Due to heavy bleeding that is frequently caused by fibroids, anemia can be a common complication. Anemia is the result of heavy blood loss, which also causes symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, headaches and cognitive problems. This condition can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation.
Chronic pain is a common complication of untreated fibroids. In many cases, chronic pain occurs in the pelvic region, but patients may also feel pain in the lower back, abdomen and down the legs. Period pain can be severe in many patients with fibroids and occurs around and during the menstrual cycle. This type of pain can be incapacitating, with many patients unable to work or leave the house.
Infertility and Pregnancy Complications
Infertility occurs when growing fibroids distort the regular shape and function of the uterus. Fibroids in or near the uterine cavity can make childbirth more difficult and cause heavy bleeding with each menstrual cycle. Fibroids that grow in the uterine muscle can obstruct fallopian tubes, which prevents conception, and restricts fetal growth, sometimes to the point that vaginal delivery is no longer an option, and a preterm birth is more likely. Any type of fibroid can contribute to infertility and pregnancy complications, but research2 suggests submucosal fibroids have the greatest impact on fertility.
Some physicians may direct patients to “watch and wait” for small fibroids to grow or cause more severe problems before moving forward with treatment. Allowing fibroids to grow can have a detrimental impact on fertility and makes complications like miscarriage and pregnancy loss much more likely. Pushing off surgical removal for fibroids will also make eventual surgery more complicated, which can further reduce fertility options.
Bladder and Bowel Complications
Fibroids can compress the bladder directly, which decreases the capacity of the bladder and leads to urinary frequency. Urinary frequency can become a serious problem if a patient is getting up multiple times a night to urinate, causing fatigue from loss of sleep and dysfunction in everyday activities. As fibroids become larger, they can also compress the ureter – the tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder. This can cause hydronephrosis, or swelling of the kidney, which can lead to kidney damage. Bowel complications include severe constipation, bloating and distension.
Incrased Size of Abdomen
As fibroids grow, they can increase the size of the abdomen, leading to abdominal distension. Bloating and swelling results, with many patients looking like they are 20 weeks pregnant, or more.
Torsion (Twisting) of Fibroids
Mental Health and Social Complications
Are You Experiencing Any of the Complications Above?
If you think you have fibroids and you’re experiencing any of the complications above, CIGC can help. One of our expert fibroid specialists will provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to address your symptoms. Schedule a consultation today to have a specialist evaluate your symptoms and condition(s) and put you on an effective path toward relief.
- Downes E, Sikirica V, Gilabert-Estelles J, et al. The burden of uterine fibroids in five European countries. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010;152:96-102.
- Tinelli A, Kosmas I, Mynbaev OA, et al. Submucous Fibroids, Fertility, and Possible Correlation to Pseudocapsule Thickness in Reproductive Surgery. Biomed Res Int. 2018;2018:2804830. Published 2018 Sep 3. doi:10.1155/2018/2804830
- Swarray-Deen A, Mensah-Brown SA, Coleman J. Rare complication of fibroids in pregnancy: Spontaneous fibroid rupture. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2017;43(9):1485-1488. doi:10.1111/jog.13405
- Morris DV, Shekhani H, Peters G. Chronic Vaginal Discharge After Uterine Fibroid Embolization. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2018;29(9):1319-1321. doi:10.1016/j.jvir.2018.01.764
- Go VAA, Thomas MC, Singh B, et al. A systematic review of the psychosocial impact of fibroids before and after treatment. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020;223(5):674-708.e8. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2020.05.044