Treatment For Uterine Fibroids

Suggested natural approaches to preventing and relieving the symptoms of fibroids, using diet moification, vitamins and exercise.

Fibroids are noncancerous growths in the womb, usually produced by hormonal imbalance resulting in the over production of estrogen. They often produce no symptoms, but can cause excessive menstrual bleeding and pelvic discomfort. Small fibroids often disappear after menopause. As an alternative to a hysterectomy, new procedures are performed such as myomectomy, which involves the removal of fibroids, leaving the uterus intact. Natural remedies do not cure fibroids, but may relieve the symptoms and help prevent them from growing.


Significant life stress

Age 20s through 40s

Multiple pregnancies

Mothers or sisters with a history of fibroids

Recurrent or chronic infections, allergies

High intake of meat, saturated fat, dairy products, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, salt or chocolate

Lack of exercise

High levels of estrogen or use of estrogen-containing medication

Obesity is one of the risk factors for fibroids. A Harvard University study conducted by Dr. Lynn Marshall found that women who had a body mass index of 30 or more, about 172 pounds for a 5'4" woman, were 23 percent more likely to develop fibroids compared with smaller women. The research findings, published in the September 1998 issue of "Epidemiology," stated that the risk of developing fibroid tumors is higher in women who gain weight after age 18.

A poor diet can elevate estrogen levels and prohibit the body's ability to break down and secrete excess estrogen. A diet rich in saturated fats from meats and dairy products, alcohol and sugar may overwork the liver, making it unable to break down the hormones efficiently. This causes elevated levels of estrogen, which triggers fibroids.

A low-fat, high fiber, is recommended. Some foods to eliminate from the diet are dairy products, which increase estrogen; animal proteins, which are high in saturated fats; and alcohol, caffeine, sugar and salt, which deplete minerals and B-complex vitamins that are needed to regulate muscle tension.

A diet that includes foods containing phytoestrogens, a natural source of weak estrogen, helps protect the body from the effects of excess estrogen. Foods that are recommended to eat are whole grains, such as buckwheat, oats, millet and brown rice; foods with essential fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and flax seeds; fruits and vegetables, and soy, and non-dairy milk, which provide calcium.

The vitamins that are recommended for fibroid patients are vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A is found in liver, kidney, egg yolk, fortified margarine and milk. Vitamin C is found in the outer layers of citrus fruits and leafy vegetables. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts and seeds.

Iron is important, especially for women who suffer from anemia due to heavy menstrual bleeding. Iron supplements can be obtained from health food stores. High concentrations are found in chard, kale, spinach, molasses, nuts, seeds, wheat bran, and brewer's yeast.

Reducing stress and exercising can help relieve the symptoms of fibroids. Relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation help promote well-being.

An informative book on fibroids is "Uterine Fibroids: What Every Woman Needs to Know," by Nelson H. Stringer. M.D.

Always consult a physician before proceeding with any remedies.

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