It's a good thing Mother Nature has you covered. Here's what you need to know about fibroids, and how to treat them without popping a pill or going under the knife.
Fibroids refer to noncancerous growths in your uterus. These go by many names: uterine fibroids, leiomyomas, or myomas, and they often develop during a woman's childbearing years. Fibroids aren't usually associated with an increased risk of cancer, and most women usually don't know they have them as the growths don't cause symptoms. For those that do have symptoms, often, the size, location, and the number of fibroids influence their severity. Common symptoms of fibroids include:
In some cases, fibroids can cause acute pain when these outgrow its blood supply and start to die.
It's still unclear on how a woman develops fibroids, but researchers have identified some risk factors for the condition.
Uterine fibroids aren't known to cause cancer. They can, however, increase pregnancy-related complications, such as placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery. (Related: Fibroids: The Condition Every Woman Should Know About.)
There are conventional approaches to treating fibroids, but these involve either drug therapy or surgery, which come with their own set of problems. Hysterectomy, a surgical procedure which removes the uterus, is often considered the permanent solution for uterine fibroids. Not only does it end your ability to bear children, but recent studies also linked hysterectomy to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic conditions.
For people who are hesitant to undergo surgery, natural options are available for treating fibroids. Homeopathy, for instance, lists around 90 potential treatments that can be used to treat fibroid tumors – consult with a healthcare professional to find a homeopathic treatment that works for you.
One aspect about fibroids that both natural healers and doctors agree is that diet plays a role in their development. Based on clinical studies, eating too much red meat and drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing fibroids. In addition, the consumption of excess carbohydrates can trigger and worsen fibroids. Women who are at risk of fibroids should avoid carbs like:
Eating fiber-rich and unprocessed foods can help you feel full for longer, balance hormones, and prevent excess weight gain.
Fruits and vegetables also help in reducing inflammation; thus, lowering the risk of fibroids. Some whole foods you can add include:
Dietary supplements that have proteolytic enzymes could also help in reducing the size of fibroid tumors. Proteolytic enzymes, also called peptidases, proteases, or proteinases, are essential for healthy protein digestion, immune function, and other vital processes. These enzymes are available in many forms, and they can also be found in foods like kiwifruit, ginger, asparagus, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir.
In traditional Chinese medicine, herbs are often used to slow fibroid growth and treat symptoms. An herbal formula called gui zhi fu ling, often prescribed to shrink uterine fibroids, balance hormone levels, and maintain overall health, contains the following herbs.
Other fibrous herbs like ispaghula husk and senna can be added to water to unlock its laxative effect and relieve constipation.
For heavy menstrual bleeding, a common symptom for those with fibroids, chasteberry (vitex) can help balance hormone levels.
Learn more about fibroids at WomensHealth.news.