What Does Fibroid Pain Feel Like?

Many women suffer from pain and other symptoms caused by uterine fibroids. As many as 70% to 80% of all women will have fibroids by age 50 with a higher rate of fibroids found in African-American women.

How do you know if your pain is caused by fibroids? Following are different types of pain that can be associated with uterine fibroids. If you are experiencing more than one of these, your pain may be a result of undiagnosed uterine fibroids.

1. Can Fibroids Cause Pelvic Pain & Pressure?

There are many women’s health issues that can cause pelvic pain, which makes diagnosing the reason behind it a bit tricky. Pain that is present between your belly button down to your pelvis is classified as pelvic pain. It can manifest as a dull type of aching, cramping, or sharp intermittent pain.

Menstrual cramps, ovulation, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), appendicitis, endometriosis, adenomyosis, cancer, STDs, gastrointestinal issues, or a host of other issues can create abdominal pain.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain and/or pressure either ongoing or intermittently along with back pain, leg pain, heavy bleeding, breakthrough bleeding, bloating, pain during sex, frequent urination, constipation, or diarrhea these may be symptoms caused by uterine fibroids.

Video: What You Should Know About Fibroid Pain

What Does Pelvic Pressure Feel Like?

Pelvic pain can also be accompanied by the feeling of being “full” or “bloated” which is considered pelvic pressure. Women describe it as a “heaviness” in the lower part of the abdomen that resembles a dull ache and is a source of discomfort.

Ongoing pelvic pain, no matter how mild, should be investigated to determine the cause. Your OB/GYN will be able to determine if you have uterine fibroids or another health condition that is resulting in pelvic pain and pressure.

How Do Fibroids Cause Pelvic Pain?

The discomfort that is caused by uterine fibroids typically results from their location and size and not from the fibroid itself “hurting”. If a woman has numerous fibroids or large fibroids, they can add weight and bulk to areas and exert pressure onto other abdominal organs. Fibroids can grow up to the size of a large pumpkin which can even change the shape of a woman’s uterus.

fibroid size chart
How big do fibroids grow?

2. What Does Leg Pain Due to Fibroids Feel Like?

Large intramural or subserosal fibroids can indirectly cause pain down the legs by putting pressure on the lower spine and compressing the sciatic nerve. This pain can feel like “pins and needles” or can radiate down the legs like a sharp shooting pain. Some women with myomas experience dull pain in their thighs or legs. This occurs when fibroids become large enough to press on nerves and blood vessels that extend to the legs.

3. What Does Fibroid-Induced Back Pain Feel Like?

A large fibroid that is located on the back portion of the uterus can begin to push against the spine and cause dull aches and pains in the lower back. Pain that is located in the back, legs, or hips is often not linked to fibroids, although about 3% of women with fibroids experience it.

4. Can Fibroids Cause Pain During My Period?

Fibroids can cause extra pain during a menstrual period that may be due to large clots of blood pushing through the cervix. Cramps can also be caused by the uterus trying to force out, or contract, a type of fibroid called a submucosal fibroid.

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

5. Can Fibroids Cause Stomach Pain?

Fibroids can indirectly cause gastrointestinal issues mainly by crowding or putting pressure on other internal organs. A large fibroid resting on the bowel could lead to constipation and cause stomach pain. This pain could feel like a dull cramping or uncomfortable heaviness in the abdomen, or even pain that radiates from your abdomen to your back.

6. What Does Fibroid Pain During Sexual Intercourse Feel Like?

Fibroids that are located near the entrance to the uterus have been known to cause pain for women during sexual intercourse. Women have stated the pain is worse if the penetration is deep and describe it as intense pressure or cramping that can last for hours after sex.

Video: Uterine Fibroids and Sex: How to Get Your Sex Life Back

7. What Does Fibroid Pain During Pregnancy Feel Like?

Cramping and pain in the abdomen are the symptoms women experience most frequently during pregnancy that can be caused by fibroids. Cramping can feel like mild menstrual cramps or maybe more severe. Women also describe a tense uncomfortable feeling in their stomach as well as dull achy feelings in their hips, pelvis, lower back, and legs.

8. What Does Degenerated Fibroid Pain Feel Like?

Fibroids require a blood supply and oxygen to grow. When a fibroid outgrows its blood supply, it begins to degenerate, which can cause a fever and acute stabbing-like pains. This pain may last a few days, weeks, maybe constant or intermittent. The reduction in the blood supply can cause the fibroid to shrink temporarily causing the pain to subside. However, the fibroid will begin to grow again outgrowing the blood supply and the pain will reappear. Degenerating fibroids need to be eliminated to stop the pain cycle.

9. Can Fibroids Cause Pain During Ovulation?

It is not widely recognized that fibroids can cause painful ovulation but if a fibroid was growing and exerting pressure on the ovary or fallopian tube, it could interfere and cause pain. Many women feel sharp, stabbing pains or cramping every month during the middle of their cycle, which is called mittelschmerz and is a term used to describe painful ovulation.

The pain can be sharp and sudden or can be a dull cramping feeling and can be on both sides of the abdomen or only on one side. Pain during ovulation is not readily associated with fibroids; however, if accompanied by other symptoms attributed to fibroids, then you should see your doctor in order to determine the cause.

10. Can Fibroids Cause Pain Under the Ribs?

It is possible that if fibroids were numerous or large enough, they could cause the uterus to distend and exert pressure on the rib cage causing discomfort or even pain.

11. Can Fibroids Cause Sharp Stabbing Pain?

Different types of fibroids can grow on or around the uterus. Some are directly attached to the uterus, while others grow on a “stem” or “stalk-like” structure. These fibroids are called pedunculated fibroids and on rare occasions, they can twist suddenly, such called fibroid torsion, and cause sharp stabbing pain resulting in a medical emergency.

How Do I Know If My Pain Is Caused by Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are often overlooked because the bulk symptoms they can cause are similar to many other women’s health issues. Fibroid pain can be continual, come and go, or manifest only during your monthly cycle or when having sexual intercourse. It can appear to be caused by many different issues, and each woman will have different symptoms with varying degrees of pain and discomfort.

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