Category: Fibroid Symptoms

Help for Painful Sex and the Emotional Cost of Fibroids

Do you need help for painful sex? If you have fibroid tumors, sexual intercourse might hurt. Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors. They come in different sizes, and can also form in different portions or layers of the uterus. If your fibroids develop near your cervix, they can make certain sexual positions incredibly painful. You may feel like avoiding sex entirely. And, in some cases, those fibroids near your cervix may cause post-intercourse bleeding. Female with Fibroids

All of these effects are challenging. But there’s good news. First of all, certain positions can help. And, science is working on more treatments for painful sex. This could eliminate the problem entirely, and not just for women with fibroids.

Sexual Positions that Relieve Fibroid Pain

When you have fibroids, remember that sex isn’t only about penetration. You can still enjoy other intimate connections. But you can also choose positions which limit depth of penetration. By doing so, you’ll avoid pressure on fibroids near your cervix, which should limit pain during and after intercourse.

While we won’t get into specifics right here, you can explore this article from Cosmopolitan magazine. It highlights 5 positions to try if you experience pain with intercourse.

Medical Help for Painful Sex

Of course, women with fibroids are not the only ones who experience painful intercourse. According to a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, evidence suggests that women with chronic sexual pain who were given Gabapentin (a fibromyalgia drug also used to target oral nerve pain) experienced relief from sexual pain.

The women included in this study had a condition known as vulvodynia, a chronic problem characterized bu stinging, burning and itching at the entry to the vagina. The condition is often worsened by sexual intercourse, or even by the use of tampons.

With the fibromyalgia drug Gabapentin, the 230 women included in the study experienced less pain; their arousal and sexual satisfaction levels also improved. Of course, the pain of vulvodynia does not have the same underlying cause as the pain of fibroids, but one factor does unite the two issues: tightness and discomfort in the pelvic region. Gabapentin appears to help women by alleviating pelvic pain, a symptom experienced by many women with fibroids. Results after UFE

Addressing the Emotional Cost of Fibroids

Now, the symptoms of fibroids aren’t just physical. They also take a big toll on women emotionally. And there’s a study to prove that fact!

According to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, having fibroids is as much of a social and emotional challenge as it is to live with heart disease, diabetes or even breast cancer!

The findings are based on a comprehensive review of 57 earlier fibroid studies. And they suggest that living with fibroids dramatically lowers your quality of life. They also noted that fibroids could be considered a disability, because of their impact on mental health and social functioning. Not to mention the physical pain and disrupted sexual relationships that often come along for the ride with a fibroid diagnosis.

Going further, the study suggests that having fibroids may become a disability because these growths cause bodily pain, along with challenges to mental health, social function and your sex life. In fact, according to study contributor Dr. James R Segars, “For some women, the unpredictability and intensity of the heavy bleeding and related symptoms associated with the condition go beyond an inconvenience. Many women suffer in silence, and feel they can’t go out or be social because they may start bleeding at any time.”

Life Threatening Fibroid Symptoms

While the Hopkins study results are concerning, another study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health paints an even darker picture. The researchers spent 20 years following women diagnosed with uterine fibroids. (Between May 2000 and March 2020.) Their goal? To better understand the emotional toll of a fibroid diagnosis.

Unfortunately, they discovered it was a big one. In fact, the study revealed that women with fibroids experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and self-directed violence. And these symptoms are even worse if the fibroids are symptomatic. Or if the women end up having a hysterectomy. Clearly, managing pain and finding less invasive fibroid treatment options is critical for women’s quality of life. In some cases, it may even be life-saving.

Pain Management Vs. Problem Solving

Not all women are ready to treat their fibroids immediately after receiving a diagnosis. And that’s why we’re helping you manage painful sex while you wisely research all your treatment options. Doing so will help you decide which course of action is best for your long term health and fertility goals. For women like these, who decide to lay surgical or non-invasive fibroid treatments like UFE, finding new ways to manage symptoms like painful intercourse will be very important.

Sources: Cosmopolitan Magazine, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Here’s How Period Pain Hurts Your Career

Women with fibroids know that period pain is a big deal, but did you know it could be a pain on the job, too? In a new Dutch study, researchers found that women lose almost nine productive work and school days each year because of painful periods!

Periods Take Women off the Job

For the study, published in the BMJ, researchers followed over 32,000 women ages 15-45. They watched how often the women missed work or school, and how often they showed up in pain, losing productivity. What they found was upsetting: 13.8 percent of the women reported missing work during their periods. Another 3.4 percent reported taking time off from school or work almost every time they had their periods. And even when they showed up, 80.7% of women reported being unproductive on the job when dealing with their periods. In all, period pain takes a major toll on women in the school and workforce.

Understanding Period Pain

Period pain is awful. But some women seem to be completely knocked out of their lives during their cycles, while others tolerate menstruation fairly well. What’s the deal? Sometimes the answer is outside conditions that make matters worse. (As you’ll see in a minute) But other times, the reason is less clear. And that’s a mystery a new Australian study, called the LongSTEPPP project, hopes to solve.

Conducted by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, researchers will follow 3000 women who’ve been treated for period pain. Their focus is on young women in their teenage years. The hope? To understand the causes of period pain and offer early intervention before women start missing work and turning their lives upside down. Hopefully, this study will uncover previously unknown causes of period pain. But there’s one common cause we’re all too familiar with…fibroids!

Fibroids Mess with your Period…and so much more

Many of the women in this study were simply dealing with typical menstrual cramps. Now, imagine if the women in the study were all dealing with fibroids, which can make your period longer, heavier and more painful. We’re guessing those absent and unproductive days would only increase!l

Of course, heavy, painful periods aren’t the only way fibroids can hurt your body. Studies show that about 30% of women with fibroids also experience painful sex, back pain, pelvic pain or other discomforts. Like your period pain, these fibroid symptoms could show up intermittently. Or, for some women, fibroid pain could be chronic. And, either way, it can interfere with your lifestyle, making you skip workouts, work days or more.

So, that’s the bad news…but here’s the good. Even if you have fibroids, painful periods don’t have to be your forever problem. There are non-invasive treatment options that can alleviate your symptoms without surgery or hospital stays. Want to learn more? Set up a consultation with our Houston-area fibroid specialists to learn if you are a good candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization.

Sources: https://bmjopen.bmj.com

 

Learn Your Risk Factors for Fibroids, Plus Diagnosis and Effect Info

When it comes to your health, it’s important to know your risk factors for fibroids–plus what it means for your health if you get this diagnosis. 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:

What are Your Risk Factors for Fibroids?

Before we get started, we have to be clear: we still don’t the exact reason why women get fibroids. But, thanks to recent studies, we do have a clearer picture of what raises women’s fibroid risk.

First, we know that race plays a major role in your fibroid risk. 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). In fact, according to a recent study in the BJOG Journal, black women have a two-threefold higher fibroid risk. That’s why about 70% of black women develop fibroids, according to the study. And it may be why European women have a lower fibroid risk than women in the U.S.: the racial mix in populations is very different.

Still, as more Caucasian women present with elevated BMIs, their fibroid risk has also increased. And we know, thanks to this study, 11 other factors that increase your fibroid risk. These include your age (risk decreases as you get older), premenopausal state, hypertension, family history and the time since your last birth. (Having more full-term pregnancies seems to decreases your fibroid risk. Breastfeeding could also impact your fibroid risk. That’s because your ovarian hormones decrease when you nurse. ) Smoking or consuming certain food additives or soybean milk may also increase your chances of getting fibroids.

In some cases, the use of oral contraceptives or the injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate increased your fibroid risk. That’s not necessarily surprising, since we know that two things make fibroids grow: hormones, especially estrogen, and blood supply.

But, while some forms of birth control increase your fibroid risk, we can also 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.)

Environmental Risk Factors for Fibroids’ Growth

Recently, we’ve learned something about fibroid risk and your environment from this study in Fertility and Sterility. When pregnant women expecting daughters were exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals, the babies seemed to have a higher rate of developing fibroids. While researchers aren’t sure why, it seems that these hormones change the developing uterus in ways that make fibroid growth more likely.

What are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)? Well, they can be man-made or natural. Either way, these are chemicals that interfere with your endocrine system. As a result, they can harm your developmental reproductive, neurological and immune health. BPA and phthalates are some of the best-known EDCs. But many others exist. And now we can say that early exposure ups your fibroid risk, as well as your risk for diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, reproductive tract disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Genetic Fibroid Risks

We are constantly discovering other fibroid risk factors, and recently, scientists from the University of Helsinki uncovered a genetic link. After monitoring 728 women with 2263 tumors, researchers grouped their fibroids by genetic variants.

For most women, these fibroids fell neatly into one of three. But a number of the fibroids didn’t fit into previously identified categories. Instead, they showed variations that cells’ histone activity. (Histones help shape and control genes.activity.)

After seeing this variation, the researchers discovered an inherited fibroid risk. Women with certain genetic mutations have a higher risk of developing tumors.  As a result, with more research, women with these mutations could receive counseling and regular fibroid screening. In that way, it could be easier to detect and diagnose any developing growths in their earliest stages.

New Genetic Test for Fibroids: If My Mother Had Fibroids Will I Get Them?

A new study in Human Genetics identified certain gene combinations that point towards your risk factors for fibroids. After identifying these genes, they can assign screened women a uterine fibroid polygenic risk score (PRS). The idea? The higher your PRS, the more likely you are to develop fibroids. Now, doctors can screen patients for these genes and determine each woman’s PRS score. After receiving an elevated PRS score, women could place their symptoms in context if they appear. Then, they could avoid delaying a fibroid diagnosis. So that women wouldn’t have to suffer for years without relief.

After studying the test results of almost 500 women with fibroids, researchers compared their genetic markers to women without these growths. Here’s what they found. There are 30 specific genetic chromosomal locations that can be linked to an increased fibroid development risk. Now that we know their connection, if your mother or grandmother had fibroids, you can ask doctors to screen you for these markers. Then, if you have any, you may reach a fibroid diagnosis faster if you start displaying any symptoms.

How Can I Confirm my Fibroid Diagnosis? heavy periods change your life

If you are experiencing fibroid 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.

As soon as you’ve been diagnosed, you’ll need to consider your treatment options. And remember that you do have options: not all fibroid diagnoses will end in surgery. In fact, there are minimally invasive fibroid treatments that can help you find relief. But the option you choose will largely depend on the type of symptoms you’re currently experiencing.

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 also 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.

Sources: International Journal of Fertility and SterilityBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 

What Causes Pelvic Pain? You Don’t Have to Check TikTok for Answers

What causes pelvic pain? Unfortunately, many conditions—including fibroids—can trigger this symptom. Equally troubling? Lots of women, especially women of color, don’t get enough time with or information from their doctors. And that’s why a new survey from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reveals that some of these women are seeking answers in unexpected places. Let’s take a closer look.

What Causes Pelvic Pain? The Search for Answers what causes pelvic pain

Several different conditions can lead to chronic pelvic pain. Among the top culprits? Fibroids, endometriosis and adenomyosis. But what else do these conditions have in common? They often come with delayed diagnoses. And women who discuss their symptoms with doctors are often dismissed or ignored.

Maybe that’s why this new survey revealed that patients with chronic pelvic pain were twice as likely to use social media to understand or manage their condition than those without pain. In fact, 37.8% of women with pelvic pain sought health answers online compared to 19.7% of women living without this disruptive symptom.

The survey authors explain, “Social media is increasingly becoming a health resource for people suffering from complex and debilitating health conditions.” And that’s a problem because the internet doesn’t have all the answers.

Who’s Researching Pelvic Pain Online?

Who were the women involved in this research? Well, the study followed 517 women who presented with a new complaint of pelvic pain between February 2018 and April 2019. Each participant visited a gynecologist at either the Cleveland Clinic Florida, Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Scripps San Diego, Vanderbilt or the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Each of these hospitals offers minimally invasive gynecologic treatments.)

Now, you already know that women with pelvic pain hit the internet for answers at a higher rate. But that wasn’t the survey’s only important finding. In fact, it turns out that women in the pelvic pain group were more likely to become highly engaged with social media.

First, almost 40% of women with pain used social media as a way to cope with their discomfort. They had more trust for information they found on social media. They were also motivated by interpersonal engagement when they were online, while preferring interactive elements to their searches.

Likewise, these women had more trust for other women with similar symptoms, and they were less likely to trust doctors and formal health resources. All in all, this suggests that hearing and asking questions about other women’s treatment journeys could really matter to women who want to know, what causes pelvic pain.

As interventional radiologists offering minimally invasive fibroid treatments, that last fact matters a lot. Because, we can shout about UFE from the rooftops. But we know you’ll hear it better from women who have lived through your experience. And that’s why we highlight our #WCW series whenever possible. Which, as it turns out, goes right along with what the study authors recommend.

Giving Women Answers Online and in the Office

The study revealed how hard it still is for women to answer, what causes pelvic pain? In fact, women in the pain group saw an average of just under 3 physicians before getting a diagnosis. And that means we all have more work to do.

So, what do the study authors suggest? Here’s their takeaway message. “Our study suggests that higher social media use and engagement stems from medical needs unmet by the formal health care system.” And, to close that needs gap, doctors must create “a patient care environment in which both social media and formal care can exist together.” This, they say, will lead to better patient outcomes.

Help for Pelvic Pain in Houston, TX

Luckily, this is nothing new to our Houston area fibroid experts. We want to help you find out what causes pelvic pain for you, so we meet you on Facebook and Pinterest to share medical answers alongside other women’s fibroid journey stories.

Recently, we’ve also come across this helpful suggestion. While you search for the cause of your pain, you certainly want to find relief. And, this 2020 survey found that 42% of women found effective pelvic and period pain relief by masturbating. In fact, 62% of the women surveyed experienced at least some form of pain relief by masturbating regularly throughout the month, not just during their periods.

Now, that’s just one option for finding pelvic pain relief. But we know you’ll still have questions, so we always invite you into the office—or onto our Telehealth platform—for a comprehensive consultation.

Reference

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Published online November 6, 2021.

 

Why is My Period so Heavy?

Why is my period so heavy? It’s a question many women have to ask. Almost no woman is a huge fan of menstruating. But sometimes a heavy flow is really too heavy. If you’re soaking through a pad or tampon every few hours, it could be a sign that your menstrual flow is abnormal or problematic. That’s even more true if you have to double up on pads, or use a pad and tampon together. It’s also a problem if you’re passing blood clots that are bigger than a quarter during your period.

Too much blood loss during your period may mean you have menorrhagia. (This is a condition characterized by heavy menstrual bleeding.) The previous symptoms could mean you have this condition. And so could a period that lasts longer than seven days.

 

Now, want to know why your period is heavy? Here are 8 groups of women at risk for menorrhagia.  And a few things you can do if you’re in a high-risk group.

Why is My Period so Heavy? I have Fibroids

Women with fibroids have a higher risk for a heavy period. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that typically develop in your uterus. They often lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, And, for some women, they can cause infertility. Studies reveal that, for about 10% of women who ask “Why is my period so heavy”, the answer is  fibroids.

Of course, not all women have an equal risk. Unfortunately, black women are more likely to have both heavier periods and fibroids. Here are a few reasons why that may be true.

  1. Obesity. The US Department of Health and Human Services report that 4 out of 5 black women are either overweight or obese. Carrying extra weight is linked to higher estrogen levels. And more estrogen in your body may increase your fibroid risk.
  2. Nutrition. It’s harder for women of color to soak up vitamin D, because melanin can block its absorption. And, today, we know that vitamin d deficiency is tied to an increased fibroid risk.
  3. Toxic chemicals. Women of color are often sold hair products containing dangerous chemicals. And guess what? Many of those chemicals have been tied to their increased risk for fibroids.

Now you understand why a heavy period could mean fibroids. And why your risk for fibroids could increase. But let’s look at other reasons why your period could be heavier than normal.

Women with Polycystic ovarian syndrome

This condition is associated with irregular and infrequent periods. PCOS causes growths to develop around a woman’s cervix or uterus; the growths are either the result of high estrogen levels or are caused by infections. Because periods are irregular with PCOS, the uterine lining has a longer time to thicken, adding to the volume of a woman’s menstrual blood and making her flow abnormally heavy.

Women with Endometriosis

With endometriosis, tissue that’s similar to the lining of your uterus travels out of the uterus. When a woman with endometriosis menstruates, she sheds all of the lining tissue, regardless of its location. And that makes her period very heavy.

Women with Changing Hormones

When a woman is dealing with a hormonal imbalance—either low or high levels—she can experience irregular ovulation. And that can make her ask “Why is my period so heavy?”  As with other conditions that affect your menstrual cycle, hormonal imbalances that give you less frequent periods can make the periods you do have extra heavy.

Clotting Problems Change Periods

Certain genetic conditions, or even certain medications, can affect your body’s ability to form blood clots. While this problem is extremely rare, if you are one of the women affected by a natural or medical bleeding disorder, your periods may become very heavy.

IUDs Could Mean Heavier Periods

An IUD or intrauterine device is a long term form of birth control that’s implanted in your uterus. In certain cases, IUDS—especially ones that don’t contain hormones—can cause you to experience a heavier than normal period.

Black Women Have a Higher Risk

Research shows that 39% of Black women deal with heavy periods. That’s a higher percentage than in other groups of women. Which may be related to Black women’s increased risk for fibroids.

Obesity Can Make Periods Heavier

When you carry extra weight, your hormonal balance shifts. (See the risk factor above.) For obese women (who have a BMI of 30 or above) the risk increases further, because fat cells produce estrogen. And, with too much estrogen, your uterine lining will thicken. And, when it’s time to shed that lining at the end of the month, your period will be heavier.

Only your doctor can determine the specific cause of your heavy menstrual flow. If you are dealing with heavy periods and want some answers, schedule a consultation with our highly trained fibroid physicians right away. Don’t wait for another cycle to find relief!

Sources: International Journal of Gynecalogic Obstetrics

These 5 Fibroid Myths are Worth Forgetting

Fibroid myths are a big problem in this country. They force many women with fibroids into a hysterectomy, thinking there are no other treatment options. So, if you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids, here’s the truth you need to know.

With this diagnosis, you may experience side effects like heavy periods, pelvic pain and constipation. You may have difficulties becoming pregnant, or carrying a pregnancy to term. You will certainly want to talk to your doctors about all the treatment options that are available to you. Those are the facts. Now, here are the fictions that you need to dismiss:

MYTH #1: Untreated Fibroids Will Keep On Growing 

Some fibroids, if left alone, will keep on growing. In fact, some women who delay fibroid treatment end up with fibroids the size of a nine-month-old fetus. Or with 236 different growths, like this woman from Bengaluru. But that is not always the case. Many women with fibroids will not even realize it, because their tumors are tiny, stable in size, and cause no symptoms. Other fibroids may grow to a certain point and then stop growing altogether. And, on rare occasions, some fibroids will rupture, creating a medical emergency.

But here’s the tricky part: it’s hard to know what kind of growth pattern your fibroid will follow. For that reason, even if you decide to delay treatment, you will want to see your doctor regularly to monitor tumor development. (Make sure to get an ultrasound at each check-in, to track any growth.) And remember, the smaller your fibroid, the more treatment options available to you.

Fibroid MYTHs #2: Fibroids must be removed.

Fibroids that aren’t causing symptoms may not require any form of treatment, especially if you’ve completed your family or have no interest in becoming pregnant. If your fibroids are causing symptoms like heavy bleeding, severe pain or fertility problems, you’ll likely want to seek treatment, but surgeries like myomectomies (removal of the fibroid) or hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) are not your only options.

If you’ve decided to treat your fibroids, you may be able to undergo Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive treatment option that shrinks your fibroids over time by blocking their blood flow. Not everyone is a candidate, but if you are looking for a treatment option with little downtime and no hospital stays, it’s worth exploring with your interventional radiologist.

Fibroid MYTH #3: Taking medication can make fibroids disappear.

Nonsurgical fibroid treatments, like UFE, are sometimes an option. And some other treatment options, like progesterone-based pills or shots, or certain birth controls, can lessen fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding. Some drugs may even help shrink your fibroids over time, but the benefits will disappear as soon as you get off the meds. Additionally, several fibroid medications have recently been connected to other, more serious, health complications

MYTH #4: Menopause Cures Fibroids

While many women will experience relief from fibroids after the onset of menopause, that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, if you decide to undergo hormone replacement therapy to manage menopause symptoms, you may even see new fibroid development!

Postmenopausal women can still require treatment for fibroids. And for many of these women, who have completed their families,  a nonsurgical approach like UFE will be the ideal treatment option.

MYTH #5: Treating Fibroids Hurts

Some women worry that treating fibroids causes more pain. Now, that’s true for some treatment options, because you will likely have pain following a hysterectomy. But if you choose UFE, or uterine fibroid embolization, your pain will be minimal. Plus, you’ll only need a local anesthetic and should spend less than 24 hours in hospital, usually avoiding any overnight stays.

If you are facing a fibroid diagnosis, don’t listen to the myths or rumors. Speak to your doctor about all the treatment options available, and make an informed decision based on the facts alone. Then, schedule a consultation with our Houston-area fibroid specialists. We’ll help you decide if UFE could help you find relief.

What’s the Danger in Heavy Periods?

Do heavy periods control your life? When it’s that time of the month, do you wonder how long you’ll be out of the house without access to a bathroom? Or worse, do you need to double up protection, using a backup pad for your tampon, so you don’t leak?

Yes, these considerations are all hassles. Heavy periods are annoying. They can get in the way of your daily activities. But did you know that abnormally heavy menstrual cycles can lead to more serious medical problems?

Why Heavy Bleeding is Dangerous

One potential side-effect of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is anemia, when you don’t have enough red blood cells in your blood. If you have untreated anemia, you can even suffer organ damage!

Now, physical side effects aren’t your only concern with heavy periods. In fact, a recent study showed that this fibroid symptom could negatively affect women’s emotional and mental well-being. Specifically, this unusually heavy bleeding left women feeling fear, anxiety, and anger about their condition.

But how do you know if your bleeding is unusually heavy? For our purposes, you should talk to your doctor if you have to change your tampon or pad every hour. Or if you have symptoms like heavy overnight bleeding that stains your bedding. During a normal period, for comparison, you can expect to change your tampon or pad every three hours. And some women may even go longer, especially towards the end of the cycle.

Causes of Heavy Bleeding

Long, heavy periods are a symptom of fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that grow in or around your uterus. But a heavy menstrual cycle could also be a sign of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS), a condition that can also lead to varicose veins in your upper thighs or lower abdomen. With both PCS and fibroids, you’ll also have other shared symptoms. These include pelvic pain, pain after sex, constipation and painful period cramps. But with PCS, unlike fibroids, your pain is often worse at the end of the day, or after standing for a long time. And your risk for PCS goes up if you’ve had a baby, since giving birth puts pressure on your pelvic blood vessels.

Because heavy periods could be a sign of either of these conditions, it’s important to discuss all your symptoms with your doctor. Together, you can discover the cause of your AUB. And determine the best possible treatment plan.

Treating Heavy Bleeding

When AUB occurs for no apparent reason, certain types of birth control, like the Mirena IUD or the Nuva Ring, can help staunch the blood flow.Oral contraception and NSAIDs like ibuprofen may also help.

Unfortunately, Mirena has recently been linked to several adverse effects. The worst? It may cause pseudotumor cerebri, which is a rare neurological condition sometimes known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). With this condition, you may develop headaches, ringing in your ears and even loss of vision. All of these symptoms could make you think you’ve got a brain tumor, which is why the condition’s name translates literally to false tumor.

Now, we have to note that Mirena’s been available for 20 years. In that time, there were less than 700 reports of IIH to the FDA. Still, 80% of IIH reports linked to Mirena were made in the last two years, suggesting tweaks in the device design may be dangerous.

Fibroid Linked AUB

Obviously, you’ll have to proceed with caution before using an IUD to treat unexplained heavy bleeding. If, however, AUB is a symptom of a different, underlying condition, relief will only come from treating the cause of the bleeding. Many women who experience abnormally heavy periods may actually have one or more fibroids (a fibroid is a non-cancerous growth that develops in a woman’s uterus, often causing AUB and other symptoms or side effects.)

The most important thing to remember is this. AUB is not a cause for embarrassment, but it something worth discussing with your doctor. Not only will starting the conversation simplify your daily period routines, it may also help you stave off dangerous blood loss and far more serious complications.

Sources: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 

Why Do We Get Cramps? 5 Reasons That AREN’T Your Period

Have you ever wondered why do we get cramps? Well, you probably expect at least a little cramping during your  period. But when those painful cramps show up at other times of the month? It can be scary…and confusing! To help clear up all your questions, let’s explore a few reasons that explain why do we get cramps when it’s not that time of the month!

1. Constipation

When you’re backed up, a stomach ache isn’t surprising. What you may not realize is that constipation can also make you cramp! 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. Why Do We get Cramps? 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, but fibroids are muscular. Plus, fibroids form from within your uterine wall, while cysts develop on your ovaries. Now, we’re not sure why women develop fibroids. But we know that cyst development is linked to your monthly cycle. Also, cysts and fibroids cause different symptoms. Because fibroids can interfere with your monthly periods and your urinary function. (They could also make it harder for you to get pregnant.)

But do you want to know one symptom fibroids and cysts have in common? They can both cause you to experience cramps outside of your period. (Though, with cysts, you’ll likely experience pain on one side of your abdomen. While, with fibroids, the cramps could hit anywhere.)

Still, like fibroids, you can address cysts with a range of treatment options. And both fibroids and cysts can be diagnosed with an ultrasound in your doctor’s office. After that, you’ll be guided for follow-up care with the right specialists.

4. Why Do We Get Cramps? Sexually Transmitted Infections

Scarily enough, the answer could be yes! Infections like Chlamydia, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), and Gonorrhea can all cause abdominal pain, and other symptoms like cramps. No one wants to contract an STI, but knowing that cramps are an STI symptom is very helpful! That’s especially true because many infections go undetected for long periods of time. If there’s a chance you’ve had STI exposure, and are experiencing non-menstrual cramping, get tested in your doctor’s office so you can begin treatment and avoid transmitting the infection to a current or future partner.

5. Running

When some women suddenly increase their training miles or distance, they experience painful, period-like cramps. How could that be? Well, when you run long or hard, you put lots of pressure on your core muscles. As a result, your abs and pelvic floor muscles could get overworked to the point of cramping. If this seems to be the cause of your cramps between periods, rest should relieve your symptoms. But speak to your doctor if this becomes a persistent problem when you run, as it could mean you have muscular imbalances. And that could leave you vulnerable to injuries.

Not sure why you’re cramping between your period? Worried it could mean fibroids? Come in for a comprehensive evaluation with our Houston fibroid specialists. Using our diagnostic ultrasound, we can help determine why do we get cramps, and discuss treatment options if fibroids are the cause.

 

Sources: healthline, webmd.com

What’s the Best Birth Control for 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. And to ask the question, what’s the best birth control for fibroids?

An IUD or birth control with fibroids can help heavy periods

What’s the Best Birth Control for 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 control.

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. Some providers choose to prescribe these injections to women with fibroids because they may prevent fibroid growth when given as an intramuscular injection. It can suppress your uterine lining as well, which could reduce heavy menstrual bleeding.

While this shot can also 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 

4 Ways to Score Period Pain Relief

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

Period Pain Relief: Natural Options

If you’re looking for quick, non-invasive period relief, try these yoga stretches, recently recommended by Dr Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas, a pelvic floor therapist. Her top suggestions? Cycle through Child’s pose, Pigeon,
Cat/cow stretches and Spinal circles, before ending with your legs up on the wall. Be sure to hold each pose
for one minute, alternating between five-second inhalations and exhalations.

Now, if you have fibroids, these stretches alone may not offer enough pain relief. But they’re certainly worth a try, as are these yoga poses for fibroid relief. But if you need more help, keep reading for more tips on how to help period cramps.

Diet Changes that Bring Period Pain Relief

In some cases, adding certain foods can offer period pain relief by helping inflammation or reducing uterine muscle contractions. Adding omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the intensity of your painful period. And you can find this naturally in fish, nuts and seeds.

Next, add leafy greens since they’re packed with magnesium, which can lower your prostaglandin levels to reduce cramps. Throw in some vitamin b6-rich poultry to boost your serotonin and dopamine levels. (Both neurotransmitters can help relieve pain.)

Now, make sure you’ve got enough iron. (Especially if you have heavy periods, since they can lower your iron levels dangerously.) Finally, check your vitamin E, since getting enough can help avoid excessive blood loss during your period. And grab some dark chocolate while you’re at it. This sweet treat contains magnesium and polyphenols, which reduce inflammation in your body!

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.

 

 

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