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Can Fibroids Cause Weight Gain and Bloating?

Do you feel like you’ve put on weight, and no matter what you do, you can’t shift it? Or perhaps your stomach is always swollen or distended.

If you’re frustrated that all the effort you put into eating right and exercising isn’t shifting excess weight, you should talk to your healthcare provider at Maiden Lane Medical in Manhattan, New York. While several health issues can cause these symptoms, uterine fibroids can contribute to these issues but often go undiagnosed. 

What Are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in or on the walls of your uterus. They’re almost always noncancerous, not life-threatening, and in many cases, don’t cause noticeable symptoms.

There are different types of fibroids, classified by where they develop:

  • Submucosal fibroids — Just underneath the internal lining of the uterus 
  • Intramural fibroids — In the muscular wall of the uterus 
  • Subserosal fibroids — On the outside of the uterus 

Fibroids most commonly develop within the wall of the uterus. However, pedunculated fibroids grow on stalks from the uterine wall into the cavity of the uterus.

Common Fibroid Symptoms

Uterine fibroids can cause a wide range of uncomfortable and disruptive symptoms. Fibroids cause different issues based on where they are, how large they are, and how quickly they are growing. However, it’s possible to have fibroids and not experience any symptoms at all. The most common symptoms of fibroids include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Painful periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Anemia (low blood counts)
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful sex
  • Weight gain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Frequent urination
  • Digestive problems
  • Fertility problems

Many conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s critical to make an appointment with your gynecologist for testing and an accurate diagnosis. Testing for fibroids may include lab tests, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound. 

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Fibroid Causes

The cause of uterine fibroids isn’t fully understood. But we do know that your hormones can contribute to your risk as well as your family medical history. For example, if your mom or sister has them, you are more likely to develop fibroids as well. 

Do Fibroids Cause Weight Gain?

Yes, uterine fibroids can affect your weight. First, fibroids can become quite large, increasing your weight and causing abdominal swelling. Additionally, your hormones can contribute to your ability to gain, lose, or maintain your body weight. If your estrogen or progesterone level is abnormal, it may contribute to weight gain.

What Does Fibroid Belly Feel Like?

Whether or not you’re experiencing unexpected weight gain, you may develop fibroid belly. As a fibroid grows in your abdominal cavity, your abdomen may swell and become distended so that you feel your stomach bulge.

Some women may experience such severe abdominal bloating that they look several months pregnant. In addition to making your pants feel tight, fibroid-related swelling can cause increased pressure and discomfort. 

Will Getting Fibroids Removed Help Me Lose Weight?

It’s possible that fibroid treatment will help you reverse weight gain and stomach bulge if due to fibroids. First, if you have large fibroids, having them removed will decrease your weight. Additionally, your fibroid expert may prescribe hormonal treatment to regulate your estrogen levels, which may improve the effectiveness of a healthy diet and exercise program. 

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What Are My Fibroid Treatment Options?

If fibroids are the root cause of your weight gain and abdominal swelling, your doctor will share information about the available treatments and make a recommendation based on your specific needs. Treatments for uterine fibroids can include:

  • Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)
  • Myomectomy
  • Endometrial ablation
  • Surveillance
  • Hormonal contraception
  • Hormonal targeting medications
  • Magnetic resonance-guided fibroid ultrasound surgery
  • Hysterectomy

Treatments are based on size, location, symptoms, and your desire for future fertility. Fibroids may affect your pregnancy and it is important to seek care from a gynecologist prior to conception to ensure optimization of any pregnancy in the future.

How Can I Lose Weight If I Have Fibroids?

Talk to your doctor about your overall health as well as your fibroids. Hormonal imbalances and heavy large fibroids will make any healthy lifestyle changes less effective.

In addition to recommending a personalized fibroid treatment program, your doctor at Maiden Lane Medical can help you create and follow a nutrient-dense, but low-calorie diet to create the sustained calorie deficit needed to lose weight. They can also provide customized advice on how to introduce regular physical activity and provide information and counseling on other weight loss treatments. 

Contact our office in Manhattan, NY today to book an appointment! We look forward to helping you gain peace of mind regarding your fibroids. 

Medically Reviewed By

Fernando Mariz, MD
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Expert Medical Services

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