Understanding Uterine Fibroids

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are very common non-cancerous (benign) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. They can range in size from very tiny (a quarter of an inch) to larger than a cantaloupe. Occasionally, they can cause the uterus to grow to the size of a five-month pregnancy or more. In most cases, there is more than one fibroid in the uterus. While fibroids do not always cause symptoms, their size and location can lead to problems for some women, including pain and heavy bleeding.

What Type of Symptoms Do Uterine Fibroids Cause?

Most fibroids do not cause symptoms—however, depending on the size, location and number of fibroids, they may cause the following symptoms:

  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods and unusual monthly bleeding, sometimes with clots. This can lead to anemia.

  • Pelvic pain and pressure

  • Pain in the back and legs

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Bladder pressure leading to a frequent urge to urinate

  • Pressure on the bowel, leading to constipation and bloating

  • Abnormally enlarged abdomen

  • DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) – blood clots in the legs

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