Fibroids are benign tumors (non-cancerous growths) of the uterus (womb) and present in 30-50% of women. They occur in women of all races and backgrounds. These growths arise from smooth muscle and connective tissue of the uterine muscle itself. They feel like a smooth lump in the lower abdomen just above the pubic bone. They can occur in women as early as their late teens but are most commonly diagnosed when a woman is in her thirties or forties.
The majority of these growths do not cause any real problem. However, they are still responsible for 30% of all gynecological hospital admissions and are the main reason for hysterectomies when they may cause heavy and irregular bleeding. Fortunately, very few lesions are, or ever become malignant. Signs a fibroid may be malignant are rapid growth or growth after menopause.
A fibroid is common in women who have hormone imbalances, especially when there is too much circulating estrogen. Given this, supporting the body’s attempt to reach hormonal balance is of great assistance. Naturopathic modalities including dietary changes, homeopathic remedies, herbal remedies, whole food supplements and detoxification techniques have been shown to offer much needed relief.
During pregnancy they may be the cause of:
- Premature labor
- Interference with the position of the fetus.
Natural Solutions for Your Fibroid
Unless your fibroid is life threatening, it pays to do your research and consult a Naturopath regarding natural solutions for these growths.
Why?...Because there are effective, holistic options available that offer relief of fibroid symptoms.
Dr. Carolyn can work with your diet, lifestyle and use targeted, suitable supplements, herbs and other natural remedies to shrink your fibroid.
Symptoms of Fibroids
Symptoms of fibroids, particularly when small, may be entirely asymptomatic (no symptoms). Generally, symptoms relate to location and size, and may include:
- Heavy bleeding, sometimes with blood clots
- Continued bleeding (sometimes no break between one period and the next)
- Mild to severe cramping and pain
- Longer or more frequent menstruation
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Pelvic discomfort/dragging sensation
- Internal pressure on other organs
- Frequent miscarriage
- Painful urination and increased urination
- Constipation and backache if fibroids press on your bowel
- If fibroids are on a stalk, they can twist, causing pain
- Sometimes lower abdominal swelling may be seen. Some women may need to increase their clothing size for this reason, not because of a significant weight gain.
The main symptom of fibroids is heavy periods. When fibroids grow inside the womb, the mechanism that operates menstrual flow may not work properly. The heavy bleeding can be a result of the fibroids making the womb bigger (creating a larger surface of womb lining that has to bleed every month), or the pressure of the fibroids may disrupt the normal blood flow. As a result, many women with fibroids will have heavy periods, but experience no pain.
Fibroids or Endometriosis?
Fibroids are one cause of severe period pain, but the pain also can be caused by endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the inner lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body. This tissue breaks down and bleeds during your period, causing painful scar tissue deposits. The pain of both these conditions can also occur between periods.
Causes of Fibroids
While the medical community isn’t completely sure as to the causes of fibroids, research and clinical experience point to these factors:
- Genetics: Fibroids seem to run in families, but no-one is sure at present whether this is a genuine genetic predisposition, or whether lifestyle and diet play a role in some families.
- Hormones: Fibroids are common in women who have hormone imbalances, especially when there is too much circulating estrogen and not enough progesterone. This can be the result of exposure to estrogen like chemicals and ovarian dysfunction.
- Liver Function: If your liver is not functioning efficiently, hormones such as estrogen may not deactivate, causing an accumulation of estrogen because it is not being excreted properly. Estrogen dominance is pronounced and again, this will encourage the growth of a fibroid.
- Other factors that have been related to an increase in fibroids include high blood pressure, obesity, use of the oral contraceptive pill, smoking, too much coffee and even using talcum powder in the perineal region.
Some Interesting Research
Recent findings indicated that while fibroid growth rates are similar for African American and caucasian women under 35, as women get older, growth rates decline for caucasian women but not for African American women. Another study found that among women receiving reproductive interventions, treatments were less successful for African Americans, who were more likely to have fibroids, than for the Caucasian women.
Can Fibroids Shrink?
Yes, fibroids can and do shrink. Since they are estrogen-fed, when a woman reaches menopause and because of the decline in estrogen production, the fibroid is not being ‘fed’ so it can shrink. Also, by reducing your exposure to chemical estrogens and detoxifying properly, you can markedly reduce levels of harmful circulating estrogens that feed fibroids.