What Are Uterine Fibroids, and How Do You Know if You Have Them?

By Melissa Yurkanin, DO, Obstetrician and Gynecologist—Virtua OB/GYN – Cherry Hill

Uterine fibroids affect millions of women. While most are benign, meaning they’re not cancerous, they cause heavy bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure, and bloating that can make you feel like you’re 5 months pregnant. Some women have to adjust their work, wardrobe, activities, and life around the pain and bleeding. 

If you’re reading this and thinking – that sounds like me – read on to learn more about signs of uterine fibroids and how to know if you have them

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous uterine tumors. These tumors can grow within the uterine walls, outside the uterus, or into the uterine cavity. Multiple fibroids can occur at once, and they may grow slowly, quickly, or even shrink.

Although fibroids can occur in women of any age, they usually develop around childbearing age and are more common among African-American women. While you’re more likely to develop fibroids if someone in your family has them, they’re not a genetic condition

What are the signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids?

You can have fibroids and not know it or feel any symptoms. However, some women experience severe symptoms, including:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Prolonged menstrual periods
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation or difficulty urinating
  • Back or leg pain

In some cases, fibroids can lead to complications like anemia from heavy bleeding or difficulty conceiving. If you have any of these symptoms, call your OB/GYN for an evaluation.

During a routine pelvic exam, your OB/GYN provider can often feel uterine fibroids or abnormalities in the shape of your uterus. Your provider may order an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis and determine the size and location of the fibroids.  

If you’re diagnosed with uterine fibroids, there’s a range of treatment options, depending on your age, symptoms, and fertility goals. Our OB/GYNs work closely with you to help pinpoint the best treatment option for you.

Learn more

Updated April 19, 2022

Personal Health Navigator

Connect with A Women's Health Navigator

Ready to make an appointment? Let one of our women's health navigators schedule an appointment for you to connect you to the care you need. Call us today. 844-896-6367 844-896-6367

You may also like

Surprising Symptoms May Signal Stroke in Women - Virtua Health, NJ

What to Know About the Unique Signs of Stroke in Women

Did you know that the sudden fatigue or headache you're feeling could be the symptom of a stroke? Learn about the signs of stroke in women and the importance of rapid treatment.

Read More

What Are the Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids?

There are many uterine fibroid treatment options that can get you back living your life without pain and inconvenience. Learn how you can determine the best treatment for you.

Read More
young women smiling and leaning against office wall

Tame the Pain of Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age and is a major cause of infertility and pelvic pain. Learn ways to tame the pain.

Read More
Showing 3 of 72