Fibroids Explained

In an effort to figure out what it is that is causing your symptoms, you've spent a lot of time surfing the 'net and the same words keeps popping up: uterine fibroids. "So," you're thinking, "maybe I have fibroids?"

But the thought is soon followed by fear. After all, you keep reading that fibroids are uterine "growths." No one likes to hear that word. It sounds just like cancer.

Okay, just relax. Growths don't have to be cancerous, and uterine fibroids happen to be the kind of growths that are benign. In this context, benign signifies "not cancerous."

Genetic Predisposition

Researchers haven't figured out the cause of these growths, but there does seem to be some kind of genetic predisposition for the condition. Most women who have fibroids have a female relative who had them, too. Fibroids are more common in black women and a full half of them get fibroids after 35.

Some women have no symptoms with their uterine fibroids. In women who do experience symptoms, there may be any or all of the following:

*Leg pain


*Pelvic pain

*Frequent urination

*Difficulty in emptying the bladder

*Pelvic pressure

*Heavy menstrual bleeding


*Prolonged menstrual bleeding (longer than a week)

In the event that a fibroid grows so large its circulatory needs surpass its blood supply, there may be a sudden sharp pain. Cut off from nutrients, the fibroid will begin to die. During this process, the fibroid will deteriorate, leaving behind small pieces that may migrate into nearby areas. This can cause intense pain and may even bring on a fever.

Some fibroids are attached to a stalk located either inside of or outside of the uterus. A fibroid with a stalk is known as a pedunculated fibroid. Whenever the fibroid turns or twists, its supply of blood is cut and this sets off pain.

Urinary Symptoms

The types of symptoms generated by your fibroids are in part determined by their location. Fibroids that grow inside of the uterus are called "submucosal fibroids." This type of fibroid induces heavy, lengthy menstruation that may serve to prevent conception. Fibroids that abut organs outside of the uterus are called "subserosal fibroids." If such a fibroid presses on your bladder, you may experience urinary symptoms. If it presses on your rectum, you may be constipated. If there is backache, it's possible you have a fibroid pressing on the nerves of your spine.

Sometimes it is hard to know whether you should consult a doctor for your symptoms. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it's a good idea to make an appointment to see your physician:

*Difficult bowel movements

*Difficulty emptying the bladder

*Painful sex

*Spotting or bleeding between periods

*Heavy or painful periods

*Persistent chronic pelvic pain

Very sudden, sharp pain or excessive vaginal bleeding necessitates a visit to the emergency room.