The diagnosis of uterine fibroids can be overwhelming. But before you panic and opt for a surgery, it’s a good idea to consult a couple of doctors (asking for a second opinion never hurts) and an experienced Interventional Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman of Atlanta Fibroid Center (to find out whether or not uterine fibroid embolization, a nonsurgical fibroid treatment, is an option for you). Gathering detailed information about this condition and ensuring that you are aware of all treatment options available today is very important.
Benign uterine tumors called fibroids or myomas are very common in women of childbearing age. Myomas can cause no symptoms, especially in early stages. If they become symptomatic, often the first symptoms are heavy and painful periods.
⇒ Related: Fibroid Pain Relief: How to Manage Fibroid Pain
Why Uterine Fibroids Affect Your Period
Fibroids are benign tumors which consist of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. Women typically have multiple fibroids in different locations within the uterus. The location (and the size) of these tumors will determine what symptoms the woman will experience. Those that are underneath the lining of the uterus (called submucosal fibroids) cause the heavy periods women with fibroids often experience.
⇒ Learn More: Fibroids and Heavy Bleeding
Another reason for heavy and painful periods is hormonal changes. Fibroids grow with estrogen and a prolonged estrogen dominance is a major contributor to the significant symptoms that result. In many cases, an increase in estrogen and a decrease in progesterone levels is what affects women’s periods.
Period Pain Relief Options You Can Try Today
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Every third woman diagnosed with fibroids will experience painful menstruation. The pain can be sharp or dull and crampy. It can be very intense simulating labor. It is often associated with bloating and clothes fitting very tightly. The pain can radiate in to the hips, lower back, buttock, and even down the legs as the fibroids press on pelvic nerves which causes this pain. Not all pain relief options will work for everyone, and some women need over-the-counter or prescription medication to get through the worst days of their periods. Consult your doctor to make sure you choose the right methods based on your individual needs and health history.
Additionally, there are a few simple things you can try in combination with your normal routine to get as much relief as possible.
Period Pain Relief: 5 Simple Shortcuts to Feeling Better
There are simple methods that can reduce pain during menstruation. Although it’s impossible to say for sure whether or not they will help you, there is no harm in trying. In fact, trying several options is often the only way to find the prefect routine for pain relief. It’s best to try every approach one by one while focusing on your sensations to find what exactly works better.
- Slightly adjusting your diet during (or even several days before) your period. Eat more vegetables and fruits, drink juices, plenty of water, and exclude dairy (it can cause bloating in some women that worsens pain during menstruation). If you are not used to drinking a lot of water, other fluids like herbal teas with mint, chamomile or mineral water can help.
- Apply heat to the lower abdomen. Heat increases blood circulation and promotes muscle relaxation. To relieve pain, apply a heating pad or a warm compress to your lower abdomen. Make sure to set the heating pad aside every 10-15 minutes to allow the skin to cool. A warm bath or a shower can also help.
- If pain is not severe, do simple exercises or light yoga to relax your muscles and stretch. The exercise in the picture below allows you to relax the stomach as much as possible and get rid of unpleasant sensations. You can bend your knees a little if keeping legs straight up is hard. Stay in this position for 5 minutes at a time and repeat during the day as frequently as you like.
- A relaxing massage distracts from unpleasant sensations and is generally useful for body and mind. Your mind also needs to relax sometimes! If you like aromatherapy oils, use a simple diffuser to maximize relaxation. Massage the abdomen with clockwise strokes in the area where it hurst most.
- Change your position. Lie down on your side (if possible) bending knees and lifting them up to the chin. This pose is known as the pose of a child. It can relieve stress on the internal organs and bring relief. Another option is sitting down and leaning forward until your head touches the floor; stretch your arms back. Hold the pose for a minute.
Is It Possible to Get Rid Of the Pain for Good?
Changes in your flow due to uterine fibroids can be drastic and affect your quality of life. Often, anti-inflammatories and birth control are not enough to control symptoms because they do not treat the cause of heavy and painful periods. Finding true relief from all symptoms of myomas is possible with uterine fibroid embolization that shrinks all fibroids and allows patients to get back to their lives without the risks and long recovery time of fibroid surgery.
Call Atlanta Fibroid Center today at 770-953-2600 to find out more about UFE or click the button below to make an appointment with Dr. John Lipman.