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Category: Fibroid Symptoms

This Patch is Trying to End Period Pain

Many women with fibroids suffer from extremely painful periods. But thanks to a newly-developed hi-tech patch, theirs and other women’s menstrual pain may finally be a thing of the past. 

Hi Tech Help for Menstrual Cramps 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.

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.

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.

Sources: Bielcorp.com 

 

Dr. Oz Takes on Giant Fibroid Tumors

On a recent episode of the Dr. Oz show, he tackled a BIG problem: giant fibroids! Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in a woman’s uterus. Usually, we diagnose and treat them before they get very big. But every so often, that’s not the case. So, keeping in mind that are tales of exception,  check out these big fibroid stories. 

Could this be the World’s Heaviest Fibroid? 

A 53-year-old woman in Singapore needed surgery to remove her 61 pound fibroid. The woman avoided treatment for so long that she could no longer get out of bed! She was also having difficulty breathing.

When the patient finally arrived at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, doctors determined her growth was a fibroid. Unfortunately, because of it’s size, the woman needed a hysterectomy to find relief.  

According to Dr. Poh Ting Lim, a member of the team that treated the patient, the removed tumor was 26 inches across at its widest point. Because of its size being larger than 25 pounds, the tumor was classified as “giant”–the largest fibroid tumor ever recorded was found in the late 1800s, and weighed 100 pounds! In addition to performing a hysterectomy, doctors had to surgically reconstruct the woman’s abdominal wall. It had stretched and thinned to a dangerous point in order to accommodate the giant growth in her uterus. 

Child-Sized Fibroid Causes Problem

At a hospital in Delhi, India, a 47-year-old woman had a nearly-nine pound fibroid removed from her cervix! The fibroid was basically the size of a full-term newborn! 

According to reports, the woman came to the hospital in 2009 because of abdominal pain and heavy periods. An ultrasound report at the time revealed that she had a small fibroid located inside her uterus.  Unfortunately,she was sent home with a diagnosis and no treatment plan.

Several years later, the woman came back to the hospital, in even worse pain. Now, the fibroid was an astounding 9 pounds, taking up all the space from her pelvis until four inches below her breastbone. It was also beginning to adjoin to her liver. 

It took doctors almost three hours to remove the giant fibroid. During the surgery, both the fibroid and the woman’s uterus were removed, due to the suspicious nature of the tumor and fears of cancer.

Although the procedure was technically a success, and the woman was released from hospital six days after her operation, our team of fibroid specialists still views this story as having an unhappy ending.

How Fibroids Grow

Of course, for most women, giant fibroids are just horror stories. Fibroids are common but slow-growing, typically expanding by about nine percent every six months. An nine percent size increase could dramatically increase your symptoms, but the relatively slow growth period means you have time to seek treatment before you would need a hysterectomy. With minimally invasive treatment options available, situations like these are completely avoidable–you simply need to reach out to a fibroid specialist as soon as you notice symptoms such as pain or heavy menstrual flow! 

Sources: Dr. Oz Show

Are all fibroids the same?

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

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. Your symptoms may be different from another woman’s depending on the type or location of your fibroids. 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. 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 you 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

 

Sources: healthline.com, mayoclinic.org

 

 

 

Could my weight gain be caused by fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors that, though not usually cancerous, cause lots of problems. Heavy periods, pelvic pain and frequent urination can all be tied to fibroids. But did you know gaining weight for no reason is also a fibroid symptom?

Gaining Weight with Fibroids pain from uterine fibroids

When they are small, or first developing, fibroids shouldn’t make you gain weight. In fact, you probably won’t even know they are there. It’s when they are left to grow large that changes start to happen.

First, they can make your stomach stick out, even without adding pounds on the scale, because your uterus expands to accommodate fibroid growth. In fact, because your uterus changes so much with fibroids, we see physical changes similar to those in pregnant women.

When you aren’t pregnant, and don’t have fibroids, your uterus is tucked deep inside your pelvis. It’s about the size of a pear.

With pregnancy, your uterus is palpable at your pelvic bone by the 12-week mark. By then, it’s expanded to the size of a grapefruit. And if you have a 6-inch uterine fibroid? You’ll notice very similar changes.

Fibroids also leave you feeling bloated. Because they change the size and shape of your uterus, fibroids may put pressure on your digestive system, making it more difficult to pass a bowel movement.

The enlarged uterus could also crunch on your bladder, making it difficult to completely empty and even causing swelling in your kidneys.

Altogether, these factors will make you look heavier than you are, and may cause the scale to tick up a few notches, even when your diet and exercise plan remain unchanged.

Getting a Fibroid Diagnosis

Of course,  you’ll usually notice other symptoms if your tumors are big enough to cause weight gain. But even if you don’t, listen to your body. If you’re gaining weight, or noticing changes to your belly that you just can’t explain, it’s worth seeing your doctor to get checked for fibroids. 

Here’s 3 Ways to Make Sex with Fibroids Easier

When you have fibroids, having sex can be painful. Fibroids, non-cancerous tumors, grow in and on the uterus. Those fibroids can interfere with your sexual relations because of where they develop.  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

 

#WCW: Kim’s Life-Changing Decision

Our Woman Crush Wednesday series is all about celebrating fibroid warriors. What are fibroid warriors? Women who share their stories to help make the path to relief a bit easier for other fibroid sufferers. This week, we feature Victoria, a 45-year-old woman who recently shared her story with the Society of Interventional Radiology. 

Tough to Diagnose Fibroids

Kim was diagnosed with fibroids five years ago, at the age of 40. Unfortunately, she says, it took a long time to get that diagnosis–and to figure out her best treatment option. 

“I went to about four different gynecologists and all of them said, ‘the only real option … was a hysterectomy, or to just live with it,” she says. “They talked about myomectomy (surgically removing individual tumors), but they said I probably wasn’t a candidate because I had multiple fibroids.”

Removing her entire uterus seemed drastic. But Kim knew some form of treatment was necessary. Her symptoms were just causing too may problems in her personal life. 

Struggling with Fibroid Symptoms

One of her biggest concerns? Kim’s fibroids were causing pain during intercourse, and taking a major toll on her love life. And the heavy bleeding was also a major cause for concern. 

“I got to the point where I couldn’t go anywhere because if I didn’t know exactly where the bathroom was, it would be a disaster,” Kim says.

Desperate for relief, Kim searched for better treatment options. And once she learned about uterine fibroid embolization, a treatment that shrinks fibroids by cutting off the blood supply that let’s them grow. She recognized its viability as an alternative to the major surgical risk of a hysterectomy, and knew she’d found her solution.

UFE and it’s Recovery

Kim opted to have UFE. She rested for a few days after the treatment, and then things started looking up. First, Kim felt well enough to have dinner out with her family. Pretty quickly after that, she was ready to return to work. For the next few weeks, Kim did experience mild cramping, as her fibroids shrank due to the cutting off of their blood supply.  One month after treatment, her fibroid cramps were gone. All that remained? Normal menstrual cramps which, Kim describes as “much less [painful] than it ever used to be.”

And while that relief is fantastic, for Kim this is the best part of her journey. “At one month I was totally back to normal … like I never even had fibroids,” she says proudly. 

Sources: Society of Interventional Radiology

#WCW: Evette Dionne is a Fibroid Health Warrior

As Houston fibroid specialists, we are determined to deliver minimally invasive treatment options to women. 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! 

The Making of a Fibroid Warrior

 Ms. Dionne, editor in chief of Bitch Media, has been dealing with fibroids for years (non cancerous tumors that develop in and on the uterus.) She 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. 

Should You Monitor or Remove Fibroids?

Diagnosed in 2015 with fibroids, Dionne tells Prevention magazine that she visits her gynecologist every six months for an ultrasound 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 

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 per cent of the women reported missing work during their periods. Another 3.4 per cent 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 work force. 

Fibroids Mess with your Period

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! 

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

 

Polyps vs Fibroids: What’s the Difference?

As we approach July, which is also Fibroids Awareness month, you may be wondering: are uterine polyps and uterine fibroids similar growths? And the answer would be: no! These two reproductive health issues are very different!. Which means that fibroids and polyps require very different treatment plans. pain from uterine fibroidsLet’s take a closer look at each growth to really understand the differences. 

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are growths within or on the uterine wall. They are made up of muscle tissue. Typically, fibroids develop within the walls of your uterus, then push outward toward the uterus. These tumors usually appear during your childbearing years, but they can form at any time. 

In terms of size, fibroids can range in size from a few centimeters all the way up to the size of an orange. In fact, in extreme cases, they can grow to the size of a small fetus! Many women who suffer from fibroids feel pelvic pain or pressure, but other common symptoms include:

  • Heavy, long-lasting periods
  • Frequent urination
  • Incontinence
  • Painful intercourse
  • Infertility

What are Uterine Polyps?

Like fibroids, polyps are growths that develop around the uterine wall, but that’s where the similarities end. During menstruation, you shed your uterine lining. It then regenerates after the period cycle. Over time, roundish growths (polyps) may develop as the uterine lining returns.  There are two types of polyps: pedunculated (attached to the uterine wall by a stalk) or sessile (attached by a large base). Most polyps range in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.

Pedunculated polyps are more common than sessile, and they may stick out from the uterus into the vagina. Polyps aren’t usually painful unless they protrude. Other common symptoms of polyps include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Spotting between menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Bleeding after menopause

The Differences Between Uterine Polyps & Fibroids

Now check out the main differences between polyps and fibroids:

Uterine Polyps

Uterine Fibroids

Made of endometrium tissue

Formed from muscle tissue

Grows within the endometrium tissue

Develops within the uterine wall

Grows to be a few centimeters maximum

Can reach the size of an orange

Periods are usually irregular and spotty

Menstrual cycles are usually heavy and long-lasting

Doesn’t usually cause pain

Pain can be chronic and severe

 

If you are suffering any symptoms listed above, make an appointment with a fibroid specialist. Call Houston Fibroids at (713) 575-3686 to schedule your consultation. 

Sources: www.health.harvard.edu

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