Types of Fibroids

The most common type of fibroids, intramural fibroid tumors, typically develop within the uterine wall and expand from there. When an intramural fibroid tumor expands, it tends to make the uterus feel larger than normal, which can sometimes be mistaken for pregnancy or weight gain. This type of fibroid tumor can also cause “bulk symptoms” which include excessive menstrual bleeding that may cause prolonged menstrual cycles and clot passing, and pelvic pain that is caused by the additional pressure placed on surrounding organs by the growth of the fibroid.

Subserosal fibroids typically develop on the outer uterine wall. This type of fibroid tumor can continue to grow outward and increase in size. The growth of a subserosal fibroid tumor will put additional pressure on the surrounding organs, causing pelvic pain and pressure, and tend not to interfere with a women’s typical menstrual flow. Depending on the severity of the location of the fibroids, other complications may accompany pain and pressure such as bloating, indigestion, constipation, and frequent urination.

These fibroids develop under the lining of the uterine cavity. Large submucosal fibroid tumors may increase the size of the uterus cavity and can block the fallopian tubes, which can cause complications with fertility. Associated symptoms with submucosal fibroids include very heavy, excessive menstrual bleeding and prolonged menstruation. These symptoms can also cause the passing of clots and frequent soiling accidents. Untreated, prolonged or excessive bleeding can cause more complicated problems such as anemia and/or fatigue, which could potentially lead to a future need for blood transfusions.

This type of uterine fibroid occurs when a fibroid tumor grows on a stalk, resulting in pedunculated submucosal or subserosal fibroids. These fibroids can grow into the uterus and/or outside of the uterine wall. Symptoms associated with pedunculated fibroid tumors include pain and pressure as the fibroid may sometimes twist on the stalk.

A woman may have one or all of these types of fibroids. Some fibroid tumors don’t produce any symptoms at all, while others can be severely symptomatic. It is common for a woman to have multiple fibroid tumors and it may be difficult to understand which fibroid is causing specific symptoms.