Are uterine fibroids painful?

Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that are hard and firm due to their composition of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. While many women who have fibroids do not have any symptoms, these hard tumors can press on pelvic nerves to cause pelvic pain which can radiate throughout the pelvis and be felt in the lower back, hips, buttocks, and even down the legs. An unusual cause of pain due to fibroids can occur when the fibroid outgrows it's blood supply and part of the fibroid dies. This is called degeneration. This pain typically presents acutely and can be severe enough to cause the woman to go to the emergency room. If the fibroid is on the right side of the pelvis, it can simulate appendicitis. The management of this pain is conservative with analgesics (typicaly narcotics) and imaging (ex. CT scan) to exclude other causes of acute pelvic pain.
Uterine fibroids may be painful, depending on their size and location. Most of the time, uterine fibroids don't cause any noticeable symptoms at all. In some cases, uterine fibroids may cause pelvic pain or painful, heavy menstruation. If the fibroids are pressing on the spinal nerves, they may cause backaches or leg pains. In rare cases, fibroids can cause severe pain if they grow too large for their blood supply and start to degenerate, or die. Pendunculated fibroids, meaning fibroids that grow on stalks, may be extremely painful if they become twisted. If you're experiencing painful symptoms that may be caused by uterine fibroids, talk to your doctor.

Continue Learning about Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

If you have uterine fibroids, you may never even notice that they are there. Ranging from the size of a small seed to grapefruit-sized, fibroids are tumors on the uterus that rarely cause harm. Some women have true discomfort with ...

fibroids, including pain in the abdomen or low back, or pain during sex. Sometimes, uterine fibroids can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, or even lead to infertility. Women in their 40s and 50s, women of African-American descent and women that are overweight are at higher risk of developing fibroids, although an estimated 20-80% of women will have them at some point before they turn 50. If your doctor notices fibroids during an ultrasound or pelvic exam, he or she may want to treat them with medication or surgery.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.