Fibroid Pain: A Sign of Uterine Fibroids
Although some people with uterine fibroids experience no symptoms at all, others are subject to pain that is intense enough to limit their everyday activities. Large fibroids are more likely to cause pain, with the pain often presenting as heaviness or pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis. Many women describe the pain as a vague discomfort that can make it difficult to lie face down or bend over. The level of pain you experience may also depend on the location, size, and number of fibroids you have.
In some cases, fibroids can cause severe, acute pain that occurs when a fibroid begins to degenerate. Pain caused by fibroid degeneration is usually localized and may resolve on its own within four weeks. However, it is important to inform your doctor if you are experiencing pain that you think is related to uterine fibroids.
Symptoms of Fibroid Pain
Pain from uterine fibroids can range from non-existent to severe. When pain is present, it may only occur during sex or menstruation, or it may be present more persistently. Addressing pain is crucial for ensuring that those with uterine fibroids do not feel limited by their pain. Symptoms of fibroid pain can include:
- Chronic pelvic pressure and pain that is often dull
- Lower back pain
- Abdominal swelling and bloating
- Painful periods
- Pain during sex
Causes of Fibroid Pain
Pain in the pelvic area can be caused by a variety of gynecological conditions and issues. Fibroid pain, though, is unique to uterine fibroids. The pain most often occurs because of the weight of the fibroid itself as it rests on or presses against the organs in the pelvis. It is important to see your doctor if you are experiencing pain so that they can determine whether the discomfort is caused by uterine fibroids or something else entirely. Causes of pain in the pelvic area may include:
- Uterine fibroids
- Pelvic infection
- Twisted or ruptured ovarian cysts
- Urinary tract infection
- Ruptured fallopian tube
- Musculoskeletal problem
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Find out if you are at risk for Uterine Fibroids.
How Do Fibroids Cause Pain?
Fibroid pain stems not from the fibroids themselves hurting, but from their presence in the pelvis and the organs they press against. The same process applies to back pain associated with fibroids. Pelvic pain can also come about due to spillage of blood into the peritoneal cavity from the uterine cavity through the fallopian tubes during heavy periods (retrograde menstruation). Blood is very irritating to the inside lining of the organs, the perioneal cavity. In terms of bulk symptoms, fibroids can press against the muscles and nerves of the lower back, leading to pain. There are many causes of back pain, and your doctor can help determine if the pain is being caused by something other than uterine fibroids. Those with larger fibroids closer to the back of the uterus are more likely to experience back pain.
Fibroid Pain Relief
Treatment for fibroid pain depends on the severity of your symptoms. Once we know that your pelvic or back pain is being caused by uterine fibroids, our specialists at American Fibroid Centers will determine the best next steps for you. Lifestyle changes may be all you need to address fibroid pain, while in other cases, we may suggest a minimally invasive procedure like Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) to shrink or eliminate your fibroids.
Lifestyle Changes & Medication
Fibroid pain can often be managed at home with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. Home remedies are often the best option for those with pain that does not necessarily affect their everyday lives. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) are often recommended. Other techniques for tackling fibroid pain at home include eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, and exercising regularly.
UFE Procedure: Minimally Invasive Fibroid Treatment
In cases where the pain is more severe or your fibroids are causing other uncomfortable symptoms, Uterine Fibroid Embolization may be the best treatment option. UFE is a minimally invasive-image guided procedure during which blood flow to fibroids is blocked, causing the fibroids to shrink and die, eliminating symptoms. UFE is preferable to major surgery for fibroids as it does not require a hospital stay and is associated with a faster recovery time and fewer complications.
What to Expect from UFE
Our Fibroid Specialists
Our board-certified physicians in New York and New Jersey are proud to be among the nation’s most experienced at treating uterine fibroids. When you request a consultation at American Fibroid Centers, our doctors will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that utilizes the most advanced technology and techniques.
What Our Patients Are Saying
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From the Experts
Get to know more about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and care of Uterine Fibroids.