From conception to delivery, a woman’s uterus can grow from the size of a pear to the size of a watermelon. But pregnancy isn’t the only potential reason for an enlarged uterus. An fibroid is common and can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions, some of which require treatment.
Causes and symptoms
A number of common conditions can cause a uterus to stretch beyond its normal size.
The uterus normally fits into the pelvis. When you’re pregnant, your growing baby will cause your uterus to increase in size 1,000 times, from the size of a clenched fist to a watermelon or larger by the time you deliver.
Fibroids are tumors that can grow inside and outside the uterus. Experts aren’t sure what causes them. Hormonal fluctuations or genetics may contribute to the development of these growths. According to Trusted Source, up to 80 percent of women have experienced fibroids by the time they turn 50.
Fibroids are rarely cancerous, but they can cause:
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- painful periods
- discomfort during sex
- lower back pain
Some fibroids are small and may not cause any noticeable symptoms.
Others can grow so large that they weigh several pounds and can enlarge the uterus to such an extent that you may look several months pregnant.
Adenomyosis is a condition in which the uterine lining, called the endometrium, grows into the uterine wall. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but adenomyosis is tied to estrogen levels.
Most women see a resolution of their symptoms after menopause. That’s when the body stops producing estrogen and periods cease. The symptoms are similar to those of fibroids and include:
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- painful cramping
- pain with sex
Women may also notice tenderness and swelling in their lower abdomen. Women with adenomyosis can have a uterus that is double or triple its normal size.
Cancers of the uterus, endometrium, and cervix can all produce tumors. Depending on the size of the tumors, your uterus can swell.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Uterus
If you have an enlarged uterus, you won’t necessarily notice it yourself. Your doctor may discover it during a physical exam or on imaging tests. Many conditions that cause an enlarged uterus are benign and don’t require treatment unless symptoms are severe.
If you experience problems such as irregular bleeding; pain, heavy periods; pain during intercourse; or feelings of fullness or pressure in the lower abdomen, see your doctor, who can help determine the cause and best treatment.
Many women do not know they have an enlarged uterus. Usually, a doctor discovers this condition during a physical exam or with imaging tests.
In most cases, an enlarged uterus is a benign condition and does not require treatment unless a person has severe symptoms and pain.
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