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Do Fibroids Cause Constipation

Posted on October 05, 2023
open toilet bowl seen by fibroids constipation sufferers

Do fibroids cause constipation? Yes, this is a common fibroid related symptom. Of course, not every uterine growth affects elimination. But fibroid size and location can interfere with bowel movements. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding fibroids

These growths are common, non-cancerous tumors. They develop within or attached to  the uterus, varying in size from very small (about 1 mm) to quite large (about the size of a grapefruit. We can also classify fibroids by their location: subserosal fibroids form outside your uterus; intramural growths form within the wall of the uterus; submucosal fibroids growth beneath your uterine cavity lining; and pedunculated fibroids form outside the uterus, maintaining a connection with a stalk-like growth.  

Do Fibroids Cause Constipation?

Large fibroids can press against your rectum, making it difficult to pass a bowel movement. The same is true of fibroids that form toward the back of your uterus. But constipation is not the only disruptive symptom of these growths. Many women with fibroids also experience painful sex, long and heavy periods, or even frequent urination.  

How Common is Constipation with Fibroids?

According to the International Journal of Women’s Health more than 60% of women with fibroids experience some form of digestive concern, including constipation, bloating or diarrhea, as well as pain in the lower back.

But why can fibroids impact your rectum and bowel movements? This goes back to basic anatomy: your rectum, and a good portion of your large intestine, lies behind the uterus. Normally, that’s not a problem. However, when your rectum expands when full with stool, and your uterus becomes enlarged due to fibroids, they can bump into each other, making it harder for that stool to exit from your rectum. At that point, constipation can become a problem. In fact, even when your rectum is empty, pressure from your uterus can make it feel like you need to pass stool, a condition known as tenesmus.

Do all Fibroids Cause Constipation?

While this is always a potential fibroid side effect, you’re most likely to experience constipation if you have large fibroids. For that reason, it’s important to explore your treatment options as soon as you receive a diagnosis, before these tumors increase in size.

Still, fibroid location also plays a role in your risk for constipation. As such, fibrids that form toward the back of your uterus—closest to your rectum—are the ones most likely to impact your bowel movements.

Diagnosing Constipation due to Fibroids

So many conditions can lead to constipation that this symptom rarely leads to a fibroid diagnosis. Unfortunately, that means delaying a fibroid diagnosis could leave you seeking ineffective constipation relief.

Want to find lasting relief from constipation and other symptoms caused by fibroids? Our team of Atlanta-based fibroid experts are here to help. Call the office today or click here to schedule a fibroid treatment consultation!

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