If you’re experiencing the debilitating effects of uterine fibroids — including painful sex and a low libido — we want you to know that you can still have a healthy sex life and relationship. Although many women with fibroids deal with undesirable symptoms that affect things in the bedroom, there’s help available. Along with openly talking to your partner about what’s going on, we recommend looking into fibroid treatment options. You may be surprised to learn that a low-risk, non-surgical, outpatient procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) can help alleviate your symptoms and quickly get you back to enjoying a fulfilling sex life.
Here’s everything you need to know about sex and fibroids.
Uterine Fibroids and Sex
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow either inside, outside, or within the walls of the uterus. Since fibroids can grow to various sizes and appear in different parts of your uterus, they can cause a wide range of symptoms. Related issues that can impact sex and relationships include:
Fibroids and intercourse can be a difficult subject, but it’s important to acknowledge that fibroids in certain parts of the uterus can cause pain during sexual intercourse and, in some cases, bleeding after sex. The pain comes from the pressure that fibroids place on the uterus, and fibroids that grow close to the cervix can result in even more significant pain.
If you’re wondering, “Can fibroids affect libido?” the answer is yes. Along with pain during sex and heavy bleeding, a decreased sex drive can also be related to hormones. Most individuals with fibroids have an excessive amount of estrogen in their system, which can cause a loss of libido.
Fibroids can cause heavy, prolonged periods. These periods can last more than 10 days and frequently come with painful cramping. They can also cause irregular bleeding that makes sex uncomfortable or even impossible.
Other health issues associated with fibroids can also interfere with your sex life. Symptoms such as fatigue, often triggered by anemia, along with nausea and headaches, can reduce the energy needed to have a fulfilling sexual and romantic life.
It probably goes without saying that feeling the urge to urinate frequently can make sex unappealing.
Another problem relating to sex and fibroids is low self-esteem and issues with body image. Fibroids can cause bloating and an enlarged abdomen, which may lead to feeling uncomfortable or unattractive.
In a National Survey conducted by the Journal of Women’s Health, 22% of participants said fibroids negatively affected their feelings of femininity and body image. This ultimately interfered with their intimate relationships. When polled, many pointed out that their disinterest in sex was a painful issue to discuss with their partners.
How to Talk to Your Partner about Uterine Fibroids and Sex
Just like with any other aspect of dating, marriage, and sex, communication can help you navigate a relationship when you have fibroids. It’s not always easy to open up about a sensitive issue. You may feel nervous talking about the situation, self-conscious about your body, or worried about your relationship. Many women report that their loss of libido from fibroids caused strain on their relationships, even when their partner was supportive.
Remember these tips when you’re talking to your partner about uterine fibroids and sex:
- Establish your needs
- Learn about fibroids and explain them to your partner
- Practice open communication during sex
- Don’t get frustrated
- Store some essentials
- Listen to your partner
- Do your research
UFE: An Effective Treatment to Help Symptoms of Fibroids and Painful Intercourse
Although many believe that hysterectomy — the surgical removal of the uterus — is the only available treatment for uterine fibroids, this simply isn’t true. Our fibroid specialists offer a less painful, non-surgical alternative that can effectively shrink the fibroid tumor(s), improve your symptoms, and preserve the uterus. Our interventional radiologists specialize in Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a non-surgical treatment for fibroids.
During a UFE procedure, our fibroid specialists use an advanced ultrasound method called fibroid mapping to locate your fibroids. Treatment takes between 30 to 45 minutes. It’s performed under light sedation so you are calm and comfortable the entire time.
What to Expect:
- Our experts make a small incision in your upper thigh.
- Embolic material is injected through a tiny catheter into the uterine artery to block blood flow to the fibroids.
- Once cut off from blood flow and nutrients, the fibroid(s) will shrink and eventually die.
- The injected material remains permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site, making it unlikely that the fibroid will regrow in the future.
- After UFE, all you’ll need is a small bandage on your incision.
UFE Can Improve Your Fibroids and Sex Drive
According to a French research study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s Annual Scientific Meeting on uterine fibroids and sex, the vast majority of individuals with symptomatic fibroids saw improvements in their sex lives and significant symptom relief a year after Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Nearly 80% of survey participants a year after treatment reported improved sexual function in the areas of pain, desire, arousal, and satisfaction.
“Not only is UFE an effective treatment for uterine fibroids, but it also allows women to return to a more normal life, increase their sexual desire, and enjoy an overall improved quality of life,” said Dr. Sapoval, professor of clinical radiology at Hospital European Georges Pompidou in Paris.
A major impediment to resolving uterine fibroids and intercourse problems is the simple fact that many are too embarrassed, shy, or hesitant to discuss their fibroids and sex drive, or fibroids and painful intercourse at all. However, there’s no doubt that the sex life can improve after fibroid treatment. On the other hand, if left untreated, fibroids and painful intercourse can become more intense. Fibroids can continue to grow, and symptoms often become more difficult to live with.
If your fibroids are getting in the way of a fulfilling sex life, don’t wait any longer to get help. UFE is covered by most major health insurance plans, and our specialists are passionate about providing patients with superior care and avoiding unnecessary fibroid surgery. Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization by scheduling an appointment online. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for more helpful advice on uterine fibroids and sex, managing fibroid symptoms, and reclaiming your life after UFE.