Weight Loss and Uterine Fibroids
In the United States, an estimated 26 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 have uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous growths that develop in or on the uterus.
Fibroids can cause a range of painful and inconvenient symptoms, including heavy periods, severe cramps, and low energy due to anemia. Although not usually dangerous, they can impact fertility and damage surrounding organs.
There are many risk factors for uterine fibroids. Some of these include:
- Age: If you are of childbearing age, you are more likely to develop fibroids. After menopause, fibroids often shrink.
- Race: Women of African-American descent are three times more likely to have uterine fibroids. They may also suffer from more severe symptoms.
- Genetics: Fibroids tend to run in families. If you have a close relative with fibroids, you are more likely to develop them.
- Lifestyle: We believe that lifestyle choices can influence fibroid growth. Eating a healthy diet, being active, and maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) may decrease your risks.
- Underlying health conditions: Certain health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can impact uterine fibroid growth. We suggest consulting your doctor to control these risk factors.
Here’s what you need to know about fibroids and weight loss.
If I Lose Weight, Will My Fibroids Shrink?
It is widely understood that fibroids are influenced by hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Fibroids tend to grow during times of increased hormones in the body, like during pregnancy.
We also know that fat cells secrete hormones. In other words, the more fat cells you have, the more hormones are secreted. Will losing weight shrink fibroids? Maintaining a healthy BMI can help keep your hormones in check, which may help prevent fibroids or slow their growth.
Can You Lose Weight If You Have Fibroids?
Unfortunately, maintaining a healthy weight with fibroids can be challenging. Along with making weight loss difficult, uterine fibroids can sometimes cause unintended or sudden weight gain.
Weight issues with fibroids can occur because of an enlarged uterus, constipation, and/or menstrual bloating. During heavy periods, you may also reach for unhealthy comfort foods or avoid exercising.
You may be surprised to learn that large fibroids themselves can weigh up to 20 pounds. This is roughly the size of a watermelon.
Some women with fibroids appear to be in their second trimester of pregnancy, which can be devastating to your body image and self-esteem.
To help manage your weight with fibroids, we recommend that you:
- Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet: Your fibroids diet should include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It is best to avoid or limit sodium, added sugars, unhealthy fats, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Exercise regularly: We suggest aiming for at least 30 minutes daily, five days a week. Choose enjoyable activities and consider finding a workout partner or trainer, when safe to do so in your region. One helpful tip is to track your steps with a fitness device; see if you can average 10,000 steps daily.
- Find support: We know that losing weight isn’t always easy. Ask your friends and family for help. For additional support, consider joining a weight loss program. Your doctor may have specific recommendations.
Many of the patients we’ve worked with and the women who have shared their fibroid stories with us experienced difficulty losing weight even when making these lifestyle modifications. If you are struggling to lose weight due to fibroids, we want you to know that there’s help available.
How Uterine Fibroid Treatment Can Help Weight Loss
If your fibroids are contributing to an elevated BMI, you may wish to consider treatment. A fibroid specialist can work with you to determine if fibroids are the underlying cause of your weight gain and make personalized treatment recommendations.
If you are avoiding treatment because you fear surgery, we want you to be aware that you have non-surgical options.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we offer a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE aims to shrink fibroids, alleviate symptoms, and improve your quality of life.
Compared to fibroid surgery, the benefits of UFE include:
- Minimally invasive treatment
- Outpatient procedure
- No hospital stay
- General anesthesia is not required
- Less risk of infection, excessive bleeding, and blood clots
- A short recovery period of one to two weeks
- The uterus remains fully intact, preserving a woman’s fertility
After UFE treatment, you should experience:
- Lighter periods
- Less severe cramps, if any
- More energy
- Normal urination and bowel function
- Less pain with sex, if any
- The potential for weight loss
Request a UFE Consultation With USA Fibroid Centers
If you are experiencing symptoms of fibroids including unintended or sudden weight gain, we invite you to speak with one of our leading fibroid specialists.
At USA Fibroid Centers, our compassionate doctors are available to help determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation. We look forward to helping you take back control of your health.