Ways to Manage or Prevent Uterine Fibroids
Table of Contents
Fibroids are small, benign tumors that form on the uterus and affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. These tumors often cause women discomfort as they can press against other organs or create pressure on the bladder. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for fibroid treatment–everyone’s health needs vary. Here you have 8 ways to manage or prevent uterine fibroids by using herbs, food supplements, physical therapy, and more!
Fibroids in the uterus (also known as uterine leiomyomas) are exceedingly frequent. They affect around 75% of women at some time in their life. Fibroids are “the most common reason for major gynecologic surgery,” according to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They range in size from a few millimeters, or approximately the size of a pea, to the size of a grapefruit. Due to severe uterine fibroids, almost 200,000 hysterectomies are done each year.
What exactly are fibroids? They’re noncancerous tumors that develop inside the uterine walls and cause a change in the size or form of the uterus, as well as a slew of other unpleasant symptoms. They’re also known as “uterine fibroids” since they usually form inside the uterine wall. Fibroids may cause discomfort, menstruation abnormalities, and other difficulties in some women, but they can sometimes go unnoticed. Because fibroids aren’t usually evident, it’s a good idea for all women to adopt natural measures to avoid these frequent uterine growths.
According to studies, fibroid development may be reduced by avoiding or treating excessive blood pressure. According to Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health studies, blood pressure and the risk of fibroids in premenopausal women have a substantial and independent relationship.
Some fibroids’ risk factors are beyond your control, but there are plenty that you can control. These include things like eating higher-quality meat (particularly beef), consuming more detoxifying meals like leafy green vegetables, and consuming less alcohol. You can also take other actions to help naturally balance your hormones, which is an important element of fibroid prevention and therapy.
Fibroids: 8 Natural Treatments
1. Avoid foods that aggravate fibroids
To lower your risk, avoid or restrict the following foods:
- Processed meats with a lot of fat. When it comes to fibroids, high-fat, processed meats are among the worst eating options for women. Inflammation levels may be raised by foods rich in harmful fats, such as non-organic/processed meats or trans-fats (think hamburgers and processed breakfast sausages). In addition, chemical additives and other substances often found in processed meals increase inflammation. Limit your meat consumption by including plant-based protein in your diet. When you do consume beef, go for grass-fed wherever possible.
- Dairy in the traditional sense. When consumed in large quantities, non-organic dairy may be rich in steroids, hormones, and other chemicals, which can change your hormone levels and increase the creation and growth of fibroids.
- Sugar that has been refined. Excessive use of refined sugar may cause inflammation and weight gain. It has also been linked to increased pain and a decrease in immunological function. In addition, weight gain and hormonal imbalance have been linked, and these two variables have been linked to the formation of fibroids. According to research, a high dietary glycemic index has even been linked to an increased incidence of uterine fibroids in certain women.
- Carbohydrates that have been refined. Hormone management necessitates the absence of sugars from the diet and the elimination of processed carbs. Refined carbohydrates, such as white, bleached wheat products, cause insulin levels to rise and hormones to go out of sync. Processed grains, such as those found in quick hot cereals and commercial bread, significantly increase insulin levels. Because these refined carbs have been stripped of all nutrients except starch, they are largely empty calories with no nutritional benefit.
- Alcohol. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages may lead to an increase in inflammation throughout the body. It also weakens the immune system, promotes weight gain, and causes hormonal abnormalities. You can help your hormones get back on track and decrease existing fibroids by lowering or eliminating alcohol.
- Caffeine. Caffeine puts a strain on your body, particularly your liver. When you give your liver more work than it can manage, it won’t be able to keep your hormones under control as well. So the less alcohol and caffeine you consume, the simpler it will be for your liver to cleanse your body and maintain your hormones in a healthy, fibroid-preventing balance.
2. Consume Fibroid-Relieving Foods
What kind of diet is best for preventing or treating fibroids? To keep them at bay, add the following things to your diet:
- Foods that are organic: Because organic goods are developed and manufactured without chemical pesticides, eating largely organic foods may help prevent and decrease fibroids. Pesticides used in commercial/non-organic agriculture can affect estrogen and other hormone levels. Because hormonal balance is so important in natural fibroid therapy, you’ll want to cut down on pesticides as much as possible.
- Vegetables with a lot of green leaves: Green leafy vegetables contain many anti-inflammatory properties; thus, they may help prevent fibroids from growing in a woman’s body. These veggies are also high in vitamin K, which aids with blood clotting and monthly bleeding management.
- Cruciferous Vegetables aid liver detoxification and may assist in regulating estrogen levels. According to research, a high intake of broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, and apple seems to be a protective factor against uterine fibroids, perhaps owing to their high antioxidant and fiber content. A plant-based diet, which includes higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables (and fresh fruits), has been demonstrated to reduce the prevalence of uterine fibroids in women.
- Foods High in Beta Carotene: The human body converts beta carotene to vitamin A during digestion, which supports the formation and repair of healthy tissues and may be beneficial in treating fibroids. Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach are some of the foods rich in beta-carotene.
- Foods that are high in iron: Fibroids might cause some women to bleed more blood than usual during their monthly period. Anemia might result as a result of this. Include high-iron foods like grass-fed beef and lentils in your diet to replenish the iron lost due to increased bleeding.
- Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds may help the body’s estrogen levels balance out, which can help decrease fibroids. If you already have fibroids, you should aim for at least 2 teaspoons each day. Flaxseeds may be sprinkled over porridge, blended into smoothies, or just eaten whole.
- Grains that are whole: Choose whole grains like millet, spelt, brown rice, buckwheat, rye, and oats instead of processed grains. These have greater fiber content, more minerals, and are less processed.
3. Look at Fibroid Reduction Supplements
Before beginning a new supplement regimen, consult your doctor. Examine if any of the substances listed below, which have a high reputation for improving hormone balance, would be beneficial to you:
- Vitex (400 mg twice a day) Vitex, often known as chasteberry, lowers estrogen levels by increasing progesterone synthesis. Vitex should be used for at least six months to get the optimum benefits.
- Flaxseed Oil (1,000 mg each day) or Fish Oil (1 tablespoon daily). Fish oil and flaxseed oil provide vital fatty acids that might help decrease inflammation in the body, contributing to fibroid development.
- The B-complex (50 milligrams daily). Suppose you don’t get enough B vitamins in your diet. In that case, you’re depriving your liver of some of the raw materials it needs to carry out metabolic activities and control estrogen levels.
- Progesterone Cream (days 6–26 of a cycle, 1/4 teaspoon) Progesterone cream used topically may assist in balancing out low progesterone levels. Working with a specialist who has evaluated your hormone levels to determine whether natural progesterone cream is the best choice for your body is critical while treating fibroids.
- Milk Thistle (150 milligrams, two times each day) Aids the body’s cleansing of the liver, which may help to regulate hormones.
4. Make use of essential oils
The greatest essential oils for natural fibroid therapy include thyme, clary sage, and frankincense. They’re all capable of naturally balancing hormones. For example, researchers have discovered that clary sage oil considerably lowers cortisol levels and has antidepressant properties. This is one of several studies that demonstrate clary sage oil may help a woman’s hormones.
Rub two drops of each essential oil on your lower belly two times a day to utilize them (combine with a carrier oil like coconut oil if you have sensitive skin). You might also apply 2 drops of frankincense oil to the roof of your mouth twice a day.
5. Drink Herbal Tea
Herbal teas may aid with symptom relief by reducing inflammation and regulating hormones. In addition, the uterus and reproductive system benefit from teas prepared with chasteberry, milk thistle, yellow dock, dandelion root, nettle, and red raspberry.
6. Experiment with Castor Oil Packs
Applying a castor oil pack to your belly improves lymphatic and vascular circulation, as well as lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that remove disease-causing toxins from the body. Many holistic practitioners think that a buildup of toxins contributes to the development of fibroid tumors.
Ricinoleic acid, found in castor oil, is an anti-inflammatory chemical. While there hasn’t been any scientific study on the effects of castor oil packs on uterine fibroids, it’s reasonable to believe that they may be beneficial. In addition, castor oil packs were shown to enhance detoxification and reduce constipation symptoms in a 2011 research.
7. Stay away from toxins in the environment
To enhance your hormonal health and overall health, avoid the following chemicals: pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, bleach, food preservatives, toxic cleansers (including some eco-cleaners), and food colors. Natural, unbleached feminine care items and organic body care and cosmetics are also good choices.
Regular exercise may really assist in preventing fibroids from forming in the first place! According to one research, the more a woman exercises, the less likely she is to develop uterine fibroids. In addition, exercise offers several anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as the potential to assist lower blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, aid weight loss, and contribute to hormonal balance.
Signs and Symptoms
Fibroids may cause bleeding, back discomfort, and other odd symptoms. It’s conceivable, but not every woman who has them will show any signs or symptoms. By the age of 50, between 70% to 80% of women will have fibroids, yet many will be completely ignorant of their condition. It’s very uncommon for a woman to discover she has them only during a regular test or after she gets pregnant and has ultrasounds.
When uterine fibroids cause symptoms, the following are some of the most common:
- Menstrual bleeding is really heavy.
- Menstrual period of at least seven days
- Stomach/pelvic region bloating or fullness
- Pelvic discomfort or pressure
- Urination regularly
- Have trouble emptying your bladder
- Intercourse discomfort
- Leg aches or a backache
- Infertility and miscarriages are two examples of reproductive difficulties.
Fibroids in the Uterus During Pregnancy:
What indications or symptoms should a woman check for if she has fibroids during pregnancy? Fibroids may sometimes cause difficulties during pregnancy and birth, including a six-fold increased chance of requiring a cesarean surgery. (10) If they are severe, they may potentially lead to infertility. In addition, when a big fibroid is present, it may be more difficult for an egg to be fertilized and subsequently implant on the uterine lining.
Before getting pregnant, a woman’s OB-GYN may advise her to take drugs to help decrease fibroids. In extreme circumstances, surgery may be done before pregnancy, but it cannot be performed once a woman is pregnant since this might result in blood loss and pre-term delivery. Fibroids have long been known to raise the chance of miscarriage in the first and second trimesters. However, a recent meta-analysis found no significant difference in the incidence of spontaneous miscarriage between women with and without leiomyomas (fibroids).
Fibroids may raise the risk of pre-term labor or difficulties during delivery, such as blockage of the birth canal. However, not every pregnant woman with fibroids will have major difficulties or symptoms.
Fibroids may grow in size because of the elevated amounts of estrogen during pregnancy. If the fibroid loses its blood supply during pregnancy, bleeding and abdominal discomfort may develop. To monitor her fibroids, a woman’s doctor may likely urge that she undergo more ultrasounds than usual throughout her pregnancy.
Different Shapes and Sizes
Fibroids are known medically as leiomyoma or myoma. The intensity of symptoms a woman will suffer is influenced by the location, size, and the number of fibroids she has. If they grow in various regions of the reproductive system, it is possible to have more than one kind of fibroid at the same time.
The following are the most common forms of fibroids that may develop in a woman’s body:
Intramural fibroids – The most prevalent form of fibroid is intramural fibroids. They develop inside the uterine muscle wall. They may really deform and expand the uterus or womb if they’re huge enough. However, they may also produce heavy, extended periods and pressure and discomfort in the pelvic area.
Subserosal fibroids — Fibroids that develop beyond the uterus’s walls may push on the bladder, producing urinary symptoms such as the inability to empty the bladder. Backaches are also a possibility with this variety. When subserosal fibroids swell from the back of your uterus and push on your spinal nerves, producing pressure in your back, backaches might develop.
Penducluated fibroids are fibroids that develop on short stalks either within or outside the uterus.
Fibroids that develop just under the uterine lining are known as submucosal fibroids. Heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding is more probable with this kind of fibroid. They may also make it difficult for women who are attempting to conceive. Submucosal tumors are uncommon compared to other forms of tumors.
Cervical fibroids are fibroids that form in the cervical tissue; however, they are uncommon compared to other fibroids.
Risk Factors and Causes
What creates fibroids in the first place? The following factors increase a woman’s chance of having fibroids:
- Fibroids are more likely to develop in a woman who has a mother or sister who has had or has had fibroids.
- Fibroids often arise in women in their 30s and 40s.
- African-American women are two to three times more likely than women of other races or ethnicities to acquire fibroids. In addition, black women are more likely to get them at a younger age, and they are more likely to be bigger.
- Diet: Eating a lot of low-quality beef and any sort of pork has been related to an increased risk of fibroid formation.
- Obesity: Compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, women who are overweight or obese are more prone to have fibroids.
- High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, seems to raise a woman’s risk of fibroids.
- Hypothyroidism: The presence of uterine leiomyomas has been linked to overt hypothyroidism (fibroids).
- Early menstruation: Women who start menstruating before the age of ten are more likely to develop fibroids than women who begin menstruating after that age.
- Because of the elevated estrogen level in the body, using birth control tablets might cause fibroids to develop more rapidly. In addition, foods rich in estrogen and hormone-disrupting substances that mimic estrogen may have a role in fibroids formation.
Although doctors aren’t sure what causes fibroids, research and clinical experience point to a few possible explanations; fibroids seem to develop from a single smooth muscle cell. Still, they subsequently continue to grow in places where they shouldn’t. Fibroids seem to be genetic to some degree since they run in families. Identical twins, for example, are more likely to have them than nonidentical twins. Many fibroids also have gene alterations that vary from those seen in normal uterine muscle cells.
Hormonal abnormalities may also cause fibroids. Each month, estrogen and progesterone hormones stimulate the formation of the uterine lining in preparation for a prospective pregnancy. Fibroids have more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells; therefore, estrogen and progesterone seem to encourage their proliferation. Another explanation for this hormone idea is that they tend to diminish once a woman has gone through menopause. Menopause is accompanied by a drop in a woman’s hormone levels.
Polyps vs. Fibroids
There are two kinds of tissue in the uterus. The endometrium, or inner lining, is a tissue that is regularly lost during menstruation. However, muscular tissue, or myometrium, makes up the majority of the uterus. Both the endometrium and the myometrium can become benign “tumors.” Uterine polyps are caused by an expansion of the endometrium, while an excess of the myometrium causes myomas or fibroids.
Their appearance is as follows:
- Fibroids are firm muscular tissue that grows inside the uterine lining, the myometrium.
- Polyps form from the inner lining of the uterus and are formed of flexible endometrial tissue.
Polyps of various sizes may be found:
- Polyps generally range in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.
- Fibroids are often bigger than polyps, with sizes ranging from millimeters to watermelons.
- Polyps may turn into cancer, although this is uncommon.
- Fibroids are benign growths that are not associated with increased cancer risk.
Symptoms of pain include:
- Fibroids may cause pain, pressure, menstruation irregularities, and other unpleasant symptoms.
- Polyps are usually painless and go undetected for a long time.
When Do Uterine Fibroids Require Surgery?
Fibroid surgery may be considered for women who have significant symptoms, are infertile, or are at a higher risk of experiencing difficulties during pregnancy or birth. Fibroid surgery is done before a woman conceives (not during pregnancy) since it might cause bleeding and other symptoms that can make it difficult to conceive. Uterine fibroid surgery may be used to remove only the fibroids (called a myomectomy) or the whole uterus (called a hysterectomy) (called a hysterectomy). Because a hysterectomy entirely eliminates a woman’s uterus, surgery is only recommended if she does not want to get pregnant in the future.
To minimize fibroid symptoms, a woman’s doctor would most likely attempt less intrusive treatment options first, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement medicines. Surgery is performed by a tiny incision into the vaginal canal or a wider incision into the abdominal area, utilizing laparoscopy. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive therapeutic approach that involves utilizing embolic chemicals to restrict the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids, causing them to shrink. Unfortunately, UFE does not function for all types of fibroid, and it may possibly lead to poor surgical results.
A recent study including 135,000 women was conducted to assess the effects of various techniques of treating fibroids. The women in the study had either had a hysterectomy, myomectomy, uterine artery embolization, or magnetic resonance-guided, targeted ultrasound surgery. The findings imply that myomectomy is the recommended surgical procedure for treating fibroids; however, UAE may be an “acceptable option” for certain women who refuse other procedures.
According to some experts, UAE should be avoided by women who want to protect their fertility since it has been linked to poor pregnancy rates and unpleasant outcomes during or after pregnancy. In terms of avoiding the need for hysterectomy, women who had myomectomies seemed to have a lower risk of hysterectomy in the future than those who had UAE. However, the myomectomy group included more women who had at least one additional surgical treatment. Around 18 percent of women got pregnant after undergoing a myomectomy, compared to just 2% after UAE. Unfortunately, nearly 64% of all women in both groups (myomectomy and UAE) had a “high overall risk of poor maternal and neonatal outcomes,” according to the study.
- Fibroids are more prevalent in women than polyps, and they usually appear in the late stages of pregnancy.
- Fibroids are more common in women over the age of 30 and are uncommon in women under the age of 20; they usually diminish after menopause.
- The most prevalent form of fibroids is intramural fibroids. They develop within the uterine wall.
- Any form of fibroid may induce infertility or miscarriage by interfering with reproductive function.
- Due to increased iron loss, some women with fibroids who have exceptionally copious bleeding during their periods may become anemic.
- If you experience significant vaginal bleeding or strong pelvic discomfort that comes on unexpectedly, see your doctor as soon as possible. The presence of large fibroids may be determined with a physical examination. An ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may detect smaller ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you prevent uterine fibroids?
A: The best method to avoid getting uterine fibroids is if you do not have children, which reduces the risk of developing them by almost two-thirds. Other methods include taking a multivitamin daily, limiting your caffeine intake, or quitting smoking.
What is the fastest way to shrink fibroids?
A: The fastest way to shrink fibroids is through laparoscopic surgery.
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