Fibroids primarily affect women during their thirties and forties, and yes, unfortunately fibroids can often cause weight gain. One might call it a “double whammy” for women.
What Is a Fibroid?
Women who haven’t experienced any symptoms of a fibroid may not know what they are, so a brief definition may be in order. A fibroid is a benign tumor usually found in the tissue of the uterus. They may be so small that they can only be detected by highly advanced diagnostic imaging tests, and may be so small that they don’t present any noticeable symptoms in the patient. There are also larger types that can develop, but in all cases, these growths of tissue are not cancerous.
Pregnancy and hormone swings during menstrual cycles produce a surge in estrogen, feeding the fibroid and causing it to grow. Women taking postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT), along with African American women are both at higher risk to develop fibroids.
Common Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Even if you have not been diagnosed with fibroids, you should still be aware and watchful of the following common symptoms.
If you experience frequent pelvic pain, feel the urge to urinate more often, are constipated, or are bothered by backache and leg pain, it’s possible that these may all be the result of uterine fibroids. Long menstrual bleeding cycles and intense pelvic pain can be another sign, as well as painful intercourse.
Weight Gain and Bloating
Fibroids cause weight gain and bloating due to a hormonal imbalance or the size of the fibroid. Larger fibroids may cause a woman to gain weight in the abdomen, giving the appearance of normal belly fat.
Simply put, the more a fibroid grows, the heavier it will become. Consequently, weight gain and discomfort will follow as some fibroids can weigh up to as much as 20-40 pounds. This swelling and bloating can even make a woman look pregnant.
The Weight Gain and Fibroid Cycle
A woman with fibroids may have long menstrual cycles with excessive bleeding. Losing an inordinate amount of blood can trigger anemia, resulting in fatigue from the iron deficiency.
The excess weight, combined with anxiety, discomfort, and fatigue may cause a woman to begin a cycle of:
- Overeating and craving foods with higher calorie content
- Reducing the amount of exercise she normally performs
- This combination can turn into even more added pounds without the woman even realizing what is happening
If you are experiencing unexpected weight gain, it could be due to fibroids. Consider whether you have any of the standard symptoms of fibroids, and then evaluate if you have changed what you eat or how much, and if you are being consistent with your exercise routine.
If you discover your weight gain is unexpected and unexplained, it may very well be time to consult with a specialist. To book an appointment with a fibroid expert from Denver Fibroids, please call our local office today at (303) 805-7477!