Uterine fibroids are well-known for their ability to cause heavy bleeding and painful menstrual cycles, but their symptoms don’t stop there. If you have fibroids, you might wonder if they’re also causing your constipation. While there are many causes of constipation (including diet and hydration levels), the answer is that, yes, uterine fibroids can cause constipation. Women with fibroids are more likely to struggle with bloating, cramping, and constipation compared to women without fibroids.
Continue reading to learn more about the link between fibroids and constipation and how our expert team at Fresno Fibroid Center can help you find relief.
The link between fibroids and constipation
While fibroids primarily grow within or around the uterus, they can sometimes press against neighboring organs and tissues and lead to a variety of issues from incontinence to bloating.
Here are a few ways in which fibroids may contribute to constipation:
Increased pressure on the rectum
If large fibroids press against your rectum, it can lead to feelings of rectal fullness. This pressure can lead to difficulty passing stool, pain with bowel movements, and even hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids can impact your bowel habits
When fibroids lead to constipation, you’re more likely to strain while using the restroom, and that can lead to hemorrhoids. When hemorrhoids contribute to painful bowel movements, you may be inclined to try and postpone using the restroom, which in turn, can make constipation even worse.
Hormonal changes associated with fibroids 一 most notably estrogen dominance 一 may affect your bowel movements. Too much estrogen can contribute to fibroid development, but hormonal imbalances can also lead to a decrease in gastrointestinal motility and increased constipation.
How to combat constipation related to fibroids
There are many ways to improve your fibroid-related constipation, and they all fall into one of two categories: focusing on the constipation or focusing on the root cause of your constipation (i.e., fibroids).
Here are some strategies to consider:
Add more fiber to your diet
Fiber increases the bulk and softness of stool so it’s easier to pass. Adjust your diet to include more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, to help alleviate constipation.
Good sources of fiber include avocados, raspberries, popcorn (opt for air-popped), beans, apples, pears, and oats. You don’t need to add it all to one meal. Try adding more fiber to each meal. For example, add fresh berries to a bowl of warm oatmeal for breakfast, or swap your burger for a bean burger. Little changes like these add up!
Avoid foods that make constipation worse, which include alcohol, white bread, refined grains, and sweets.
Dehydration can make constipation even worse, so be sure you’re drinking enough fluids throughout the day. This includes water, juice, and herbal tea.
Over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners may provide temporary relief for constipation, but only take these as directed. Pay special attention to any directions that suggest increased fluid intake.
In addition to lifestyle changes to address the constipation, it’s also important to look at fibroid treatment to address the root cause of your constipation. Depending on the size and location of your fibroids and the severity of your symptoms, your treatment options may include hormone therapy, minimally invasive procedures like uterine fibroid embolization, or surgery to remove the fibroids.
While fibroids are typically associated with gynecological symptoms, they can affect various aspects of your health, including gastrointestinal function. If you're experiencing constipation and suspect it may be related to fibroids, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here in Fresno, California.
Get ready to say goodbye to fibroid-related constipation. Give us a call at 559-216-0746 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.