Fibroids and Weight Changes

Published On: March 19, 2024

Many of our patients report a vicious circle where they are doing everything right to improve their overall health, especially by dieting and working out, only to find that their weight wildly fluctuates with a persistent belly bulge. Sometimes, the belly bulge is even more prominent, or masses are palpable under the skin as they lose subcutaneous fat. But despite all these efforts, some patients may even report they are gaining weight. It’s only during a visit to the doctor that they might realize they have uterine fibroids.

But how do fibroids affect your weight?

  1. Fibroid masses: Fibroids are slow-growing tumors. They may, however, reach such size that they make you look pregnant. With that also comes an increase in body weight.
  2. Bloating and constipation: Uterine fibroids tend to compress surrounding organs, especially the bowel and the bladder causing belly distension.
  3. Anemia: Uterine fibroids cause heavy cycles. Heavy cycles in turn cause low blood numbers aka anemia. Once you are anemic, your body goes into a fight or flight mode to preserve energy. Your metabolism will slow down. Anemia also causes shortness of breath with reduced blood oxygen into the muscles which makes you weak and unable to move around efficiently to burn calories.
  4. Sedentary lifestyle: Fibroid symptoms can disrupt your quality of life to a point where you just opt to stay home for many days with minimal activity.
  5. Stress: Fibroid symptoms can be very stressful and can prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities including your family and friends’ gatherings etc. This in turn leads to sleep disturbances and unhealthy coping habits such as comfort foods.

What to do then?

  1. The majority of patients suffering from fibroids are overall healthy and notice weight changes as their pelvic/fibroid symptoms worsen. This should be a clue to contact an experienced fibroid specialist such as our practice for specialized evaluation.
  2. Unusual menstrual cycle symptoms should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
  3. Any rapid weight gain or weight loss should be reported to your doctor.
  4. If your weight fluctuations coincide with your menstrual cycle symptoms, a pelvic exam and a pelvic ultrasound may be warranted.
  5. There are many ways to treat uterine fibroids, but as technology has evolved, consider uterine artery embolization (UFE) as your first choice as opposed to traditional surgery.