Category: Fibroid Symptoms

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

#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!

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

Fibroids 101: The Risks, Diagnoses and Effects

Many women have heard about fibroids (benign tumors that develop in or on a woman’s uterus) but don’t know much more than the name. Here is our quick cheat sheet for really understanding these tumors: 

Who is At Risk for Fibroids?

While any woman can develop fibroids, the ones at highest risk: have a family history, are Black or Hispanic, and/or  have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). As more Caucasian women present with elevated BMIs, their fibroid risk has also increased. While we still don’t know exactly why fibroids develop, we know two things make them grow: hormones, especially estrogen, and blood supply. For this reason, we can often control fibroid growth with birth control pills. And, we can shrink the tumors by cutting off their blood supply using a procedure called UFE (uterine fibroid embolization.)

How Can I Confirm my Fibroid Diagnosis?

If you are experiencing symptoms like heavy periods, pelvic pain, incontinence or constipation, your doctor may check you for fibroids. Usually, you’ll be diagnosed with a pelvic exam and a pelvic sonogram. You may need a transvaginal sonogram to determine if the fibroid has affected your uterine lining.

How will Fibroids Impact my Life? 

Once you know you have fibroids, you have lots of options. If you aren’t bothered by symptoms, you may just monitor the tumor(s). With fibroids that are small, birth control, diet and exercise may keep them from causing you pain. But if pregnancy is important to you, the location of your fibroids will be important. Fibroids that grow in the uterine cavity or block the fallopian tubes may affect your fertility. 

If symptoms or infertility send you in search of relief, it’s important to research all your treatment options. While some doctors may recommend surgery (myomectomy or hysterectomy), we like to explore less invasive options. To learn more about non-surgical fibroid treatments schedule a consult today with our Houston area fibroid experts

Why You Need to Address Heavy Periods

When you’re dealing with uterine fibroids, your menstrual flow can become very heavy. Your periods may also last longer than the typical seven day window. Obviously, this can be uncomfortable and, at times, inconvenient. But if you’re thinking that you should just deal with the annoyance, think again. As it turns out, heavy periods can actually affect other areas of your health. 

How Do I Know if My Periods Are Abnormal?

It’s easy to say that a heavy period could be cause for concern, but it can be difficult to quantify what “heavy” really means. Flow varies from woman to woman, so any major change could be problematic. As a general rule of thumb, however, excessively heavy bleeding is defined as: 

  • Less than 21 days between your periods (longer than 35 days between cycles is also unusual, but this would not be considered a problem of excess bleeding)
  • Periods that last longer than 7 days
  • Passing large clots during your period (anything bigger than the size of a quarter warrants a discussion with your doctor)
  • Losing more than 80 cc of blood (of course, no one expects you to actually measure your blood loss, but if you’re soaking through super tampons or pads in an hour or less, chances are you’re losing too much blood.)

My Period is Too Heavy – What Do I Do Now?

If you think that your periods are too heavy, talk to your doctor right away. Make an appointment with your gyno, even if it’s not time for your annual exam. Here’s why: heavy periods can lead to anemia, a condition that sets in when you don’t have enough iron in your blood. Anemia needs to be addressed immediately, because it can affect your body’s ability to carry oxygen to your extremities. Over time, it can also lead to iron deficiency which, in turn, can affect the body’s bone marrow response. Additionally, anemia can cause symptoms like fatigue, weakness, dizziness, pain, headaches, cold hands and feet, chest pain and even heart attacks. 

Once you mention heavy bleeding to your doctor, he or she will likely suggest an anemia screening, to make sure you’re staying ahead of the issue. But it’s also important to try and determine the cause of your heavy bleeding, or else your continued blood loss will likely keep you in an anemic state. 

Fibroids and Heavy Periods

Uterine fibroids  can develop within the uterine lining (submucosal), the uterine muscle (intramural) or outside the uterine lining (subserosal.) Submucosal fibroids may increase the area of the lining, which causes you to bleed more when it is shed each month. These fibroids may also hinder your body’s ability to stop bleeding once it starts.

Intramural fibroids can increase the blood flow that reaches your uterus, and can also expand the size of your uterine cavity, thereby increasing bleeding.

If fibroids are the cause of your heavy menstrual flow, you will need to treat your fibroids in order to stop the excessive bleeding. Be sure and discuss all your treatment options, both surgical and minimally invasive, when deciding how best to address your fibroids and heavy mentrual flow. 

Sources: semcor.ubc.ca, The Center for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, cdc.gov, The Centers for Disease Control 

 

It’s Time to Speak Up About Period Symptoms!

According to a new Dutch study, many women who suffer from heavy, painful periods keep their suffering to themselves. Even when these symptoms affect their ability to live a normal life! 

After conducting a nationwide survey of 45,000, researchers found that 85% of the respondents experienced painful cramps during their periods. 77% had mood disorders, and 71% experienced near crippling exhaustion. And 33% of the respondents reported that these symptoms kept them from performing their daily activities. But among those 33% who had to cut back on their activities because of their periods, less than half told their doctors or family members the reason for their life changes. 

Lead study author Dr. Mark Schoep of Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands said, ““We think there is a taboo on menstrual symptoms, mainly because women think this is just a normal part of life, and they might feel it is not accepted to openly discuss this matter.”

Painful Periods Are NOT Normal

While mild cramping isn’t unusual during your period, symptoms that affect your daily life are a problem you should talk about with your doctor. In fact, menstrual symptoms can indicate serious complications, like uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. If you don’t talk to your doctor about these symptoms, you may miss a diagnosis-and keep suffering for nor reason. 

“Women need to know that they should seek health care if they have menstrual symptoms that affect their daily life,” said Dr. Trine Stanley Karlsson of the University Hospital Karolinska in Stockholm, Sweden, who was also involved in the study.

At our Houston Fibroids center, we couldn’t agree more. We can help alleviate painful menstrual symptoms related to your fibroids: but only if you speak up! So stop keeping discomfort to yourself. The sooner you share your health information, the quicker we can get to work making you feel better. 

 

Are all fibroid tumors the same?

All fibroids, (also called myomas or leiomyomas) are non-cancerous growths of muscular tissues that develop in and on a woman’s uterus. Yet not all fibroids will develop in the same location, and not all of these tumors will cause the same symptoms. That’s why we tend to classify fibroids based on where they develop within a woman’s uterus. 

The Three Types of Fibroids

There are three different fibroid classifications.  Intramural fibroids grow almost entirely within the wall of the uterus.  Submucosal tumors grow from the uterine wall and push into the cavity of the uterus. Subserosal fibroids grow out of the uterine lining, poking through the uterine wall. Depending on the type or location of your uterine fibroids, you may experience different symptoms than a woman with a tumor in a different location. But, for all women with fibroids, symptoms tend to fall in three main categories: 

  • Pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pressure

Fibroid Symptoms Based on Location

Bleeding
For all women, fibroids can cause long, heavy periods and/or bleeding even when it’s not that time of the month. All  fibroids affect blood flow to the uterus in some way, which is why your period typically gets heavier when you have fibroids. Women with submucosal fibroids typically experience the heaviest periods, because they push your uterine lining into the cavity, greatly expanding its reach. Heavy bleeding is a symptom that should be addressed right away with your doctor, since, over time, it can make women anemic. 

Pain 
Mild discomfort or cramping is often a normal part of your menstrual cycle: the cramps are caused by slight changes to your uterus as you shed its lining. When you have fibroids, the changes to the uterus are more significant, which is why your cramps are likely to be stronger and more painful with these tumors. Women with intramural or subserosal fibroids may also experience lower back pain, as their enlarged uterus pushes against the muscles of the back. And women with fibroid tumors located near the cervical opening may experience pain during sex, although certain positions will be more comfortable than others. 

Pressure
Women with fibroids often experience pressure or heaviness in the pelvis because the tumors increase the size of their uterus. Women with subserosal fibroids may become constipated or feel the need to urinate frequently, as their uterine lining expands and places pressure on either the bladder or the rectum. 

Regardless of where your fibroids are located, and no matter which symptoms you find most bothersome, relief is available, often without surgery. Contact our Houston area fibroid specialists to learn if you are a candidate for our minimally-invasive fibroid treatment