Author: Houston Fibroids

Here’s 3 Ways to Make Sex with Fibroids Easier

When you have fibroids, having sex can be painful. Fibroids, non-cancerous tumors, grow in and on the uterus. Depending on where they develop, the fibroids can interfere with your sexual relations.  But that’s not the only way fibroids interfere with intimacy.

Women with fibroids may get bloated. Their periods may be longer and heavier. They may experience pelvic pain outside their period. And dealing with all of that can make sex seem unappealing.

In order to make sex more comfortable and connected, couples need to first be open to communicating together. The partner without fibroids has to be supportive and understanding. The woman dealing with fibroids should feel comfortable expressing her feelings.

And, once the lines of communication are open, try these tips to make sex with fibroids easier:

 

Improving Sex with Fibroids Results after UFE

1. Focus on foreplay

Women with fibroids may be scared to have sex. They may have already experienced painful intercourse, or may be worried about what sex will feel like. Focusing on foreplay will give your partner time to relax, and will also ensure that her body is completely ready for intercourse. Both of those factors should help reduce or eliminate pain with penetration.

 

2. Reposition yourself.

When dealing with fibroids, once-favorite sexual positions may now be too painful. Instead of getting frustrated, why not see this as an opportunity to explore? Move around in bed, trying out different positions. Hopefully, you’ll find one or more that doesn’t hurt the partner with fibroids. And, in the process, you may even spice up your bedroom routine!

 

3. Redefine intimacy.

Sexual penetration isn’t the only road to intimacy. For some women, sex may too painful until her fibroids are treated. If that is the case for your partner, you can explore other ways of connecting as a couple. From date nights to alternate acts of intimacy, work together to find ways to stay connected.

 

Sources: Eve woman

 

Here are 3 Yoga Moves to Fight Period Pain

When you have fibroids, period pain and general pelvic pain can be a big problem. If that’s the case for you, you may find some relief with these gentle poses.

Why is yoga so effective at treating period pain? Some Hatha yoga poses relax tension in your pelvis and abdomen. They also increase blood flow to the region, which can help relieve discomfort. And yoga is great for relaxing your body, which can help you experience pain less intensely.

Gentle Yoga is Best for Period-Related Pain

According to a study  in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine  , women with period pain who participated in a single, hour-long yoga class each week reduced both their period pain and their overall distress. Women with pelvic pain, or severe menstrual cramps should choose restful classes and poses over power yoga, since power classes often stress the core, which could make your pelvic pain more intense.

3 Yoga Poses to Alleviate Period Pain 

Pelvic Tilts and Circles

How you do it: 

·         Stand, lie on your back, or sit on a chair or the edge of your bed.

·         Keeping your torso straight, breathe in and rock your pelvis forward. Exhale, rocking your pubic bone backward until your back is slightly rounded. Repeat 5 times.

·         Make circles and figure eights with your hips, breathing naturally as you move. Repeat 5 times in each direction.

Why it helps: Moving your pelvis can relieve tension in the muscles and connective tissue of the pelvis.

Reclining Supported Butterfly Pose

How you do it:

·         Lie on your bed or a mat on the floor. Put some pillows under your back and head, to open your chest. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Breathe deeply and relax.

·         Now, bring the bottoms of your feet together. Inhale, then exhale while letting your knees gently fall apart . Keep soles of your feet together, and support your knees with more pillows or blankets if needed.

·        Hold this pose for 10 minutes, picturing your pelvis opening and relaxing with every breath you take. 

Why it helps: This pose is great for relaxing the muscles in your pelvis, inner thighs and back, all of which may tighten up if you’re dealing with chronic pain. 

 

Legs Up the Wall

·         Lie on the floor next to a wall. Scoot your rear end as close to the wall as possible.

·         Gently swing your legs up the wall, until the backs are resting against it. You can place a pillow or folded blanket under your lower back for support, and you may bend your knees slightly, if this is more comfortable for you. 

·         Relaxing your arms by your side, close your eyes and breathe gently, allowing your lower back to soften into the ground. Hold this position for a few minutes before bending your knees and rolling to one side to exit.

Why it helps: This position is ideal for calming you down and for softening your pelvic floor muscles. 

 

Sources: everydayhealth.com 

5 Reasons You Cramp That AREN’T Your Period

Most women expect at least a little cramping during their menstrual periods. But when those painful cramps show up at other times of the month? It can be scary–and confusing! To help clear up the questions, let’s explore a few reasons you may cramp when it’s not that time of the month! 

1. Constipation

When you’re backed up, you’d expect to have a stomach ache, but you may not realize that constipation can actually give you cramps as well! And that cramping won’t be limited to your period: it can appear at any time of the month!  One easy way to beat constipation? Drink tons of H20 (try infusing it with fresh fruit if plain old water just isn’t your thing.) The good news? Even if constipation isn’t the cause of your cramps, only good can co

me from upping your liquid intake. 

2. Fibroids

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop on the walls of the uterus.  Depending on their size and location, fibroids can cause a whole host of symptoms including pain, heavy periods and–you guessed it–cramps, even when you’re not menstruating. Thankfully, there are numerous fibroid treatments available, many of which are non-invasive and don’t require surgery! 

3. Cysts

Cysts, like fibroids, are non-cancerous growths. The difference? Cysts are fluid filled, fibroids are muscular. But one thing they have in common? They can both cause you to experience cramps outside of your period. And, like fibroids, there are a range of treatment options available to you. Fibroids and cysts can both be diagnosed with an ultrasound in your doctor’s office. 

4. Sexually Transmitted Infections

Infections like Chlamydia, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), and Gonorrhea can all cause abdominal pain, and other symptoms like cramps. While no one wants to contract an STI, knowing that cramps are an STI symptom is actually helpful, especially because many of these infections go undetected for long periods of time. If you have potentially been exposed to an STI and are experiencing non-menstrual cramping, get tested in your doctors office so you can begin treatment and avoid transmitting the infection to a current or future partner. 

Can CBD Oil ‘Tampons’ Stop Period Pain?

These days, there’s a lot of discussion about cannabidiol (CBD) products. Derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant, CBD offers many therapeutic qualities without getting you high. CBD oils and lotions may stop pain, or even offer relief from anxiety and depression. In fact, people are so excited about CBD’s pain relieving properties, there’s now a CBD ‘tampon’ on the market, designed to relieve menstrual pelvic pain. Some women have found pain relief from CBD, but we still don’t know how it affects the rest of your body. Let’s look at how CBD ‘tampons’ work, and how women with period pain will be affected by their use. 

What is a CBD ‘Tampon’?

Though they’re called CBD tampons, they aren’t intended to absorb menstrual blood. Actually, CBD tampons are suppositories that you insert into your vagina. Made from CBD oil, cocoa butter and coconut oil, the suppositories dissolve in your body after insertion. And because your vagina is so absorbent, the CBD oil is delivered quickly to your blood stream. This means quick pain relief, but what else will the oils do while circulating through your body? 

How will CBD Affect Your Body?

In addition to reducing inflammation–and pain–in your pelvic area, CBD tampons may interact with your medications.  This means your drugs, especially antibiotics and anti anxiety medications, may not be as effective. CBD suppositories could also change the chemical balance of your vagina, leaving you vulnerable to yeast and other infections. And for women who are trying to conceive or already pregnant, these ‘tampons’ are a major no-no. The CBD could change the way sperm functions in your body. It could also impact and change fetal development. 

While CBD tampons do seem to offer temporary period pain relief, there’s a lot we don’t know about what else they do to you. For that reason, we advise treating the cause of your period pain–from fibroids to adenomyosis to endometriosis–rather than trying funky new methods of temporary pain relief. 

Sources: healthline.com, huffpost.com

Reality Check: When is Hysterectomy Necessary?

As we’ve shared previously on the blog, many women in this country have hysterectomies they don’t need. Since a hysterectomy–the complete removal of a woman’s uterus–is a really big deal, that’s scary news. But are there cases when hysterectomies are a must? Let’s take a closer look! 

What’s a Hysterectomy?  Even with multiple fibroids, hysterectomy can be avoided

As we said, a hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus. Oophorectomy is a process where the ovaries are removed. When only the fallopian tubes are removed, the process is called salpingectomy. The uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy with a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

There are partial, total or radical hysterectomies. Partial hysterectomies leave your cervix remains in place. Total hysterectomies remove the whole uterus and cervix. Radical hysterectomies remove the whole uterus, including its tissue and its sides, the cervix and the top part of your vagina. 

When Do You NEED a Hysterectomy?

Hysterectomies are appropriate responses to life-threatening conditions. Radical hysterectomies are often given to women with cancers of the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix or vagina. It may be necessary if a woman’s uterus ruptures during childbirth, or if her post-delivery bleeding is life threatening. In some cases, women with severe PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) will need this surgery. 

So, that’s when you really need a hysterectomy. But there are other times when hysterectomies are also considered. Many women with fibroids and endometriosis are told they need to remove their uterus to get relief. And, while this may sometimes be true, other women can avoid this major surgery with less invasive treatment options. In our opinions, as Houston fibroid specialists, if there are treatments that could help women avoid hysterectomies, that should be the first line of defense. Except in cases of emergency, hysterectomies should be the last option your physician recommends. 

#WCW: Tanika Gray Valburn

It’s #WomanCrushWednesday! Today, we honor Tamika Gray Valburn, founder of The White Dress Project. For years, Tanika suffered from fibroids .  She saw her mom lose two sets of twins due to her own fibroids, but didn’t make the connection to her own diagnosis right away! 

In fact, Valburn didn’t officially get a fibroid diagnosis until her late teens, even though she experienced painful symptoms. “You just think it will skip a generation,” she recently revealed in an interview. “When you’re young, you’re not thinking it will be your story as well.” But, like so many women, Valburn discovered that fibroids do tend to run in families. 

And, because her fibroids caused such heavy periods, Valburn said, ““I’ve had to learn how to pad myself [to keep from leaking through clothes.] I know the whole formula—what kind of underwear to wear, what kind of tights, what kind of Spanx. I’ve tried and tested everything. It’s become a way of life.”

Eventually, Tanika surgically removed 27 fibroids from her uterus. After her recovery, she wanted to help other women. In 2014, Tanika convinced a Georgia state representative to officially declare July as Fibroid Awareness Month, helping women get the crucial health information they need.

But she didn’t stop there. Tanika realized that she’d never bought white clothing. She said, “It’s a simple thing. Like, who cares, why not just wear black? But I love clothes, and the fact that I had to sacrifice wearing white for these benign tumors—I wasn’t feeling it.”

The White Dress Project


That same year, Tanika founded the White Dress Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting fibroids awareness, supporting research, and bringing together a community of women who work to empower one another.  The white dress became their symbol, as it signified a milestone in Tanika’s recovery – the moment she could rock a white dress without any fear. Now, the white dress has become a symbol of strength and power to other women dealing with fibroids, becoming one step in the fight to take control of their menstrual health issues.

As doctors involved in the daily battle against fibroids, we salute Tanika, our forever #WCW. We invite all women who are dealing with fibroids to slip on their white dresses and take control of their health by learning more about UFE, a minimally invasive treatment for fibroids!

70% of Hysterectomies Are Avoidable!

According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,  400,000  women in the U.S. get hysterectomies each year. Sadly, up to 70% of those surgeries were likely avoidable (other treatments could have been offered.) Many women with fibroids have learned this the hard way. All too often, they’re told hysterectomies are the only way to alleviate fibroid symptoms, when relief is available with less invasive treatment options. Now, we want to help make sure women know about the alternatives! 

Hysterectomies Aren’t the Only Option for Fibroid Treatments Hysterectomy alternatives

While some women may need a hysterectomy to treat their fibroids, others can be helped with medication, less invasive surgeries like myomectomies, or minimally invasive procedures like Uterine Fibroid Embolization.  Also known as UFE, this last is a procedure performed by specialists like Houston’s Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee.) Doctors inject embolizing materials into the blood vessels feeding a woman’s tumors. Soon, they ‘starve’ and shrink, all without a traumatic surgical procedure or hospital stay and down time. 

Spreading the Word about Fibroid Treatment Options

So, if there are other effective fibroid treatments, why are so many women still giving up on their uterus and fertility? Quite simply, they don’t know they have a choice! According to Sir Marcus Setchell, a former British gynaecologist, “There is clearly a failure of communication about the use of these less-invasive treatments.” And, says Dr. Anne Deans, another British gynaecologist who consulted on this project, “Women should be given a choice, but many are not being told about the alternatives to hysterectomies. This is major surgery involving six weeks off work.”

In short, there too many women who think fibroid diagnoses necessitate hysterectomies. Will you help us spread the word about alternative treatments? Just share this article  with the hashtag #FibroidFix. Together, we can help women avoid invasive, life-altering surgeries!

Sources: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, U.S. News & World Report 

Why You Can’t Ignore Pink Discharge

For women, vaginal discharge is part of a normal monthly cycle. It changes in amount, color and texture at different times in the month. But when that color changes to pink, it could be a sign of a bigger problem brewing. 

What Pink Discharge Means For Your Health

Pink vaginal discharge usually contains trace amounts of blood. And bleeding outside of your period could be a sign of a problem. If you are experiencing pink discharge, you should see your doctor right away. The color could mean that you have: 

  1. Uterine Fibroids. Pink discharge could indicate that you are spotting (bleeding outside of your period), and fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) are known to cause abnormal bleeding. So if you are regularly seeing pink outside of your period, it is worth discussing a fibroid screening with your OBGYN. 
  2. Uterine Polyps. Like fibroids, polyps are non-cancerous growths. But while fibroids develop in or on your uterus, polyps develop in endometrial tissue before extending into the uterus. If pink discharge comes after sex, it could be a sign you have polyps, since intercourse can bump these growths, causing some blood to mingle with your discharge. 
  3.  Ovarian cysts. These are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. When they resolve on their own, cysts don’t typically cause symptoms. But when they keep growing and become large, they may cause abnormal bleeding–and pink discharge! 
  4. Infections. Pink discharge could also be a sign of an infection in your vagina. Potential causes could be an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or vaginitis.
  5.  Pregnancy, including ectopic. When a fertilized egg implants itself in your uterine wall, you may bleed a little, causing pink discharge. But when that egg implants outside your uterus, in your fallopian tubes, pink discharge will also likely appear, along with other symptoms like sharp pain, dizziness, weakness and even fainting. 

Because pink discharge could indicate so many different conditions, it’s important to bring up this change with your doctor. The only way to know the cause is to investigate with your medical care provider. 

 

Sources: Medical News Today, yourtango.com

Can I get Pregnant After UFE?

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is an effective, minimally invasive fibroid treatment. For years, we didn’t know how UFE affects fertility. Women who wanted kids had myomectomies (surgical removal of fibroids.) Now, thanks to a new French study, that school of thought may just be changing. Woman holding a pregnancy test

Fertility After UFE

In this study, researchers followed 15 women, all about 35 years old and with no apparent fertility problems. All of the women treated their fibroids with UFE. Typically, UFE eliminates fibroids by injecting an embolizing substance into all the blood vessels and arteries surrounding a tumor. For this study, doctors changed things up. They embolized the vessels that directly gave blood to fibroids, but left other nearby arteries untouched, allowing blood to flow into the unaffected uterine tissue. The procedure, called a limited embolization approach, was supposed to spare the women’s fertility while also relieving their fibroid symptoms. 

Nine of the women were actively trying to get pregnant at the time of treatment. Within a year, five had babies.  Three and a half years after the modified UFE, eight of the women had given birth to 10 babies! Those are numbers that we love to see. 

And that’s not all the good news. The women reported a 66% reduction in their fibroid symptoms, and an incredible 112% improvement in their overall quality of life. Only five women still experienced symptoms, seeking follow up treatments. 

Of course, with unlimited UFE, recurring symptoms are much less frequent. But, because the full procedure impacts blood flow to your uterus, it may impact your chances of getting pregnant. So, for women who want to avoid surgery and still plan to have children, limited embolization UFE appears to be a great option. For more information on UFE, and to see if the procedure can work for you, schedule a consultation with one of our Houston area fibroid specialists. Relief may be available without hospital stays–all without giving up on your dream of having a family! 

 

Sources: ask4ufe.com, europeanradiology.org