Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the lining of the uterus. Millions of women have these noncancerous growths in their uterus, which may cause discomfort. According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as three in four women will experience uterine fibroid tumors. Fibroids can cause weight gain, which may be due to the underlying hormonal imbalances or the size of the fibroid. Losing weight may relieve uterine fibroids, according to Marcy E. Holmes, a nurse practitioner at the Women to Women Health Care Center in Yarmouth, Maine. With effort and medical treatment, you can overcome the challenge of losing weight with fibroids.
Fibroid Weight Gain
Although uterine fibroids can be painless and cause no symptoms, discomfort is also common. Uterine fibroids can cause weight gain, especially in the abdomen. Large fibroids may cause enough abdominal swelling to be mistaken for pregnancy. Other symptoms associated with uterine fibroids include heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination and constipation.
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Treatments and Weight Loss
Uterine fibroids are caused by a hormone imbalance. The hormones involved in a woman's menstrual cycle cause fibroids to grow, which makes it likely that women of reproductive age and those taking postmenopausal hormone replacement will experience them. Estrogen and progesterone stimulate fibroid growth. Birth control pills may suppress the hormones that cause fibroids, stopping further fibroid growth. Your doctor may perform surgery to remove your fibroids. If your fibroids were large, you may lose weight after they are removed.
Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise can also help you lose weight gained as a result of uterine fibroids. Cut 500 to 1,000 calories daily to lose one to two pounds per week. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Engage in moderate intensity aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. The Women to Women Health Center recommends avoiding foods grown with pesticides and artificial growth hormones, which contain xenoestrogens that may contribute to uterine fibroids.
Contact your doctor if fibroids cause pain or symptoms so intense that they interfere with your daily life. See your doctor if you have extremely heavy menstrual bleeding, which may lead to anemia. Constant pelvic pain or pain with intercourse also are reasons to seek medical attention.