As many as 70% of women in their childbearing years have noncancerous tumors growing in or on their uterus. Among these women, somewhere between one-quarter and one-half suffer from symptoms related to these growths, and the rest may not even be aware they have them.
Even though these are very common, many women do not have a great deal of knowledge about them. The symptoms they cause can be minor and annoying or severe and debilitating, and most are tied to their monthly menstrual cycle.
Today we are going to try to answer some questions about fibroids to give you an idea of what they are, where they grow, where fibroid pain can be located, and how to get rid of it.
Why Do Many Women Have Limited Knowledge Of Fibroids And Their Side Effects?
One of the main reasons that many women do not really understand uterine fibroids (myomas) and what they are capable of is that most women do not sit around and casually discuss their menstrual cycle in detail. They may not even know that what they endure each month is not normal, and so they suffer in silence.
Also, fibroids tend to run in families, so a woman who is suffering from heavy bleeding and abdominal pain may know that her mother and grandmother also experienced these symptoms, so she chalks it up to just “the way it is”. They do not understand that these symptoms are caused by these myomas and are not just part of the normal menstrual cycle.
Recently, there have been a few celebrities who have come forward to tell their stories about suffering from fibroid symptoms so that other women can be informed and get the help they deserve.
Where Are Fibroid Tumors Located?
These tumors (myomas) grow inside and on the uterus and are classified by exactly where they are growing. They can poke into the uterine cavity, be embedded deep into the uterine wall, or hang from a stem-like structure (pedunculated). They are made out of the same type of muscle and tissue cells that the myometrium is composed of.
Is A Fibroid Located In The Stomach?
No, fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in the uterus, not in the stomach. Fibroids can cause a woman’s abdomen to protrude, making it look like she is pregnant. We tend to call our abdomen our “tummy area” or our “stomachs’ but in reality, the stomach is located higher up the torso, just under the breast line.
What Types Of Fibroids Are There, And Which Of Them Can Cause Pain?
Myomas are put into categories depending on where they are located in the uterus. Some of them are known to cause more pain and problems than others, but if they are numerous or large enough, any type of fibroid can result in symptoms. The three categories are:
Subserosal fibroids grow on the smooth outer layer of the uterus and are the most commonly found. If small, they tend to be asymptomatic and normally do not need any type of treatment. If they grow large, they can begin to crowd other nearby organs, and depending on their location, they can cause symptoms such as:
- Feeling like your abdomen is heavy or full;
- Pain in your abdomen;
- Pain in the pelvic area;
- Pain in your lower back or down the leg (usually caused by a large fibroid growing on the back of the uterus);
- Feeling like you need to urinate frequently (usually caused by a large fibroid growing on the front of the uterus);
- They can press on the fallopian tube, causing a blockage and preventing conception;
- Problems with constipation;
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Submucosal fibroids grow inside the uterine cavity and tend to cause symptoms even when they are smaller. These are the least common growths, but they seem to be the ones that create the most trouble. Some of the symptoms they create include:
- Heavy bleeding to the point of losing too much blood and causing anemia (which can be very serious);
- Your menstrual bleeding lasts for a long time, so it is difficult to determine when your period stops and starts;
- Lower back or pelvic pain;
- Passing large clots of blood;
- Chronic weariness;
- Fertility issues.
When myomas grow in this location, they can cause some wicked fertility issues. They can make the uterus into a weird shape and mess up the uterine lining so extensively that an embryo doesn’t stand a chance of latching on. The growths take up room that is meant for a growing fetus, and they can even divert the blood supply needed by the baby. They can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, and issues during childbirth, such as interfering with uterine contractions, making labor slower, or blocking the birth canal and triggering an emergency c-section.
Intramural fibroids grow inside the uterine wall (myometrium), but they can grow into the uterine cavity and create the same issues as submucosal fibroids. These two types of fibroids are both culprits when it comes to infertility, as they create many of the same issues. If intramural fibroids grow large enough, they can cause a protruding belly that resembles pregnancy.
This type of fibroid often gets confused as a different “type or classification” of fibroid, but it is only a term that means that a subserosal or submucosal fibroid is growing from a stem-like structure and is not directly attached to the uterus. Although it is rare, these can sometimes become twisted and cause sharp and sudden pain, which requires medical intervention.