Research shows that patients around the country, often view weight gain as one of the most worrisome side effects of fibroids. In hopes of easing these worries, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about fibroids and weight gain, to prove these side effects, with the proper care, won’t be permanent.
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Do fibroids make you gain weight?
The short answer: yes. Fibroids can range in size from 1 mm, the size of the tip of a pencil, to more than 20 cm, the size of a watermelon. Most fibroids are on the smaller side and weigh less than a pound. However, a large cluster of fibroids could grow to more than 8 inches in diameter and have a mass equivalent to a grapefruit, or even a watermelon. These fibroid clusters can weigh 5 to 10 pounds.
Extremely large fibroids can distort the belly and form a visible lump. Some women with fibroids even report looking and feeling like they’re pregnant because the weight and bulge of the fibroid are so significant.
Fibroids do not change your metabolism, rather the physical size of the fibroid can add to your body mass. It’s also worth noting that fibroids may not be the sole explanation for weight gain — other factors could be at play that is not related to fibroids.
If I’ve gained weight, do I have fibroids?
Gaining weight shouldn’t be taken as a sign that you have fibroids. The first thing to assess is your lifestyle, and ask yourself:
These factors can have a strong influence on weight gain.
On the other hand, if you’ve already been diagnosed with fibroids and notice that you’re gaining weight, it’s possible that they could be the cause of the change in body mass.
More often than not, the majority of people who have fibroids are not diagnosed because of weight gain. Instead, pelvic pain or heavy menstrual bleeding are more commonly the presenting symptoms of fibroids.
Nonetheless, if your weight has increased despite making positive changes to your lifestyle, a fibroid could be the cause and you should ask your doctor to evaluate you.
At my clinic, about 75% of women realize they’ve been gaining weight after they are diagnosed with fibroids.
How fast do fibroids grow?
Individual fibroids grow at different rates. Research suggests that they respond to hormones in your body, and grow the most between the ages of 17 and 50 when you’re fertile and produce the most hormones. Untreated, asymptomatic fibroids could stop growing or shrink around the age of 50 when women start menopause and sex hormones stop being released.
Is weight loss with fibroids possible?
Yes, you can lose weight while you have fibroids. However, losing weight will not make the fibroid shrink in size.
It can be difficult to lose weight with fibroids, as the growths can continue to get larger and heavier regardless of your lifestyle choices. Likewise, fibroids can cause women to overeat. The excessive menstrual bleeding that comes with fibroids can lead to anemia, which results in low energy which leads to many women eating more to sustain energy levels.
If you’ve been diagnosed with anemia and find yourself overeating, it’s best to take an iron supplement, consume foods that are high in fiber (so you feel fuller for longer), and avoid sugary foods. We also recommend speaking to your doctor about an exercise regime and diet that can facilitate weight loss that is appropriate for your body and the severity of symptoms.
Additionally, if you’re suffering from anemia that’s due to excessive bleeding from fibroids, we highly recommend you speak to a physician. There are treatment options that can return menstrual bleeding to a normal level which can permanently treat anemia and its consequences.
Are obese women more susceptible to fibroids?
One study found that obese women have a 46% increased risk of fibroids. The relationship between weight and fibroids isn’t concretely known, but medical professionals believe that because fat cells produce more estrogen, overweight women have higher estrogen levels which can stimulate fibroid growth.
Weight Gain With Fibroids: Is it Normal?
Weight gain is a common result of fibroids, particularly when fibroids are large in size and add to your body mass. The amount of weight you gain depends on the fibroid but also your general lifestyle.
Anyone with fibroids – or anyone who thinks they may have fibroids – should be conscious to maintain an active lifestyle with a healthy diet to keep their weight regulated and their health at its peak. If you do gain weight with fibroids, know that it’s a natural side effect and there are ways to safely manage it.
If you’re worried about fibroids or the effects they could have on your body, head over to PainTheory to learn more about them.
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