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Fibroids, noncancerous growths that develop in the uterus, can bring about a range of uncomfortable symptoms, impacting the lives of countless women. While doctors often recommend surgery, it’s not the only option. In this article, we explore some causes of fibroids and offer research-based dietary and supplemental options that may support the body in balancing hormones and eliminating fibroids.

What Are Fibroids?

Fibroids, also known as uterine fibroids or uterine leiomyomas, are noncancerous growths or tumors that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus (womb). They’re among the most common benign tumors that affect the female reproductive system. [1][2]

Fibroids can vary in size, ranging from small, pea-sized growths to much larger ones (grapefruit-sized) that can enlarge the uterus significantly.

They’re composed of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue and can show up in different parts of the uterine wall: on the outer surface, within the uterine wall, or just beneath the inner lining of the uterus.

Fibroids are relatively common, especially among women of reproductive age. They may occur in up to 80% of women by the time they reach age 50. They’re more prevalent in women of African descent and tend to run in families. [1][3]

Symptoms of Fibroids

Many women with fibroids don’t have noticeable symptoms. However, when fibroid symptoms do occur, they may include the following: [4][5]

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Prolonged menstrual periods
  • Painful periods
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Constipation
  • Lower back pain
  • Infertility or recurrent miscarriages
  • High blood pressure

These symptoms may cause women to seek medical advice. However, a medical doctor may say the symptoms are normal, due to aging, or simply due to stress.

How Are Fibroids Diagnosed?

Fibroids are often diagnosed through a pelvic examination, ultrasound, or other imaging techniques like MRI. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend additional tests to rule out other conditions or assess the fibroids’ location and size.

The Fireman vs. The Carpenter in Healthcare

At The Wellness Way, we talk about the current medical system’s perspective on healthcare versus our perspective and methods as the “fireman approach” or the “carpenter approach.”

The current medical system’s “fireman” doctors have two tools (treatment options) for caring for people: an axe and a hose. The axe represents cutting things out in a surgical procedure. The hose represents using medications to extinguish inflammation, pain, and other symptoms.

The Wellness Way doctors are more like carpenters. They assess the current state of the body with testing and then create a personalized plan to rebuild using nutrients from foods and supplements. Sunshine, rest, and positive relationships are additional natural therapies that help with healing.

While these things are considered “complementary medicine” or even “alternative medicine,” scientific research backs up their effectiveness in healing.

The Current Medical System’s Approach to Fibroids

Medical treatment for fibroids depends on the size, location, and symptoms. Options may include “watchful waiting,” medications, certain medical procedures, or surgery.

Medications for Fibroids

Hormonal medications can help manage symptoms like heavy bleeding and pain. Examples of meds given for fibroids include the following: [5][6]

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help relieve fibroid-related pain and menstrual cramps. They don’t treat the fibroids but can help relieve some symptoms.
  • Birth control pills: Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, patches, or hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), can help regulate menstrual bleeding and reduce heavy periods caused by fibroids. They manipulate hormone levels, creating a thinner uterine lining and reducing menstrual flow.
  • GnRH agonists: GnRH agonists like leuprolide (Lupron) can temporarily shrink fibroids and reduce symptoms. These medications suppress the production of estrogen and progesterone, inducing a temporary “menopausal” state. They’re typically used for short-term symptom relief and have side effects related to menopause, such as hot flashes and bone density loss.
  • Progestin-Releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD): The levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (Mirena) can reduce heavy menstrual bleeding associated with fibroids by releasing progestin (synthetic progesterone) into the uterus.
  • Tranexamic Acid: This medication can reduce heavy menstrual bleeding from fibroids by promoting blood clotting. (There may be other risks involved).

These pharmaceuticals may alleviate some discomfort by synthetically suppressing hormones and inflammation, but they all have side effects. Those side effects are why people seek out natural treatments or home remedies for fibroids.

Medical Procedures

These are some noninvasive or minimally invasive medical procedures often recommended for fibroid treatment. [6]

  • Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE): This is a minimally invasive procedure where a doctor blocks the blood supply to the fibroids, helping to shrink them.
  • MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (MRgFUS): This noninvasive procedure uses high-intensity ultrasound waves to target and destroy fibroids.
  • Endometrial Ablation: This procedure destroys the lining of the uterus, which may help alleviate fibroid-associated heavy menstrual bleeding.

If these aren’t helpful, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Surgery

Surgical interventions, like myomectomy (removal of the fibroids while leaving the uterus intact) or hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus), may be recommended for larger or more problematic fibroids. However, doctors will only recommend surgery or other medical interventions for 10-20% of cases. [7]

What Causes Fibroids? Traumas, Toxins, and Thoughts

At The Wellness Way, we think differently! The most common causes of fibroids fit into one or more of three categories: traumas, toxins, and thoughts. There’s rarely one root cause – Usually, it’s a combination of several factors, outlined below.

Traumas (Physical Stressors)

Traumas or physical stressors can be acute (like a car accident) or chronic (like being in a physically abusive relationship). Examples of traumas that could contribute to fibroids include the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Concussions
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Sexual assault/rape
  • Car accident
  • Severe illness or infection
  • Witnessing violence or a natural disaster
  • Military combat – PTSD
  • Having a baby
  • Surgery
  • A death in the family or a close friend

These physical traumas may set off a state of chronic stress within the body. The result may be hormone imbalance and fibroids.

Toxins (Biochemical Stressors)

Toxins are biochemical stressors in the body. Examples of toxins that could contribute to fibroids include:

  • Excess sugar – Excessive sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is also a risk factor for fibroids. [8] When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it has trouble regulating blood sugar levels, which can result in weight gain and increased body fat. Fat cells produce estrogen, contributing to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance increases the risk of fibroids. [9]
  • Non-organic food – Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics contribute to endocrine disruption, increasing estrogens and inflammation. They also overburden the liver, making breaking down and eliminating hormones more difficult. [10]
  • Medications – Certain pharmaceutical drugs, including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, can lead to fibroids due to the synthetic hormones. [11]
  • Phthalates – Phthalates are a group of chemicals commonly used in plastics, personal care products, fragrances, and household items. They may disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking or interfering with natural hormones, including estrogens. When absorbed into the body, they can bind to estrogen receptors, potentially increasing estrogenic activity, which can lead to tissue growth. [12]
  • Plastic exposure – Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical compound widely used in plastic manufacturing, including food containers, water bottles, and the lining of canned foods and beverages. BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical, meaning it can interfere with hormone regulation. BPA can also act as a xenoestrogen, binding to estrogen receptors and increasing estrogen activity. [13] Xenoestrogens are known to increase the risk of developing uterine fibroids. [14]
  • Alcohol consumption – Frequent alcohol consumption can contribute to estrogen dominance by impairing liver function, increasing the conversion of male hormones to estrogens, increasing abdominal fat, and more. Women who consumed over 25 grams of alcohol daily had higher levels of circulating estrogens. [15] Another study found drinking just one beer a day increased the risk of fibroids by over 50% in African American women. [16]
  • Food allergies – Foods you’re allergic to can act like toxins, causing inflammation and imbalance. [17]
  • Gut dysbiosis – Intestinal dysbiosis, imbalanced gut bacteria, may also contribute to estrogen dominance. Overgrowth of certain gut bacteria increases an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. When this happens, estrogens recirculate instead of being eliminated. The result can be estrogen dominance and an increased risk of fibroids. [18]

Traumas and toxins are made worse by negative thought patterns and emotional stress.

Thoughts (Emotional Stressors)

Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts. Emotional stress is just as powerful (or more powerful) than physical and biochemical stressors in triggering inflammation and imbalance. When the stress hormone cortisol goes up, progesterone goes down, and you may be left with estrogen dominance and fibroids.

Emotional stress can come from the following:

  • Relationship issues – Relationships can turn toxic, leading to chronic stress. Prolonged stress can lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which can, in turn, affect hormone levels, including progesterone and estrogen.
  • Financial stress – Again, stress and cortisol are linked to hormone imbalance.
  • Watching the news – The mainstream media rarely focuses on the positive. Regularly exposing yourself to bad news increases fear, worry, and overall stress.
  • Feeling overwhelmed – Stress from significant life changes, like a recent marriage, a new baby, graduation, a divorce, or even moving to a new city, can lead to high cortisol, low progesterone, and estrogen dominance.
  • Holding a grudge/pent-up anger – Holding a grudge creates stress in the body. Chronic stress may show up as inflammation, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance.
  • Grief/feelings of loss – Grief is another form of stress that may create imbalance in the body.

The cumulative effect of these traumas, toxins, and thoughts can create inflammation and increase the risk of dis-ease anywhere in the body.

The Wellness Way Approach to Hormone Imbalance and Fibroids

At The Wellness Way, we dig deeper to solve the health challenges others can’t. We don’t just address symptoms; we run tests to find out what’s going on behind the scenes.

Essential Tests for Assessing Your Inflammation Levels and Hormone Health

Your Wellness Way doctor or health restoration coach will order more tests based on what he or she considers most relevant based on your health history.

Dietary Changes for Those with Fibroids

First, focus on lowering inflammation in the body. That means avoiding food allergies and following a personalized nutrition program, as the Wellness Way clinic recommends. Here are some general dietary guidelines for those with fibroids:

  • Reduce SUGAR – Massively reducing your sugar intake is the #1 thing to do for fibroids. It increases inflammation and cortisol, setting a woman up for gut dysbiosis and potentially causing estrogens to go up. Since fat cells make estrogen, women who are overweight are at higher risk of fibroids.
  • No processed foods – Get rid of processed foods like boxed cereals, chips, pasta, sodas, doughnuts, cookies, etc. Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists “food additive consumption” as a risk factor for fibroids. [19]
  • Gluten-free, mostly grain-free – Gluten is known to aggravate the gut lining, contributing to chronic inflammation. A gluten-free diet may help lower gut inflammation, allowing the body to return to balance. [20]
  • Consume an overall low carbohydrate, non-inflammatory diet of organic whole foods, which supply nutrients, antioxidants, and food for a healthy gut microbiome.
  • No cow’s milk dairy products – Goat and sheep’s milk products may be better tolerated. In fact, they may even be beneficial for lowering inflammation in the gut, which makes up a large part of the inflammatory response. [21]
  • Avoid high omega-6 vegetable oils, like corn, canola, soybean, cottonseed oil, sunflower, grapeseed, and others, which can alter the omega-6 to omega-3 balance to be more inflammatory. [22] Instead, use fruit oils like olive, coconut, avocado, and palm oil or animal fats like beef tallow, bacon grease, and duck fat.
  • Follow a Personalized Nutrition Program based on your food allergy test results.
  • Add specific nutrient-dense foods: Add Liver/organ meats, sauerkraut, and microgreens for enhanced nutrition. Liver is nature’s multivitamin, according to Dr. Flynn.
  • Focus on antioxidants – Including things like turmeric, green tea, berries, dark chocolate, and other botanicals high in polyphenols supports the gut and keeps inflammation under control. [23][24]
  • Eat omega-3-rich foods – Wild-caught salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3s and help lower inflammation. [25]

A healthy diet can reduce inflammation, but supplements can support gut healing and hormone balance.

Supplements For Those with Fibroids

A healthy diet reduces inflammation, but natural remedies like herbs and supplements can support proper hormone levels. Here are some herbs and supplements that may balance out estrogen and bring you closer to hormone balance:

  • Green tea extract – Green tea, with its key bioflavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may help shrink fibroids. EGCG reduces fibroid size and associated symptoms in studies. [26]
  • Chaste Tree – Chaste tree (also known as chasteberry or vitex) promotes healthy progesterone levels, which can help balance out estrogen levels. [27]
    Passionflower
    – Passionflower has a compound called chrysin, a flavonoid that reduces inflammation and improves ovarian function. [28] Chrysin may also promote the conversion of estradiol (a potent estrogen) into estrone (a weaker estrogen), reducing overall estrogenic activity in the body. [29]
  • Turmeric– Curcumin is the main active constituent in turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin may help shrink fibroids, according to a Japanese study. [30]
  • DIM (Diindolylmethane) – DIM is a compound in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. In studies, DIM reduces circulating estrogen, potentially lowering the risk of developing estrogen dominance and fibroids. [31]
  • Calcium D-Glucarate – Supplementing with calcium-D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase, reducing the recirculation of estrogens. This may also reduce the risk of uterine fibroids. [32]
  • Wellness Greens – Sulforaphane, a compound present in cruciferous vegetables like kale and Brussels sprouts, is helpful for supporting the liver and reducing estrogen dominance and fibroids. [33]
  • Vitamin D – Getting enough vitamin D may reduce your fibroid risk by nearly 32%. [34]
  • Female Glandular – Our Female Glandular has naturally occurring vitamin A from organ meats. Research shows your risk of developing fibroids is higher if you don’t get enough animal-derived vitamin A. [34]
  • Iodine – Iodine has an anti-estrogenic effect that may help in overcoming estrogen dominance and reducing uterine fibroids. However, it’s important to monitor thyroid function along the way. [35]

Each person is different – herbal remedies that work for one individual may not work for another. Part of that is due to body chemistry, including genetics and allergenic responses, and part is due to differences in the contributing factors to fibroids.

Lifestyle Changes & Complementary Therapies

  • Weight loss – Fat cells make more estrogen and increase fibroid risk. Lose the sugar, lose the weight, and potentially lose the fibroids! [36]
  • Physical activity – Increasing physical activity may also help. In one study of nearly 1200 people, the women who were the most physically activity were the least likely to have fibroids. [37]
  • Regular chiropractic care – If your posture is poor and your nervous system is affected, it can create stress and inflammation, affecting hormone balance.
  • Acupuncture – Acupuncture may also support proper levels of estrogens and progesterone. [38]

Be a well-informed patient! Here are some resources for learning more about inflammation, hormones, and fibroids.

Educational Resources for Fibroids

Videos & Webinars Related to Fibroids

Hope For Hormones Webinar
Estrogen Part 1 | A Different Perspective | Episode 132
Estrogen Part 2 | A Different Perspective | Episode 133
Estradiol | Living Hormoniously

Articles to Support Those with Fibroids

How Do You Know if Your Hormones Are Messed Up?
Estrogen Dominance: Is This Imbalance Behind Your Hormone Problems?

CONNECT WITH US

We invite you to connect with us! Find an event at a clinic near you! Follow us on social media. Tune in to A Different Perspective each Saturday morning LIVE to get cutting-edge training directly from Dr. Patrick Flynn. Please set up a no-obligation health consult with one of our doctors today. The best is yet to come! Think differently – and THRIVE. To learn how best to overcome fibroids and other chronic complaints, contact a Wellness Way clinic today.

References

  1. Uterine fibroids | Office on Women’s Health (womenshealth.gov)
  2. Uterine Fibroids | ACOG
  3. The Health Disparities of Uterine Fibroids for African American Women: A Public Health Issue – PMC (nih.gov)
  4. Uterine Fibroids: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)
  5. Fibroids | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  6. Uterine fibroids – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic
  7. Treating Gynaecological Disorders with Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Review – PMC (nih.gov)
  8. Therapeutic Carbohydrate Restriction as a Metabolic Modality for the Prevention and Treatment of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding – PubMed (nih.gov)
  9. Obesity, estrogens and adipose tissue dysfunction – implications for pulmonary arterial hypertension – Kirsty M. Mair, Rosemary Gaw, Margaret R. MacLean, 2020 (sagepub.com)
  10. Cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of estrogens and its regulation in human – PubMed (nih.gov)
  11. High Estrogen: Causes, Symptoms, Dominance & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)
  12. Toxicity and estrogenic endocrine disrupting activity of phthalates and their mixtures – PubMed (nih.gov)
  13. Bisphenol A: an endocrine disruptor with widespread exposure and multiple effects – PubMed (nih.gov)
  14. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and uterine fibroids – PubMed (nih.gov)
  15. Alcohol and breast cancer – PMC (nih.gov)
  16. Risk of uterine leiomyomata in relation to tobacco, alcohol and caffeine consumption in the Black Women’s Health Study – PubMed (nih.gov)
  17. Food Allergies: The Basics – PMC (nih.gov)
  18. Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications – PubMed (nih.gov)
  19. What are the risk factors for uterine fibroids? | NICHD – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (nih.gov)
  20. Extra-intestinal manifestations of non-celiac gluten sensitivity: An expanding paradigm – PubMed (nih.gov)
  21. Reviewing the Benefits of Grazing/Browsing Semiarid Rangeland Feed Resources and the Transference of Bioactivity and Pro-Healthy Properties to Goat Milk and Cheese: Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Inflammation and Hepatic Steatosis Prevention – PubMed (nih.gov)
  22. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids – PubMed (nih.gov)
  23. The Immunomodulatory and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Polyphenols – PubMed (nih.gov)
  24. The effects of polyphenols and other bioactives on human health – PubMed (nih.gov)
  25. Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Inflammation – You Are What You Eat! – PubMed (nih.gov)
  26. Targeting fibrotic signaling pathways by EGCG as a therapeutic strategy for uterine fibroids – PubMed (nih.gov)
  27. [The efficacy of the complex medication Phyto-Hypophyson L in female, hormone-related sterility. A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical double-blind study] – PubMed (nih.gov)
  28. Chrysin reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and improves ovarian function in D-gal-induced premature ovarian failure – PubMed (nih.gov)
  29. Inhibitory effect of chrysin on estrogen biosynthesis by suppression of enzyme aromatase (CYP19): A systematic review – PMC (nih.gov)
  30. Inhibitory effect of curcumin on uterine leiomyoma cell proliferation – PubMed (nih.gov)
  31. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Modulates Estrogen Metabolism in Patients with Thyroid Proliferative Disease: A Pilot Study – PMC (nih.gov)
  32. Calcium-D-glucarate – PubMed (nih.gov)
  33. Sulforaphane-induced metabolomic responses with epigenetic changes in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells – PubMed (nih.gov)
  34. Vitamin d and the risk of uterine fibroids – PubMed (nih.gov)
  35. Iodine alters gene expression in the MCF7 breast cancer cell line: evidence for an anti-estrogen effect of iodine – PubMed (nih.gov)
  36. The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Management of Fibroids anAssociated Symptomatology | Current Obstetrics and Gynecology Reports (springer.com)
  37. Adipose tissue estrogen production and metabolism in premenopausal women – PubMed (nih.gov)
  38. Association of physical activity with development of uterine leiomyoma – PubMed (nih.gov)
  39. A Literature Review of Women’s Sex Hormone Changes by Acupuncture Treatment: Analysis of Human and Animal Studies – PubMed (nih.gov)

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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