What is the Link Between Uterine Fibroids and Heavy Periods

Are you having an unusually heavy period? A heavy period is sometimes just a heavy period. It could also be an indication of a greater problem, such as uterine fibroids.

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every five women in their reproductive years experiences severe menstrual flow, often known as menorrhagia. This could be an indication of uterine fibroids, myomas, or leiomyomas (noncancerous growths in the uterus).

Uterine fibroids are relatively common: According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, up to 80% of women acquire fibroids by the age of 50. Uterine fibroids are extremely frequent, depending on age, race, and family history.

African-descent women have the highest prevalence of uterine fibroids. They are less prevalent in Caucasian women. They are also known to develop earlier and grow faster in Black women.

While they may sound frightening, uterine fibroids are usually not life-threatening and are curable.

Some people have no symptoms of uterine fibroids. For others, they lead to a slew of unpleasant symptoms such as:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Painful sex
  • Longer, more frequent periods
  • Miscarriage
  • Anemia due to blood loss
  • Infertility
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Difficult, frequent, or urgent urination or bowel movements
  • Bladder and bowel pressure
  • Increased abdominal size

How Do Uterine Fibroids Contribute to Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

Heavy menstrual bleeding is commonly characterized as a period lasting more than seven days and necessitating frequent sanitary product changes. There are several hypotheses as to why uterine fibroids cause heavy, extended periods.

  • Uterine fibroids could push the uterine lining, causing increased bleeding.
  • The uterus may not contract adequately, making it unable to halt the bleeding.
  • Fibroids can cause blood vessel development, which can lead to heavier or irregular periods and spotting between them.
  • Prostaglandin levels may also be elevated, which may contribute to significant bleeding.

Heavy monthly bleeding caused by uterine fibroids is usually determined by the location of the fibroids, the contractility of the uterus, the presence of auxiliary prostaglandins, and any uterine lining distortion.

Confirming a Uterine Fibroid Diagnosis

It is critical to consult your doctor if you are having heavy periods. While fibroids are common, around half of women with uterine fibroids do not have significant bleeding.

So, whether it’s uterine fibroids or something else, it’s critical to get to the bottom of your heavy periods. Heavy menstrual bleeding can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Endometriosis
  • Irregular ovulation
  • Polyps
  • Uterine or cervical cancer
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Thyroid disease
  • Certain medications, including blood thinners and aspirin
  • Nonhormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Kidney disease
  • Miscarriage
  • Adenomyosis (when endometrial tissue exists within the muscle of the uterus)
  • Blood-clotting disorders, such as von Willebrand disease
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Liver disease

Your fibroid doctor will likely perform a pelvic exam to check for anomalies in the size or shape of your uterus, which may suggest the presence of fibroids, to determine if your symptoms are caused by uterine fibroids. To confirm a diagnosis, additional tests such as an ultrasound or a pelvic MRI may be required.

You must choose a doctor who considers everything, including your medical history, family history, imaging, and blood testing.

How to Find the Right Treatment for Uterine Fibroids and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Bradley advises that if your heavy periods are caused by uterine fibroids, you should be treated to improve your quality of life.

If you bleed frequently, you may become anemic. You may feel weariness, hair loss, headaches, sleeplessness, palpitations, and even pica or odd desires.

Among the potential treatments for heavy menstrual bleeding caused by uterine fibroids are:

  • Hormonal IUDs
  • Birth control pills
  • Oral medications, either hormonal or nonhormonal
  • Hormone injections
  • Hysterectomy
  • Surgical removal of the fibroids

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