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Fibroids

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Article by Claudette Wadsworth

Claudette Wadsworth Profile | Email | Website
Claudette Wadsworth Qualified Naturopath
Herbalist
Nutritionist

Natural Fertility Specialist
ThetaHealing Practitioner
40 Grosvenor Street
Bondi Junction
NSW
Australia 2022
(02) 9389 3689

What are Fibroids?

Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumours of the uterus. They grow in various locations on and within the muscular wall of the uterus or inside the uterine cavity. They are encapsulated connective tissue that can be single or multiple. They vary in size from a few millimetres to very large, eg. size of a football. They affect 20-25% of women past the age of 35. They rarely occur before adolescence and shrink after menopause. Fibroids can run in families, although environmental factors play a huge role in whether a disease is ever expressed. 

Signs and Symptoms

Most commonly there is heavy, clotty and prolonged bleeding which can lead to anaemia and fatigue as well as painful periods, backache, swelling. Some women will have no symptoms and symptoms are rare before 30 years. Larger fibroids will start to put pressure on adjacent abdominal organs causing increased urinary frequency, feelings of heaviness and congestion in the lower abdomen and abdominal enlargement. Depending on the location of the fibroid it may cause miscarriage or infertility.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by pelvic ultrasound, pelvic examination and palpation, laporoscopy.

Fibroids that are not interfering with fertility or causing unwanted symptoms are often simply left and require no surgery or drugs to shrink or remove them. Monitoring every six months and alternative therapies to moderate their growth and rebalance the underlying hormones is advisable. Rarely, they can undergo malignant change and develop into sarcoma.

Common Theories of Causation

1.Oestrogen It is unknown why the uterine muscle starts to rearrange itself but it is known that its growth is stimulated by oestrogen. This is illustrated by pregnancy that reduces the risk of developing fibroids and the fact that a fibroid will shrink after menopause. Obesity, however, is related to an increased risk as there is increased conversion of oestrogen in fatty tissue.  One study found that there are more oestrogen and progesterone receptors in fibroid tissue than in a normal uterus. 

Xenoestrogens are synthetic environmental oestrogens or chemicals that mimic oestrogen and to which we are increasingly exposed. Xenoestrogens include many pesticides, herbicides, dioxin, growth hormones stored in animal fat, PCBs in plastics which are released once heated or used for hot food or drinks, waterways due to the urine of women taking birth control pills containing synthetic oestrogen, nonylphenols that are breakdown products of surfactants used in detergents, cosmetics and other toiletries and spermicides used in diaphragm jellies, condoms and vaginal gels. 

2.Toxicity The liver and bowel are particularly important as the liver breaks down oestrogen to be detoxified which is then carried out in the faeces. If the liver is functioning poorly and/or there is constipation, then there will be a consequent build up of excess oestrogens in the blood. In today’s modern world of high pollution, chemicals and highly refined Western diets often both the liver and digestion is compromised.

3.Insulin High insulin levels, that control blood sugar, stimulate the release of growth hormone that in turn increases the fibroid growth. 

4.Stress Stress lowers melatonin, causing increased growth hormone that stimulates the fibroid growth. Stress also raises prolactin levels that inhibits progesterone, causing a relative excess of oestrogen.

5.Nutrition As illustrated above, highly refined carbohydrates and sugars cause insulin resistance and the consequent fibroid growth. Growth hormone is also increased by low concentrations of essential fatty acids in the blood. A highly processed diet lacks fibre and causes constipation. Coffee, alcohol, cigarettes and other recreational drugs are all liver toxins and exacerbate insulin resistance.

Naturopathic Treatments for Fibroids

Naturopathic treatments are useful especially to improve symptoms of heavy bleeding and control the underlying hormonal imbalance that is fuelling the growth of the fibroid but it is rare that they will shrink the tumour. A reduction in symptoms does not correlate to the size or growth rate of the tumour. 

Self-Healing

Diet

•Eat regularly: 3 main meals and 2 snacks daily that stimulate your metabolism. If you skip meals, it slows your metabolism down and your blood sugars drop so that you crave a sugar or stimulant to bring them back up again quickly.

•Protein in all your meals: controls your blood sugars by slowing down the absorption of sugars, stimulating your metabolism, decreasing hunger and sugar cravings as well as important for liver detoxification of the hormones: dairy, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.

•Preventing anaemia (low iron from excessive blood loss) is important. This should be checked via a blood test with your doctor: Ferritin (iron stores) as well as Haemoglobin (iron in red blood cells). Increase iron-rich foods: red meat, whole grains, spinach, dried apricots, peaches and figs, almonds, molasses, parsley, prunes. Iron absorption is accelerated by Vitamin C: squeeze lemon juice on food or in salad dressing, include berries (on cereal), tomato, capsicum, broccoli and cabbage with your meals. Iron absorption is inhibited by phytates found in whole grains, beans and legumes but vitamin C, soaking and slow cooking counteracts these effects; polyphenols found in black tea, coffee, Cola drinks; calcium: take calcium supplements away from iron supplements or meals.

•Eliminate all sugars, sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, fruit juices (eat fruit maximum 3p/day), cordials, alcohol, anything with added sugar, honey, artificial sweeteners: Splenda, Nutrasweet and Aspartame.

•Decrease all refined carbohydrates: white flour products, such as white bread, white rice (Basmati or Doongara are acceptable as low glycaemic), noodles, pasta, packet biscuits, pastry. Dense seeded breads, whole grains such as rolled oats and wholemeal pasta are fine.

•Avoid all junk foods, processed foods and deep fried foods: anything battered, hot chips, packet chips, dough nuts, packet cereals, packet biscuits. 

•What can I eat for breakfast? Plain rolled oat porridge or natural muesli with plain natural cultured yoghurt, fruit, nuts and seeds or eggs or baked beans with whole grain toast.

•Avoid coffee, alcohol, cigarette smoking or drugs as they all stimulate the stress hormones that exacerbate insulin resistance as well as providing numerous toxic chemicals for the body!

•Eat more phytoestrogens that help buffer against xenoestrogens and the stronger oestrogens in the body, such as 2 Tb of ground flaxseeds/linseeds daily on your breakfast, ¼  cup of alfalfa or sprouts, use beans and legumes instead of grains, eat sunflower seeds, non-genetically modified soy products such as tofu, tempeh and miso. However, I do not advocate other Western invented soy products such as soy sausages, soy protein powders, soy cheeses, etc

•Omega 3 oils are anti-inflammatory and reduce growth hormone release. Consume daily: avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds, cold water oily fish if you are not vegetarian, such as salmon, trout, cod, sardines.

•Herbal teas: Roasted dandelion root (a great coffee alternative) and green tea support liver detoxification, while nettle leaf, red clover and calendula are an excellent mix for the reproductive system. Drink 2-3 cups daily.

•If you suffer from constipation, increase your water intake to 2L per day, eat more fibrous fruits and salads such as celery, carrot, beetroot, add a couple of stewed prunes to your breakfast each morning, drink 1 tsp of psyllium husks in a glass of warm water each morning upon rising, add 30ml of chlorophyll to your water.  Perhaps try a colonic irrigation to rehydrate the bowel if you have a history of constipation. 

 

Lifestyle

•Regular moderate exercise: minimum 4x week 45 mins with stretching or yoga is essential to control insulin levels, increase the circulation through the pelvis, manage weight and for stress reduction. Hip circling, pelvic thrusts and hip stretches are very beneficial if done for 10 minutes every day to increase circulation through the pelvis and uterus and free the blocked energy and blood flow here.

•Castor oil applied to the lower abdomen with a hot water bottle on top is very anti-inflammatory: ½ hour three times a week and pay attention to all thoughts, feelings and emotions that arise. Try to source an organic or pesticide-free castor oil.

•Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, teaches that energetically fibroids represent creativity that has never been expressed. Make time for some creative outlet for yourself, something you love doing or are passionate about to start to move the energies in the body, eg. singing, dancing, gardening, art, woodwork, cooking. Perhaps try journaling everything you would like to create and let your imagination and enthusiasm run with it. Our internal lives are very much reflected by our external lives & vica versa. Certainly, the uterus is the vessel of creativity through pregnancy, whether or not it is being used for that. Therefore, it is important to look at where in my life am I being/expressing my creativity?

•Myss furthers this idea of blocked creativity into life energy that is stagnating into dead ends such as jobs or relationships that have been outgrown. Perhaps there is a need to re-evaluate your relationships with other people and make changes if you feel they are unsupportive of you. Physical therapies such as massage, acupuncture, belly dancing, yoga, tai chi, meditation also encourage the idea of “freeing blocked energy” in the pelvis.

•Christiane Northrup, a gynaecologist in the USA who wrote the book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, acknowledges that surgery alone will not change the fundamental pattern in the woman’s body that encouraged the fibroid to grow. “It is vital to listen to what our bodies are trying to teach us.” “Fibroids, like other disorders, don’t just come out of nowhere and land on your uterus. When you become willing to be in relationship with your uterus by letting its messages speak to you, you have taken the first steps toward healing, instead of just masking or eliminating symptoms. After you get in touch with the messages from your uterus, you can choose a treatment that works best for you, whether it’s surgery or brown rice or both.”

Supplements

There is no single remedy that will shrink fibroids and for all remedies the dosage will vary according to the potency and quality of the product, the size of the tumour and the severity of the symptoms. It is recommended to see a practitioner experienced in treating fibroids to prescribe herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. Some supplements are contraindicated in pregnancy, breastfeeding and with some medications.

By Claudette Wadsworth - Naturopath, Nutritionist

Bondi Junction  02 9389 3689

CBD Sydney  02 9268 9000

www.claudettewadsworth.com.au

17 Nov 2010

Last Update: 9 Dec 2014

Article/Information supplied by Claudette Wadsworth

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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