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.

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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.