Fibroids And Weight Gain
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|Can Fibroids Cause Weight Gain?
Uterine fibroids are the most common type of pelvic tumors, effecting up to 1 in 4 women at some time in their reproductive years. As some women never experience any symptoms, they often go undiagnosed (which is usually not harmful as tumors are non-cancerous). Uterine fibroids can vary by size, location and quantity, appearing alone or in clusters. They can range in size from smaller than a pea to larger than a cantaloupe (images).
A well developed fibroid can weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, in fact the largest on record weighed 140 pounds. Fibroids typically grow larger over time if untreated and may consequently result in weight gain. When located in specific areas and achieving a certain size fibroids can give the appearance of swelling in the abdomen. In fact a woman could look 6 months pregnant.
The location of fibroids is just as important as size when it comes to determining fibroids symptoms. For example a 7cm fibroid which sits directly over the bladder can cause an annoying need to urinate at all hours. Whereas a 7cm fibroid directly over the uterus is more likely to cause stomach bloating. A small fibroid (2cm) inside the uterus can cause heavy periods and anemia, whereas a larger fibroid (7cm) outside the uterus wall will cause no extra bleeding.
Another factor in the relationship of weight gain and fibroids is that fibroids can cause heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) and/or irregular periods with prolonged menstrual cycles (oligomenorrhea). This in turn can cause anemia and lethargy due to loss of blood and reduced iron levels. Women with fibroids may experience anxiety/discomfort which, combined with lethargy, makes them more vulnerable to comfort eating and less likely to exercise. Increased calorie intake and decreased calorie burn can contribute to weight gain. See fibroids diet plan. Also, read our article: Can fibroids cause heavy menstrual bleeding?
Some early research indicates that women with a higher body mass index (BMI) are more likely to gain weight due to fibroids than women with lower BMI's. A 2005 study by the Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia indicated that for every 1 point increase on the BMI index a woman’s uterine size increased 8g in weight. One suggested reasoning for this is the link between body fat and estrogen levels. The higher the body fat ratio, the higher the estrogen levels. Elevated estrogen levels are considered the most likely cause of fibroids (although scientists are still not completely sure). This is why restoring hormone balance may be part of a fibroids treatment plan as well as following a healthy eating plan to lose weight.
Furthermore, there are indications that increased levels of insulin may also play a role in fibroid development. Obesity in women can lead to increased levels of insulin production. This is also a risk factor for obese women who are diabetic or borderline diabetic.
If fibroids become enlarged, they may press on the surrounding organs, including the bowel. This sometimes leads to constipation, resulting in slower bowel movements and blocked intestines. A woman may feel bloated or complain of a feeling of 'fullness'. If you do experience constipation as a result of fibroids, you may consider a stool softener.
Where a fibroids diagnosis has not be given, but you continue to experience abdominal bloating, constipation and weight gain, ask your doctor for a pelvic examination. These are also signs of ovarian cancer.
Weight Gain Due To Water Retention
There is no evidence that fibroids themselves cause water or fluid retention, however it may be a side effect of hormone therapy, part of a fibroid treatment plan. Progesterone doses can trigger swelling of pelvic tissues.
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