Uterine fibroids are abnormal growths formed in the muscular tissue of the uterus. Most women with uterine fibroids show no signs of symptoms, and their condition is usually diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam. The standard treatment for this condition involves medication or surgery. However, there are several alternative treatments for the prevention and treatment of uterine fibroids. In this article, you shall learn about uterine fibroids and ways to treat them naturally.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that are found in the walls of the uterus. They result in the change in the size and shape of the uterus. Also known as uterine leiomyomas, these fibroids can be as small as a seed or as big as a grapefruit. Some women may also have multiple growths in their uterus.
Some women show no symptoms of this condition, while others may have pain or menstrual changes. The various symptoms of uterine fibroids depend on the size, the location, and the number of fibroids. These include –
- Periods that last longer than a week
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic area
- Back or leg pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in urination
- Difficulty in conceiving
Who is at a higher risk of developing uterine fibroids?
- Women between the age of 30 to 50
- Obese women
- African American women
- Women who
- begin menstruating before they were10
Women with a family history of fibroids
- Use of certain birth control pills
- Poor diet
- Alcohol consumption
While some of these risks as beyond our control, we can manage many of them. These include weight loss, eating healthy food, and drinking less alcohol. Preventing and lowering blood pressure can also help reduce the risk of uterine fibroids.
Standard treatment for fibroids
The standard treatment for uterine fibroids includes medications that help slow down the growth of fibroids and help relieve the symptoms. Drugs like gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists are used to shrink fibroids and control bleeding.
In the case of women dealing with infertility or who are at risk of complications during pregnancy or delivery, doctors perform uterine surgery. Surgical procedures like myomectomy remove the fibroids but leave the healthy areas of the uterus in place. In some cases, the doctors may also perform uterine artery embolization, by which the blood vessels to the uterus are blocked.
Natural treatment for fibroids
Fibroids usually grow slowly or don’t grow at all. In many cases, they shrink after menopause when the levels of reproductive hormones drop. You can also adopt several healthy lifestyle and dietary habits to treat fibroids naturally. These include –
1. Lose weight
Obesity and high BMI increases the risk of uterine fibroids in premenopausal women. According to a study that involved 73 women with uterine fibroids and 210 women without uterine fibroids, researchers discovered that high BMI could increase the risk of uterine fibroids (1).
Fibroid growth is triggered by estrogen. Excess abdominal fat can overproduce estrogen. So, weight loss is a great way to prevent fibroid growth and reduce fibroid burned. Exercise regularly to reduce weight and prevent and treat fibroids.
2. Have a nutritious diet
Your diet plays a vital role in treating fibroids. It helps keep your weight in control and lowers blood pressure, which is beneficial in preventing fibroids.
Foods to avoid
- Refined sugar – Consuming food high in refined sugar can lead to inflammation and weight gain. These foods can also lead to hormonal imbalance, which can cause uterine fibroids. According to a study from Boston University, a diet high in high glycemic foods can also increase the risk of uterine fibroids (2).
- Refined carbs – Refined carbs are stripped of all nutrition except for starch. They provide empty calories, which can cause insulin spikes and hormonal imbalance. Avoid processed carbs like white rice, pasta, boxed cereals, baked goods, chips, and crackers.
- Processed meats – Non-organic, processed meats can increase inflammation levels. Opt for organic, grass-fed beef or take plant-based protein.
- Dairy – Non-organic dairy can contain steroids and hormones. Consuming non-organic dairy can change your hormone levels, which leads to the development of fibroids.
- Alcohol – Alcohol consumption encourages hormonal imbalance, promotes weight gain, and reduces immune function. Reduce alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of fibroids and shrink existing ones.
- Caffeine – Too much caffeine can put excessive pressure on your liver. Keep your caffeine consumption down to help your liver detoxify your body better and to keep your hormones in balance.
Foods to consume
- Whole grains – Consuming unprocessed fiber-rich grains help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of uterine fibroids. These include brown rice, millet, spelt, buckwheat, rye, and oats.
- Green leafy vegetables – These vegetables like spinach have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the growth of fibroids.
- Cruciferous vegetables – Cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, help the liver to detoxify the body. Studies show that they reduce the risk of uterine fibroids (3).
- Dairy – Dairy products like full-fat cheese are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These minerals help prevent fibroids and slow their growth.
- Potassium-rich food – Potassium-rich foods like avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, dates, lentils, tomatoes, etc. help lower blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for uterine fibroids.
- Iron-rich foods – Fibroids can sometimes lead to excessive blood loss during menstruation. Iron-rich foods like legumes and grass-fed beef can make up for the loss of iron due to bleeding.
- Food rich in beta-carotene – Carrots, potatoes, kale, and spinach are rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the body, and it also helps to treat fibroids.
- Flaxseeds – Flaxseeds help to balance the estrogen levels in the body, which helps in the treatment of fibroids.
Vitamin D3 is a potent anti-tumor agent. Studies show that vitamin D inhibits the growth of human uterine fibroid cells and shrinks fibroid lesions (4). While the primary source of this vitamin is exposure to sunlight, you can supplement this by consuming oily fish, cod liver oil, and dairy products. According to a 2013 study, vitamin D can reduce the risk of uterine fibroids by 32 percent (5).
4. Avoid toxins and hormone-disrupting chemicals
Toxins can leach into your body through skin and food, throw off your endocrine balance, and raise estrogen levels. Fertilizers, pesticides, bleach, food preservatives, harmful cleaners, food dyes, BPA plastics, non-stick coating on cookware, fire retardants, and paints, and even makeup and body care products can contain these chemicals. Avoid these products and opt for organic and natural personal care products.
5. Herbal teas
Herbal teas aid in the detoxification of the liver, decrease inflammation, and rebalance hormones. Green tea and teas made from dandelion, milk thistle and burdock root benefit the uterus and the reproductive system.
- Green tea – This tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, a compound which inhibits the growth of fibroid cells and increases their death rate. This compound also has inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and antioxidative effects. Drink green tea reduces the size of fibroids and lowers the symptoms.
- Dandelion root tea – Dandelion aids detoxification of liver and clears excess estrogen from the body. To make dandelion tea, boil three tablespoons of dandelion root powder in three cups of water and let it simmer. Turn off the heat and let this tea steep for 15 minutes. Strain it and drink.
- Burdock root tea – Burdock root tea improves the ability of the liver to metabolize estrogen. Burdock root tea contains high amounts of lignin arctigenin, which help in reducing the size of fibroids.
The following supplements help in creating a hormonal balance, which can help in treating uterine fibroids –
- Vitex – Vitex reduces estrogen levels by promoting the production of progesterone.
- Fish oil – Fish oil contains essential fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, which helps lower fibroid growth.
- Flaxseed oil – Flaxseed oil reduces inflammation and balances estrogen levels in the body.
- Vitamin B complex – B vitamins play an essential role in regulating estrogen levels and help in the metabolic process of the liver.
- Progesterone Cream – Applying progesterone cream can balance out low progesterone levels in the body.
- Milk thistle – It helps in liver detoxification and balances hormones.
7. Essential oils
Certain essential oils have anti-inflammatory and tumor-fighting properties. These oils balance and support the hormones, including the female reproductive hormones. The best essential oils for uterine fibroids are –
You can dilute these oils in a carrier oil like coconut oil and massage with it on your lower abdomen. You can also use them for diffusion, bath soaks, and inhalation.
8. Castor oil
A castor oil pack has powerful detoxifying properties that help to shrink fibroids. When you use a castor oil pack, you increase the circulation in the lymphatic and circulatory systems.
To prepare a castor oil pack you need –
- A thick cotton towel
- Castor oil – one cup
- Frankincense oil – 10 drops
- Geranium oil – 10 drops
- Wintergreen oil – 5 drops
- Basil oil – 5 drops
- A hot water bottle
- A towel
Warm you castor oil on medium heat. Pour it in a bowl and mix all the essential oils in it. Saturate a cotton towel in this mixture and place it on your lower abdomen. Place a hot water bottle over this towel. Now place another towel in this bottle. Stay in this position for one hour and relax.
9. Chinese traditional medicine
There are several herbal remedies in traditional Chinese medicine that can slow the growth of uterine fibroids and treat the symptoms. One such herbal medicine called Ghuizhi fuling helps to shrink fibroids, balance hormone levels, and the keep the uterus healthy (6). It includes herbs like ramulus cinnamomi, poria, semen periscae, radix paeoniae rubra, radix paeoniae alba, and cortex moutan.
10. Lower stress
High levels of stress can also worsen fibroids. Try these options to reduce stress at home –
- Massage therapy
- Yoga and exercise
- Massage therapy
Uterine fibroids are growths that form in and around the uterine walls. While they aren’t life-threatening, fibroids can sometimes cause complications and health problems. Being overweight, poor diet, and alcohol consumption can increase the risk of uterine fibroids. Diet and lifestyle changes can lower the risk of cancer. You can also take herbal teas, supplements, essential oils, and traditional Chinese medicine to treat uterine fibroids naturally.