You’ve just had a baby and you’re frantically searching for answers about how your fibroids will change postpartum. Everyone knows the feeling of trying to find the right article that will put your worries and stress at ease.
Thankfully, at the Fibroid Fighters Foundation, we’ve got your back. Whether you’re currently pregnant or have already given birth, it’s important to know the effects of fibroids post-pregnancy. We understand that going through pregnancy isn’t easy and the last thing you want to think about is how postpartum impacts your period and other health conditions like uterine fibroids.
Fibroids After Birth: What to Expect
Enduring painful fibroid symptoms before and after pregnancy can be exhausting, especially with the influx of hormones. Typically, uterine fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding and bleeding between cycles subside during pregnancy. However, some women do report light bleeding from time to time, which is unexpected during pregnancy. You may also still experience some pelvic pain, increased back pain, or pain during sex. Although fibroids may pose certain risks during pregnancy, women can expect symptoms to subside after delivery due to the change in their hormones.
However, there are still a few symptoms you should be aware of if you have fibroids post-pregnancy.
Is it Normal to Have Fibroids and Postpartum Bleeding?
For some women with fibroids after pregnancy, they may see an improvement to their symptoms. However on the contrary, there are women who experience worsening symptoms due to changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. Some women report fibroids and postpartum bleeding that is light and irregular. If you are experiencing fibroids bleeding after birth you’ll want to monitor how often you’re changing your pad or tampon so you can accurately inform your doctor. Your period before and after childbirth will change; therefore, it’s extremely important to consult your doctor about how fibroids and postpartum bleeding will affect your cycle long term.
Even if you see an improvement postpartum, symptoms may increase over the next few months, which is why fibroid treatment is necessary. Fibroid treatment can stop fibroids bleeding after birth so you can focus on what’s really important: you and your baby’s health and happiness.
Effects of Fibroids Post-Pregnancy
We know you may have a few questions about how fibroids after pregnancy could affect your overall health. We’ve compiled our most “frequently asked questions” to help you understand how fibroids post-pregnancy can affect breastfeeding, if they will shrink, or if they could redevelop.
Can Fibroids Affect Breastfeeding?
In a study published by the NCBI, it was found that breastfeeding didn’t directly cause fibroid regression. However in a more recent study conducted in 2019, researchers shared that there may be a correlation. In their study of 157 women observed six months postpartum, they found significant regression and no new fibroid growth when women breastfed their babies. In conclusion, there are many benefits of breastfeeding, but it may be too soon to definitively say if breastfeeding causes direct fibroid growth changes.
Will Fibroids Shrink After Pregnancy?
According to WebMD and a study published by the NCBI, researchers found that 70% of women who were observed three to six months after delivery saw their fibroids shrink more than 50% in volume as well as size. However, it also stated that Black and Hispanic women in the study didn’t see as much fibroid regression as Caucasian participants. Researchers are still unsure why race would influence regression, but do know being of African-American descent increases your likelihood of developing fibroids by two to three times.
Can You Develop Fibroids After Pregnancy?
On the contrary, the above study showed that uterine fibroids shrink up to 50% in volume and size after pregnancy. In an article published by Reproductive Facts, 2% to 12% of pregnant women will develop fibroids during the first 12 weeks after conception.
However, very few studies indicate whether or not fibroids can develop after pregnancy. We know that a woman’s fibroid risk decreases after having a child, but there are few studies that show how likely fibroids are to develop postpartum, especially if you had these benign growths early on in life.
Do Fibroids Shrink After Miscarriage?
Even though fibroids may shrink after birth, it isn’t the same for miscarriages. Doctors often don’t see the same fibroid regression in women who have recently miscarried compared to ones who have had a live birth. Although one study published by the NCBI stated that women who miscarried later had decreased fibroid size and growth when compared to women who miscarried early on.
Researchers are still trying to find links between miscarriage, live birth, breastfeeding, and progestin use to fibroid regression. New studies are coming out about how hormones affect each reproductive stage and how hormones play a major role in fibroid development.
How to Safely Treat Fibroids After Pregnancy
We want you to know that living with fibroids after pregnancy doesn’t have to be your reality. Treating fibroids post-pregnancy is a great way to get back to feeling like yourself again. If you have fibroids and are pregnant, doctors recommend waiting a few months after delivery before undergoing treatment. Additionally, you’ll have to be careful about picking up your baby after going through treatment during the healing process.
If you are considering fibroid treatment after a pregnancy or miscarriage, there are numerous surgical and non-surgical options available to you. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a non-surgical, outpatient option that preserves your uterus and fertility. UFE can treat multiple fibroids of various sizes. For women who have fibroids after pregnancy, UFE could be a good fit.
During treatment, an interventional radiologist (IR) utilizes minimally invasive techniques to locate the fibroid(s), travel through your arterial system towards the fibroid, and deliver tiny embolic material to the site. Once the embolic material is placed in the artery, it will block blood flow from reaching the growth causing it to shrink over time. As the fibroid(s) become smaller, painful fibroid symptoms should cease allowing women with fibroids after pregnancy to live healthier lives.
Benefits of Treating Fibroids After Pregnancy
One of the many benefits of UFE is that patients are able to return home the same day to recover in the comfort of their home, rather than a hospital bed. Additionally, UFE is relatively low-risk when compared to surgery. If you are a single mother or caregiver, UFE allows women to conveniently get in and out of their appointment without having to plan for an overnight sitter.
Living with fibroids after pregnancy can be frustrating and tiresome. Don’t just wait for your symptoms to worsen, it’s time to find an effective solution that fits your individual needs. If you’re ready to take the first step to treating fibroids post-pregnancy, give us a call at 855.455.5262 or contact us online. At the Fibroid Fighters Foundation, we are happy to answer any questions you may have, discuss treatment options, and find a treatment center near you.