Uterine Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. The good news is, that these tumors are non-cancerous. The bad news, is that these abnormal cells often appear during childbearing years and can cause pain, bloating and heavy bleeding.
Fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy, the second most common surgical procedure performed on women and a common byproduct of having fibroids is anemia.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Not every woman with fibroids has symptoms. When women do experience symptoms, they can include:
- Prolonged menstrual periods (7 days or longer)
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Bloating or fullness in the belly/pelvis
- Pain in the lower belly/pelvis
- Extreme cramping during menstruation
- Lower back pain
- Painful intercourse
- A frequent urge to urinate
- Complications during pregnancy and labor, including a six-time greater risk of cesarean section
Unfortunately, uterine fibroids are extremely common but, it’s not natural for women to have tumors in their uterus. Although there is no definitive answer as to what causes them to develop, their growth seems to depend on estrogen (the female hormone) and tends to shrink or disappear after menopause, when estrogen levels fall.
Interestingly, African-American women tend to get uterine fibroids two to three times as often as white women, and also tend to have more symptoms from uterine fibroids.
Fibroids are often described by their location in the uterus:
- Myometrial — in the muscle wall of the uterus
- Submucosal — just under the surface of the uterine lining
- Subserosal — just under the outside covering of the uterus
- Pendunculated — occurring on a long stalk on the outside of the uterus or inside the cavity of the uterus
Fibroids have been linked to excessive estrogen levels defined as Estrogen Dominance. Estrogen Dominance can be due to excess exposure to estrogenic substances or a lack of progesterone.
Nutrition has an effect on how you metabolize, detoxify and eliminate estrogen from the body.
Certain foods interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize estrogen and certain nutrients like B vitamins are essential to your diet. Your liver requires B vitamins as raw materials needed to carry out its metabolic processes and regulate estrogen levels.
Tips for Decreasing Extrogen Dominance
1. Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens
Many experts advise reducing the xenoestrogens you ingest which can be found in:
- Hormone replacement drugs
- Conventional personal care products, particularly cosmetics
- Plastic cookware
- Growth hormones found in factory-farmed animal products (milk and meat products)
- Pesticides and herbicides found in some fruits and vegetables
- Birth control pills
- Preservatives and dyes
Use organic, natural body care products. Xenoestrogens are also found in personal care products, cosmetics & household cleaning products.
2. Lower your bodyfat
Being overweight may play a role in treating fibroids. Believe it or not, fat is a secondary production site for estrogen, so excess weight contributes to estrogen-progesterone imbalance.
3. Increase estrogen metabolism.
The liver is key and is responsible for metabolizing excess estrogen in the body. Once estrogen is released from the liver into the small and large intestines, it may be reabsorbed back into the body if the intestines are sluggish. Slow transit time and constipation increases estrogen levels. The liver plays an important role in hormonal balance. Estrogen is deactivated by the liver before being eliminated from the body. Liver congestion will raise levels of circulating estrogen and thus aggravate fibroid growth.
Fibroids & Diet
My philosophy? There is a direct correlation between the foods we eat, the way we look and feel. The typical western diet is comprised of excessive red meat, refined grains, processed foods, junk foods and artificial sweeteners.
- Consume a whole food diet
This is your basic foundation before supplementing with herbs, supplements or natural therapies. A diet rich in protein, phytoestrogens (fermented soy and flaxseed) and healthy fats and low in high-glycemic carbohydrates may help.
- Increase Fiber
Fiber helps the body to get rid of excess estrogen by moving it and absorbing it out of your body. Examples of fiber-rich foods legumes, green leafy vegetables, apples, oranges, blueberries, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Avoid Anti-nutrients
Limit saturated fats, junk foods sugar and alcohol
- Avoid High glycemic foods
Consuming foods high on the glycemic index causes our blood sugar to rise. Insulin rises in response to this and promotes compounds that produce fibroid growth and associated inflammation, which changes the way estrogen is metabolized.
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