Fibroid Symptoms: Enlarged Uterus

A woman’s uterus can change in size over time, such as with pregnancy. But pregnancy isn’t the only possible reason for an enlarged uterus. What does it mean when your uterus is enlarged?

An enlarged or swollen uterus can be a symptom of uterine fibroids (an enlarged myomatous uterus) or can result from a number of other medical conditions such as adenomyosis or cysts. This pathology is usually detected during a gynecological examination. However, if a woman is sensitive to her health, then she may notice signs of a pathological condition even before a medical examination.

Main Symptoms Of An Enlarged Uterus

  • Aching pains localized in the lower abdomen;
  • A significant drop in hemoglobin levels;
  • Recurring cases of urinary incontinence;
  • A feeling of discomfort during or after intercourse;
  • Breast swelling and pain on palpation;
  • Menstruation, characterized by pain and excessive discharge;
  • Increased flatulence, bloating;
  • Excessive increase in body weight in a short period of time, due to hormonal failure;
  • Periods with blood clots;
  • Bleeding not associated with menstruation;
  • Pain in the lumbar region;
  • Frequent migraine.

If you have some of the listed symptoms, then you may be dealing with an enlarged uterus and you should consult your doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause. Before choosing an option to treat an enlarged uterus, an accurate diagnosis must be made.

Main Causes of Enlarged Uterus

  1. The most natural reason for organ enlargement is pregnancy.
  2. Approaching menopause, which is accompanied by the appearance of pain in the lower abdomen.
  3. Ovarian cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs that form in or on the ovaries.
  4. Uterine fibroids, benign formations in women of reproductive age.
  5. Adenomyosis, in which endometrial tissue grows into other layers of the genital organ.

If you have an enlarged uterus, you should speak to your doctor about potential reasons. If fibroids are the reason, they should be treated immediately.

Why Uterine Fibroids Affect Uterus Size

While some fibroids are very small, others grow to weigh several pounds, and a woman may have more than one fibroid at the same time. When fibroid tumors begin to grow, the uterus can increase in size accordingly. Often an enlarged uterus causes a woman to look pregnant and on occasion celebrities suffering from fibroids have been photographed with a “suspected baby bump” when they were not even pregnant. Since normally the uterus increases in size only during pregnancy, an enlarged uterus due to fibroids is often referred to in the medical community in comparison to weeks of pregnancy.

The most common symptom of uterine fibroids is prolonged, heavy menstruation which can lead to anemia. Other common symptoms include pelvic pain, back pain, pressure on the bladder or rectum, and frequent urination; in some cases, fibroids can lead to fertility issues and other symptoms.

If uterine fibroids are symptomatic, treatment is required. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment method and a safer alternative to any fibroid surgery. This nonsurgical, outpatient procedure is performed by an experienced International Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman (not an OB/GYN) and is designed to cut off the blood supply to all fibroids in the uterus so that they shrink over time and eventually die.

When Adenomyosis Causes Enlarged Uterus

Adenomyosis is the abnormal presence of endometrial tissue (the inner lining of the uterus) within the thick, muscular layer of the uterus called myometrium. Adenomyosis is typically found in women between the ages of 35 and 50 but can also be present in younger women. However, common symptoms of adenomyosis can be very similar to the symptoms of uterine fibroids. To be exact, women with adenomyosis often suffer from heavy menstrual flows and pelvic pain, and they also have enlarged uterus. As a result, Dr. Lipman often sees patients with adenomyosis that are misdiagnosed.

Uterine enlargement due to diffuse adenomyosis (dark thickening with tiny white dots)
Uterine enlargement due to diffuse adenomyosis (dark thickening with tiny white dots)

Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is essentially the same procedure as UFE (uterine fibroid embolization), and it successfully treats adenomyosis as well.

Video Case Study: How Uterine Artery Embolization Works

If you have an enlarged uterus, uterine fibroids, or adenomyosis, call Atlanta Fibroids Center at (770) 953-2600 to learn more about UFE/UAE or make an appointment with Dr. John Lipman or Dr.R.Mitchell Ermentrout.