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URMC / Obstetrics & Gynecology / Fibroid Center / Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Many women with uterine fibroids do not experience symptoms. In these cases, it may not be necessary to have any treatment for fibroids.

In women who do have symptoms, these are the most common:

  • Heavy periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Lower back pain
  • Pressure on the bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Pressure on the rectum
  • Constipation
  • Pain during intercourse

How Fibroids are Diagnosed

Fibroids are frequently diagnosed during a routine pelvic examination. If your doctor notices a firm and irregular mass, he or she may refer you for one of the following tests:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound. A small transducer is inserted into the vagina. Images are then created with sound waves that are reflected off the inside of the uterus.
  • Hysterosonography. An ultrasound examination that uses a sterile saline solution to expand the uterus, helping to provide a better view of the uterine cavity and to detect any fibroids in the cavity.
  • Transabdominal ultrasound. A transducer that emits sound waves is placed on the belly to create images of the uterus and any fibroids.
  • Hysterosalpingography. An x-ray examination of the uterus that uses a dye to provide a better picture of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It is also used to rule out other possible conditions, such as a tubal obstruction.
  • Hysteroscopy. This procedure lets your doctor perform a visual inspection of the cavity of the uterus with a small instrument, called a hysteroscope, that is inserted into the vagina.
  • MRI. High resolution images are created with the use of a large magnet. MRI provides a more detailed picture than ultrasound, allowing better identification of lesions and their exact locations in three dimensions.