Treating your fibroids can result in weight loss and there are a few factors that contribute to this. Experiencing weight loss after the elimination of fibroids and/or their symptoms will make sense if you understand where fibroid-related weight may have come from in the first place.
Weight Gain Due to Fibroids
The development and growth of uterine fibroids can cause a woman to gain weight for several reasons, some of which include:
1. The fibroids themselves – women can have one fibroid or many fibroids growing in and on their uterus. They can range in size from a small bead to a large melon. The bigger the fibroid grows, the more it will weigh, but several different fibroids together can also cause weight gain. There have been instances of large fibroids weighing 20 pounds or more!
2. Bloating – if you are like most women, you feel bloated and can’t seem to fit into your favorite pair of jeans right before your period, and your scale might show a 3-5 lbs weight gain as well. This is due to the abdominal bloating that dissipates during your period, and when you return to normal. Fibroids can interrupt this normal process and prolong the bloating situation.
Also, the presence of large or numerous fibroids can change the shape of your uterus causing it to protrude outward as if you were pregnant. Gynecologists will often use this comparison to monitor the growth of the uterus. The uterine length in centimeters (cm) roughly corresponds to the similar size pregnant uterus in weeks. For example, a 16 cm uterus is roughly the size of a 16-week pregnant uterus.
3. Constipation – fibroids can grow in different places within or on the uterus, and depending on where they are located and how large or numerous they are, they can exert pressure on nearby organs. A large subserosal fibroid located in the back of the uterus, aka posterior corpus, has the potential to compress the adjacent bowel loop and cause constipation.
Constipation can coincide with bloating and make it feel like you’re gaining weight when you’re not. Similarly, the relief felt following moving your bowels might make it seem like you have dropped some weight as well. However, it is actually due to the relief of bloating and not actual weight loss.
4. Lethargy & anxiety – the bigger the fibroids grow, the more weight they can add to your body, and most likely, the more intense your fibroid symptoms may become. Heavy and/or prolonged bleeding, pain and pressure in the abdomen, bloating as well as fatigue can take their toll.
When we do not feel well, we tend to be much less active, which means we are not burning calories like we should maintain a healthy weight. Let’s be real: who is going to get out there and exercise or go jogging when you don’t feel well? Dealing with fibroid symptoms may also cause anxiety, which often leads to stress-eating high calorie or “comfort foods”, which adds to the weight gain issue. It can become a vicious cycle.
Video: Why Is My Belly Enlarged?
Weight Loss After Fibroid Removal
If you are like most people, when you see the numbers rising on the scale, it can be depressing, which causes even more anxiety and makes the situation appear hopeless. The good news is there is HOPE! If you think you may have uterine fibroids or have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and have experienced weight gain, fibroid treatment may help you lose those undesirable pounds.
There are surgical, e.g. hysterectomy and myomectomy, and non-surgical methods for treating fibroids. One of the least invasive non-surgical procedures to get rid of the symptoms of fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization or UFE.
Can UFE Help With Weight Loss?
If you have gained weight due to the growth of uterine fibroids, it might seem that if the fibroids shrink or are eliminated, it would decrease your symptoms, and also reflect on the scale as well. However, if there is weight loss after UFE, it is usually an indirect result of effectively treating the symptoms that the fibroids cause.
For example, fibroids are the number one reason why women have heavy periods. These heavy periods and their associated blood loss from the body often cause a deficiency in iron and hemoglobin. This is called anemia and results in chronic fatigue and lethargy. Exercise for these women becomes very difficult or impossible and can lead to weight gain. Treating the fibroids effectively with the nonsurgical UFE procedure corrects the heavy periods, stops the anemia, and the woman can resume exercise and lose the added weight.
What Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?
UFE is done as an outpatient procedure and is minimally invasive. It’s completely nonsurgical. UFE targets all the fibroids in the uterus, no matter where they are located, how many there are, and regardless of their size.
A highly skilled and experienced Interventional Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman or Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout of the Atlanta Fibroid Center® performs the UFE procedure. UFE blocks the blood flow “feeding” these fibroids, so they begin to soften, shrink, and eventually die. There is no hospital stay involved, and the recovery period is about 5-7 days.
Over 9,000 women have benefited from UFE at the Atlanta Fibroid Center® under the care of Drs. Lipman & Ermentrout, with over 25+ years of experience in performing UFE procedures.
Video: Patient Testimonial – I Had Multiple Fibroids
How Can UFE Help Me Lose Weight?
While uterine fibroid embolization is not performed just for weight loss, it has been effective in helping women lose the weight that is the result of the symptoms that are associated with uterine fibroids.
As the fibroids die, the painful symptoms will be alleviated, the bloating will subside, and you will start feeling more energetic. When we feel good, we tend to make better lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise.
To learn more about uterine fibroid embolization and how it may help you, contact Atlanta Fibroid Center® for a consultation. After having the UFE procedure, many of our patients say they got their lives back, and their only regret is not having the procedure done sooner! Watch patients’ testimonials on our YouTube channel.