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Can uterine fibroids cause weight gain?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Oct 1, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Weight gain is not a common, noticeable side effect of uterine fibroids or leiomyomas (benign tumors that grow inside the uterus or on the uterine wall).

Often, uterine fibroids cause no symptoms at all, but the most common side effects that occur may include:

  • Painful periods
  • Heavier bleeding during menstruation
  • Breakthrough bleeding between periods
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Pain in the lower back
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the pelvic region
  • Increased urination
  • Painful sex
  • Reproductive issues, including infertility, repeated miscarriages or early labor

Although weight gain isn’t considered a side effect of uterine fibroids, as the tumors become larger in size, they may cause swelling in your abdomen, leading to increased abdominal girth.

Fibroids can be very small at 1 inch or so in size, or as large as a grapefruit. In some cases, they can become even larger, about 8 inches in diameter or more, causing a woman to look pregnant.

As fibroids grow larger, they also become heavier, and this increase in size may cause your overall weight to rise. This weight gain will correlate directly with the weight of your fibroid; for example, if you have a fibroid that weighs two pounds, your weight will also increase by this amount.

Uterine fibroids consist of muscle cells and fibroblasts. They can grow together as clusters or alone. Typically, individual fibroids grow larger than clusters.

References
  1. National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH). Uterine Fibroids. November 2, 2018. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/uterine. [Accessed September 26, 2021].
  2. National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH). What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids? November 2, 2018. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/uterine/conditioninfo/symptoms. [Accessed September 26, 2021].
  3. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Uterine Fibroids: Frequently Asked Questions. December, 2018. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/uterine-fibroids. [Accessed September 26, 2021].
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. Uterine Fibroids. April 1, 2019. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids. [Accessed September 26, 2021].
  5. Illinois Department of Public Health. Facts About Uterine Fibroids. Available at: http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/factsheets/ufibroids.htm. [Accessed September 29, 2021].
  6. Peddada SD, Laughlin SK, Miner K, et al. Growth of uterine leiomyomata among premenopausal black and white women. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2008 Dec;105(50):19887-19892. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0808188105

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