Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine fibroids are a common condition that affects many women worldwide. These non-cancerous growths in the uterus can cause a range of symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods, pelvic pain and pressure, frequent urination, constipation, backache, and even infertility. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for uterine fibroids is essential for women who may be experiencing these symptoms or are concerned about their reproductive health.

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

One of the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids is heavy menstrual bleeding. Women with fibroids often experience periods that are much heavier and longer than usual. This can lead to significant discomfort and inconvenience, as well as anemia due to blood loss. If you find yourself changing pads or tampons frequently or needing to use both at the same time, it may be a sign of uterine fibroids.

Prolonged Periods

In addition to heavy bleeding, uterine fibroids can also cause prolonged periods. Women with fibroids may experience periods that last longer than the typical five to seven days. This can be disruptive to daily life and may require additional management strategies, such as using menstrual cups or seeking medical intervention.

Pelvic Pain and Pressure

Many women with uterine fibroids experience pelvic pain and pressure. This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that interferes with daily activities. The location and size of the fibroids can influence the severity and location of the pain. Some women describe the sensation as a constant dull ache, while others may experience sharp, stabbing pains.

Frequent Urination

Uterine fibroids can also put pressure on the bladder, leading to frequent urination. Women with fibroids may find themselves needing to urinate more frequently than usual, even waking up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom. This symptom can be particularly bothersome and may disrupt sleep patterns.


In some cases, uterine fibroids can cause constipation. The pressure exerted by the fibroids on the rectum can make it difficult to pass stools, leading to infrequent bowel movements and discomfort. If you notice changes in your bowel habits, such as straining or feeling like you can’t fully empty your bowels, it may be worth discussing with your healthcare provider.


Backaches are another common symptom of uterine fibroids. The growths can put pressure on the nerves and muscles in the lower back, leading to pain and discomfort. This pain may be constant or intermittent and can range from mild to severe. It is important to differentiate between back pain caused by fibroids and other potential causes, such as muscle strain or injury.


While many women with uterine fibroids can conceive and have successful pregnancies, the presence of fibroids can sometimes lead to infertility. Depending on their size and location, fibroids can interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg or cause complications during pregnancy. If you have been trying to conceive without success, it may be worth discussing the possibility of uterine fibroids with your healthcare provider.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for uterine fibroids. The choice of treatment depends on factors such as the severity of symptoms, the desire for future fertility, and the size and location of the fibroids. Some common treatment options include:

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as hormonal birth control or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, can help manage symptoms and shrink fibroids.
  • Minimally invasive procedures: Procedures like uterine artery embolization or focused ultrasound surgery can be used to shrink or remove fibroids without the need for surgery.
  • Surgical options: In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. This can involve removing the fibroids (myomectomy) or removing the entire uterus (hysterectomy).

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your symptoms, medical history, and reproductive goals.

In conclusion, uterine fibroids are a common condition that can cause a range of symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods, pelvic pain and pressure, frequent urination, constipation, backache, and infertility. Recognizing these symptoms and seeking appropriate medical care is essential for managing the condition and improving quality of life. With the variety of treatment options available, women can find relief from their symptoms and regain control over their reproductive health.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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