CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd 2020; 80(03): 316-323
DOI: 10.1055/a-0991-0105
GebFra Science
Original Article/Originalarbeit
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Comparison of Clinical Symptoms of Assumed vs. Actual Uterine Fibroids – Symptoms Described by Patients and Ultrasound Findings

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Nina Isabelle Knudsen
1  Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Klinik für Gynäkologie, Berlin, Germany
Klaus-D. Wernecke
2  SOSTANA GmbH, Berlin, Germany
Heribert Kentenich
3  Fertility Center Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Matthias David
1  Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Klinik für Gynäkologie, Berlin, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 12 February 2019
revised 02 August 2019

accepted 02 August 2019

Publication Date:
30 October 2019 (online)



Purpose How many women assume that they have fibroids but are found not to have fibroids on ultrasound examination? How severe are the physical symptoms reported by these women compared to the symptoms reported by women with actual uterine fibroids? Are the symptoms more severe if the patient believes that she has at least one relatively large (dominant) fibroid or more than 3 fibroids?

Material and Methods A total of 1548 patients completed an anonymous questionnaire in which they were asked about the number of their fibroids, dysmenorrhea and premenstrual symptoms, dyspareunia and bleeding disorders (using a numerical analog scale between 0 – 10). The questionnaire was administered in a hospital-based fibroid clinic. The information provided by the patients was then compared with transvaginal or abdominal ultrasound findings. The symptoms reported by women with and without fibroid(s) were compared.

Results 1045 out of 1548 patients fulfilled the studyʼs inclusion criteria. Contrary to the information they provided, no fibroid(s) were detected in 6% (62 of 1045 patients) of patients on ultrasound examination. Of these women, 87% had dysmenorrhea, 79% had premenstrual pain and 57% reported dyspareunia. The severity of the symptoms was found not to be associated with the assumed size or number of fibroid(s). There was no significant difference in the pain reported by women without and by women with fibroids. Reporting a feeling of strong pressure on the bladder (OR: 1.18) or abdomen (OR: 1.12) or constipation (OR: 1.16) increased the likelihood of detecting a fibroid on ultrasound investigation.

Conclusions The presence of manifest symptoms (dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, premenstrual pain, bleeding disorders) does not allow conclusions to be made about the number or size of fibroids or about which therapy is indicated. Even an erroneous assumption about the presence of fibroids may result in patients experiencing symptoms.