Can Fibroids Cause Back Pain?

Uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors growing on and within the uterus, can cause painful symptoms. About 3% of women who have been diagnosed with fibroids experience back pain or lower back pain.

Research shows that between 50 and 80% of women will experience the growth of fibroids in their uterus during their childbearing years. Many women will have no symptoms associated with these fibroids however, others will experience symptoms that will range from mild to severe, and about 35% of women with fibroids will seek treatment for their symptoms.

Fibroids can be the culprits in causing heavy bleeding, excessively long periods, pelvic pain and pressure, pain during sex, and the lesser known symptoms of back pain, leg pain, hip pain, diarrhea, nausea, etc.

Why Do Fibroids Cause Back Pain?

Fibroids are formed out of the same type of tissue that the uterine wall is created from. For unknown reasons, uterine wall cells go rogue and begin to form rock-hard spherical masses that are attached to the uterus either directly or by a stem-like structure called a peduncle. They can grow on the uterine wall or within the lining of the wall and can protrude inside the uterus or to the outside.

Fibroids can range in size from that of a small green pea to as big as a large pumpkin and a woman can have one fibroid, a few fibroids, or numerous fibroids growing within her abdomen. The symptoms associated with fibroids are directly related to where they are located, their size, and how many fibroids are present.

Fibroid size chart
How big do fibroids grow?
Fibroid size chart

Large fibroids or a group of fibroids that are growing on the back portion of the uterus and protruding outward can exert enough pressure on the lower spine to pinch nerves and mimic sciatica causing lower back pain as well as pain in the legs and hips.

What Fibroids Cause Lower Back Pain?

Subserosal fibroids begin growing on the outer portion of the uterus and protrude outward. They can grow quite large and could significantly compress nearby organs or even rest on them and cause pelvic pain which can then radiate down to the lower back, and continue to the hips and legs.

Intramural fibroids, like subserosal fibroids, can get quite large while growing inside the walls of the uterus and protruding inward. They may grow in number or size enough to enlarge the uterus and cause it to exert pressure on neighboring organs causing pain, pressure, and discomfort.

Types of uterine fibroids: submucosal, subserosal, intramural, and cervical
Types of uterine fibroids: submucosal, subserosal, intramural, and cervical

Large or numerous fibroids growing on the posterior of the uterus can cause the same type of pain that is associated with sciatica radiating down the leg to the foot. Because the symptoms of fibroids pressing on the lower spine are identical to the ones experienced with lumbar radiculopathy (when the sciatic nerve is compressed) the source can easily be misdiagnosed.

Women who have been diagnosed with fibroids and experiencing symptoms of back pain or pain radiating down their legs and hips should consult with their doctors to determine if the pain is connected to the fibroids.

How Can I Determine If My Back Pain Is Caused by Fibroids?

Normally fibroids only cause back problems in 3% of all cases but back pain itself can be caused by a plethora of conditions so it would be essential to pinpoint any other symptoms that may be related to uterine fibroids to determine if the fibroids and back pain were related. Keeping a journal of pain and related symptoms for a few menstrual cycles may be helpful to your doctor to pinpoint the source of the symptoms. An MRI test would be the most direct and accurate way to visually determine if the back pain could be related to fibroids.

Is There a Test To Confirm That Fibroids Are Causing Back Pain?

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test is the most reliable in determining the presence of fibroids. The quality of the image, as well as the 3D dynamic, can reveal the location of the fibroids as well as their size and location. The MRI will also show adjacent organs and can highlight any overlap or crowding which can be the cause of the symptoms.

Is There A Way to Relieve Fibroid-Related Back Pain?

Some women report that their fibroid-related back pain was not manageable and that nothing helped. Doctors will often try hormone therapy, e.g. oral contraceptives or IUD, or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to try to quickly alleviate the patients’ symptoms. Oral contraceptives sometimes can shrink fibroids a bit and help lessen symptoms. These are usually only short-term solutions and do not work for some women at all and they are advised to have surgery.

A hysterectomy to remove their uterus or a myomectomy to target and remove fibroids one at a time are invasive surgical procedures that come with risks, long recoveries, and removed or compromised wombs. While this may be medically necessary for about 10% of patients, for the remaining 90% of patients, surgery is not necessary.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that many women are not offered as an option when they receive a fibroid diagnosis. This 45-minute outpatient procedure can be done under local anesthesia so you can skip all the risks associated with general anesthesia as well as invasive surgery.

UFE is performed by an Interventional Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman from the Atlanta Fibroid Center®. An expert in UFE, Dr. Lipman has performed over 9,000 UFE procedures and has a history of clinical evidence highlighting a 90% success rate in eliminating fibroid symptoms.

Video: Fibroid Pain and Other Symptoms

Can UFE Treat Back Pain and Other Fibroids Symptoms?

Yes! UFE treats ALL the fibroids at the same time, no matter what kind of fibroid, size, or location. When you are dealing with symptoms related to any health condition the most effective way to treat them is to eliminate the condition that is causing the symptoms.

Symptoms associated with uterine fibroids include heavy and prolonged bleeding, breakthrough bleeding between periods, pelvic pain, pelvic pressure and bloating, pain during sex, back pain, leg pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, iron-deficiency anemia, and more.

90% of the women who have had UFE at the Atlanta Fibroid Center® have reported their fibroid symptoms are gone and their quality of life is back!

If you are experiencing fibroid symptoms that may include lower back pain please contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center® today for a consultation.