The Relationship between Total Fibroid Burden and First Trimester Bleeding and Pain

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2016 Mar;30(2):115-23. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12256. Epub 2015 Nov 3.


Background: Few studies comment on the association between fibroids and symptoms among pregnant women. These studies generally are retrospective and do not to assess the influence of number of tumours or their volume on risk of symptoms.

Methods: Right from the Start is a prospective cohort that enrolled pregnant women from the southeastern USA between 2000 and 2012. In the first trimester, all participants had standardised ultrasounds to determine the presence or absence of fibroids. Symptoms were queried in a telephone survey. We used polytomous logistic regression to model odds of bleeding, pain, or both symptoms in relation to increasing total fibroid number and volume among white and black women.

Results: Among 4509 participants, the prevalence of fibroids was 11%. Among those reporting symptoms (70%), 11% reported only bleeding, 59% reported only pain, and 30% reported both symptoms. After adjusting for age, race, parity, hypertension, smoking, alcohol use, and study site, increasing number of fibroids was associated with pain [odds ratio (OR) 1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00, 1.33] and both symptoms [OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.08, 1.45] but not with bleeding among all women. Fibroid volume was not associated with symptoms among black women, but white women with the smallest fibroid volumes were more likely to report both symptoms than those without fibroids [OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.17, 2.72].

Conclusions: Very large tumours are not requisite for experiencing symptoms, as small fibroids and increasing number of tumours are associated with pain and both symptoms.

Keywords: leiomyoma; pain; pregnancy; prospective studies; uterine haemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pain / ethnology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / ethnology*
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / complications
  • Uterine Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Whites / ethnology
  • Young Adult