30-70% of women are diagnosed with at least one uterine fibroid throughout life. These costly fibroids results in approximately 300,000 hysterectomies every year. Uterine fibroids are more common in blacks, obese, peri-menopausal women and drinking alcohol increases risk. Uterine fibroids can be dependent on the hormone estrogen and estrogen dominance is becoming more and more common in our society. There is currently a theory that vitamin D deficiency plays a key role in fibroid formation.
The cause of fibroids is multifaceted including inflammation, growth factors through abnormal genetic expression, estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency and there is a strong link with gastrointestinal health. A study published in the Journal Human Reproduction Update in 1996 discussed abnormal growth factors lead to blood supply abnormalities that feed fibroids. Traditional medicine views uterine fibroids as benign and only require treatment when symptoms exist. Symptoms include:
- Dyspareunia (pain during intercourse)
- Pelvic pressure
- Bowel & bladder symptoms
Surgery or a procedure known as uterine artery embolization which blocks the blood supply to the fibroid are the most common treatments. There are alternative treatments that can reduce symptoms and size of the fibroid.
Estrogen dominance requires proper metabolism of estrogen so it can be excreted from the body. This is optimized by consuming plenty of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, drinking green tea, consuming ground flax seeds and getting plenty of omega 3 fatty acids from fish or supplementation. Obesity and hypothyroidism can disrupt estrogen metabolism so a proper thyroid evaluation including proper diet and exercise program are required. The Journal Alternative Therapies published a study in 2002 showing that acupuncture, body therapy and guided imagery reduced fibroid growth, reduced symptoms and resulted in high patient satisfaction with the treatment.
The treatment of uterine fibroids cannot go without mentioning the strong link between gastrointestinal health and fibroid growth. Leaky gut syndrome, yeast, intestinal bacterial overgrowth and gut inflammation can indirectly lead to abnormal growth factor expression, estrogen excess and immune dysfunction. Toxic heavy metals can lead to abnormal bacterial growth in the gut and breakdown of the mucosal lining in the intestines. Metal toxicity levels should therefore be evaluated if fibroids are present along with digestive issues. Healing the gut is always a key in the overall treatment of uterine fibroids.
Liver detoxification is important because estrogen metabolism occurs in the liver. Xenoestrogens, or chemicals that act like estrogen, are detoxified in the liver so an impaired liver detox system can lead to estrogen dominance Castor oil packs have an anti-inflammatory effect, aid in lymphatic drainage and are a tool for facilitating meditation and should be an important piece of the treatment pie. Sitz baths help to move blood through the pelvis. 3 minutes in hot water followed by 30 seconds in cold water repeated three times consecutively five days a week is recommended.
It’s very important to eliminate caffeine, strong perfumes, conventional dairy and meat, alcohol and aspartame. Sugar and trans fats should also be avoided. Vaginal depletion packs have been used by natural physicians since the 1800’s. They work by improving circulation through the pelvic organs by drawing fluid and infections out of the uterus.
The four most useful herbs for uterine fibroids and the pain that accompanies are vitex agnus castus, angelica sinensis, achillia millifolium and alcamelia vulgaris. Insulin resistance occurs when your body’s cells lose their ability to communicate with the hormone insulin which results in abnormal blood sugar. These fluctuations can contribute to the formation of fibroids. Signs of insulin resistance are increased abdominal fat, fatigue after meals, sugar cravings, mood swings, sleep problems and suppressed immune system. Exercise will resensitize your cells so insulin can do it’s job of shuttling blood sugar into the cells. Exercise that emphasizes core-strengthening and stress-reduction are ideal for not only insulin resistance but for fibroid prevention and treatment as well. Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent examples.
In addition, a variety of supplements can help with this process as well. I highly recommend energy healing to restore proper balance to your chakra system. Toxic relationships, suppressed creativity and abuse issues in the present or past can lead to blockages in energy flow through your body leading to fibroid formation. Suzannah Tebbe Davis can help you restore balance to your energy centers. Please contact me for her information So as you can see, the treatment of uterine fibroids is multi-faceted and there is no one-shot approach. A whole body, functional and energetic approach is required to heal fibroids.
Uterine fibroids can be difficult to treat but a comprehensive holistic treatment plan can provide relief.