Enlarged Uterus – Causes And Symptoms
Anatomically, the size of a non-pregnant uterus is about the size of human fist. However, during pregnancy, human uterus can grow as big as a soccer ball to accommodate the growing fetus. Besides physiological reasons like pregnancy, uterus can also get enlarged in some pathological or disease conditions. In most cases, enlarged uterus due to an underlying disease is symptomatic for other reasons as well such as bleeding tendency, infertility, abdominal pain and back cramps to list a few.
Listed below are some common causes of enlarged uterus.
Causes Of Enlarged Uterus
It has been observed that mild to moderate enlargement of uterus is generally overlooked by women. In fact, enlarged uterus are usually diagnosed as incidental finding during routine pelvic examinations. Here are some common causes of enlarged uterus
- Uterine Fibroids: Fibroids are benign or non-cancerous growths that are regarded as the common cause of enlarged uterus. Fibroids are formed by non-malignant growth of endometrial lining that may range in size from a few centimeters to as big as several pounds heavy. Although, enlarged uterus is more common in post-menopausal women; fibroids occur mostly in younger reproductive aged females. According to latest estimates, about 50 – 80% fibroids occur in women under 50 years of age. Fibroids may be asymptomatic or may present with abnormal uterine bleeding, abdominal or back pain, etc. Larger fibroids can put pressure on the rectum, urinary bladder and other organs to cause a variety of complications.
- Endometrial cancer: Uterine cancer is most frequently reported in elderly women (over the age of 55 years). According to new estimates, about 61,380 new cases of uterine cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in the year 2017. Uterine malignancy often presents with abnormal bleeding and uterine enlargement.
- Adenomyosis: This condition is characterized by excessive growth of endometrial lining on the muscular wall of uterus. The symptomatology mimics uterine fibroids; such as painful menstrual bleeding due to endometrial bleeding on uterine muscle wall, abdominal pain and swelling. In poorly managed cases, a swelling is formed on the uterine wall (also known as adenomyoma) that may be confused with uterine fibroids on physical examination as well as on the ultrasound. According to a new study adenomyosis affects 20% of the general population.
- Menopause: Uterus often shrinks in women after menopause, but during peri-menopausal period, uterine enlargement may occur due to hormonal imbalance.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome: PCOS is a fairly common cause of enlarged uterus and is characterized by formation of large cystic masses in the ovaries along with a variety of hormonal irregularities that can interfere with monthly menstrual cycles, infertility and other physical symptoms.
It is noteworthy that uterine enlargement is a serious symptom that may often presents with other serious symptoms such as:
- Anemia due to excessive uterine bleeding
- Weight gain due to hormonal irregularities
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Watery discharge
- Urinary frequency and urgency
Speak to an expert if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above to minimize the risk of life-threatening complications.
- Ceccaroni, M., Roviglione, G., Pesci, A., Quintana, S., Bruni, F., & Clarizia, R. (2014). Total laparoscopic hysterectomy of very enlarged uterus (3030 g): case report and review of the literature. Videosurgery and Other Miniinvasive Techniques, 9(2), 302.