Uterine Fibroids & Natural Treatment
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are growths of the smooth muscle of your uterus. They are benign growths but, they can still cause some pretty severe symptoms for women who suffer from them. They affect 70-80% of all women over the course of their lifespan.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
The symptoms of fibroids include:
- Excessively heavy periods
- Anemia, because of the heavy periods
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Bladder or bowel problems, because of pressure from the fibroids
- Stomach bloating or a “pregnant look” when not pregnant
- Enlarged abdomen
- Menstrual clotting
- Abnormal bleeding
- Recurring miscarriages and/or infertility.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
The exact cause of fibroids hasn’t yet been determined. There are a few main theories as to why fibroids develop:
- A chronic tendency to inflammation
- Excess progesterone
- Excess insulin
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Excessive estrogen activity due to:
- Low levels of a protein known as Sex Hormone Binding Globulin
- Pollutants in your body that are acting like estrogen
- Excess estrogen production from fat cells
- Low levels of estrogen-balancing hormones like progesterone
What Happens to Uterine Fibroids After Menopause?
In most cases, fibroids shrink after menopause due to the decline in estrogen and progesterone that stimulate their growth. In some instances, fibroids can develop or even grow after menopause. Because there are low levels of the female hormones at this point, they may be due to inflammation or insulin. Or if there is excess estrogen from fat cells or pollution that is acting like estrogen, despite relatively lower levels than before menopause, because there is minimal progesterone to balance it, this amount of estrogen may still be enough to cause fibroid problems.
What are the Different Types of Fibroids?
Fibroids are mainly differentiated based on their location. Fibroids can be:
- Intramural – this type is located in the muscular wall of the uterus
- Submucosal – these are found in the inner lining of the uterus
- Subserosal – these are located on the outer surface of the uterus
Fibroids can also be described as pedunculated, which just means that they are on a stem or stalk.
How Are Fibroids Diagnosed?
Based on the above symptoms of fibroids, your doctor would order a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound. The ultrasound shows the presence of fibroids. The radiologist who reads the ultrasound will report the number, size, and location of the fibroids.
Natural Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids
As a naturopath, I always address the underlying root cause of the problem. Here are things to consider to treat fibroids naturally:
There are many wonderful, natural ways to curb inflammation including:
- Hops and Rosemary combination
- Proper diet
- A food allergy test or food sensitivity elimination diet
- Adrenal gland support to enhance internal corticosteroid production
Estrogen Dominance or Excess
Excess estrogen activity can be improved through:
- Healthy diet and exercise
- Liver detoxification support such as NAC, DIM and calcium-d-glucarate (not the kits found in the health food store!)
- Healthy weight loss.
Diet for Fibroids
The best diet for fibroids is a low glycemic index, low glycemic load diet. That helps to moderate hormones, reduce insulin, and helps with weight loss.
Selective progesterone receptor modulators
Some recent research suggests that estrogen may not be the only culprit where fibroids are concerned. Progesterone, the other main female hormone, increases the growth of fibroids in some women. Kaempferol is a natural substance found in some foods and herbs. It is a moderator of progesterone. Fibristal is a medication that is used for this purpose, however, it is associated with liver problems. There are safer, natural ways to moderate progesterone.
Acupuncture works well to relieve pain if you experience pain with your fibroids. It regulates periods, reduces heavy periods and clotting.
Traditional Chinese Herbs
Chinese herbs promote your body’s self-cleaning function of the uterus. Therefore, the growth of the fibroid tissue is stopped or reversed.
How Effective is Natural Treatment for Fibroids?
Generally, if fibroids are 4 cm or less, the naturopathic treatment option is quite successful. Larger fibroids may require surgery. Surgery is best followed by naturopathic treatment to prevent new fibroids from developing.
The Benefits of Naturopathic Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
- Non-invasive – no surgery required to shrink smaller fibroids
- Healthier hormone balance
- Healthier diet and lifestyle
- Prevents recurrences, fibroids will generally recur after surgery unless the root cause of the fibroids is addressed. Even women who have had a hysterectomy and had their uterus removed have had regrowth of fibroids on their cervix.
For help with this or any other health problem, book an appointment here. Also, you can call the clinic for more information at 416-481-0222.
by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND
Uterine Fibroids Research
Here is a sample of some of the research on natural treatment for fibroids:
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 a 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 of green tea extract (45% EGCG) every day vs. placebo (800 mg of brown rice per day) for 4 months
● In the brown rice group, fibroid volume increased (24.3%)
● In the EGCG group, there was a significant decrease in the total uterine fibroid volume and significantly reduced fibroid-specific symptom severity (32.4%) and significant improvement in health-related quality of life compared to placebo.
● Anemia improved in the EGCG group because average blood loss significantly decreased from 71 mL/month to 45 mL/month
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.
● Rat uterine fibroid cells were treated with curcumin in a specimen dish
● Curcumin significantly inhibited cell proliferation
Elkafas H, Badary O, Elmorsy E, Kamel R, Yang Q, Al-Hendy A. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Vitamin D Deficiency in the Pathogenesis of Uterine Fibroids. J Adv Pharm Res. 2021 Spring;5(2):260-275. doi: 10.21608/aprh.2021.66748.1124. PMID: 34746367; PMCID: PMC8570385.