Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that can develop within the walls of the uterus. As many as four out of five women have them, although most have no symptoms and don’t require treatment.
For about one out of every four women of reproductive age, particularly in their thirties and forties, symptoms like prolonged menstrual periods, heaving bleeding, bloating, lower belly or pelvis pain, constipation and/or pain with intercourse may develop.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes them, but it is believed that the hormones estrogen and progesterone play a big part in their growth. The risk of developing fibroids is increased if there is a family history, such as your mother or sister having them, as well as obesity, consuming a lot of red meat and/or pork, early menstruation (a first period occurring before the age of 10) or if you’re an African-American woman.
Although surgical treatments, including hysterectomy, are options for removing fibroids, there are a number of ways they can be managed naturally.
Discontinuing estrogen use
If you’re taking estrogen on a daily basis in any form, you may be able to reduce larger fibroids by discontinuing its use. The use of the birth control pill, fertility drugs and hormone replacement therapy all contribute to “estrogen dominance” which encourages fibroids to grow.
Other factors that can cause this include inflammation, heavy metal toxicity and exposure to environmental estrogens which are found in personal care products, household cleaning products, cosmetics, plastics, and all forms of pesticides.
Foods that promote estrogen excess should also be limited or avoided such as all non-organic and processed foods, dairy products, sugar, refined carbs, unfermented soy products, alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
Regular exercise can help the body rid itself of toxins and regulate ovulation. Some women experience a reduction of fibroids by following a vigorous exercise program.
Detoxifying herbs are known to help balance hormones and reduce excess estrogen as well as inflammation, such as milk thistle, Siberian ginseng, yellow dock and red clover. Black cohosh, goldenseal, dong quai, and licorice root are also said to be effective for treating fibroids. Women who are pregnant or who experience heavy bleeding should avoid dong quai as it may increase blood flow.
A chasteberry tincture, using 25-30 drops two to four times a day may help shrink and prevent the return of fibroids by reducing excess estrogen, balancing hormones and reducing inflammation; however, results often aren’t seen for several months.
Using a warm castor oil pack placed on the stomach several times a week can relieve the pain of fibroids and may even help shrink them. Naturopaths recommend preparing it using hexane-free castor oil and a white flannel cloth (available at most natural food stores).
Studies have shown a strong link between diet and developing fibroids. A diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables can help decrease the risk significantly or help shrink them if they’ve already developed. High fiber foods are known to significant decrease estrogen levels.
In addition to eating lots of fruits and veggies, consuming nuts and seeds, legumes, and wild-caught salmon can also help.
As with many health conditions, a change in lifestyle can make the difference without having to resort to drastic measures like surgery.
-The Alternative Daily