Uterine Fibroids: Signs and Symptoms

Uterine fibroids are common, with more than 200,000 new cases in the US each year. These noncancerous growths occur in the muscle cells of the uterus, don’t spread to other areas of the body, typically aren’t dangerous, and often appear during childbearing years.

While in many cases uterine fibroids don’t require treatment, it is still important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The symptoms experienced can be affected by the location, size, and number of fibroids.

Signs and Symptoms

Pelvic Pressure

Uterine fibroids can cause heaviness or pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvic area. This pressure can occasionally be uncomfortable enough that it interferes with daily activities like laying face down, bending over, or exercising.

Pelvic Pain

Sharp pelvic pain is less common than a feeling of pressure. This pain is also experienced in the lower abdomen or pelvic area.

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common symptom of fibroids. Those experiencing heavy bleeding often need to change their sanitary protection hourly. Their bleeding is often so heavy that it interferes with daily activities and prevents them from leaving the house on heavy flow days.

Prolonged Menstrual Bleeding

Those experiencing prolonged menstrual bleeding often have their period for longer than a week each month.

Frequent Urination

Uterine fibroids can cause frequent urination. Many patients with fibroids report needing to wake up several times a night to empty their bladder.

Difficulty Completely Emptying Bladder

Difficulty completely emptying the bladder is another common symptom. This occurs when you are unable to completely empty your bladder while using the bathroom.

Severe Cramps

Severe cramps are cramps painful enough to disrupt daily life.

Pain During Intercourse

Another symptom of fibroids is pain or discomfort during intercourse. This pain can occur in specific positions or during certain times in the menstrual cycle.

Abdominal Enlargement

Rarely, large fibroids can cause abdominal enlargement. 

To learn more about risk factors and treatment options for uterine fibroids, read our blog Uterine Fibroids: What You Need to Know.