Uterine fibroids can be a source of painful periods and a heavier flow. For a large number of women, it is not uncommon to experience a certain degree of menstrual pain. In fact, as many as 80 percent of women experience period pain. However, it can also be a sign of something more serious, like uterine fibroids.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
If you experience long-lasting pain during your period, chances are it may be a sign of uterine fibroids. These are benign, smooth muscle growths of the uterus and although they are rarely cancerous, they are very common — with as many as 80 percent of women developing fibroids by age 50.
Although fibroids can develop at any age, uterine fibroids are most common in women ages 30 to 40, with black women more likely to develop uterine fibroids than white women.
- Abdominal or lower back pain
- Pelvic pain and cramping
- Painful sex
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Long, frequent periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Anaemia (from blood loss)
- Bladder or bowel pressure
- Frequent urination
- Difficult, frequent, or urgent bowel movements
- Increased abdominal size
Why Is There Pain Associated With Uterine Fibroids?
During your period, the uterus creates a thickened inner lining in case a pregnancy occurs. If you don’t get pregnant, your body sheds that lining. During a normal period, your body releases hormones called prostaglandins.
These hormones can lead to you experiencing pain and inflammation which can increase the intensity of uterine contractions and ultimately worsen menstrual cramping.
Fibroids can make this pain more intense because they put pressure on the uterine lining, or if you have fibroids within the uterine wall, or fibroids that protrude into the uterine cavity, more surface area is created that results in a thicker lining for your body to shed during your period — that is, a heavier flow.
In the days leading up to your period, you might feel more intense cramping as your uterus goes through its motions to force out the lining, and a stronger sensation of pressure when your period starts because of the heavier blood flow.
Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroid Pain
Aside from uterine fibroids, period pain can be caused by other health conditions like endometriosis or ovarian cysts. So if you’re dealing with period pain, it’s important to see your doctor or gynaecologist to determine the underlying cause. Some treatment options include:
- Pain relievers
- Hormonal birth control
- Oral medications
- Hormone injections
- Complementary therapies
Make your health a priority by booking a women’s wellness check-up at your nearest women clinic today. Our Well Women appointments are quick female health check-ups available to all South African women at a reasonable price. These women’s health check-ups can be highly effective in early screenings that can be lifesaving. Contact us today!