If you're a woman, chances are you've heard of fibroids - those pesky benign tumors that love to set up shop in your uterus. While they aren’t cancerous, they can still wreak havoc on your body, especially when it comes to your menstrual cycle. If you've noticed that your periods have become longer, heavier, or you're experiencing spotting between periods, it could be a sign that you have fibroids. In this article, we're going to dive into the link between fibroids and bleeding, how fibroids affect bleeding, and when to be concerned about bleeding when you have fibroids.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are benign tumors that develop in the uterus. They can vary in size and number, ranging from small pea-sized growths to large tumors that can weigh several pounds. Fibroids are relatively common, with up to 80% of women developing them by the age of 50. The cause of fibroids is not fully understood, but they are linked to hormonal changes in the body.
An Important Distinction: Menstrual Changes Caused By Fibroids vs. Bleeding Due to a Ruptured Fibroid
It's important for women to be aware of the distinction between menstrual bleeding caused by fibroids and bleeding due to a ruptured fibroid. Heavy bleeding during a period because of a fibroid is a common symptom. However, an actual fibroid that has ruptured and started bleeding is a different medical issue requiring emergency surgery. Women should be aware of this distinction to avoid unnecessary anxiety or delay in seeking emergency care. In this blog, we will discuss the common symptom of menstrual changes due to fibroids.
The Link between Fibroids and Bleeding
Fibroids can bring about changes in menstruation, such as heavier and/or longer flow, spotting, and cramps, which can lead to anemia due to significant blood loss. Heavier or irregular periods and spotting between periods may occur because fibroids stimulate the growth of blood vessels and cause elevated levels of prostaglandins.
The size, number, and location of the fibroids can all play a role in determining the extent of the bleeding. When fibroids grow near the lining of the uterus or become large in size, they can cause heavy bleeding during menstruation. This is because these fibroids can interfere with the normal shedding of the uterine lining, which leads to more blood loss than usual.
On the other hand, fibroids that are located on the outer wall of the uterus may not cause any symptoms or may cause only minor bleeding. This is because they do not typically interfere with the normal shedding of the uterine lining during menstruation. In some cases, fibroids may even help to reduce bleeding by compressing the blood vessels that supply the uterus.
It is important to note that not all women with fibroids will experience heavy bleeding during their periods. Some women may have small fibroids that do not cause any noticeable symptoms, while others may have larger fibroids that do not affect their menstrual cycle. The severity of bleeding is just one of many potential symptoms that can occur when a woman has fibroids, and it is important for women to discuss any changes in their menstrual cycle with their healthcare provider.
How Can Fibroids Change My Menstrual Cycle?
Changes in menstrual cycles associated with fibroids can be quite diverse and may vary from woman to woman.
Fibroids can cause periods that last 3-7 days or longer during each cycle. This can require planning around and can be pretty disruptive to daily life. In some cases, women with fibroids may need to equip themselves with a large supply of pads and tampons to manage their bleeding.
Experiencing a heavy menstrual flow is another common symptom associated with fibroids. This can lead to the need for frequent pad or tampon changes during heavy bleeding days, which can be both inconvenient and disruptive to daily life. In some cases, pads or tampons may need to be changed every 45 to 60 minutes, further adding to the inconvenience of managing the condition.
Fibroids can also cause women to pass larger blood clots during their periods, which can vary in size and be quite alarming for those who are not accustomed to seeing them.
In rare cases, women with fibroids may experience nearly continuous bleeding for 30-60 days before seeking medical attention. This can be a sign of a more severe condition and requires immediate medical attention. Overall, the symptoms associated with fibroids can be very challenging for women to deal with, and it's important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
How Long Does Bleeding Typically Last with Fibroids?
If you have uterine fibroids, it’s not uncommon to experience bleeding that lasts longer than 8 or 9 days. In many cases, your doctor will consider it abnormal if you are experiencing longer periods and bleeding between periods for at least 6 months.
When Should I Be Concerned About Bleeding When I Have Fibroids?
You should seek emergency care if you have sharp, sudden pain in the abdomen that is unrelieved with pain medication, or severe vaginal bleeding with signs of anemia such as lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, and weakness. Other concerning symptoms include fever, chills, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, which could indicate an infection.
Managing Fibroids While Preserving Fertility
if you are experiencing any changes in your menstrual cycle, it's important to seek medical advice to determine if fibroids are the underlying cause. While fibroids can be a challenging condition to manage, there are treatment options available, including medications and surgical procedures.
At Kofinas Fertility, we understand that fertility preservation is an important consideration for many women with fibroids who want to start or expand their families. That's why we offer advanced treatments for fibroids that are safe and effective while also preserving your fertility options.
If you have been diagnosed with fibroids or suspect that you may have them, don't hesitate to contact Kofinas Fertility for expert evaluation and treatment. Our experienced team of fertility specialists and gynecologic surgeons will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals. With the right care and treatment, you can successfully manage fibroids and get back to living your life to the fullest!