Can Fibroids Cause Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

Can Fibroids Cause Heavy Periods?

Yes, it is possible for fibroids to cause heavy menstrual bleeding- although heavy periods are more common with fibroids located inside the uterus wall (fibroids can grow outside the wall as well - see pictures). Medically, a woman who regularly experiences heavy menstrual bleeding is said to suffer menorrhagia. You may be diagnosed with menorrhagia if you tend to soak a pad or tampon every hour for more than 3 hours on one day, or if your period typically lasts longer than 7 days. Your menstrual flow may also include large clots of blood. This loss of blood can lead to extreme fatigue or shortness of breath - typical signs of anemia. Occasionally fibroids will also cause spotting in between periods.

Note: In many cases uterine fibroids do not cause any obvious symptoms. It is quite common for example for a woman to have fibroid tumors without knowing it; and for the tumors shrink without treatment.

Related Articles
Definition: What are uterine fibroids?
Feeling constantly bloated? Can fibroids cause weight gain?
After treatment: Can fibroids grow back?
Do you have a persistent back pain? Do fibroids cause pain?

Personal Stories

I have lots of small fibroids and a couple of large ones, as well as severe endometrial adhesions. I used to have regular periods but now they are irregular and when they arrive, they are very heavy. Also, my PMS symptoms last much longer than they used to. Typically I get one heavy period where I have to change pads every 15 minutes for the first day. The next period is usually lighter, but I get a lot of light spotting between the periods. I'm scheduled for a myomectomy surgery next month, hopefully it will sort the problem out.
Anne B, Wyoming.

My periods used to be regular and normal, then about 2 years ago they changed. I experienced a really heavy bleed that continued for about 8 days. Then it stopped, there was light spotting and then back to bleeding again. I was so exhausted and weak that I made an appointment with an Obgyn for a blood test and ultrasound scan. The blood test showed I was really low on blood, that they had to give me 3 pints. The ultrasound can showed a large fibroid inside my uterus. A few months later I had a total hysterectomy and the tumor was removed (along with my womb!). Now I feel much better, no periods and my blood count is back to normal. Course, the only issue is that I hit menopause straight away, so I'm dealing with the effects of menopause. But it's still much better than before.
Catherine, Devonshire.

I'm 51 and really suffered for years with heavy painful periods. Eventually I went to the doctor about it and they did an ultrasound scan. Turned out I had large fibroids in my uterus. The doctor wanted to perform a hysterectomy procedure but I didn't want him to. Its a major surgery and he seemed to like the idea of whipping wombs out without giving it a second thought. I went to another doctor and she put me on depo provera shots. I had 4 in one year, the idea was to stop my periods so that the fibroids would naturally shrink. After 2 shots, I gained a little weight but my periods stopped for 6 months. Then I got one, and it wasn't painful. Now I don't get any at all and my fibroids have shrunk.
Julie C, New York.
Related article: Fibroid treatment options.

I was getting heavy periods that would last for 7 or 8 days, then a light one, then another period that could last for up to 15 days! My doctor put me on the birth control pill, she was hoping it would regularize my menstrual cycle. She didn't check for fibroids and the Pill only made things worse. Apparently fibroids thrive on estrogen, so all it did was make them larger. When I went back complaining of even longer periods, she performed an ultrasound scan and found large fibroids. Eventually I had to have them surgically removed.
Jenny P, California.

I had fairly regular periods, then one day a period lasted nearly 30 days. The next period lasted nearly 40 days! I went to a Obgyn and she diagnosed a large fibroid. She recommended instant surgery, but I didn't have health insurance so it wasn't really an option. Instead I tackled it with diet and exercise. I followed a vegan diet and stopped eating meat and cheese. I exercised 5 times a week, walking 4 miles. Now my periods are completely normal. I haven't gone back to check the fibroids, but I assume they've shrunk or gone.
Sara P, California.
See our related article: Diet plan for fibroids.

Other Articles
Lumpy breasts caused by cysts and fibroadenomas: What are breast fibroids?
Treatment For cramping: How can I relieve period cramps?
Looking at other causes for menstrual changes: What can cause a change in my monthly cycle?

• Need more information about periods? See: Menstruation Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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