Other possible causes of an enlarged uterus include:
Pelvic congestion syndrome. Rather than a disease, this is a collection of symptoms including chronic dull pain, pressure, and heaviness in the pelvis that worsen after long periods of standing or during or just after sexual intercourse. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to be associated with varicose veins in the abdomen that develop during pregnancy and continue to grow over time. Pain medications or a procedure to block off the affected veins may relieve symptoms.
Contraceptive use. Use of both intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control pills can cause swelling or thickening of the uterine walls, resulting in an enlarged uterus.
Cancer. In some cases, an enlarged uterus can be a symptom of uterine cancers, including endometrial cancer (affecting the lining of the uterus) and cervical cancer (affecting the lower portion of the uterus where it joins the vagina). Treatment depends on the location, the extent of the cancer, and other factors.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Uterus
If you have an enlarged uterus, you won't necessarily notice it yourself. Your doctor may discover it during a physical exam or on imaging tests. Many conditions that cause an enlarged uterus are benign and don't require treatment unless symptoms are severe.
If you experience problems such as irregular bleeding; painful, heavy periods; pain during intercourse; or feelings of fullness or pressure in the lower abdomen, see your doctor, who can help determine the cause and best treatment.
The National Uterine Fibroids Foundation: "The Uterus."
Kido, A. Radio Graphics, November/December 2003.
womenshealth.gov: "Uterine Fibroids."
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "Uterine Fibroids."
Columbia University Health Q & A Internet Service: "Pelvic Congestion -- Is It a Real Condition?"
Vein Directory.org: "Pelvic Congestion Syndrome."
Albers, J.R. American Family Physician, April 15, 2004.