As a woman, you might already have heard of the word ‘uterine fibroids’, especially if you are between the ages of around 30-50 – although they can really show up at any age. What are uterine fibroids? Uterine fibroids are tumors, growing within the uterus walls; they can also be called leiomyomas or uterine myomas. The good news is that they are normally benign. Don’t get fibroids confused with cysts though, which they are not; cysts are sacs filled with fluid whereas fibroids are solid tissue. You probably are hastening on to ask, ‘How would I get fibroids’? It is not known fully – many women who have them don’t even have symptoms. However, they can show symptoms, depending on the location and size of the fibroid in your uterus. There is research also that indicates links between an abundance of estrogen in a woman’s body and these tumors; when they start to grow. Generally, there are 4 types of fibroids, so let’s have a look at what they are and what they consist of:
- Intramural fibroids:These are the most common type of fibroids. This type is found embedded in the womb’s muscular walls. If they get big enough they can stretch the womb or uterus, also causing prolonged and heavy periods, along with pain and a sense of pressure in the region of the pelvis.
- Sub-serosal fibroids: These fibroids grow beyond the womb walls. They grow outside the uterus walls and often press down on the bladder, causing problems emptying the bladder as well as a backache as they press down on the spinal nerves. Peduncle fibroids that grown on like small stalks are to be found outside and inside the uterus. They are also non-cancerous. The ones that grow outside the uterus are called sub-serous peduncle fibroids.
- Sub-mucosal fibroids: These fibroids grow under the uterus lining, and can cause a heavy and prolonged type of menstrual bleeding. Women might find it difficult to fall pregnant because of these fibroids. This type isn’t as common as the other fibroid types.
- Cervical fibroids: These are to be found in the womb neck which is also known as the cervix. These are rare.
It all depends on the location of the fibroids on how, if you have fibroids, they will be classified.
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How Will Uterine Fibroids Affect Pregnancy?
If you are pregnant or you want to become pregnant, there are some symptoms and signs that a woman will need to know about, so you know what to look out for. Sometimes having fibroids can cause complications during your pregnancy and your labor. Usually, your chances of having a cesarean section are higher when you have fibroids. If you are battling to fall pregnant, it might also be because fibroids are contributing to your being infertile, especially if they are particularly severe. This makes it more difficult for the egg to get fertilized, implanting itself rather on the lining of the uterus if there is a large fibroid ‘in the way. Your gynecologist might recommend that you take certain medications before trying to become pregnant to help with shrinking the fibroids. If the fibroids are severe, your gynecologist might even want to perform surgery before you fall pregnant. Surgery to remove fibroids cannot be performed once a woman is pregnant already because of loss of blood and also the possibility of this surgery bringing about labor. It is possible though that fibroids can grow bigger during pregnancy because of the increased levels of estrogen. If the fibroid loses its blood supply, it could cause you bleeding and abdominal pain and your gynecologist will maybe want to have further ultrasounds so he can monitor the fibroids at the same time as your pregnancy.
Women usually find out they have uterine fibroids when they go for an ultrasound or a pelvic examination. When you hear of women having hysterectomies – abnormal uterine bleeding, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, uterine tumors are likely to be the reasons. Generally, uterine tumors are quite common, occurring in around 70%-80% of women as they approach their 50s. A cesarean section will be needed for a pregnant woman who has large fibroids located close to her cervix, and which are obstructing the birth canal, preventing a vaginal delivery.
Healthful Eating of Organic Food Goes a Very Long Way to Help
The other good news is that you can follow a diet of good nutrition which goes a good way in combatting fibroid tumors. Because research does show a link between estrogen production and the tumor growths, it would be wise to lessen the foods that promote estrogen production. That would mean eating foods that would assist in shrinking the tumors, to avoid them appearing in the future; an anti-estrogen diet. Naturally, this will depend on the size of the tumors. An anti-estrogen diet would mean a diet consisting of organic meals and foods. Foods that are organic usually don’t contain chemicals or toxins in them which you usually find in conventional foods. As we have learned that hormones play a role in fibroids, this means, we need to keep the hormones balanced – this is key in treating fibroids.
It is known today that the conventional farming methods of today make use of environmental estrogens in their pesticides which are sprayed onto the crops to protect them and make them grow big and plump – but when ingested into your body, you are simply adding to the abundance of estrogen that is already in your body!
Here is a good idea of what you should be adding to your diet to get rid of fibroids:
Fruits and veggies are a top priority, particularly the cruciferous veggies. Those are the green ones and they fight toxins attacking your liver, helping to remove the extra estrogen in your body. Don’t overcook your veggies – you destroy a lot of the natural goodness – better, eat them raw. Add these to start the fight!
- Bok Choy (a Chinese cabbage)
- Arugula (or Rocket)
Any vegetables that help your liver will be cleansing your body too. Here are some more excellent ones:
Orange vegetables have natural carotenoids in them, and these go far in also diminishing excess estrogen in your body; at the same time building your body – making it more strong and healthy. Carotenoids are the more orange types of fruits and vegetable so these would be:
- Sweet potatoes
Carotenoids are also plentiful however in the dark leafy green veggies as well.
What About Taking Vitamins And Supplements?
- One excellent vitamin to include in your fight against uterine fibroids is vitamin E. Apart from doing wonders for your skin, it needs to be added to the diet for fighting uterine fibroids. This would mean taking natural vitamin E capsules or eating delicious foods such as hazelnuts and almonds. Cod liver oil and wheat germ are also excellent providers of vitamin E. Vitamins A, B, C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium are also considered important.
- Another natural wonder for fighting uterine fibroids would be green tea. China and many of the Eastern countries rely on green tea for their health and wellbeing. Lots of people don’t realize that this tea contains strong antioxidants, one such one being polyphenol. This antioxidant helps to attach uterine fibroids head-on by combatting the negative effects of the estrogen.
- Milk Thistle is also known to help the body to detoxify the liver and balance the hormones. As mentioned above, when you suffer from poor estrogen metabolism, you are encouraging fibroid growth. Taking a milk thistle supplement helps the liver with its job of filtering the excess hormones and toxins which lead to hormone imbalance in the body.
- Progesterone Cream that you can buy from health shops applied topically to your skin also helps to balance hormones, balancing out low progesterone in your system. Remember it is important to work alongside your doctor, the one who has tested your hormone levels because he will be able to suggest natural progesterone cream; because you need to take what is right for your body.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
If there are foods to include in your diet, there must be foods that also need to be avoided, right? That makes sense because there are actually foods and products in your home that will aid in producing estrogen and these are those you want to avoid: (see what Dr. Axe says here):
X Artificial sweeteners
X Soy products
X Processed meats which have a high-fat content
X Take-away foods
X Choose filtered water over bottled water
X Use coconut oil or olive oil over vegetable oil which often contains high estrogen food additives
Essential Oils Go Such A Long Way Too
Essential oils like thyme, frankincense and clary sage are excellent essential oils to help naturally with fibroid treatment. All of these lovely herbs have the ability to balance your hormones naturally and clary sage has even been proved by researchers to actually lower your cortisol levels and also to have anti-depressant effects, all hugely beneficial for women’s hormones. Essential oils are so easy to use as well; you simply rub 2 drops of these oils over your stomach area twice during the day. Just remember to combine essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Frankincense is known to be an essential oil for support of the womb (and particularly with fibroids) and it helps with reducing inflammation that goes with the condition of fibroids. Read about a wonderful story of how a woman with fibroids used frankincense and her excellent results. You too will love it!
Good Eating And Lifestyle Changes Pay Off
Fibroids can become symptomatic. They can cause you to experience things like abdominal bloating, incontinence, heavy periods, constipation and painful sex. These things can interfere with a woman’s daily activities and lifestyle when these symptoms are always there. Some daily activities that you can include in your busy lifestyle will make a big difference to your feelings of well-being and peace:
- Castor oil packs: Castor oil is not an essential oil, but a carrier oil that can be combined with essential oils to increase their effectiveness. A castor oil pack will increase the circulation in your lymphatic and circulatory areas, increasing lymphocytes, the white blood cells that are there to eliminate toxins from the body, and toxins surely cause disease in the body. Castor oil packs are known to help with liver detoxification naturally, as well as support ovarian and uterine health. Castor oil reduces inflammation because it has an anti-inflammatory compound which is called ricinoleic acid. A study done in 2011 shows how castor oil packs improve detoxification and decrease symptoms of constipation. Castor oil packs are placed over the abdomen with some heat applied, ideal for the non-cancerous ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. Castor oil packs are also excellent for headaches, intestinal discord, liver disorders, gallbladder inflammation and inflamed joints. It’s so easy – all you do is apply organic pure castor oil straight on to your abdomen. Then you take a sheet of plastic and cover your oil-soaked skin, followed by an old towel over. Place a hot water bottle on top or even a heating pad, and if you apply it for the entire night, you will discover in the morning that all that healthy castor oil has been totally taken in through your skin.
- Stay away from chemicals in your homeslike pesticides, bleaches, food preservatives, harmful cleaners and even some of the eco-cleaners. Opt for natural and unbleached feminine-care products and organic body-care products as well as makeup.
- Don’t forget that getting regular exercisehelps to prevent fibroids before they even think of starting! Some studies reckon the more a woman exercises, the more chances she has of avoiding developing uterine fibroids. Read it here. This is because exercises offer anti-inflammatory effects, also controlling blood pressure and helping to improve insulin sensitivity. Not only that, we all know how it is so beneficial for weight management, and also might contribute to better hormonal balance. A real plus.
Rather don’t risk leaving the tumors if you know you have them. Because if you leave them alone, it is possible that they can grow to a size when they can start to produce significant symptoms and will probably require removal through surgery. It is far better to add the right foods and go slow on the non-recommended foods and products – within a couple of weeks you are going to start feeling the results in your body. It will probably be because the tumors are starting to shrink. You are winning the fight and if that’s not good news!