Fibroids and Amenia: What You Need to Know
Uterine fibroids can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Not only is this uncomfortable. If left untreated, a women can also develop anemia from the excessive blood loss.
Anemia is a condition characterized by a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells. When there aren’t enough blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, you might start to feel fatigued, lightheaded, and dizzy.
Excessive blood loss each month from uterine fibroids can lead to chronic fatigue and worsening anemia symptoms.
Fortunately, there is treatment for both uterine fibroids and anemia.
How Can Fibroids Cause Anemia?
When the body loses blood during a normal menstrual cycle, it also loses some hemoglobin and iron. However, with uterine fibroids, the blood loss can be so severe that you lose too much hemoglobin and iron. This is where the problems start.
- Hemoglobin is a molecule that carries oxygen throughout the body and removes carbon dioxide from the body. There are hundreds of millions of hemoglobin molecules in every red blood cell.
- Iron is needed to form hemoglobin, and about 70% of the body’s iron is actually stored in hemoglobin.
When the body loses experiences heavy blood loss, such as during the heavy and prolonged bleeding associated with uterine fibroids, there’s not enough iron to form new hemoglobin. This is known as iron-deficiency anemia.
Common Symptoms of Anemia from Fibroids
If you have anemia from fibroids, you might not notice symptoms right away. Or, you might not recognize them as signs of anemia. At least not until they get worse.
The most common symptoms are fatigue and weakness. Other symptoms to look out for if you’re concerned you have anemia caused by fibroids include the following:
- Lightheadedness when standing up
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Cracks on the sides of the mouth
- Brittle nails
- Pale skin
- Sore tongue or mouth ulcers
- Cold hands and feet
Some women who have iron deficiency also have strange cravings for non-food items, such as dirt or ice. If anemia progresses, it can cause more serious symptoms, such as heart palpitations.
If you notice signs of anemia, it’s important to see a doctor to find out what’s causing it. If you’re also experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, it could be uterine fibroids.
At USA Fibroid Centers, our doctors can assess your symptoms and find out if you have fibroids using advanced ultrasound technology. Schedule an appointment with a specialist near you today to find out what’s causing your symptoms.
Treatment Options for Anemia and Uterine Fibroids
For a woman who has anemia from fibroids, it’s important to treat the anemia to increase hemoglobin levels.
Taking supplements to increase your iron levels and enriching your diet with iron-rich foods can help. Good sources of iron include the following:
- Red meat
- Dark leafy greens
- Dried fruits such as raisins and apricots
It’s also important to consume plenty of vitamin C, a nutrient that aids in iron absorption. Berries, kiwi, oranges, peppers, melons, and grapefruit are all excellent sources of vitamin C.
But, even with a nutrient-rich diet, your anemia symptoms won’t fully resolve until you treat the underlying cause.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we treat uterine fibroids using a non-surgical procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), or uterine artery embolization.
UFE is a safe, effective, FDA-approved procedure that leaves your uterus intact, so it doesn’t impact your fertility. It’s an outpatient procedure that can be performed in our fibroid clinics. UFE has a shorter recovery time than fibroid surgery, and it doesn’t require stitches or general anesthesia.
Learn more about UFE for fibroids.
Find Out if You Have Anemia From Uterine Fibroids
Anemia is a well-known sign of uterine fibroids. Anytime your body loses excessive blood, you’re at risk for anemia. And for women with heavy menstrual bleeding from fibroids, chronic fatigue, weakness, and dizziness from low-iron levels are all too common.
If you have anemia from fibroids, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms of uterine fibroids, such as severe menstrual cramps, abdominal bloating, and painful intercourse, it’s important to see a fibroid specialist. An experienced fibroid doctor can diagnose your symptoms and talk to you about your treatment options.
USA Fibroid Centers is a national network of fibroid treatment centers with over 40 locations across the country. Our doctors provide personalized care and non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids, helping women experience relief from fibroid symptoms without surgery.
Don’t let fibroid symptoms like iron-deficiency anemia keep getting in the way of your life. Schedule a consultation at a fibroid center near you today.