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.”
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
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.
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 grow very fast and get very large. They are the result of:
- Elevated levels the hormones estrogen and progesterone
- Pregnancy – because the above hormone levels increase during that time
And you are at increased risk if:
- You have a family history
- Are African American
- Are over the age of 30
High blood pressure and obesity also appear to be linked, but cannot be said to cause fibroids based upon current research. According to the National Institutes of Health 70 to 80% of women over 50 have fibroids. The vast majority of these women do not have symptoms. But African American women are more likely to have symptomatic fibroids and to experience them at a much younger age.
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, if it becomes larger it will become more apparent and uncomfortable for the person. Because this mass can be so large and heavy it can cause noticeable weight gain.
Warning Signs that Your Weight Gain May be Fibroids
Normal Causes of Weight Gain
To recognize the warning signs, first we need to briefly look and normal causes for weight gain among women. The usual causes of weight gain are as follows:
- You’ve not been eating as well as you normally do.
- You are eating more than you normally do.
- You aren’t getting as much exercise as you normally do.
- You are eating high sodium meals that are causing water retention (bloating).
- You are pregnant.
But when weight gain is unexplained. Or you are working out, but don’t seem to be getting results in your mid-section, there could be something else going on.
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 and if in doubt always visit your Doctor.
The common symptoms of fibroids are:
- 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 (Again, you know what’s normal)
- Increased urination, due to extra pressure on your bladder not unlike that experienced during pregnancy
- Painful Intercourse
- Prolonged period
- Pressure or feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
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 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 pain during sex. 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 fibroid 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, a 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.
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 including an imaging procedure 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 and fibroid symptoms, feel free to contact us at 1 (866) 479-1523bloated fibroids side effects symptoms weight gain