Up to a staggering 77 percent of women have fibroids, but happily they are not always a problem and many women manage with no treatment at all. In fact a substantial number may not even realise they have them but may recognize symptoms that do significantly lower their quality of life.
What Are They?
Fibroids are small, noncancerous growths on the uterus that can cause pain, excessive bleeding and even infertility. Why they appear is not something the medical profession agrees on, but what is known is that they grow in response to oestrogen. Conventional treatment is usually first to try and shrink them with drugs that can block or suppress oestrogen such as gonadotropin releasing hormone medication which cause the ovaries to stop making estrogen. The second solution is surgery – a hysterectomy – which may solve the fibroid problem but brings on an instant menopause without the benefit of the body having time naturally to adjust to the change.
What Can You Do to Avoid Them?
Ensuring good hormone balance is essential so that oestrogen is balanced by progesterone and its action of proliferation is limited. If hormones are in the right ration to each other then you can increase your chance of avoiding fibroids by ensuring that you have a diet that also limits your oestrogen intake.
One of the key elements is fibre from fruit and vegetables – at least 20 to 30 grams a day is ideal – and the best sources are apples, whole grains, oatmeal, nuts and seeds. This will significantly decrease your circulating oestrogen levels, which in turn will prevent excessive uterine growth, a cause of fibroids.
What Can You Do To Reduce Them?
Having lower oestrogen levels is what may cause your fibroids to shrink, as they do naturally at menopause when oestrogen levels fall. You can help by ensuring that your diet contains plenty of phytoestrogens from fruit and vegetables. It may seem odd to recommend a source of oestrogen, but the phytoestrogens in plant foods bind themselves to the same cell receptors as oestrogen and this effectively blocks oestrogen’s ability to affect your cells.
Check your diet includes of organic soy products, nuts, seeds and ground flaxseeds. Eating one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day will really make a difference to your hormones, and your health generally so add them to breakfast cereals, smoothies and porridge.
What Can Make Them Worse?
Certainly being oestrogen dominant is a risk factor for fibroid growth so supplementing with bioidentical natural progesterone will help correct that. Also there are certain dietary items that can increase your ostrogen levels so it is suggested that women with fibroids cut back on coffee, dairy products and non-organic meats to avoid contact with hormone drugs and pesticides.
Recommended reading: “What Your Doctors May Not Tell You About Premenopause;” John R. Lee, Jesse Hanley and Virginia Hopkins; Hachette Digital, Inc; 1999