Many patients with fibroids do not have symptoms. When they do, symptoms may include:
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. The most common symptom is prolonged and heavy bleeding during menstruation. This is caused by fibroid growth bordering the uterine cavity. Menstrual periods may also last longer than normal.
- Menstrual Pain. Heavy bleeding and clots can cause severe cramping and pain during menstrual periods.
- Abdominal Pressure and Pain. Large fibroids can cause pressure and pain in the abdomen or lower back that sometimes feels like menstrual cramps
- Abdominal and Uterine Enlargement. As the fibroids grow larger, some women feel them as hard lumps in the lower abdomen. Very large fibroids may give the abdomen the appearance of pregnancy and cause a feeling of heaviness and pressure. In fact, large fibroids are defined by comparing the size of the uterus to the size it would be at specific months during gestation.
- Pain During Intercourse. Fibroids can cause pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia).
- Urinary Problems. Large fibroids may press against the bladder and urinary tract and cause frequent urination or the urge to urinate, particularly when a woman is lying down at night. Fibroids pressing on the ureters (the tubes going from the kidneys to the bladder) may obstruct or block the flow of urine.
- Constipation. Fibroid pressure against the rectum can cause constipation.
Review Date: 07/26/2010
Reviewed By: Reviewed by Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.