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FIBROIDS

Up to 40 percent of women have at least one fibroid by the time they reach menopause but most are not aware of them until it is discovered during a routine exam. Fibroids, also known as myomas, are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that grow on the uterine wall. They can form anywhere on uterine tissue and have been found inside the uterus as well as on the outside wall. The usual cause of fibroids is too much oestrogen in the body because the liver has not metabolised and removed it from the body and this can be due to the following:

  • Being overweight because oestrogen is metabolised in the fat cells therefore overweight women have more oestrogen than lean women.

  • Birth control pills.

  • Excess consumption of alcohol which taxes the liver and can lead to a deficiency of certain minerals and the B vitamins that balance the hormones.

  • Excess consumption of caffeine in canned drinks, chocolate, coffee and tea.

  • Excess consumption of fried and fatty foods as this taxes the liver.

  • Cleaning, cosmetics and personal care products that contain xeno-oestergens.

  • Drugs which tax the liver and can cause a deficiency in B vitamins and certain minerals.

  • Fungicides, herbicides and pesticides used on crops.

  • Growth hormones in meat and dairy products.

  • Hormone replacement therapy.

  • Lack of physical activity which makes the metabolism sluggish.

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) used in plastic food or drink containers.

  • Spermicides on condoms.

  • Stress causes a deficiency in the B vitamins which can lead to a hormonal imbalance.

Fibroids can grow as a small lump the size of a pea or as a cluster which can become as large as a grapefruit and be mistaken for a pregnancy but, in fact, this will make conception extremely difficult. Over months or years the fibroid can continue to grow and produce multiple small fibroids throughout the uterus causing it to become enlarged and deformed. An enlarged uterus may then put pressure on the bladder or intestine causing abdominal pain, constipation, cramping and increased urination. Fibroids can cause heavy menstruation, infertility and miscarriages. In very rare cases, a fibroid can attach itself to another part of the body such as the ovarian tube, the loop of the bowel or the mesentery which is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.

 

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Symptoms of fibroids

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Bloating even leading to a permanent bulge in the stomach.

  • Bowel problems, constipation and pain when defecating.

  • Heavy menstruation

  • Infertility

  • Miscarriage and premature birth. Fibroids can increase in size quickly up to five times due to the excess oestrogen produce during pregnancy meaning the foetus has little room to grow.

  • Pressure and pelvic cramping.

  • Urinary problems such as frequent urination.

Ultrasonic pelvic scans and an MRI can detect the presence of fibroids. The usual treatment prescribed is surgery, to remove them with all the possibly harmful side effects this entails, and unfortunately they often grow back as the root cause of developing fibroids has not been treated.

Nature Cures for fibroids

The first step is to try to eliminate as many of the above factors as possible then try the following to see if there is an improvement. Consuming more than one of them every day will be more effective and patience is required as the effect may take a few weeks or months to be felt or seen.

  • Algae and seaweed consumption can help to support the adrenal and thyroid glands which in turn keep the hormones in balance.

  • Black cohosh has been known to shrink fibroids in the uterus.

  • Bulrush tubers when dried are particularly effective at eliminating uterine fibroids when consumed with white turmeric (Curcuma zedoaria) and Chinese rhubarb root. However, because bulrush can cause increased menstrual flow it should never be consumed during pregnancy, skipped periods caused by anaemia or when there is a heavy menstrual flow.

  • Chaste berry, taken two to four times daily, often shrinks small uterine fibroids within two months.

  • Curcumin and cinnamon have shown to be effective at reducing the size of fibroids. Add a quarter to half a teaspoon to foods and teas daily.

  • Dandelion, milk thistle and yellow dock root herbs help to support the liver which, in turn, helps to remove excess oestrogen from the body and this can help to reduce the development of uterine fibroids.

  • Green tea has shown to be effective against fibroids. Drink three cups per day with freshly squeezed lemon juice and add honey to sweeten if desired.

  • Milk thistle can help to heal the liver to ensure it is functioning correctly.

  • Motherwort regulates the thyroid gland functions and supports the liver and uterus and is therefore useful in the treatment of fibroids. But as it is also a mild sedative it can also become habit forming so should be used with care.

  • Papaya contains papain and pineapples contain bromelain. Both these substances are powerful enzymes that can reduce uterine fibroids naturally.

  • Red clover can help to inhibit the growth of uterine tissue. Drink two to three cups of red clover tea per day.

  • Red raspberry leaf strengthens the uterus wall and regulates menstrual flow by nourishing the reproductive organs, especially the uterine muscles. Drink to to three cups of red raspberry leaf tea per day.

  • Safflower is a herb which protects and strengthens the liver which can be effective in the treatment of fibroids.

  • Squaw vine, as the names suggests, strengthens the uterus and helps relieve congestion there and in the ovaries and can be very effective in treating fibroids.

  • Turmeric has been known to reduce uterine fibroids. Take one teaspoon per day added to foods such as eggs, rice and vegetables like cauliflower or in a herbal tea.

  • Yarrow flower tea is known to effectively treat fibroids by regulating the hormones. Drink a cup two to three times a day.

The vitamin B complex is necessary for many important functions in the body so addressing any deficiency is important. Follow the links below to find out the natural sources and functions of these essential nutrients.

Minerals can often be lacking in the diet, especially due to stress, the refining of foods and the lack of these essential nutrients in the soils because of intense farming techniques. Many other nutrients, including vitamins, cannot be made use of when minerals are deficient. Find out the natural sources and their functions on the Minerals page.

 

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The Author

Nat H Hawes

Nat H Hawes SNHS Dip (Advanced and Sports nutrition) is a qualified nutritional and sports therapist and author of the book, Nature Cures, who has been researching natural foods and their health benefits since 2003. Read more here.

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