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Fibroids, Your Sex Life, and What to Do About It

Depressed woman in bed with hand on forehead

Uterine fibroids often come with symptoms that can have a significant effect on daily life. One of the common, but often undiscussed challenges is how fibroids impact your sex life. While it isn’t particularly dangerous to have fibroids and engage in intercourse, it can still be a very uncomfortable experience. And certain fibroid symptoms such as weight gain, excessive bleeding and fatigue may contribute to physical and mental issues that cause many women to avoid sex, thanks to fibroids.

Fibroid Symptoms During Sex:

Pelvic and Cervical Pain

Depending on their location, fibroids can have several adverse effects during intercourse. Fibroids that grow along the lining of the uterus, known as submuscosal fibroids, may cause very heavy or unusually prolonged menstrual bleeding. Anxiety, embarrassment or just the fatigue from blood loss can make anyone uninterested or unwilling to engage in sex.

Fibroids located along the outer surface, called subserol fibroids, cause pain by pushing on the pelvic nerves. If the fibroids happen to be on or near the cervix they will make intercourse acutely uncomfortable and may cause spontaneous bleeding. While positions to minimize vaginal penetration may help with this discomfort, sex often becomes a struggle many women choose to avoid.

Weight Gain

Fibroid symptoms such as excessive weight gain and abdominal bloating can negatively impact a woman’s confidence and self-image, reducing her desire to engage with a partner. Very large fibroids, which may extend the uterus to pregnancy dimensions, tend to make sex awkward and unfulfilling.

Heavy Bleeding and Fatigue

A heavy or constant menstrual flow is another significant factor that may inhibit your desire for intercourse. Heavy bleeding that lasts weeks instead of days isn’t just embarrassing or annoying, it can lead to iron and hemoglobin deficiency, a medical condition known as anemia, which causes nausea, dizziness and fatigue.

All of these fibroid symptoms and side-effects take a toll. Not only physically, but also psychologically. Fibroids that impact your sex life have very real consequences. Whether you are married, in a relationship or dating, a medical issue that influences the way you feel about yourself, your body or your sexual desire, shouldn’t be ignored.

Possible Fibroid Symptom Solutions for your Sex Life:

Every woman is different. Every woman’s body is different. There isn’t just one solution to a fibroid problem that’s impacting your sex life. But here are a few simple suggestions that may help. If pelvic and cervical pain are the primary issues, consider changing to one of the following sexual positions to help alleviate pain and pressure:

  • Instead of standard missionary, place a pillow under the buttocks, elevating the angle of penetration
  • Side Lying
  • Doggy Style

Dietary changes that lower estrogen and slow fibroid growth (there is a proven link between estrogen and fibroids) may be useful. Avoiding red meat and dairy, eating more vegetables and organic food, may lessen food-related hormones. While this won’t eliminate fibroids, it may help slow their growth.

Talk to your partner. While fibroids are very personal, so is sex. If fibroids are causing sexual issues and your partner isn’t aware how they affect you, a lack of communication will only cause more problems. A partner who knows you have constraints or physical limitations is far more likely be understanding than someone who assumes you just don’t like sex or don’t like them.

Fibroids that cause life-altering symptoms are not likely to go away by themselves. Yes, there are steps you can take that may lesson uncomfortable intercourse, but professional treatment is ultimately a more practical and lasting solution. Surgeries, like myomectomy, physically remove fibroids. Hysterectomy will remove the uterus and consequently, any uterine fibroids. But something far less drastic or invasive, is a treatment more and more women are choosing: fibroid embolization. Embolization shrinks fibroids instead of surgically removing any tissue or organs. It offers immediate fibroid symptom relief, preserves your fertility, and could get your life (especially your precious and important sex life) back on track.

Is embolization right for you? A free consultation can help you decide.

Can Fibroids Damage Your Kidneys?

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Can Fibroids Damage Your Kidneys

Uterine fibroids are typically known for creating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain, however depending on location and size, they can also present less common problems. For a small percentage of women, fibroids can negatively affect the health of their kidneys.

Fibroids and Kidney Pain

Although fibroids are made of muscle tissue found in the uterus, they can outgrow the space within the uterine walls and expand to a size large enough to affect the ureter. The ureter is the tube that connects the bladder and the kidney. When fibroids down on the ureter, the kidneys swell and develop a condition known as hydronephrosis.

Hydronephrosis is often associated with painful urination, an increased urge to urinate, as well as flank and back pain. In more severe cases, permanent kidney damage may also occur. If you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms or suspect your kidneys may be at risk due to your fibroids, consult with your doctor immediately. Urine and blood tests can show whether your kidneys are functioning properly or at risk.

Fibroid Treatment

For those experiencing kidney complications due to fibroids, removal is essential to alleviate these symptoms. While fibroid surgery like a hysterectomy and myomectomy are commonly utilized, a less invasive procedure such as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) gets the job done without the scars or trauma associated with surgery.

Fibroid embolization works by shrinking the enlarged fibroid that is pressing down on the ureter and affecting the kidneys. By shrinking the fibroid instead of removing it, patients experience a quick and effective procedure with no chance of fibroid regrowth. While the likelihood of uterine fibroids affecting your kidneys is extremely rare, taking the risk is never the answer. If you have noticed fibroid symptoms, learn more about living fibroid-free with embolization by contacting us at: (866) 479-1523.

Tips to Help Reduce Uterine Fibroid Pain

Reduce fibroids pain through several fibroid treatment options

As any woman who has ever suffered from uterine fibroids can tell you, they can be extremely painful. In addition to symptoms like the need to urinate frequently, constipation, heavy menstrual bleeding, or prolonged menstrual periods, fibroids often cause pelvic pressure or pain, backaches, and leg pains. Sometimes this fibroid pain can become acute.

Why are Uterine Fibroids Painful?

Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that develop on the walls or lining of the uterus, most often in women aged 40 – 50. Whether a fibroid is painful, and the severity of pain will depend on its location, size, and number of fibroids present. Fibroids can be painful for many reasons:

  • Sometimes fibroids become painful because they have outgrown their blood supply and begin to die. As the fibroid degenerates, its byproducts can cause abdominal pain.
  • Still other fibroids are painful because they are hanging by a stalk either inside or outside the uterus. These stalks can twist, cutting off the fibroids’ blood supply.
  • When fibroids are outside the uterus, they may press on your bladder, rectum or spinal nerves, causing abdominal pressure and backaches.
  • Fibroids inside your uterine walls can cause the shape of your uterus to become distorted, resulting in both pressure and pain.

Can Fibroids cause Abdominal Pain?

Yes, Fibroids can cause abdominal pain, but it is not the only reason.  Whether it is a mild stomach ache you are suffering from, or sharp pain and cramps, abdominal pain–as mentioned– has many causes. For instance, it might merely be indigestion or constipation. Or perhaps it is a stomach virus, or, if you are a woman, monthly menstrual cramps.

Doctors determine common causes of abdominal pain by relying on physical examinations or tests, the actual characteristics of the pain, and by surgical or endoscopic options.

Fibroid Pain Symptoms Vary

Fibroid pain may be mild or extreme, constant or just occasional. It can flare up during sexual intercourse, bowel movements, exercise, or your period. Pain often radiates down the leg. Discomfort may also result when an enlarged uterus puts pressure on adjacent organs, such as the bladder or bowel. A specific type of fibroid, called ‘pedunculated’, grows on a stalk and causes severe pain if the stalk is twisted.

The Short Term Solutions

Use a Heating Pad.

A heating pad can be a great short term relief to fibroid pain that is in the stomach, although it does not replace a more long term treatment. Fibroids cause inflammation that can completely immobilize a person, and heating the affected areas will increase mobility. This is especially important for your safety if you are driving by yourself, as some fibroid pains can be so intense as to be distracting. Invest in a mobile heating pad if you have a life that is on the go.

OTC Pills for Fibroid PainPick the Appropriate Over the Counter Drug.

Over the counter drugs may also give you some relief from fibroid symptoms in the short term. So called “silent but stable” fibroids that flare up intermittently can be a huge problem in the workplace, and a quick OTC will give you temporary relief until you can find a more permanent solution or at least get some privacy.

OTC drugs for fibroids may come with a vitamin D supplement or as an extract of a natural plant. If you need something stronger, do not proceed until you have consulted with your doctor.

Take Stock of Other Pills You Are Taking.

If you have fibroids with no symptoms, you may not even find out about your own condition until you begin taking a birth control pill or another kind of conflicting medication. If you find that your fibroids flare up after you take another pill, even if it is just a dietary supplement, then stop that regimen immediately and go see your doctor.

Consider Fibroid Embolization.

Fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is conducted by an experienced physician to get rid of the main source of fibroid pain. It does require incisions, but they are small, and there is usually only one required. You will recover much more quickly and have many less side effects and pain from this treatment than from some of the more serious treatments that you may incur if your situation goes untreated for a long time.

Embolization may sometimes be used in the place of a hysterectomy, and studies have shown that just under 90 percent of women experience at least a small amount of relief after the procedure. Embolization helps to reduce the size of fibroids in the body, and the symptoms of fibroids are almost always reduced after the embolization procedure.

The Long Term Solutions

Yoga to Reduce Fibroid PainReduce the Stress in Your Life.

Studies have shown that people who are under more stress are more likely to develop fibroids. Although stress reduction is a long term solution that takes a certain period of time in order to notice physically, you will reduce the overall prevalence of fibroids in your life from this lifestyle change. You will also gradually reduce the symptoms of your fibroids in the present through a healthier lifestyle. You will have less of a use for over the counter solutions and relieve yourself of the side effects of those drugs as well.

Increase Your Vitamin D Intake.

One of the main reasons that African American women are three times more likely to develop fibroids than white women is because of the genetic predisposition towards less natural vitamin D production in the body. Take a vitamin D supplement every day if recommended by your doctor.

Determine Your Fibroid Type.

There are different treatment measures available for uterine fibroids versus calcified fibroids. The tip bellow this (Visit Your Doctor Regularly), although it may seem like a no brainer, will help you with this tip and speed up your overall treatment program exponentially. For instance, if you have a degenerating fibroid, you may require surgery, and it is better to know this earlier rather than later.

Visit Your Doctor Regularly.

Many women have worse problems than they deserve with fibroids because they do not visit the doctor on a regular basis. Only a practiced physician will be able to give you a regulated schedule that is sure to reduce your short term symptoms and better your long term condition. Before you assume that your doctor cannot help you, remember that you have only dealt directly with one case of fibroids: yours. Your doctor has dealt with many cases of fibroids from the many patients that he or she has seen.

Do not give up on your doctor just because the first treatment does not work. Cases of fibroids are different in each person, and it may take a few experiments in order to determine the right mix of treatments. One thing is for sure: You will find the right solution more quickly with a doctor than you would on your own.

There are many ways to deal with fibroids, so choose the method that best fits into your lifestyle. Use the methods above to reduce pain and increase your day to day productivity until you eventually get rid of the problem altogether.

When You are Sick of Living with Uterine Fibroid Pain

Managing the symptoms of your fibroids may work for a time, but for many women, such short-term approaches are not realistic long-term solutions. When it’s time to deal with the fibroid pain once and for all, you have several fibroid treatment options, including:

Non-surgical Fibroid Embolization

Embolization is a popular non-surgical option for dealing with all types of fibroids, whether they are located inside or outside of the uterus. Essentially, embolization deals with uterine fibroids by shutting down their oxygen supply so they shrink.

After the procedure, fibroids begin to shrink immediately and any heavy bleeding is stopped soon after. Embolization also keeps new fibroids from forming after the procedure, which is a major benefit. Embolization is also a popular choice among women who wish to conceive in the future, as the procedure does not affect fertility.

The overall success rate of fibroid embolization is 94%. In fact, the Fibroid Treatment Collective actually performed the very first non-surgical fibroid embolization in the United States in 1994 and has treated thousands of women with embolization since then.

Hysterectomy

When you undergo a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed from your body. In a total hysterectomy, the entire uterine system is removed. Sometimes, a patient and her doctor may choose to remove the uterus but leave the cervix in place, which is known as a sub-total hysterectomy.

Although hysterectomies are used to treat many conditions, uterine fibroids are the most common reason for the surgery, accounting for up to half of all hysterectomies.

A hysterectomy will permanently remove uterine fibroids because the uterus itself has been removed.

Women who have hysterectomies can no longer bear children.

Most hysterectomies are performed as abdominal surgeries, although some may be handled vaginally. Regardless of how the surgery is performed, a hysterectomy is a major surgical operation requiring a lengthy recovery time, so it is important to fully understand the potential risks and benefits before deciding to go this route.

Myomectomy

A myomectomy is also a surgical procedure designed to remove fibroids from the uterus. This type of procedure may be done abdominally, laproscopically, or hysteroscopically (vaginally.)

Unlike a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is removed, a myomectomy only removes the fibroid tumors themselves. This is good news for women who want to be able to conceive after the removal of their uterine fibroids, however there are some side effects to this type of procedure that may make it a less attractive option for women in their child-bearing years.

Although the uterus itself is not removed, a myomectomy procedure can cause uterine scarring that can affect fertility. Women may also experience problems with loss of blood, especially when large fibroids are removed.

Uterine fibroids can re-develop after a myomectomy, with a regrowth potential of 30% or more, depending on a woman’s age.

Conclusion

Not everyone is a candidate for embolization, hysterectomy or myomectomy, and just as with any medical procedure, there are potential side effects with each of these options. Discuss your symptoms and the pros and cons of each possible treatment option with your doctor before making a decision on fibroid treatment.

To find out if a non-surgical fibroid embolization, a hysterectomy or a myomectomy is right for you, contact us today online, or call the Fibroid Treatment Collective at (866) 479-1523.

The Fibroid epidemic in black women

Fibroids in Black Women

Fibroids affect more than 40% of women, occurring 3 times more in black women. In fact, studies show that fibroids actually occur more frequently and at younger ages in black women than in women of any other race. For many of these women, younger onset and larger fibroids can lead to very severe symptoms of bleeding and pain.

Some may wonder if this disproportionate effect on black women is the result of genetics, or the social inequities in the US healthcare system. It is no secret that many minority groups do not have the same access to healthcare and insurance in the US, despite the recent improvements in healthcare coverage. What is even more problematic is that there is no free way to fix fibroids, such as lifestyle changes or taking a magic pill. It is true that a healthy diet and exercise can have positive impacts on overall well-being, but once fibroids have grown to a large enough size to cause problems, they do not shrink.

Furthermore, more African American women are not offered minimally invasive procedures to treat fibroids, such as fibroid embolization, and undergo unnecessary hysterectomies. Making sure you know and understand your options, and where to find treatment for specific situation with fibroids is important. Listed below are a few tips for finding fibroid treatment that’s right for you.

  1. Stop fibroids and start living. Take your health into your hands, without treatment the problem will not go away.
  2. Research your different options for treatment
  3. Find a doctor you are comfortable with
  4. Find ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, and stress maintainence
  5. Ask your doctor and insurance company about the financial aspects of treatment, they can help you find a treatment within your financial means

For more information please visit http://yourblackworld.net/2012/05/05/black-women-and-fibroids-the-silent-epidemic-thats-screaming-in-our-community-part-3-the-role-of-hair-and-skincare-products/

The Fibroid Treatment Collective (FTC) based in Beverly Hills offers women a minimally noninvasive alternative to a hysterectomy to treat uterine fibroids. Founder of the FTC, Dr. Bruce McLucas, was one of the pioneers of the procedure called the Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) that helps women maintain their fertility and removing symptoms caused by fibroids. For additional information, please visit www.fibroids.com or call our toll free 866.362.6463 to learn more and schedule a consultation.

 

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