain.
Be sure to contact your OB-GYN before taking any supplements or medicines that could affect your estrogen levels.
If you are still having discomfort from your uterine fibroids, you may want to consider making an appointment with your doctor. Ask them about the various non-surgical treatment options for uterine fibroids.
Don’t hesitate to call with any further questions or concerns you may have regarding your uterine fibroids.