You’ve put on pounds. Maybe developed a pooch you can’t get rid of. Could it be fibroids? Consultation with a doctor and radiological imaging are really the only ways to know for sure. But if you’ve been experiencing unexpected weight gain and haven’t changed your eating habits, if your stomach is expanding and you know you’re not pregnant, if you have abdominal bloating for no apparent reasons- fibroids may be the cause.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are a common occurrence in women over 30 years of age. In fact, they are the most frequently diagnosed among female reproductive tumors. A fibroid is a benign tumor that appears in uterine tissue. They are predominantly composed of muscle cells and fibrous tissue found in the uterus. It’s important to know that they are not cancerous. Though the word ‘tumor’ may sound scary, a ‘tumor’ is, by definition, is an unusual tissue growth. Warts are a kind of tumor. Cherry moles are a kind of tumor. They grow and create masses that are sometimes unsightly or inconvenient. But this kind of benign tumor isn’t life threatening.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Them?
According to UCLA Health, “Some estimates state that up to 30 to 77 percent of women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years, although only about one-third of these fibroids are large enough to be detected by a health care provider during a physical examination.”
Fibroids can appear as a single large benign tumor, a cluster of small benign tumors, or mix of both. Despite extensive research, no one has isolated a specific cause for them. We do know they are linked to estrogen. Women with high estrogen levels tend to develop fibroids. It’s also suspected that they are hereditary. If your mother or grandmother had them, it’s very possible you will develop fibroids as well. Certain ethnic groups are more prone to their development than others, such as African-American women, who have the highest incidence of fibroid related issues.
Fibroids, Bloating & Weight Gain
Why do fibroids cause weight gain and abdominal bloating? Let’s start with the idea that fibroid tumors can be so tiny they are hardly detectable. But they have the capacity to grow very large, very fast. Estrogen surges, such as those during pregnancy, or pre-menopausal hormone swings, can cause a growth spurt. Environmental influences like diet or stress may play a part. Whatever the reason, suddenly, a fibroid that was no bigger than a pinhead, begins to grow. The larger it gets, the heavier it gets. As fibroids gain weight, you will too.
Other Fibroid Symptoms to Look Out For
Outside of bloating and weight gain, there are other fibroid symptoms to be aware of. Heavier or unusually long menstrual periods and sometimes bleeding between menstrual periods are a common of those suffering from fibroids. Depending on the patient, the fibroid tumor may also apply pressure to certain internal, pelvic organs causing pelvic pain, lower back pain, or painful intercourse. When being checked by a doctor, a firm mass can often be felt near the middle of the pelvis. Keep in mind these symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient, however it is best to be aware of any and all signs of fibroids so you may seek treatment as soon as possible.
What Is The Solution?
You have a range of treatment options. Surgery is certainly one of them. A hysterectomy involves surgically removing the uterus, obviously ruling out any future pregnancies. A myomectomy involves a procedure that surgical attempts to remove the fibroids while leaving the uterus intact. Additionally, certain drugs may be prescribed that suppress estrogen levels in an attempt to rein in the effects of fibroids.
More and more women are opting for an alternative, non-surgical approach called Uterine Fibroid Embolization. UFE is a low-trauma, minimally invasive procedure. It stops fibroids by restricting their blood supply. They can only grow when they have plenty of blood to bring them oxygen and nutrients. Starve a fibroid of blood, it begins to shrink and dwindle. Uterine Fibroid Embolization selectively targets the blood vessels feeding into each fibroid. By blocking blood in a very precise way, UFE eliminates the things they need to exist. Because embolization is very exact, it only blocks vessels supplying fibroids. Blood supply to the rest of the uterus is unaffected.
UFE is an extremely precise, extremely effective way to end a fibroid problem. Read more to find out why and how embolization works.bloated fibroids side effects symptoms weight gain