Uterine Fibroids

uterine fibroids submucosal subserosal intramural

Uterine Fibroids

by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are benign tumours of the smooth muscle of the uterus.  The word tumour causes alarm for most people.  Not to worry, fibroids are considered fairly harmless, but can still cause some pretty uncomfortable symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?

  • Excessively heavy periods
  • Anemia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bladder or bowel problems
  • Bloating or a “pregnant look” when not pregnant
  • Menstrual clotting
  • Recurring miscarriages and/or infertility.

What Causes Uterine Fibroids

There are three predominant theories as to why fibroids develop:

  1. Chronic tendency to inflammation
  2. Excessive estrogen activity due to:
  • Low SHBG
  • Excessive pollutants that are acting like estrogen in your body also called xenoestrogens
  • Excess estrogen production from fat cells

3.  Excess progesterone

Naturopathic Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

As a naturopathic doctor, I always try to address the underlying cause of the problem.

  1. Inflammation – There are many wonderful, natural ways to curb inflammation including:
  • Enzymes
  • Curcumin
  • Hops and Rosemary combination
  • Proper diet
  • Food allergy detection and elimination
  • Adrenal gland support
  1. Excess estrogen activity can be improved through:
  • Healthy diet and exercise
  • Liver detoxification support such as NAC, DIM and calcium-d-glucarate (not the kind found in the health food store!)
  • Healthy weight loss.
  1. Low glycemic index, low glycemic load diet to moderate hormones
  2. Selective progesterone receptor modulators: Kaempferol is a natural moderator of progesterone and found in many foods and herbs.
  3. Acupuncture can work well to relieve pain if there is pain associated with fibroids, reduce heavy menstruation and clotting and help to shrink the size of fibroids, depending on how advanced they are.  Generally if fibroids are 6 cm or less, naturopathic treatment can be quite successful.  More advanced fibroids may require surgery, then naturopathic treatment to prevent recurrences.
  4. Traditional Chinese Herbs help to promote the body’s self-cleaning function of the female reproductive organs so that the growth of the fibroid tissue is stopped or reversed.

The Benefits of Naturopathic Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

  1. Non-invasive – no surgery required to shrink smaller fibroids
  2. Healthier hormone balance
  3. Healthier diet and lifestyle
  4. Prevents recurrences, fibroids will generally recur after surgery unless the root cause of the fibroids is addressed

Uterine Fibroids Research

Use of beets and molasses for treatment of fibroids (this may help maintain iron levels, but will not shrink fibroids)
Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology 92, pp. 337-339

Did you know that fibroids can regrow even after hysterectomy?  That’s right, even after hysterectomy!

Green Tea Extract:

Roshdy E, Rajaratnam V, Maitra S, Sabry M, Allah AS, Al-Hendy A. Treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids with green tea extract: a pilot randomized controlled clinical study. Int J Womens Health. 2013; 5:477-86.
● 800 mg every day green tea extract (45% EGCG) vs. placebo (800 mg every day brown rice) for 4 months
● In placebo group, fibroid volume increased (24.3%)
● In EGCG group, significant reduction (32.6%) in total UF volume and significantly reduced fibroid-specific symptom severity (32.4%) and induced significant improvement in HRQL (18.53%) compared to placebo.
● Anemia improved b7 0.7 g/dL in EGCG tx group; average blood loss significantly decreases from 71 mL/month to 45 mL/month

Curcumin:

Tsuiji K, Takeda T, Li B, Wakabayashi A, Kondo A, Kimura T, Yaegashi N. Inhibitory effect of curcumin on uterine leiomyoma cell proliferation. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2011; 27(7):512-7.
● In vitro rat uterine leiomyoma cells
● Curcumin significantly inhibited cell proliferation; PPAR-gamma was expressed in the cells and curcumin acted as a PPAR-gamma ligand – the effects of curcmin were attenuated by treatment of PPAR-gamma antagonist

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