Category: Fibroid Symptoms

Stress, Vitamin D Deficiency and Fibroid Risk: What You Need to Know

What do stress, vitamin d deficiency and fibroids have in common? Well, they’re all getting a lot more attention during the seemingly endless pandemic! And they can all affect your period, too!

After all, even in normal times, life is stressful. But when you’re in the middle of a global pandemic? That stress is multiplied and magnified to entirely new levels. Plus, we’re all spending more time indoors as so much of life has moved to online interactions, so our risk goes up for vitamin d deficiency.

Of course, these are problems for so many reasons. But, for our purposes, we’ll just focus on one: stress and vitamin d deficiency may increase your fibroid risk and impact your periods. In a minute, we’ll explore this idea further. First, however, we’ll give you a quick fibroid overview so we’re all on the same page.

What are fibroids? Female with Fibroids

Fibroid tumors are firm, muscular, uterine growths. We classify (and name them)  based on their location in or on your uterus. If they’re inside your uterus, they’re called submucosal. When they grow on your outer uterine surface, they’re subserosal. Fibroids in the muscles of your uterine wall are intramural, and fibroids that grow like stalks outside your uterus are pedunculated.

Fibroids also vary widely in size. Some are so small they go undetected, or cause no symptoms. But others are much larger, or develop in groups. When this happens, you’re likely to experience troubling symptoms such as pain, heavy periods, anemia, pregnancy complications or even infertility. That’s why we recommend treating your fibroids with a minimally invasive procedure such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. And it’s also why we’re helping you understand why you get fibroids in the first place.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Other Risks: Why do Fibroids Develop?

Unfortunately, we don’t truly know what causes fibroid development. But we do know they impact black women more than any other group. (By the age of 50, 70% of white women have fibroids. But 80% of black women have them at the same age.)

Lots of things affect your fibroid risk. Current research suggests that a history of stress and depression increases your risk for heavy menstrual bleeding. Plus, stress may be associated with an increased fibroid risk. Also, research now suggests that vitamin d deficiency could increase your risk for fibroids. When working properly, your body’s vitamin d stores produce an anti-fibroid effect by reducing certain chemicals that seem to trigger fibroid growth. This factor, in addition to other factors we’ve already identified, including family history, and exposure to the chemicals within hair relaxers, could help explain why black women more often get fibroids. Because, vitamin d deficiency is 10 time more prevalent in Black women than in white women!

In combination, these factors can help you understand your fibroid risk. And understanding that stress increases your risk means now is a good moment to check in with your reproductive health. If you notice symptoms such as pelvic pain, frequent urination, or long and/or heavy periods, don’t wait. Seek help right away from a fibroid specialist. Don’t want to leave your house? No problem! Our Houston Fibroids team still offers remote fibroid consultations, via the secure Doxy platform. But we can also see you in our office if you need a procedure. Now, what kind of procedure will depend on your selected treatment preference. So let’s explore your best fibroid treatment plans.

How Should I Treat Fibroids?

All too often, you’ll hear that hysterectomy is the best fibroid treatment. But that’s actually not true for every woman. In fact, many women can find relief from fibroid symptoms with UFE, a minimally invasive procedure which cuts off fibroid blood supply. This effectively kills the tumors. All without surgery, and all while preserving your uterus!

Of course, some women may prefer a myomectomy—the surgical removal of individual fibroids. If this is your choice, just exercise caution. If your doctor wants to perform laparoscopic surgery, just say no to morcellators. They majorly increase your risk for uterine cancer.

What we really want you to understand is this. We’re living in stressful times. And that can hurt your health in so many ways. But don’t feel like you need to delay treating pressing health issues, just to avoid Coronavirus. There are real, concrete ways we can help you manage fibroids, all while preserving social distancing. So, if you’re in pain, reach out for help. Request an appointment with our fibroid specialists and we’ll put you on the path to relief. All while protecting you from unnecessary surgeries!

 

Sources: Seminars in Reproductive Medicine , Journal of Women’s Health Issues. Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

#WCW: Evette Dionne is a Fighting Fibroids Warrior

As Houston fibroid specialists, we commit to fighting fibroids with minimally invasive treatment options. But we often have an uphill battle. Many doctors tell their patients that Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is an option. (UFE is a procedure that starves fibroids of blood and oxygen through injections delivered via catheter. It effectively kills them.) And because not all doctors are on our team, many women with fibroids believe they must have surgery. But here’s one woman who’s joined the fight to help fibroid patients learn their options. Here’s to you Evette Dionne, our Woman Crush of the Week! 

Fighting Fibroids: Making a Warrior

Like Ms. Dionne, editor in chief of Bitch Media, many black women spend years dealing with fibroids for years. (These are non-cancerous tumors that develop in and on the uterus.) Even worse, experts don’t know exactly why women of color are more affected by fibroids. But the phenomenon is so bad, the New York Times has recently devoted several features to highlighting the plight of black women with fibroids.

Luckily, Dionne has always felt comfortable advocating for her own best healthcare, but Dionne also realizes that not every woman is equally capable of doing so. Still, there wasn’t much she thought she could do–until one common fibroid-sufferer experience changed everything.

Recently, Dionne had a two-week menstrual period, something that’s not so unusual for women with fibroid tumors. She decided to tweet about it, because so many black women like herself suffer from fibroids, but don’t earn their doctors attention, leaving them with fibroids so large their only treatment option is hysterectomy. In her tweet, Dionne said: “Nearly every Black woman I know has fibroids, and nearly all of their doctors have told them it’s nothing to worry about. That’s a lie. You should be concerned, monitoring the fibroid’s growth through transvaginal ultrasounds, and getting second opinions.”

Since sending out that tweet, Dionne has launched a mini Twitter series on fibroid care, hoping her stewardship will help other Black women receive the best possible fibroid care.

Fighting Fibroids: Is it Better to Monitor or Remove ?

Dionne was diagnosed in 2015 with fibroids. She tells Prevention magazine that she gets an ultrasound from her gynecologist every six months to monitor her fibroid growth. She also gets annual biopsies to make sure she’s shedding her uterine lining each month, and to ensure there are no cancerous cells in her uterus.

Still, Dionne says, some of her symptoms are very difficult to manage. “My doctor has experimented with different medications to control the bleeding, and so far, none have worked as intended. At some point, I will have to consider having the fibroid removed to eliminate the symptoms,” she says.

We support Dionne in her fibroid struggle, and we hope that, when the time comes for her to address the root cause of her symptom, she will be vocal in illuminating the surgical and non-surgical options available to her and other women suffering from their fibroid symptoms.

Sources: Prevention.com

Should You Change Birth Control with Fibroids?

When you are choosing birth control with fibroids, you may need to make a change. Even if your current birth control has been working for years, your fibroid symptoms might mean it’s time for a change. Many women with fibroids choose oral birth control or IUDs. But we know that every woman is different. So it’s important to talk to your doctor about which birth control is best for your needs. An IUD or birth control with fibroids can help heavy periods

Birth Control with Fibroids: What Doesn’t Work

How can you tell if you need to switch your birth control? If you’re experiencing heavy periods, you may want to try a hormone-based birth control option. These include birth control pills and IUDs. Many women find relief from heavy bleeding while they explore fibroid treatment options.

Now, if you have painful cramps, you may want to consider an option such as NuvaRing, which specifically targets this fibroid and PMS symptom.

Keep in mind that you can’t take hormonal birth control if you have a high risk of blood clots or stroke. Also some women with diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers should avoid hormonal birth control. But if you want temporary relief from fibroid symptoms, and don’t have other health concerns, talk to your doctor about switching birth controls.

The Danger in Birth Control

Remember: not every birth control is safe to use. Essure was a permanent birth control device that caused uterine and fallopian tube fibroids. Manufactured by Bayer, the nickel and polyester coil, inserted into a woman’s fallopian tubes, stayed on the market for year. This was a problem since scar tissue formed over the metal coils, permanently blocking your uterus and making pregnancy impossible.

Since it’s 2002 FDA approval, Essure was controversial. For years, Essure users reported devastating side effects. These included cysts and fibroids, plus gastrointestinal, neurological, mental health and blood health complications. In fact, its approval and 2017, women filed over 26,000 Essure complaints with the FDA.

Birth Control with Fibroid Triggers Banned

In spite of all these complaints, Bayer didn’t admit that Essure was unsafe or ineffective. They pulled it off the U.S. market in 2018. But Bayer insisted that the decision was because of declining sales. They never admitted Essure caused major health concerns. Bayer even complained that “inaccurate and misleading” information about Essure contributed to the sales drop!

Even though Essure is no longer available in the U.S., Bayer will likely be dealing with the effects of this device for a long time. Thousands of women have sued Bayer for the devastating Essure side-effects they’ve experienced. Bayer’s response? The company says it “remains strongly committed to women’s health where we have long been a leader. We recognize that women want safe and effective options that best meet their individual needs, and we are committed to continuing our investment, innovation and leadership in this important area of health.” Bayer also plans to enroll women in post-market surveillance programs, and has said it will keep updating the FDA with any relevant health findings from the study.

Other Dangerous Birth Control Options

Recently, we’ve learned about our potential health complications linked to common methods of birth control. First, there’s Depo Provera, a birth control option selected by at least 2 million women in the US and over 74 million around the world.

While this shot can prevent unwanted pregnancy, it may give women many things they aren’t looking for. Potential side effects include facial and body hair growth, weight gain, bone density loss, blood clotting disorders, bleeding disorders and an increased risk for depression, breast cancer and even HIV.

Other forms of birth control may also involve increased risk. Just a while ago, we revealed that the Mirena IUD leaves some women with anxiety, vision loss, migraines, vision loss and other concerning symptoms. Clearly, you must carefully weigh your birth control options and talk to your doctor before starting a course of medication or receiving any injections or implants.

Here at Houston fibroids, we commit to women’s health by helping you find fibroid relief. If you want to discuss your options about birth control with fibroids, we’re here to give you guidance. And if you want to explore minimally invasive fibroid treatment, for lasting symptom relief, schedule a consultation today!

Sources: Natural WomanhoodInsider Health 

What Helps Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

Do you know the warning signs of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)? (Also known as ovarian vein reflux?) While pelvic pain, incontinence and uterine fibroids often go hand in hand, these are also red flags for other serious conditions. One such problem is PCS, a medical problem that is triggered by internal varicose veins in your lower abdomen and pelvis. fibroids treatment

Typically, these veins are in your ovaries. They form with vein reflux (when blood flows backward in your veins). The kind of pelvic pain connected with PCS is more of a chronic ache; some women describe the sensation of someone tugging or pulling in their pelvis.

Confusing PCS Symptoms

PCS is a long-term condition, meaning symptoms will stick around, but with this problem, the pain can be made worse when you first stand up or first sit down. Lying down, on the other hand, can provide relief from the pain of PCS.

In addition to pain in your pelvis, PCS can trigger an irritable bowel and/or bladder and painful sex. PCS may also cause visible varicose veins to appear in or around your vulva, vagina, perineum and anus.

PCS is fairly common, and is the underlying cause of chronic pelvic pain for between 13 and 40% of women, according to the British Society of Interventional Radiology.  Yet it is often misdiagnosed as endometriosis, likely because the symptoms mimic other conditions, and the root cause of the problem is buried deep within your body. And that was the case Johnelle Mercer, a 19-year old woman from Las Vegas who spent years suffering before finally getting diagnosed.

Woman Crush Wednesday #WCW: Journey to PCS Diagnosis

From the time of her very first period, Mercer experienced terrible pelvic pain. Her periods were very heavy, and she lived with breakthrough bleeding between periods. But every time she discussed her symptoms with doctors, they told her she was just stuck with bad periods.

Sick of being ignored and dismissed, this brave young woman kept advocating to get a diagnosis that would offer pain relief. Finally, at the age of 19, she received that diagnosis: PCS. We’re celebrating her as our Woman Crush of the Week for refusing to be ignored. (And for sharing her PCS diagnosis experience with this viral Tik Tok video.)

Also, we’re helping you understand more about this hard-to-diagnose source of pelvic pain. Because we want you to find relief sooner than Johnelle did. And, with that in mind, here’s what you need to know about PCS in order to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment:

What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

When too much blood builds up in your pelvic, you develop this painful PCS condition. And internal varicose veins are often at fault. Individuals with PCS will experience a dull, aching pelvis period over an extended period of time. Women are more likely to develop PCS than men, but both genders can be affected.

When men are affected by PCS, the condition is easier to diagnose and treat, because two of men’s four pelvic veins are visible on the outside of their bodies. Because all of women’s pelvic veins are invisible on the surface of their bodies, PCS can be harder to spot for women. Most women with PCS have previously been pregnant, but even women who’ve never had a pregnancy can develop the condition.

Typically, we think of PCS as a problem for premenopausal women. Recently, studies suggest that menopause doesn’t always offer relief from PCS. In fact, it turns out that some women first develop symptoms after menopause. Clearly, we need to learn more about the causes of this condition.

Why do symptoms develop?

As we already mentioned, PCS develops because of varicose pelvic veins. Varicose veins in the pelvis begin to develop when their valves fail, causing blood that should be pushed out of the pelvis to stick around in the area instead of traveling back to the heart. When this happens, the veins become dilated and put pressure on sensitive areas of the pelvis and on the pelvic floor muscles (the ones you exercise when doing your kegels.)

Again, women who’ve had at least one pregnancy are also more likely to develop this condition. And that’s likely because carrying a baby brings more blood flow to the area.

Still, we aren’t clear why your valves would fail. Sometimes, the cause seems to be late-pregnancy injury. In other cases, excess estrogen may be the cause, since the hormone can widen your blood vessels. PCS may also be a secondary symptom for people with May-Thurner syndromes. Regardless of the cause, the condition presents with uniform symptoms.

What are the symptoms of PCS?

PCS usually causes women to experience pain deep in their pelvis or uterus; the pain is usually dull or aching rather than sharp or intense. PCS pain gets worse all day, especially if you exercise.

While PCS pain is typically dull, changes in posture or heavy lifting can cause women to experience sharp pains in their abdominal area. With PCS, sex and periods can also become more painful.

Some women with PCS also have bladder symptoms that include a frequent need to pee, frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom and even incontinence. Many women will also develop vaginal or vulvar varicose veins. On diagnostic imaging, we’ll also notice an increase in the volume of your pelvic veins. And for men and women, PCS can also cause or worsen conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or lead to chronic fatigue and back pain.

Can I treat PCS?

We typically diagnose PCS with an ultrasound scan.  Then, your Houston interventional radiologists treat PCS easily, with Pelvic Vein Embolisation (PVE). (This is a procedure that’s similar to Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE.)

We use a local anesthetic for this x-ray technique. Guided by ultrasound, we’ll insert a catheter (thin tube) in your vein, pushing into the problematic pelvic vein. Once there, we deposit embolizing material to permanently block off the vein or veins causing your PCS symptoms. After, blood can’t build up in the area. Your vein will shrink and symptoms should resolve quickly.

With proper care and a minimally invasive procedure, we can quickly treat and resolve PCS. Our highly trained vein specialists can easily spot your PCS symptoms and recommend a treatment plan. If you’re experiencing dull, aching pelvic pain, you should schedule a consultation right away. We can even meet remotely, with a Telemedicine appointment, if that’s easier for your current schedule. Remember, you don’t have to live with chronic pelvis pain—you just need to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan!

Sources: www.Cedars-Sinai.Org

Check out 2 New Ways to Stop Period Pain

Do you want to stop period pain? You’re not alone! Many women with fibroids suffer from extremely painful periods. But thanks to a newly-developed hi-tech patch, plus more emerging efforts, theirs and other women’s menstrual pain may finally be a thing of the past.

Hi Tech Cramps Relief to Stop Period Pain pain from uterine fibroids

The Allay is an ultra-thin patch you wear on your stomach. It pulses 1,000 times a second, delivering a small electric current through a wire loop. That current then produces an undetectable magnetic field into the tissue of your abdomen. The field gets your cells to pump out any excess fluid. And that helps your body fight the bloating, swelling and pain that often accompany your period.

You can wear the patch for five full, 24-hour days before you have to remove it and recharge it’s battery. For most women, that will cover the most painful part of your period, although fibroids can also make your period longer and heavier.

Still, in trials, the patch has been shown to reduce women’s pain levels by as much as 70%. That’s a big deal if period pain is dragging you down while you await fibroid treatment.

Similar Devices On the Market

The Livia is also a wearable patch that targets period pain with electrical pulses. Basically, those pulses seem to distract your central nervous system so it’s distracted from pain signals. Plus, it can stimulate your endorphins, which can help fight pain. So it busts your worst cramps in two different ways.

User feedback notes that you have to charge the Livia for 12 hours before use. It can also be a little tricky to place the usable pads in the right spot. (And the $225 price stage may be steep.) But, three separate clinical trials proved it’s effectiveness at fighting period pain. So it may be a good option while we wait to see what happens with Allay (see below.) Or while you explore permanent fibroid relief.

Product Awaits Further Trials

Although some women have already tested the effectiveness of Allay, more trials are currently underway. Currently, 60 women who suffer from period pain (dysmenorrhea) are participating in a two-month trial at the University of Birmingham.

The Allay reportedly reduces period pain levels by 31 per cent as soon as the first day you wear it! And 77 % of women wearing the Allay had at least some reduction in period pain. Only 14% of women who used other pain-relief methods experienced relief.

Currently Available Products

One Canadian company, Somedays, already has a full line of products designed to stop period pain. Currently, they offer four categories of relief products. There are heat and bath products to relieve cramps. And they have topical and edible products that help with muscle recovery which, according to their company’s research, helped relieve period pain.

Even better? The Vancouver, Canada based team keeps testing and trying out new products. So they expect to launch new products this fall. According to founder Lux Perry, “80% of people with periods…report having moderate to severe pain during their cycle. That’s like sitting on the sidelines for 10 entire years for some of us. If you believe that people with periods and predominantly women (because this is very much a gender equity issue) deserve to have the opportunity to actively participate in their lives then you believe in our mission.”

Well, Luz, we do believe in your mission. And we know that when your period pain is caused by fibroids, treating your tumors will offer you a more permanent solution to painful menstrual cycles. If you are ready to get started, contact our office and find out if you are a good candidate for our minimally invasive treatment options.

 

 

US Representative Underwood Joins Women Facing Fibroid Surgery

Recently, US Representative Lauren Underwood had fibroid surgery. Then, with this statement, she announced that  she’ll spend weeks recovering from her procedure. Now, that’s not surprising. After all, fibroid surgery is a major, invasive procedure. It requires hospital stays and lots of downtime afterwards. But it’s not the only fibroid treatment option. Which is something too many women don’t realize, until it’s too late.

Delayed Treatment Forces Fibroid Surgery rep underwood fibroid surgery

That was the case for Indian TV host  Fatma Mohammed who delayed fibroid treatments. That decision limited her treatment options, forcing her to have invasive surgery. Now, she’s sharing her story. And the TV star says she first saw her doctor because of troubling symptoms.  And her caregiver actually diagnosed her fibroids without delay. But, at the time, she says, she only had five fibroids.

Unfortunately, Mohammed did not seek immediate treatment. By the time she was ready for help, the first five fibroids were bigger. Additionally, she’d developed 21 new fibroids. At that point, Mohammed’s physicians opted to surgically remove the fibroids.

The Real Truth About Fibroid Surgery

Following her recovery from this major surgery, Mohammed publicized her outcome so that other women could avoid similar situations. “I was informed that if only I had sought treatment when the five were first detected then I would not have gone under the knife,” she says. “Laparoscopy (a surgical procedure in which a fiber-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall) would have removed them.”

We are so grateful that Fatma is telling her story, but we’re also terribly sad. It’s true that early treatment is crucial for fibroids, but it’s also true that laparoscopic surgery is still surgery.

Non-Surgical Fibroid Treatment in Houston

Myths about uterine fibroids

In our Houston Fibroids practice, we offer women a non-surgical, out-patient treatment option known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). We insert your IV through an artery in the left wrist, so you can sit up and walk out of the office right after the procedure! While not every patient is a candidate, many can benefit from UFE. You don’t have to have radical procedures like surgical fibroid removal or a hysterectomy.

If you have been diagnosed with fibroids and are currently considering treatment options,  schedule a consultation with our doctors. Our team of experts can help you determine how UFE can help you start feeling like yourself again.

WCW: This Woman is Fighting Painful Sex

Did you know that 75% of women have felt pain during sex? Want to know what’s worse? Since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, the situation deteriorated. In a survey of 1300 women, more than half reported menstrual changes and sex life disruptions since the start of the pandemic. And that’s all too familiar for women living with fibroids.

In fact, for many women living with fibroids, painful sex is a constant reality. And while treating fibroids can help relieve that discomfort, there is another interim option available, thanks to our Woman Crush Wednesday winner: Emily Sauer, founder of Lady Parts Justice League.

A Personal Mission to Stop Women’s Sexual Pain

Emily Sauer finds a fun new way to display her Ohnut device, a wearable that helps make intercourse less painful for women

Sauer suffered from dyspareunia (painful sex). After 10 years, she’d had enough. She began collaborating on the creation of a wearable device to keep intercourse from hurting.  In 2017, she presented the finished product on Kickstarter: the Ohnut.

The Ohnut is a body safe device a woman can wear to control how deeply her vagina is penetrated during intercourse.  For women with fibroids near their cervix, this could be especially helpful.

The wearable device gets its name from its appearance—it looks like a stretchy donut. While controlling how deeply a woman is penetrated, keeping the device in place can still help you enjoy the full sexual experience, since the soft device itself mimics the sensation of penetration with a softer force.

As Sauer says, “Ohnut not only allows control over depth, it also offers a fresh opportunity for couples to ideate and work together to find out what works for their shared experience.”

Working together is especially important for couples in which one partner has fibroids. Communication and a willingness to try different approaches to intimacy can keep a sexual connection alive while you decide when and how to treat your tumors.

In fact, that is Sauer’s mission with the Ohnut. She hopes it will make sex fun for women and couples who feel alone in their painful sexual experiences. For offering support to all women struggling with painful intercourse, we salute Ms. Sauer and her innovative assistive device.

Sources: healthline.com

 

Do I Have Fibroid Symptoms or Endometriosis?

Experiencing fibroid symptoms is far more common than you might think. According to the National Institutes of Health, 80 to 90 percent of African American women and 70 percent of Caucasian women will develop fibroids before the age of 50.

Since uterine fibroids are prevalent, can cause severe symptoms and can even lead to trouble getting or staying pregnant, it is important to know the warning signs of fibroid development.

But it’s also important to recognize that some uterine fibroids and endometriosis both cause similar symptoms. (Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue from your uterus, endometrium, grows in or on other parts of your body.) Like women with fibroids, women with endometriosis may experience heavy, painful periods as well as bleeding between periods.

The best way to diagnose the cause of your symptoms is to see your healthcare provider. But you can also narrow down the cause of your pelvic pain and heavy bleeding by better understanding your risk for developing fibroids.

Who is At Risk for Fibroid Symptoms? pain from uterine fibroids

African American women are three times more likely than caucasian women to develop fibroids; they are also more likely to develop several fibroids at a time. Other factors that could increase a woman’s risk of developing fibroids include your age (being over 40) and your weight, since obesity increases your risk. You should also learn your family history of fibroids, and understand that high blood pressure, or never having a pregnancy, could also increase your risk.

Can I Lower My Fibroid Risk?

While many factors can increase your fibroid risk, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing these non-cancerous uterine tumors. Some measures include:

  • Becoming pregnant
  • Balancing your hormones
  • Long-term use of birth control pills or shots
  • Following a fibroid friendly diet (see more here)

 

What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?

Every case is different and some women may never experience symptoms, but a majority of women with fibroids experience at least one of these three common symptoms.

Excessive Menstrual Bleeding

The most common symptom for women with fibroid tumors is excessive bleeding while menstruating. Often times, the bleeding is prolonged, causing periods to last longer than normal. This can lead to soiling of clothing and may interfere with everyday activities.

Heavy periods are most common with intramural and submucosal fibroids. You may also pass large clots when you have fibroids. Over time, this heavy bleeding can cause health complications such as anemia.

Pelvic Pain & Pressure

Women with fibroids may feel pain in their lower abdomen. As fibroids grow larger, depending on their size and location, they may cause pain by putting pressure on organs. In addition, they could cause swelling that is often mistaken as weight gain or pregnancy.

Even small fibroids can cause pressure, depending on their location. But this symptom could also indicate adenomyosis or endometriosis. So you should see your doctor at the first sign of pressure or pain in your pelvis.

Loss of Bladder Control

Fibroids can press against the bladder causing frequent urination and even loss of bladder control. Not only can this cause a great deal of pain, it can disrupt your everyday activities. In addition, fibroid growth can place pressure on the bowel, causing constipation and bloating.

Reaching a Uterine Fibroid Diagnosis

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, or these additional fibroid symptoms, schedule an immediate appointment with our fibroid specialists. Fibroids can usually be found during a simple abdominal or pelvic exam. If your doctor feels that you may have fibroids, an ultrasound or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis and proceed with treatment. And, if your provider rules out fibroids as the cause of your symptoms, he or she may recommend further testing to confirm or rule out an endometriosis diagnosis.

Sources: Bioidentical Hormone Health

 

 

Here are 3 Yoga Moves to Fight Period Pain

When you have fibroids, period pain and general pelvic pain can be a big problem. But that’s not all. In fact, as we recently learned from Shantel Smith’s now-viral TikTok, those cramps can spread to your thighs or even your rectum. Of course, fibroids can also trigger constipation, so those rectal cramps could be even worse when you’re living with these growths. So, if that’s the case for you, you may find some relief with these gentle yoga 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 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.

 

Keep in mind, these yoga poses can only temporarily relieve symptoms of period pain. But if fibroids are regularly affecting your menstrual cycle, you may need a more permanent intervention. So, for those seeking relief from fibroids and painful periods, we invite you to schedule a consultation today with our Houston area fibroid specialists.

 

Sources: everydayhealth.com

#WCW: Got a Heavy Period? This 85-lb weight loss winner relates!

If you have a heavy period, it’s more than just a drag. It can make you live in fear, always searching for the nearest bathroom, armed with spare clothes in case of leaks. That was the case for Tamika Warren-Jenkins, an Indianapolis woman who suffered from a heavy menstrual cycle for years, without realizing fibroids were to blame.

Some women are more at risk for heavy flow than others. And there’s lots of reasons your period gets heavy (we’ll go through them shortly. Because it’s important to know your why, so you can determine if you need to seek medical care.) But first, let’s talk about Tamika’s experience, and what it means to have a ‘heavy’ period. weight loss for heavy periods

Tamika’s Story: Family History and Weight Loss Efforts

While Takima’s mom and three aunts all had fibroids, she says it wasn’t something the family talked about. So, when Tamika started experiencing debilitating symptoms such as heavy periods, she didn’t immediately suspect fibroids.

By 2017, she told WishTV, she knew these non-cancerous tumors were responsible. But, instead of reviewing all her treatment options, her doctor suggested dropping extra weight to lower her estrogen levels. (While we don’t know what causes fibroids, high hormonal levels may contribute to their growth and development.)

Desperate for relief, Tamika says, “I put in the work. Because the first thing they said was less hormones, less estrogen. So if it’s less estrogen in your body, then they shouldn’t grow as fast. They should shrink. That was the thought at the time, but it didn’t happen that way.” Even though she dropped an incredible 85 pounds!

A Different Way Forward

Even after her weight transformation, Tamika found no relief from heavy periods. So, since she already had two children, and didn’t want more, she opted to treat her fibroids with a hysterectomy.

Ultimately, this decision was the right one for Tamika, who says she’s now living symptom-free. But not every woman needs to lose her uterus to find fibroid relief. And that’s why Tamika wants everyone to know her story. She says, “I know reproductive health is like, ugh, I don’t want to talk about that, but you do need to talk about it.” Which is why she’s our Woman Crush of the Week. And why we want you to read all about why Tamika, and other women, might be at higher risk for heavy periods.

Who’s at Risk for a Heavy Period?

Any woman, especially Black woman, with an increased fibroid risk is more likely to have a heavy period. In fact, about 39% of black women experience heavy bleeding at that time of the month. (And 70% of black women will likely develop fibroids.)

But fibroids aren’t the only condition that can affect your monthly flow. If you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), your periods will probably be irregular. Still, when they do come, they are likely to be heavier than normal.

Also, women who are obese (with a BMI that’s 30 or higher), and women with copper IUDs have a higher risk for heavy periods. Finally, thyroid conditions, as well as health conditions that put you on blood thinners, could also leave you with a heavy flow each month.

Of course, sometimes a heavy period is no big deal. But sometimes, heavy flow can negatively impact other areas of your help. So keep reading to find out if you need medical help for your heavy period.

How Can I Tell if a Heavy Period is a Problem? tampons

Like everything to do with your body, some of this is personal. If your period is suddenly much heavier than it used to be (you’re soaking through tampons or pads more rapidly), that on its own could be a warning sign.

But there is a medical condition, known as menorrhagia, which refers to a possibly-dangerous amount of period blood loss. Signs of this condition include soaking your tampon or pad every hour, for several hours in a row. Or, if you need to use a tampon and pad to avoid leaking, you may have a problem. It’s also problematic if your period lasts longer than a week, if you pass clots that are bigger than a quarter, or if your flow is affecting your sleep and daily activities.

Why Is My Period So Heavy? 4 Potential Causes of Heavy Bleeding

There are several reasons your period might be heavy. Let’s explore a few, and discuss what to do if you think that’s your ‘why.’

1. You Have Fibroids

Fibroids are (almost always) non-cancerous tumors that develop in, on or around your uterus. Fibroids cause heavy and long periods. But that’s not the only symptom that pops up with fibroids. If your heavy periods are the result of fibroids, you may have other symptoms like pelvic pain, constipation, frequent urination, and even bloating or weight gain (larger fibroids can make you look like you’re in the early stages of pregnancy!)

If you experience heavy periods, and any of the other fibroid symptoms we described, call your gynecologist or a fibroid specialist for a screening.

2. You’ve Got Thyroid Problems

Your thyroid actually plays a role in regulating your menstrual cycle, so when it’s malfunctioning, your period could stop completely. Or it could get really heavy. Typically, heavy periods are a sign of an underactive thyroid because this can impact your ovaries progesterone production, and that’s the hormone which regulates your period flow.

If an underactive thyroid is causing your heavy periods, you may also experience fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss. Got these symptoms too? It’s best to seek the advice of an endocrinologist regarding your thyroid help.

3. You’re Entering Menopause

In the years and months before menopause, your period will change. It won’t come as often, and it could last longer, and be heavier when it does show up.

Since your period is coming less frequently, your uterine lining will get thicker before it sheds. This means when it does arrive, your period will be much heavier. You may also pass more and larger clots. So, if you’re approaching the age of menopause, and your period’s getting heavier, you don’t need to be concerned. Instead, acknowledge your changing body and start preparing mentally for your next stage of life.

4. That Extra Exercise is Causing Changes Happy African American Woman Smiling Outside

Are you using the pandemic to become a crazy runner? Or taking online fitness classes every single day? When you suddenly ramp up your activity levels, your adjusting body may lose its hormonal balance. As a result, your periods may get heavier. And this heavy flow could last for a few cycles, especially if you keep upping your fitness game.

If you’ve been training extra hard during the pandemic, and now your flow is off, you probably don’t need to go into your doctor’s office. You may, however, want to discuss hormone-balancing measures you could take from home. And possibly build a rest day into your schedule!

Other Causes of Heavy, Painful Periods

There are other factors which make your periods more likely to be painful. These include your age (periods tend to be more painful before you turn 20), and your pregnancy history (if you haven’t had a baby, painful periods are more likely.) If you’re a smoker, or have a family history of painful periods, your risk is also higher.

Another factor to consider is when you started your period. If your first menstrual cycle arrived before you turned 11, this could increase your risk for period pain. And, finally, aside from fibroids, other chronic conditions can make your period more painful. These include Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which is a  condition triggered by the hormonal changes in your body that begin 1 to 2 weeks before your period. Endometriosis could also be responsible. This is a condition in which your uterine cells grow outside of the uterus, typically on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or even on your pelvic lining.

Now you know some possible causes for your heavy, painful periods, it’s time to start looking carefully at all of your menstrual symptoms. And please know that, even in these crazy times, we are here to help you find relief from period pain. Houston fibroids is open and here for you!

Sources: International Journal of Obstetrics and GynecologyPrevention Magazine, Oprah Magazine

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