You’ve put on pounds. Maybe developed a pooch you can’t get rid of. You haven’t changed your diet and you are not pregnant. Could it be fibroids? Consultation with a fibroid specialist and radiological imaging are really the only ways to know for sure. VIVA EVE offer the most advanced fibroids treatments available in the USA. Make an appointment today in our fibroids treatment clinic to get your evaluation and treatment. Meet our doctors, they are the best rated fibroid specialists in NYC.
Weight gain and a bloated stomach are not well-known as symptoms of fibroids. Understanding what fibroids are, how to determine if they are behind your weight gain and bloat, and how to treat them if they are, is important in getting relief from the symptoms that can range from mild to debilitating.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign tumors in the uterus that primarily affect women over 30. While the word “tumor” might sound scary, fibroids are not cancerous, they are just unusual tissue growths that can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but not life threatening.
There is no known cause of fibroids (despite extensive research). What is known is that they appear with the greatest frequency in African American women and are influenced by the amount of estrogen in a woman’s body. The more estrogen present in a woman’s body, the more likely she is to develop fibroids. Fibroids also appear to be at least partially genetic: women with a mother or grandmother who developed fibroids are more likely to develop them as well.
Fibroids can come in many sizes and numbers. There can be one small fibroid, clusters of small fibroids, or large fibroids in the uterus.
What causes symptoms of fibroids like weight gain and abdominal bloating?
The most likely cause of weight gain and abdominal bloating with fibroids is the growth of the fibroids themselves. For example, a very tiny fibroid might begin to grow in the presence of estrogen surges (such as those that occur during pregnancy or pre-menopause).
In addition to weight gain, you usually have other symptoms that indicate you have fibroids, such as:
- Pain in pelvis or lower back
- Heavy bleeding between periods
- Prolonged periods with severe cramping
- Abdominal swelling
- Increased urge to urinate
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Painful intercourse
Which Comes First: Fibroids or Weight Gain?
According to a gynecologist specializing in fibroids, there are several reasons for a connection between fibroids and weight gain. Several reasons you may gain weight because of fibroids also tend to be the same issues that researchers believe lead to the development of fibroid tumors to begin with, such as:
- Elevated hormone levels
- Family history
- Race (African American women have an increased risk for fibroids)
When fibroids grow larger, they add to your weight. Although most fibroids are tiny, rare fibroids have grown to over 100 pounds. Growing fibroids push on other organs, particularly your bowels. You may experience constipation, blocked intestines or a feeling of fullness. Fibroids located over your uterus can cause the appearance of abdominal swelling.
Heavy bleeding during your periods may have led to blood loss and reduced iron levels. This causes anemia — and feelings of fatigue and lethargy — which you may try to combat with comfort eating. So, fibroids also indirectly cause weight gain.
What are the treatments for large fibroids in the uterus?
If your uterine fibroid specialist determines that the cause of your weight gain is fibroids, you can start a treatment plan right away. If your fibroids are producing mild symptoms, your fibroid treatment team at VIVA EVE may suggest just watching and waiting to see whether the fibroids grow larger, or cause any more discomfort. Other treatments for your fibroids and weight gain include:
- Medication to regulate hormones and shrink fibroids
- Uterine fibroid embolization
The last treatment mentioned, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is becoming increasingly popular among women. This minimally invasive procedure cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. As a result, the fibroids are unable to continue growing, and instead begin to shrink and die off. One of the advantages of UFE is the fact that it very precisely targets the blood vessels that are supplying the fibroids with oxygen and nutrients. As a result, it is capable of killing off the fibroid without blocking blood flow anywhere else in the uterus.
Your fibroid doctor at VIVA EVE will thoroughly evaluate all test results before recommending a treatment plan. In addition to a medical treatment of fibroid uterus, lifestyle changes such as becoming more active and following a healthy eating plan may be recommended to assist with weight loss.
Visit your uterine fibroid specialist at VIVA EVE in Forest Hills to find out for sure if your unexplained weight gain is due to fibroids. Many women often jump through hoops trying to lose weight when all they need is an evaluation by the fibroid experts at VIVA EVE.
In the end, the key to choosing the right treatment for large fibroids in the uterus is to get the right diagnosis and familiarize yourself with all available options. The VIVA EVE team is here to help you get rid of your fibroids and find a treatment option that is right for you.