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Is my 5 cm fibroid causing my back pain?

Dear Dr. Parker,

Thank you for being so available via email. I have never blogged nor responded to this type of med info. I was drawn to your information and presentation of same.

I have a 5cm submucosal fibroid, with no abnormal bleeding. The only symptom I appear to have is severe back ache, and pelvic (hip) pain. I have had an ultra sound, MRI, CT, saline infusion sonogram and an endometrial biopsy. I am 48 and not in menopause. I am healthy and have had two children naturally. Take no other meds.

All the doctors I have seen want to operate. They say the uterine size is an issue. I would like to keep my uterus, cervix, etc intact. Drs. say I am a great candidate for laparoscopic supracervial hysterectomy. Lupron does not interest me. Uterine Artery Embolization does not interest me. Hysteroscopy resection is now less of an option, they say this would have to be done numerous times because of size and Lupron needed.

My question – Would getting off the birth control pill (Ortho Novum 1/35 28 day) be of any benefit? Would this help in reducing the feed of hormones to the fibroid? Along with change in diet, deleting red meat, etc.

Would appreciate any reply or thought on this.

Thank you,

Dr. Parker’s Reply

I doubt that a 5 cm submucosal fibroid would be causing back pain. 5 cm is not big and if it is submucosal it is bulging inward towards the uterine cavity, not outward towards your back. I would recommend you get an opinion from a back specialist before you have a surgery that won’t help you. The MRI should also be able to see if the fibroid is pressing against the spine.

If the fibroid is only 5 cm, then a laparoscopic myomectomy would also be feasible, as would a laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. If MRI shows that most of the fibroid is in the uterine cavity, then hysteroscopic myomectomy should be possible if performed by a skilled hysteroscopic surgeon.

Birth control pills neither make the fibroids grow or shrink, so stopping the pill should not make a difference. The studies on diet are hard to do, but one study shows women have fewer (not smaller) fibroids if they never eat red meat.

You might also consider seeing a gynecologist who sees a lot of women with fibroids to make sense out of all of this for you.

Bill Parker, MD


Disclaimer: The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained on this web site are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision.


  1. tina
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    Dear doctor,

    I have a 5cm fibroid within the uterus, i have been trying to conceive for 3+ years and been having variable cycle and recently very heavy bleeding and long mestral cycle and anaemia. My doctor said the fabroid is not the cause of my infertility but i have my doubt.

    Now am thinking of going for a surgery since i have no success in taking clomid for two cycle with one cycle to go.
    Whats do you suggestion please.

  2. Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    If the fibroid is bulging into the uterine cavity, it could certainly decrease your fertility and removal would increase your fertility. Also, these types of fibroids, called submucous fibroids, also cause heavy bleeding. So, removal should help with this problem as well.

    Bill Parker, MD

  3. Stacy
    Posted July 14, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Parker,
    I am 31 and recently found out in February I have an intramural fibroid 3 cm in size. From what I can tell, my periods changed dramatically in October which caused heavy bleeding. My gyn recommended I get an IUD to subdue the bleeding so I did and it has helped tremendously. Last week I went back to my gyn and discovered my fibroid is now 5 cm. Would this be considered rapid growth? How frequently should I get it checked? I was recently married and as of right now, my husband and I don’t want to have children but would like to discuss by the time I am 34. I just don’t want to end up without my uterus one day…any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  4. Laura Bagan
    Posted December 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I have had terrible right leg,hip,knee,lower back pain for the last 3 months. I had uterine fibroid embolization on my right side 2003. My last ultrasound in November showed uterine size of 13 X 7cm. Largest of three fibroids are located on top of uterus and measure 4.5 cm. The fibroids do not seem to be getting larger. I am 45 and had one miscarriage, no children. Could my enlarged uterus cause pressure on back muscles? I also have fibroymalgia. Right now I am seeing a physical therapist for sacroiliac pain. During the last three months when I get my period, my butt muscles on the right side become knotted and tight. Any comments, suggested are welcomed. Thank you.

Fibroid Doctor William H. Parker

Dr. William H. Parker is a board-certified Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Parker is an internationally recognized expert in fibroid surgery and research. Based in San Diego, California, he is considered one of the best fibroid surgeons for abdominal and laparoscopic myomectomy in the United States and abroad. He has been chosen for Best Doctors in America and Top Doctors every year beginning in the late 90's.

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