Uterine fibroids are commonly found in women who are of childbearing age. However, many of these women do not know that they have these benign tumors because a lot of fibroid symptoms can be mistaken for another health issue. Over 50% of women who have fibroids do not have any symptoms, and they only discover they have them when they are trying to conceive or when they have an ultrasound performed by a graduate of an online medical sonography degree course.
There are several symptoms that you should place close attention to, especially if you are a woman who can still have children. Once you notice symptoms, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Heavy Menstrual Cycle
One of the most common symptoms of fibroids is a heavier than normal menstrual cycle. It often appears out of nowhere and can be frightening if you have had regular cycles in the past. During the cycle, you may release blood clots. You may also have to change your overnight or plus tampons every hour or two.
The loss of too much blood can send your body into shock, and you can experience extreme anemia. It is not uncommon for women to be hospitalized due to heavy periods and require blood transfusions to bring hemoglobin levels back to normal.
If your tummy is sticking out more than normal and it feels hard when you touch it, you could have one or more fibroids growing in your uterus. Depending on where the fibroids are located, the uterus could be extended as if you were several weeks pregnant. A bachelor of science in diagnostic medical sonography graduate will be able to tell your doctor how many fibroids you have and the location of the tumors. The swelling can become worse as time progresses.
Women who suffer with fibroids often complain about pain in their back and even in the back of their legs. Although these places sound unrelated to uterine fibroids, the nerves that link the brain, uterus, legs and back are intermingled. Some of the pain from the fibroids can radiate to other parts of the body.
The cramps associated with fibroids are considerably more painful than the cramps associated with a regular menstrual cycle. Fibroids cause the uterus to contract rigorously because the uterus recognizes fibroids as foreign objects. The muscle spasms are your body’s way of trying to get rid of the fibroids. In fact, some women describe the pain as similar to childbirth. Over the counter pain medication is generally not effective.
In addition to a heavy menstrual flow, women with fibroids often spot between cycles. The spotting can last for a few minutes, or up to a day or two. The spotting may also last during each cycle so it is difficult to tell when your cycle ends.
Pay attention to your body and take note of any significant changes to your menstrual cycle, pelvic pain or back pain. Act now to prevent further complications later and preserve your reproductive health.