Do you ever wonder about the emotional side effects of fibroids? With spring ready to spread warmth and chirping birds, some may think seasonal depression is gone for the year. But May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and seasonal depression isn’t the only thing taking a toll on people’s emotions; fibroids and emotional stress are also there. Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being are all part of our mental health, including fibroids and emotions. It impacts the way we think, feel, and act. It also influences how we deal with stress, interact with others, and make decisions.1
Symptoms of Depression:2
- Sadness, weeping, emptiness, or a sense of hopelessness
- Even over little issues, angry outbursts, impatience, or frustration might occur
- Loss of pleasure or interest in most or all usual activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
- Insomnia or sleeping too much due to exhaustion and a lack of energy
- Reduced or increased food cravings and weight loss
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
- Slowing down of one’s thoughts, speech, or body motions
- Feelings of inadequacy or remorse
- Problems with thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and recalling information
- Suicidal thoughts, or attempts at suicide
- Physical issues that aren’t explained, such as back pain or migraines
Many things can affect depression and the state of someone’s mind, from their environment to the chemical balances in their brains. While depression doesn’t have exact causes, it does have risk factors, such as genetics, trauma, stressful events, and unhealthy habits. Considering that, it’s completely possible that having a physical illness can kickstart depression and more emotional side effects of fibroids.
Emotional Causes of Fibroids
Do fibroids affect emotions? According to a recent study,3 quality of life scores in women with uterine fibroids were lower at baseline than after therapy, indicating severely reduced psychosocial functioning due to emotional causes of fibroids. Patient-reported health problems related to bodily discomfort, mental health, social functioning, and pleasure with sex life were all linked to uterine fibroids and emotions.
“There is an embarrassment factor,” says Eugenia Buie, Fibroid Fighter, “I didn’t want to talk about it. You can’t go certain places or keep commitments that you’ve made. You’re so tired because your cycle is so heavy. You are anxious that you will have an accident. It wears on you mentally; it wears on you emotionally.”
Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomas, are hard, compact tumors made up of smooth muscle cells and fibroid connective tissue that can range in size from a seed to a melon. You can have one or several fibroids, and while many people suffer from debilitating symptoms, others have no symptoms.
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
Fibroids and Emotions
So, what are the emotional side effects of fibroids? Are there correlations with fibroids and emotional stress? According to another study4, a majority of participants had strong emotional reactions to the emotional causes of fibroids, such as fear, anxiety, rage, and depression. Half of the participants felt powerless in the face of their fibroids and emotions and believed they had no control over them. Many women had a low self-image and expressed fear about seeming less attractive, making it harder to form personal relationships. Several women felt they needed significant support in dealing with these challenges and the emotional causes of fibroids.
Often, there is a shame surrounding the emotional causes of fibroids. People don’t want to talk about it, admit that they may have it, for the symptoms are very physical and easy to see. Fibroids directly correlate with self-image, as it has physical symptoms such as heavy bleeding and bloating in the stomach area. Sometimes, people can even confuse it for pregnancy, which can be offensive on its own terms. “At the time I sometimes looked about seven months pregnant in high school,” shares Coach Ella Destiny, another Fibroid Fighter, relaying how fibroids physically changed her appearance, the emotional causes of fibroids, and reinforced insecurities.
Do Fibroids Affect Emotion?
There are emotional causes of fibroids on a person because of the physical toll it takes on women and the social side effects.
Many worry about their sex life due to heavy bleeding, cramps, pain during sex, and constantly needing to urinate – forming the emotional causes of fibroids. Such things such as fibroids and emotions can take a toll on one’s emotions, as they can feel like they’re losing their femininity and sexuality.5
Fibroids can also cause fear, especially with having other health issues with fibroids. For women dealing with emotional causes of fibroids, the risk of future health concerns creates tremendous fear and anxiety. This can mean having another health condition, or worries about what treatment options they have – which is indeed an emotional side effect of fibroids. Some fear horrific outcomes from mistakes from surgery; others fear not being able to have their uterus to have children, all due to fibroids and emotions.
Then, there’s the fact that many women do delay getting a diagnosis, if only out of fear of the above. Many women believe what they’re going through is normal, and it’s something they “have to put up with as a woman.” Even celebrities face the emotional side effects of fibroids, like FKA Twigs, that has them – and put treatment off for as long as possible. “I was working so much, and I was so determined [to] make an album, that I knew that I had some sort of growth in my stomach for a long time, and I didn’t do anything,6” she explained
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Emotional Side Effects of Fibroids
Fibroids can also cause complications with pregnancies, which is already an emotional time due to hormonal changes and kickstarts emotional causes of fibroids. Depending on their size and location, some fibroids might create problems during labor. While the majority of women will be able to deliver their baby vaginally at full term, others may require a cesarean section (c-section) or will have preterm labor.
How to Deal with Fibroids and Emotional Stress
When answering do fibroids affect emotions, according to a 2014 study,7 more than half of the women said their fibroids-related heavy periods made them feel hopeless and powerless due to emotional causes of fibroids. A bad self-image and seeming unsightly, overweight, or even pregnancy were among the other issues and concerns mentioned when discussing fibroids and emotions. These self-esteem concerns manifested themselves in difficulty in becoming intimate with a spouse or partner.
Emotional stress can lead to depression, especially when there’s a continuous toll on the body. So how can you deal with your fibroids and emotional stress? Luckily, there are multiple ways to deal with fibroid pain, from seeing fibroid specialists to trying at-home remedies. But, how do you deal with the emotional causes of fibroids? Here are a few tips for you this May, especially with fibroids and emotional stress.
- Talk to your peers – whether these people are your friends, family, or significant others. Being able to get things off your chest can help with the emotional toll of fibroids.
- Join a support group – Applications like Facebook and MeetUp can help you find a community of people who have similar experiences, make it feel a little less like you’re alone in the world, and have people who understand you.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation – Just practicing and being mindful can help with coping with the emotional side effects of fibroids.
- Get fibroid treatment – If you know your fibroids cause emotional turmoil, look at treatment options and speak with a fibroid specialist about your situation.
- See a mental health professional – Sometimes, reasons 1-3 simply won’t do the job, and you need to talk to a professional. And that’s okay! It’s normal, even.
Here at Fibroid Fighters, we aim to make sure women and people with uteruses are educated about fibroids, and all that it entails, including fibroids and emotions. There are emotional side effects of fibroids, and it’s important to know how to recognize it so that you can treat them – both the physical symptoms and the emotional symptoms.