Many women with fibroids suffer from abnormalities in the menstrual cycle. Generally speaking, fibroid tumors increase the menstrual flow and stimulate blood clots formation. However, there are other concerns women might have regarding fibroids and periods, and we are going to cover them in today’s FAQs post.
Q: Can Fibroids Cause Irregular Periods?
A: A menstrual cycle is considered irregular if that cycle is inconsistent, bleeding is very light, very heavy, or intermittent. Bleeding for longer than 8 days with more than a few days of heavy flow or blood clots is abnormal. Fibroids can cause changes to the menstrual cycle with cramping, pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, longer menstruation periods, breakthrough bleeding, and sometimes, blood clots.
Uterine fibroids can cause more bleeding than what is considered normal because they can exert pressure on the lining of the uterus rendering the uterus incapable of contracting properly, which makes it unable to stop the bleeding. Local factors typically will take over and the flow will stop.
Q: Can Fibroids Stop Your Menstrual Cycle?
A: No, fibroids per se do not stop your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle can be disrupted, skipped, or even stopped due to hormonal imbalances which can be influenced by numerous factors. Exposure to extra estrogen can do this and this estrogen can be through medications, e.g. continuous birth control, pregnancy, estrogenic foods, or weight gain with resulting excess body fat. Fibroids can grow rapidly with this added estrogen.
Q: Is It Possible To Pass A Fibroid During Your Period?
A: If a woman has been treated for fibroids with the Uterine Fibroid Embolization procedure (UFE), it is possible to pass some fibroid tissue. This occurs only in ~5% of patients that undergo embolization. This passage usually occurs around the time of the menstrual and usually within the first three months post-UFE. On rare occasions, the infarcted fibroid is not able to pass vaginally and may require hysteroscopic removal like a D & C for a miscarriage or a terminated pregnancy.
Read next: UFE Recovery Day by Day.
Q: Can Fibroids Cause Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?
A: Yes; in fact, it is the #1 reason why women have heavy periods. Submucosal fibroids and intramural fibroids that extend to the submucosa can cause very heavy and lengthy periods. These periods often cause blood to flood or gush out along with blood clots that are often larger than a quarter. These periods are often described as “like a crime scene” and losing this amount of blood can cause profound anemia and be frightening to patients.
Q: Can Uterine Fibroids Cause Discharge?
A: Uterine fibroids don’t secrete any discharge themselves, but they can increase the amount of vaginal discharge that you have. This discharge is usually clear, but it can be pink if it is mixed with some blood. Pink discharge between periods can indicate the presence of uterine fibroids.
If you have a significant change in your vaginal discharge, especially if a strong foul smell is present, you should discuss this with your doctor as it can be a sign of an infection.
Q: Can Fibroids Cause Blood Clots?
A: Women dealing with heavy, difficult, or painful periods often do not consider fibroids as a possible reason for their irregular menstrual cycle.
Submucosal fibroids are often responsible for heavy bleeding and lengthy periods sometimes accompanied by blood clots. When a blood clot travels through the cervix into the vagina, it often causes pain. Normally, it takes some time for the clot to pass and women often do not realize that their pain is caused by the blood clot.
Abnormal and heavy bleeding can increase clot formation and also, prolong the menstruation cycle leading to anemia which can cause significant fatigue, lightheadedness/dizziness, brain fog, chewing/craving ice, migraine-like headaches; even changes to hair, skin, and nails.
Video: Chronic Blood Loss due to Fibroids
If you are experiencing heavy and excessive flow, no matter how long this has occurred, it is not normal. This should prompt an evaluation to determine what the underlying cause of the heavy bleeding might be. To get reliable information about uterine fibroids and their symptoms as well as to evaluate your particular case, contact Atlanta Fibroid Center and make an appointment with Dr. John C Lipman.