SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
In women who have symptoms, the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Prolonged menstrual periods — seven days or more of menstrual bleeding
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Backache or leg pains
Rarely, a fibroid can cause acute pain when it outgrows its blood supply. Deprived of nutrients, the fibroid begins to die. Byproducts from a degenerating fibroid can seep into surrounding tissue, causing pain and, rarely, fever. A fibroid that hangs by a stalk inside or outside the uterus (pedunculated fibroid) can trigger pain by twisting on its stalk and cutting off its blood supply.
Fibroid location, size and number influence signs and symptoms:
- Submucosal fibroids. Fibroids that grow into the inner cavity of the uterus (submucosal fibroids) are more likely to cause prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding and are sometimes a problem for women attempting pregnancy.
- Subserosal fibroids. Fibroids that project to the outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids) can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing a pressure sensation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache.
- Intramural fibroids. Some fibroids grow within the muscular uterine wall (intramural fibroids). If large enough, they can distort the shape of the uterus and cause prolonged, heavy periods, as well as pain and pressure.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have:
- Pelvic pain that doesn't go away
- Overly heavy or painful periods
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Pain consistently with intercourse
- Enlarged uterus and abdomen
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
Seek prompt medical care if you have severe vaginal bleeding or sharp pelvic pain that comes on suddenly.
- Stewart EA. Overview of treatment of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Stewart EA. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and natural history of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Stewart EA. Histology and pathogenesis of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Laughlin SK, et al. Uterine leiomyomas: Individualizing the approach to a heterogeneous condition. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2011;117:396.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ074. Uterine fibroids. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq074.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130423T1546469165. Accessed April 23, 2013.
- Kim D, et al. Uterine leiomyoma (fibroid) embolization. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 6, 2013.
- Stewart EA. New science will move fibroid therapies into the 21st century. Fertility and Sterility. 2012;98:604.
- Islam S, et al. Uterine leiomyoma: Available medical treatments and new possible therapeutic options. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2013;98:921.
- Van der Kooij, et al. Review of nonsurgical/minimally invasive treatments for uterine fibroids. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012;24:368.
- Uterine fibroid symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/uterine-fibroids/. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Hesley GK, et al. MR-guided focused ultrasound for the treatment of uterine fibroids. CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology. 2013;36:5.
- Frequently asked questions. Special procedures FAQ084. Hysteroscopy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq084.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130507T1056219214. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Liu JP, et al. Herbal preparations for uterine fibroids. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005292.pub3/abstract. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Pundir J, et al. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic vs. abdominal and laparoscopic myomectomy: Systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. In press. Accessed April 17, 2013.
- Stewart EA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 31, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 15, 2013.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 14, 2013.