Just what is the size of a normal uterus? EverydayHealth.com reported it’s about the size of a clenched fist or a small apple. An enlarged uterus can grow to be twice that size.
Many women don't even realize their uteruses are enlarged. A doctor can detect it during an internal exam, sonogram or CT scan.
Besides pregnancy, there are several causes of an enlarged uterus. According to WebMD, two of the most common causes are uterine fibroids and adenomyosis. Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous tumors of the muscular wall of the uterus, affecting as many as eight in 10 women by the age of 50.
LiveStrong.com reported fibroids usually grow larger as women age, usually until menopause. Fibroids enlarge the uterus and can sometimes be felt in the lower abdomen as hard lumps. They can cause heavy periods and cramping, back pain, urinary difficulty, constipation and abdominal pressure due to the pressure on nearby organs
Adenomyosis is a normally benign, but often painful condition where endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists inside the uterus and grows into its the muscular walls. The symptoms of this condition include heavy periods, spotting between periods and severe menstrual cramping and pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the uterus may increase to double or triple its normal size with adenomyosis. It usually occurs after women have had children, and it disappears after menopause.
There are other possible causes of an enlarged uterus.
Pelvic congestion syndrome has a collection of different symptoms. According to LiveStrong.com, they include chronic dull pain, pressure and heaviness in the pelvis that worsens after long periods of standing, or during/after sexual intercourse. It’s believed to be associated with varicose veins in the abdomen that develop during pregnancy and continue to grow over time.
Some contraception methods can cause an enlarged uterus. Both the intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control pills can cause swelling or thickening of the uterine walls, which in turn can enlarge the uterus.
Advanced uterine cancer can be a more serious cause of an enlarged uterus. Abnormal bleeding after menopause is the main symptom of uterine cancer, which occurs in one-third of cases. LiveStrong.com reported the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center attributes vaginal bleeding after menopause to be uterine cancer until proven otherwise.
For women who experience possible symptoms like irregular or painful periods, pain during intercourse or feelings of fullness or pressure in the lower abdomen, visit your healthcare provider to determine the nature of the problems.
Edited by Kate Kunkel