Fibroids - Symptoms 

Symptoms of fibroids 

Many women are unaware they have fibroids because they do not have any symptoms. Around one in three women with fibroids experiences some symptoms.

If your fibroids do cause symptoms, you may experience one or more of the problems outlined below.

In rare cases, further complications caused by fibroids can affect pregnancy or cause infertility.

See complications of fibroids for more information about this.

Heavy or painful periods

Fibroids do not disrupt the normal menstrual cycle (periods), but can cause heavy, prolonged or painful bleeding.

If you have heavy periods (menorrhagia), it does not necessarily mean there is anything seriously wrong. However, it can be stressful and significantly disrupt your everyday life.

In some cases, heavy periods can cause iron deficiency anaemia, resulting in symptoms such as tiredness, lethargy and shortness of breath.

Abdominal pain

If you have fibroids, particularly larger ones, you may experience discomfort or bloating (swelling) in your tummy. You may also experience pain in your lower back and legs.

Frequent urination and constipation

If your fibroids press on your bladder, you may need to urinate frequently. Fibroids can also press on your rectum (large intestine), which can cause constipation.

Pain or discomfort during sex

If you have fibroids growing near your vagina or cervix (neck of the womb), you may experience pain or discomfort during sex.

Page last reviewed: 02/09/2013

Next review due: 02/09/2015

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The 4 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Jessica2805 said on 11 March 2014

I am 47 and have experienced my heavy period now coming only once every 2 months. I constantly have a swollen tummy, pain down my left side and back ache plus whilte discharge. On visiting my Dr today I was examined and told that I have a lumpy womb and may have fibroids. She also thinks I am starting the menopause. She has booked me in for blood tests and a scan. I will keep you posted.

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Tootie Pop said on 29 December 2013

My doctor recently told me I have several fibroids lesions in my womb which would explain my very heavy periods. I'm 46 I have severe pain on my left side starts just under my rib cage and goes down to my below my pelvic bone. I have had this pain for 3 years. I'm now being told the pain is due to the fibroids. But reading the above info I'm not so sure the pain is related to my periods or my fibroids. This pain use to start two weeks before my period now I have only 3-4 days after my period stops before it begins and I have two periods a month. My body feels like it is draining out of me during this time and that is without bleeding. When I am bleeding I feel faint and can't move around a lot. I'm currently waiting on an appointment to see a consultant at the hospital the pain is getting worse and the doctors are just throwing pain pills at me which aren't working. I am at my wit's end. I take full time care of my disable husband and can not be in bed everyday

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sandalwood said on 16 November 2013

Hi lesleyW

explains how bleeding occurs:

'One theory suggests that the fibroids don’t allow the uterus to squeeze down properly, so the blood vessels in the uterus stay open longer, and you lose more blood. Also, fibroids produce proteins that make blood vessels grow nearby and other proteins that make the blood vessels expand, so that more blood is lost after menstrual bleeding starts.'

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lesleyW said on 16 October 2013

I was trying to find out what the bleeding associated with fibroids actually was. Is it the fibroid bleeding? Is it a normal period made heavy by the fibroid in some way? Or something else entirely? The web isn't being very helpful here.

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