Uterine fibroids can hijack your sex life and turn it into a real pain! Both figuratively and literally. Did you know that fibroids can cause pain during intercourse?
Uterine fibroids are best known for causing unusually heavy periods that last longer than normal and pain and pressure in the abdomen. However, they can also significantly interfere with your relationships and the level of intimacy you feel comfortable with.
Fibroids Are Very Common
Uterine fibroids or “myomas” are benign tumors that grow in and around the uterus. They are made up of the same smooth muscle and fibrous tissue as the uterine wall and are usually round and very firm to the touch. They can be very small or grow large enough to enlarge a woman’s belly and make her look pregnant.
As many as 75% of all women experience fibroids in their lifetime although not all of them will have symptoms. Despite how common they are, there is still much misinformation floating around and many women are still not well informed about fibroids. There is no known cause of fibroids but there are certain factors that can make the risk of developing fibroids higher for some women.
How Fibroids Cause Pain During Sex
- Fibroids that grow near the cervix and close to its entrance can cause pain during penetration and the resulting friction can also be very uncomfortable if fibroids are growing in that area.
- Fibroids that are growing on the upper portion of the uterus can cause painful pressure during sex accompanied by cramping or shooting stomach pains. Women have even reported having stomach pains for hours after intercourse.
- Those that are located in the center of the uterus along the lining (submucosal) will cause heavy periods; those along the outer surface (subserosal) will push on pelvic nerves to cause pain or other bulk-related symptoms, e.g. increased urinary frequency, nocturia.
- Those that lie in the muscle in between the submucosal and subserosal regions (intramural) can cause either bleeding or pain or both depending on which way they grow, i.e. inwardly or outwardly.
How Fibroids Affect Intimacy
For most couples, having a sexual relationship involves being vulnerable with their partner which helps create emotional closeness and trust. These three elements are the keys to true intimacy which is something most couples desire in their relationship.
Given these fibroid facts, it’s not hard to understand that fibroids and sex can be a very difficult mix:
- Fibroids can cause pain to such a degree that a woman will avoid certain sexual positions or abstain from sex altogether.
- Sometimes fibroids cause bleeding after sex which can cause embarrassment and result in the woman avoiding intimacy.
- A woman can feel irritable, worn out, uncomfortable, and to not feel desirable or self-confident in her ability to please her sexual partner.
- Hormone imbalances that alter a woman’s libido can be caused by fibroids. This can place a significant strain on a relationship or marriage.
- Fibroids that lead to heavy bleeding can result in anemia which can cause fatigue, lethargy, migraine-like headaches, etc. Women with chronic anemia can barely get through the day so having sex with fibroids becomes an impossible task for them.
Fibroids Can Make A Woman Feel The Opposite Of Sexy
Studies have confirmed that a woman’s sexuality is very closely tied to her perception of her body. Women with negative body image issues are sexually inhibited and can experience lower responsiveness to sex. The presence of fibroids can cause symptoms that can create negative body appraisals and sexual avoidance.
- Fibroids can enlarge a woman’s belly and make her feel undesirable and self-conscious.
- Trying to exercise routinely for a woman with fibroids is not an easy task and the consequences can be weight gain. This can negatively impact her psychologically, feeding an already negative body image and diminish her internalized self-worth.
- Some women who have fibroids experience heavy and prolonged periods that cause severe fatigue as well as bloating, cramping, and pain. The duration of their menstrual cycles is one of the most significant impediments to their sex life.
- Many women experience episodes of blood gushing or flooding out of their bodies. Accidents with blood leakage are common, and women often wear multiple pads and even adult diapers to try to manage these horribly heavy periods. It is easy to understand why these women wouldn’t feel very sexy or want to engage in sexual relations.
Fibroids And Sex Myths Debunked
There are many things we do not know or understand about fibroids. Historically women have been hesitant to discuss them or the symptoms they are experiencing. This is due in part to the lingering stigma of discussing menstrual periods with anyone. If women are hesitant to discuss their monthly cycle, how are they going to be comfortable seeking help regarding their sex life and fibroids?
To help clear up some confusion, we have compiled some of the most common questions asked about fibroids and sex.
1. Are fibroids sexually transmitted to your partner?
No, fibroids are not transferable like an std, they are growths unique to the individual and are not sexually transmitted. This is a myth.
2. Can your partner feel fibroids during sex?
Your Ob-Gyn can usually determine the presence of fibroids during a routine pelvic exam but neither you nor your partner would feel them during sex. While you may experience pain and discomfort during sex from fibroids, your partner may have difficulty understanding this.
3. Can lack of sex cause fibroids?
There is no evidence to support this myth and it most likely came about because women with fibroids can experience a significant decline in libido due to the presence of fibroids.
4. Can fibroids affect orgasms?
Yes, fibroids can affect a woman’s ability to climax in both direct and indirect ways. They may cause pain that inhibits the physiological and psychological responses that would normally lead to an orgasm or interfere with cervical elevation, uterine contraction, and vaginal elongation which are changes that occur in a woman’s body during sex.
5. Can I enjoy sex with fibroids?
It is safe to have sex if you have fibroids but it may be painful and less pleasurable. There are a few strategies you can try to help alleviate some of the pain and pressure during sex.
- Change position – sometimes trying a different position or shifting the angle of penetration can help. Using pillows under the woman’s buttocks to change the tilt of her pelvis may reduce or eliminate any discomfort.
- Increasing the length of foreplay may help increase pleasure and lessen discomfort.
- Pleasure each other in different ways and avoid penetration.
Fibroids and Relationships
One of the most productive things you can do if you are experiencing kinks in your sex life due to fibroids is to talk with your partner openly about what you are dealing with.
When each partner understands the sexual challenges that exist for the other because of the fibroids, they can discuss possible workarounds until the fibroids can be addressed.
Some natural remedies may work to temporarily shrink fibroids and lead to less discomfort during sex but ultimately the fibroids need to be eliminated to provide long-term relief.
Ways Women Try to Help Shrink Their Fibroids
Limit estrogen exposure – fibroids grow with hormones (in particular estrogen). Therefore one can employ an anti-estrogen approach to try to improve bleeding and inhibit fibroid growth. There are many sources of estrogen that women are exposed to every day in food, water, and many beauty and household products. Women can take a more organic approach to their wellness and avoid estrogen-laden food and products. Limiting or avoiding red meat, non-organic chicken, or dairy. Reading labels for estrogen-like additives and ingredients.
Slow fibroid growth and help bloating – there are several natural remedies that can be useful including green tea, chasteberry, and milk thistle. Eat a healthy diet, avoid processed foods and take vitamin D supplements which have been known to impede the progression of fibroids.
Exercise – estrogen is produced at higher levels in overweight and obese women. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to curtail excess estrogen production and many women have shared that a light cardio workout, yoga, or tai chi can help ease discomfort associated with uterine fibroids.
Sleep – getting enough sleep helps boost the immune system and keeps critical organs functioning properly.
Solutions For Eliminating Painful Sex With Fibroids
Women who experience pain during sex due to fibroids are looking for a long-term solution to their dilemma. Unfortunately, many of these women are not informed of all the options available to them and are only offered surgical treatments.
These surgical treatments include hysterectomy and myomectomy and neither comes without significant downsides. Out of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the United States every year, only about 10% of them are medically necessary! One of the most common reasons women who are under the age of 40 have a hysterectomy is due to fibroids.
Myomectomy rarely eliminates fibroids forever and can cause damage to the uterus and nearby organs.
While a hysterectomy will end the suffering these women are experiencing from fibroid symptoms, it only trades one set of problems for another. Women who have had a hysterectomy experience a host of complications and side effects that can include:
- Early-onset of menopause with hot flashes, mood swings, sleeplessness, etc.;
- Increased risk for heart disease and stroke;
- Elevated risk for cognitive impairment such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease;
- Depression & anxiety;
- Loss of bone density;
- Rapid signs of aging in their appearance;
- Urinary incontinence;
- Vaginal dryness;
- Low libido;
- Sexual dysfunction.
Taking Back Your Sex Life From Your Fibroids
If you are ready to experience freedom from fibroids and regain control of your sex life and intimate relationships, you are going to want to learn about uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
UFE is a non-surgical procedure that will treat all fibroids and give you relief from fibroid symptoms. A short 45-minute outpatient procedure performed by an Interventional Radiologist can eliminate fibroid pain during intercourse and allow you to further your level of intimacy with your partner.
Not only that, but your periods will become more normal without the gushing, flooding, or passage of abnormally large blot clots. You might even dare to wear white pants! Your energy level will increase and exercising will become more manageable. All without losing or compromising your uterus.
Women who have had the UFE procedure report that they feel better than they have in years, with a sense of renewed energy. Their only regret is they didn’t have UFE sooner!
Get Rid Of Fibroids And Get Your Life Back Without Surgery
- Are fibroids getting in the way of your intimate relationship with your partner?
- Do fibroids make it difficult for you to enjoy sex?
- Would you like to be free from being controlled by your menstrual cycle of heavy bleeding?
- Would you like your life and your sexy back?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions and are ready to be fibroid-free, the Atlanta Fibroid Center® is here to help you. For more information call (770) 953-2600 and schedule your appointment today.