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.
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
Testing and Treatment for Fibroids
Only a doctor can determine if your weight gain and other symptoms are the result of fibroids. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should contact the Fibroid Treatment Center to determine if your symptoms are the result of fibroids and, if so, discuss treat treatment options. Remember, while symptomatic fibroids are less common, those that do cause symptoms can grow fast and become very large. If something does not feel right about your body, you should always talk with a doctor.