Contrary to their name, fibroids are not fibrous at all. Rather, they are growths of smooth muscle and connective tissue that most often appear on the walls of the uterus. Although it can be frightening to hear that you have a growth of any kind, rest assured that fibroids are non-cancerous and usually harmless. They are also quite common: Fibroids affect more than 50 percent of women overall and are the most common reason for major surgery. For reasons that we don't yet understand, they appear much more often in women of African or Caribbean descent than in any other group. Most women with the condition tend to have several fibroids at once.
Many women who have fibroids experience no symptoms at all; the growths are usually discovered in the course of a routine exam or an ultrasound. In some cases, however, fibroids inside the uterus wear away the organ's lining, resulting in heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, bleeding between periods, or pain and bleeding during sexual intercourse. Persistent blood loss can cause anemia. A fibroid may also grow so large that it distends the abdomen as it presses on the bladder or the intestines. A woman with a large fibroid may feel pain in her back or lower abdomen; if the growth distorts the bladder, she may feel a frequent urge to urinate. Sometimes the fibroid doesn't cause any pain but simply gives the abdomen a distended appearance. Women may also feel pressure, heaviness, and pain with sexual intercourse, as well as increased urinary frequency. Occasionally, a fibroid will block the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility or compress the ureters (the urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder), causing impaired kidney function. In some instances the fibroids become calcified.
Fibroids are thought to be dependent upon estrogen; they tend to grow during reproductive years and pregnancy, and they shrink with menopause when estrogen levels recede. Fibroids often increase in size during perimenopause, when women do not ovulate regularly and thus have relatively higher estrogen levels (as ovulation increases progesterone). Thus hormone balance is the key factor with this condition.
Although estrogen is obviously an important factor in the development of fibroids, doctors do not know why the growths appear in some women and not in others. A tendency toward fibroids may fun in families; the disorder is also more common in women who are obese or who have an underactive thyroid (which contributes to estrogen excess).
It is important that liver function is optimized in women with fibroids. The liver is responsible for breaking down estrogen (and other hormones) and secreting the metabolites into the large intestine for elimination. If the liver does not metabolize estrogen and its metabolites properly, then it is recycled throughout the body.
While the liver is the dominant player in estrogen metabolism, the flora or "friendly bacteria" in the large intestine are also important in estrogen metabolism. They prevent the reactivation and recycling of these unwanted estrogens. Conversely, "unfriendly bacteria" secrete an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase that causes estrogen to be recycled back through the body via the large intestine. A low-fiber and high-fat intake increase the activity of this enzyme.
Conventional medical treatment for fibroids has long been surgical removal of the uterus, a drastic option that should be considered only in those few cases in which fibroids cause severe pain or bleeding or pose a significant health threat. For mild to moderate cases, it is usually far wiser to follow a treatment program of conservative, noninvasive therapies until menopause is reached and the fibroids abate on their own.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; the level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements have shown to help Fibroids:
Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1 Progesterone Creme - LifeSource Product This balances out estrogen, regulates the menses, and relieves pain. Apply 1/4 teaspoon (20 mg) to your skin twice daily from days 6 to 26 of your cycle (stopping during the week of your menstrual flow). It is best used under the care of a healthcare professional.
Super Prescription #2 Vitex - Chasteberry - LifeSource Product Vitex balances the estrogen/progesterone ratio. Take 160 to 240 mg of a 0.6 percent standardized extract of 80 drops daily. Do not use Vitex if you are currently taking the birth control pill.
Super Prescription #3 Indole-3 carbinol
Take 300 mg daily. It assists the liver in estrogen detoxification.
Super Prescription #4 Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale)
Take 300 to 500 mg in capsule form or 1 ml of tincture with each meal (three times daily). It improves liver detoxification.
Super Prescription #5 Vitamin E - LifeSource Product Take 400 IU twice daily. It helps with estrogen metabolism and inflammation.
Super Prescription # 6 Omega 3, 6 9 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products. Take a daily combination of flaxseed & fish oil, along with gamma linoleic acid (GLA) from borage oil. These essential fatty acids decrease inflammation.
Super Prescription #7 D-glucarate
Take 500 mg daily. This phytochemical assists the liver in estrogen breakdown.
|Super Prescription #8 Fibroid Formula - LifeSource Product
LifeSource Vitamins Fibroid Formula is uniquely designed for women to decrease the symptoms caused by endometriosis and other types of cystic fibroids associated with the uterus and ovaries.
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In most women with fibroids, the condition is asymptomatic, especially in the early stages when the fibroids are small. If symptoms do appear, they usually take the following forms:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding or unusual discharge between periods
- Pain and bleeding during intercourse
- Swelling in the lower abdomen
- A frequent urge to urinate
- Back or abdominal pain
- Relatively high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone, due to:
- Environmental estrogens
- Underactive thyroid
- Ovulatory dysfunction
- Perimenopause low-fiber, high-fat diet
- Caution: If you bleed so much that you need to change tampons or sanitary pads more than once every hour, see your doctor.
It is important to eat certified organic foods as much as possible, due to the estrogenic effects of pesticides, herbicides, and hormone-laden meats.
Since diet affects hormone balance, it's wise to give your body good general support with wholesome, freshly prepared meals. Base your diet around whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, beans, and soy products. To limit your exposure to pesticides, buy organic food wherever possible, and always wash your produce thoroughly.
Soy products and flax seeds are good sources of phytoestrogens, substances that regulate the body's estrogen production.
Vitamin K will encourage proper blood clotting and may reduce an excessive flow of menstrual blood. Green vegetables are high in this nutrient.
Include sea vegetables like kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) in your diet. These foods are high in iodine, a mineral that's necessary for a healthy thyroid.
If you have heavy or prolonged periods, you need extra iron to ward off anemia. Take a spoonful of un-sulfured blackstrap molasses every day.
For additional EFAs, add 2 tablespoons of flax seeds to your daily protocol, along with 10 ounces of water. Flax seeds have been shown to help balance estrogen levels.
Eat fruits and vegetables such as apples, cherries, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. They contain the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol, which supports the liver's detoxification of estrogen. Regularly consume beets, carrots, artichokes, dandelion greens, onions, and garlic, as these foods stimulate liver detoxification.
Eat organic cultured yogurt to increase levels of friendly flora in the large intestine.
Once a day, have a green drink to support detoxification.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours. Water will help flush impurities from your body and reduce pain.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid red meat and dairy products, all of which contain high levels of dioxins, which act as environmental estrogens.
To keep pain under control, stay away from inflammatory substances like sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Don't eat anything that depresses your immune system. Processed foods, fried food, refined sugar, and alcohol all limit your body's ability to fight your disorder.
Many fibroid sufferers have found that regular fasting results in significant relief of pain. Plan a three-day juice fast every three months; be sure to drink a wide variety of vegetable juices and green drinks during the three-day period.
- If you have fibroids, you should not take estrogen-replacement therapy.
- Moderate exercise like walking will stimulate blood flow to the pelvic region and will help relieve pain.