dp Fibroids & Weight Gain In Women - Common Fibroid Symptoms

Fibroids and Weight Gain

Woman Has Stomach Ache Sitting on Bench at Park

Can Fibroids cause Weight Gain?

If you want the short answer: Absolutely! Uterine Fibroids are a non-cancerous overgrowth in muscles and tissues in the uterus. Some are small and go unnoticed by the person who has them. Others can weigh as many as 20 pounds. That is a lot of extra weight in the abdomen. And it can lead to pain, bloating and discomfort.

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.”

Also, according to the National Institutes of Health, 70-80% of women over 50 have fibroids. Despite extensive research, no one has isolated a specific cause for them. The only conclusion is that they are quite common.

Fibroids, Bloating & Weight Gain

Let’s start with the fact that fibroid tumors can be so tiny they are hardly detectable.

The larger it gets, the heavier it gets. As it gains weight, you will too.

What the Theories Are

We do know they are linked to estrogen. That is, women with higher estrogen levels tend to develop fibroids. There is also suspicion that they are hereditary. If your mother or grandmother had them, you might develop fibroids as well. Certain ethnic groups appear more prone than others. African-American women seem to have the highest incidence of fibroid-related issues and at younger ages.

High blood pressure and obesity also appear to be linked, but cannot be said to cause fibroids based upon current research. The vast majority of these women do not have symptoms.

And you are at increased risk if:

  • You have a family history
  • Are African American
  • Are over the age of 30

Bloating & Weight Gain

Let’s start with the fact that fibroid tumors can be so tiny they are hardly detectable. The larger it gets, the heavier it gets. As it gains weight, you will too.

Why Fibroids Cause Weight Gain

Uterine fibroids start out very small. For many women, they stay small and cause no symptoms or complications. But in others, fibroids can grow to substantial sizes. They can 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 also play a part. Whatever the reason, a fibroid that was no bigger than a pinhead suddenly begins to grow.

Reasons for Sudden Fibroid Growth

  • Elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone
  • Pregnancy – because the above hormone levels increase during that time
  • Diet changes

Because the swelling is in the abdominal area, these benign tumors can even be mistaken for signs of pregnancy. While this mass is not cancerous, the larger it becomes, the more uncomfortable it is. The weight of the mass itself can cause noticeable weight gain.

Warning Signs that Your Weight Gain May be Fibroids

Typical Causes of Weight Gain

To recognize the warning signs, we need to look at regular causes for weight gain among women.

The usual causes of weight gain are:

  • You’ve not been eating as well as you usually do.
  • You are eating more than usual.
  • You aren’t getting as much exercise.
  • You are eating high-sodium meals that are causing water retention (bloating).
  • You are pregnant.

Signs that weight gain could be fibroids

One of the signs of fibroids is unexplained weight gain. But you will want to evaluate the weight gain as it relates to other symptoms. When in doubt, always visit your doctor.

Most Common Fibroid Symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding between periods
  • Abnormally heavy bleeding during periods (you know what’s normal for you)
  • Pain in the pelvis and lower back, which you may only identify as discomfort at first
  • More severe menstrual cramping
  • Increased urination, due to extra pressure on your bladder (not unlike that experienced during pregnancy)
  • Painful intercourse
  • Prolonged periods
  • Pressure or feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder

Keep in mind these symptoms vary significantly from patient to patient. However, it is best to be aware of all possible signs so you may seek fibroid treatment as soon as possible.

Fibroids and Weight Loss

Fibroid growth is triggered by estrogen, which can be overproduced by excess abdominal fat. This means that the more overweight you are, the more susceptible you are to fibroids, which may cause you to gain even more weight. This weight gain may be inadvertent, as other fibroid symptoms such as pain, pressure, and excessive bleeding may force women to limit their physical activity.

A great way to reduce fibroid burden, or prevent fibroid growth in some cases, is weight loss. This is particularly important if you are already carrying excess abdominal fat. Not only will you be healthier overall, but also it can slow fibroid growth, and relive some symptoms, such as a swollen midsection and abdominal pain and pressure.

You may be thinking that exercise may be impossible with the debilitating symptoms of your fibroids. However, changing your diet and cutting calories with light physical activity can make a difference. Simply by walking more and eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. An easy way to kick start your diet is to exchange some high calorie processed foods or sugary drinks for low calorie whole foods options. This could be as simple as switching that bag of chips for a piece of fruit as an afternoon snack.

Weight Loss After UFE

In most cases UFE can shrink to a size where they are not visible on the outside. It depends, however, on the size of your fibroid(s) and the amount of time it takes for them to shrink. Because UFE does not completely remove the fibroid, there is the possibility that a slight protrusion in the stomach will remain. However, whether or not this will be the case is different for each patient. If this is a main concern for you, you should discuss it with your physician and see if embolization is right for you.

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 consists of a procedure that surgically 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.

Low-Trauma Options

More and more women are opting for an alternative, a non-surgical approach called Uterine Fibroid Embolization. UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that 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, and it begins to shrink.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization selectively targets the blood vessels feeding into each fibroid. By precisely blocking blood, UFE eliminates its lifeline. Because embolization is so exact, it only blocks vessels supplying fibroids. Blood supply to the rest of the uterus is unaffected.

UFE is an extremely precise and effective method to end a fibroid problem. Read more to find out why and how embolization works.

Do you have symptoms for fibroids?

If you think you have fibroids, schedule an appointment for a professional diagnosis. One of our fibroid surgeons will talk to you about your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam. We may order further testing, such as an ultrasound.

If diagnosed, uterine fibroid embolization may be your best treatment option. It has a 90% to 95% success rate with patients, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Here at the Fibroid Treatment Collective, we offer free consultations in-office or over the phone. For more information on fibroids, contact us at 1 (866) 479-1523. We are here to answer all your questions and help you return to health.


After Fibroid Embolization, Claudia Was Back to High Heels Within Days

Claudia was preparing herself for a major surgery to treat fibroids when she heard about the Fibroid Treatment Collective. After reading patient testimonials and visiting Dr. McLucas in LA, she learned that she could preserve her fertility and avoid surgery. One week later, she was pain-free, fibroid-free, and back to wearing high heels.

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