Stress is known to cause negative changes in our bodies. Can fibroids also be caused or affected by stress? Although the reasons for fibroids in women are not fully clear, the connection between hormone levels and uterine fibroids is apparent. And the stress can be a catalyst for the hormonal imbalance.
What Are Uterine Fibroids and How Do I Know I Have Them?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that are common among women. Statistically, each fourth woman of reproductive age in the world has uterine fibroids. Meanwhile, almost half of them are not bothered by fibroids. Those who are less lucky might have mild to severe symptoms.
Typically, a female with symptomatic fibroids can experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Long and heavy periods;
- Bleeding between cycles;
- Pressure in the pelvic area;
- Enlarged belly;
- Frequent urination;
- Pain in the pelvic area, back, and/or legs;
- Pain during intercourse;
Many women live with these symptoms for years thinking that it is normal. But it’s not. Once you notice fibroid symptoms, it’s time to visit a specialist. Uterine fibroids can be found during a routine pelvic examination or in ultrasound images; however, the most accurate way to find out the size, number, and location of fibroids is MRI.
What Factors Impact Fibroids?
In cases when a woman with fibroids is asymptomatic, the fibroids can stay untreated (do not require treatment). Therefore, it’s important to understand and avoid the factors influencing their growth and development, and promote those that inhibit it.
A healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy sleep, and normal levels of Vitamin D can keep uterine fibroids from rapidly growing. Unhealthy foods (such as processed sugar, for example), lack of sun exposure, and also stress contribute to tumors’ growth. We have covered the list of factors in “How to Naturally Relieve Fibroid Symptoms.”
Can Stress Cause Fibroids?
The origin of fibroids is still under-researched, therefore, we do not know for sure if stress causes fibroids to occur in a woman’s body. However, we do know what contributes to their growth. Fibroids are sensitive to hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone. In fact, estrogen and progesterone are what makes fibroids grow. It explains why fibroids grow rapidly during pregnancy and why they regress in women in menopause.
When you get stressed, the level of steroids rises, which can stimulate fibroids to grow.
Stress, in turn, is the biochemical response of the body to challenges in life. The reaction to stress begins in the brain. To handle stress, the brain tells certain organs to produce extra steroids. Now, you can clearly see the link: when you get stressed, the level of steroids rises, which can stimulate fibroids to grow.
Stress and Fibroids: Get Out Of the Vicious Circle
Fibroids cause a lot of inconvenience and pain to women. Regular “accidents” during heavy periods, interruptions in work and life balance due to the pain, fatigue, and poor sleep, lack of understanding from partners, or failure to get pregnant – all these challenges result in stress. And stress, in turn, can worsen fibroid symptoms and stimulate their growth.
It’s easy to drown in this vicious circle. Therefore, stress management techniques can help. Some popular options include:
- deep abdominal breathing techniques;
In addition to stress management techniques, a healthy sleep routine, regular physical activities, and support of family and friends are important for the emotional wellbeing. But only reducing stress and leading a healthy lifestyle will not fully eliminate fibroids. UFE (uterine fibroid embolization) is a nonsurgical, outpatient fibroid treatment. The procedure is done by an experienced Interventional Radiologist, not an OB/GYN. The procedure is minimally invasive, and compared to surgery (hysterectomy or myomectomy), the recovery following UFE is much shorter. A woman returns to normal life within a week, but most importantly, she get to keep her uterus.
Unfortunately, not many women are aware of this nonsurgical treatment option, and the percentage of unnecessary fibroid surgery with respective risks and side effects is still very high in the USA.
If you want to learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization, schedule an appointment with Dr. John Lipman, one of the world’s leading experts in the nonsurgical treatment of uterine fibroids. Call Atlanta Fibroid Center today at 770-953-2600 or book an appointment online at ATLii.com.