The female reproductive system is complex and amazing. One of the most amazing and key players in the system is a woman’s uterus. The size of the average uterus is about 4” x 2.5” and resembles an inverted pear. A number of medical conditions can increase the size of the uterus and cause it to feel heavier. Today we will explore some of the conditions that can make a woman’s uterus feel heavy.
What Can Make Your Uterus Feel Heavy?
One of the most common reasons for the uterus to expand and feel heavy is pregnancy. Normally, the uterus is very small, but it grows about 1,000 times its normal size by the time the baby is born. Once the baby is delivered, the uterus will naturally begin to shrink back to its original size.
Sometimes cells that normally grow as part of the uterine lining become displaced and begin to grow within the uterine wall. This condition is called adenomyosis, and the reason that it occurs is still unknown.
The normal function of the uterine lining is to build up each month and then shed in the absence of a fertilized egg. The displaced cells also begin to build up but since they are growing within the wall of the uterus, they just build up and cannot shed, causing the uterus to expand. One of the key signs of adenomyosis is that the wall of the uterus becomes abnormally thicker, and the uterus can double or triple in size.
The symptoms associated with adenomyosis are similar to those associated with uterine fibroids, and adenomyosis is often misdiagnosed as a result. Some of the symptoms include:
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation;
- Painful cramping;
- Pain during intercourse;
- Tenderness and swelling of the abdomen.
Many women say their uterus feels heavy before their period and this may be due to the increase in blood in the uterus but this uncomfortable feeling of heaviness in the uterus is caused by a combination of the retention of extra water, excess gas, and bloating.
Another reason your uterus feels heavy and crampy during menstruation is partially due to the normal thickening of the lining of the uterus. This lining can build up and increase the volume of the uterus by almost 15%.
Bloating before a monthly period is one of several symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and can occur as early as a week or two before menstruation begins. Hormonal changes can cause the retention of more water than usual. Women complain their uterus feels heavy and swollen just before they start their period.
Periods that occur with heavy bleeding and pelvic pain are not normal and should be investigated by a doctor. Uterine fibroids may be to blame for these symptoms or if the uterus feels heavy.
Uterine, Endometrial, and Cervical cancers can all create tumors and can cause swelling of the uterus or make your uterus feel heavy. These types of cancers are tricky to diagnose because they share so many common symptoms with other women’s reproductive conditions. Some of these symptoms include:
- Abnormal bleeding that is not associated with your period;
- Pain during sex;
- Pelvic pain;
- Pain while urinating or the feeling of a full bladder that will not empty.
Some women will not experience any fibroid-related symptoms while others may have debilitating symptoms that inhibit their ability to function. Some of the most common fibroid symptoms include:
- Prolonged and heavy menstrual bleeding;
- Painful periods;
- Pain or discomfort during sex;
- Lower back or leg pain;
- Heavy uterus or bloated uterus.
Fibroids can be small and not cause any noticeable symptoms or they can grow very large and weigh several pounds. They can even make a woman appear several months pregnant.
If your uterus feels heavy and you are experiencing symptoms such as constipation, frequent urination, a distended abdomen, etc these are known as “bulk symptoms” because they are related to the extra volume that has been caused in your uterus by uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids that cause symptoms that interfere with a woman’s normal routine require medical treatment. A woman may be offered surgical treatment options by her OB-GYN such as a myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids) or hysterectomy (total removal of the uterus). Neither of these surgical options is ideal as women who undergo myomectomies often have to repeat the procedure within 5 years due to fibroid recurrence and the removal of the uterus is associated with several serious long-term side effects.
What Is The Best Treatment For A Uterus That Feels Heavy Due To Fibroids or Adenomyosis?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a procedure that does not require any surgery and is done by an Interventional Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman or Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout at The Atlanta Fibroid Center. UFE only takes about 45 minutes to perform and patients can go home the same day to recover with only a bandaid.
Fibroids require a blood supply to survive and grow and during the UFE procedure, this blood supply is blocked. Without this vital blood supply, fibroids shrink and die which provides relief from their unpleasant symptoms. Most cases of adenomyosis can also be treated with UFE by cutting off the blood supply which is promoting the growth of these abnormal cells.
UFE is effective, safe, quick, and permanent, and offers a very short recovery time without any of the risks or complications associated with surgery. It allows women to keep their uterus intact and uncompromised.
If you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and are experiencing unpleasant symptoms, contact The Atlanta Fibroid Center today.
We would love to speak with you about UFE and how it can help you become fibroid-free without having to undergo surgery. Dr. John Lipman and Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout have over 35 years of combined experience performing UFE and have helped thousands of women find relief from fibroids and adenomyosis to regain their quality of life. We would love to help you. Set up an appointment today to learn more!