Can Fibroids Cause Pain?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that can develop during a woman’s childbearing years. Statistics published by the National Institute of Health show that between 20-40% of all women develop fibroids by the time they are 40. Meanwhile, 70% of Caucasian women and 80% of African American women experience fibroids by the time they are 50.
For some women, fibroids do not produce any symptoms but many other women suffer painful and sometimes life-interrupting symptoms.
What Kind of Pain Do Fibroids Cause?
- Dull aches or cramps in the abdomen;
- Constant pelvic pressure and pain;
- Pain in the lower back similar to sciatica;
- Pain that runs down the legs or hips;
- Pain in abdominal organs, urinary tract, bowels, kidneys;
- Discomfort from swollen or bloated abdomen;
- Pain while having sexual intercourse;
- Pain associated with anemia as a result of heavy bleeding caused by fibroids, and
- Other symptoms.
Pain caused by fibroids does not come from the fibroids ‘hurting”, it occurs due to the size, number, and location of fibroids growing within the uterus and often affecting nearby organs and tissues.
Why Do Fibroids Cause Pain?
- Sometimes fibroid tissue breaks down, in other words, myoma begins to die. As the fibroid degenerates, it can cause pelvic pain.
- Some fibroids called pedunculated are attached to the uterine cavity by a stalk. If stalks twist and fibroids’ blood supply is damaged, it can cause pain.
- If fibroids are outside the uterus, i.e. subserosal fibroids, they can press on the bladder, rectum, or spinal nerves. It can induce pain in the pelvis, back, and legs.
- Fibroids inside your uterine walls, such called intramural fibroids, can change the shape of your uterus causing pressure and pain.
Video: Fibroids Pain and Other Symptoms – Dr. Lipman of Atlanta Fibroid Center®
If You Are Suffering from Fibroid Pain
If you are suffering from fibroid pain, your doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. If you do not find relief, hormone therapy (like birth control pills, IUD, etc.) may help.
Often women suffering from uterine fibroids have pain during sex. Fibroids are not a contraindication for sexual activity. The statement that blood rushes to the uterus during intercourse and this accelerates the growth of nodes is a myth. If a woman experiences pain during sex, changing the angle of penetration can help.
What Can I Do to Reduce or Prevent Pain from Fibroids?
The most important advice on how to prevent and control fibroid pain is establishing a healthy lifestyle:
Proper nutrition and a low-estrogen diet. Fibroids are hormone-dependent tumors, and a decrease in the level of estrogen can help reduce the intensity of the development of the disease and unpleasant symptoms. To do this, you need a special fibroid diet, which will give a positive effect in the first weeks.
Regular exercise without weighting. Yoga and fast walking will help keep the pelvic muscles in a moderate tone, which positively affects fibroids.
Losing weight. With large weight, a lot of estrogens are produced which contributes to the growth of fibroids and severe fibroid pain. Try to avoid overeating and being overweight if you have fibroids. This will help control the development of the disease.
Use relaxation techniques. To relieve fibroid pain, you need to lie down and relax. Put a pillow under your knees if you are lying on your back – this will reduce the load on your back and relax your pelvic muscles. Other techniques include deep breathing and a warm bath.
Related: Read more on How to Get Rid of Fibroid Pain.
Can I Get Rid of Fibroid Pain Permanently?
None of the methods mentioned above eliminates fibroids, they only address the symptoms. Fibroid treatment options include UFE or Uterine Fibroid Embolization and surgery, i.e. myomectomy and hysterectomy. Choosing the best way for you to treat fibroids is not easy.
A lot depends on your individual circumstances and needs. You want to have accurate information about your options to make the right choice. That’s why it’s important to speak to both, your OB/GYN and a UFE-expert like Dr. Lipman, to understand what will work for you.
Why Should I Consider UFE for My Fibroids?
In most cases, the most effective treatment option is UFE. Almost every woman with uterine fibroids is a candidate for the procedure, even if she was told by a gynecologist that she needs a hysterectomy. Before agreeing to surgery, she needs to be consulted about the UFE.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive, highly effective treatment for uterine fibroids. Other advantages of the method include:
- Lack of surgical intervention and a short recovery period up to 7 days;
- The greatest efficiency;
- There are practically no contraindications and complications;
- The method is effective for all types and sizes of fibroid tumors;
- UFE treats ALL fibroids in the uterus;
- The lowest recurrence rate of fibroids (of the modern methods used).
- The ability to become pregnant in 3-6 months after the procedure.