Uterine fibroids affect anywhere from 20% to 80% of women under the age of 50.
These thick, muscular, noncancerous growths develop within the walls of the uterus and are most likely to occur during your 40s or 50s.
How do you know if you have fibroids? Although evaluation by a health care provider is the only way to know for sure, certain signs — including the six we explore here — can indicate that fibroids may be developing in your uterus.
At Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, Susan Crockett, MD, and our team of women’s health specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating fibroids. We are also committed to educating all of our patients about the warning signs of various common conditions, including fibroids.
To help protect your uterine health, be on the lookout for these six signs of uterine fibroids.
Not all fibroids cause symptoms, but when symptoms do develop, one of the most common is menstrual pain. This can translate into painful periods, as well as pain during sexual intercourse.
Fibroid pain also can radiate beyond the uterus, extending to the low back or throughout the pelvic area.
Fibroids can cause greater-than-normal menstrual bleeding. They can also contribute to longer periods or periods that occur more frequently than average. Some women with fibroids bleed so much that they develop anemia.
Some fibroids are tiny, but fibroids can also grow surprisingly large. In fact, they can become as big as a grapefruit. You can also develop more than one fibroid.
Having one or more big fibroids in your uterus can lead to a significant enlargement of your belly. Some women with large fibroids actually look like they are in the early stages of pregnancy.
When fibroids grow large, they may press on your bladder. This pressure may trigger urinary symptoms such as frequent urination.
Just as fibroids can press on your bladder, they may also put pressure on your rectum. This can cause discomfort or may interfere with bowel function by making it more difficult to pass stool.
Many women with fibroids have healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies, but fibroids may sometimes interfere with normal pregnancy. For example, fibroids can make it harder for some women to get pregnant.
Fibroids can also raise the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm delivery, miscarriage, needing to deliver your baby by cesarean section, having a breech baby, and experiencing a potentially serious condition known as placental abruption.
Fortunately, Dr. Crockett and her team have various treatment options for fibroids, including medication and minimally invasive surgical techniques.
If you suspect uterine fibroids or any other women’s health condition, speak up. We invite you to schedule an evaluation at your earliest convenience. To make an appointment, contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office.