Fibroids may be normal for most women, causing no noticeable side effects or symptoms, but they can become a major problem and produce some severely painful symptoms for some. These little growths are extremely common, affecting up to 80% of all women by the time they reach age 50, according to studies. They typically develop during the childbearing years and can remain entirely undetected due to the absence of signs and symptoms. However, there is a chance that these abnormal growths can become so large that they cause debilitating symptoms. The good news? There are several ways you can prevent or shrink fibroids to avoid them becoming a problem for you. In this article, we get down to facts about fibroids so you can be part of the population that doesn’t experience any symptoms at all.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue that develop in or around the uterus in women. They’re incredibly common, with as many as 80% of women having fibroids by age 50. Fibroids can vary in size too and for most women, they remain small enough that no obvious signs or symptoms occur. In fact, many women are entirely unaware that they have fibroids for this very reason.
However, approximately 1 in 3 women do have fibroids that have grown large enough that they’re now presenting symptoms. These can range from heavy and painful periods to stomach and lower back pain, constipation, frequent urination and pain or discomfort during sex. In the most severe (and rare) cases, further complications can be caused by fibroids that may affect fertility and pregnancy. But this isn’t something many people have to worry about.
Whether or not you develop symptoms depends on how many fibroids you have, as well as their size and location. Fibroids may also produce symptoms that seemingly go away on their own, as they can shrink during menopause or after menopause due to the decrease in estrogen and progesterone.
Types of Fibroids
There are various types of fibroids based on their location in or on the womb (uterus). It’s important to understand the different types and locations, as some are more likely to create symptoms than others.
Here’s a quick look at the various types:
- Intramural fibroids: These are the most common type of fibroids. They form within the muscular wall of the uterus and have the potential to grow larger and stretch your uterus.
- Subserosal fibroids: These fibroids form on the outside of your uterus (the serosa). They can also grow in size and can become large enough that your uterus appears bigger on the side where the fibroid is.
- Pedunculated fibroids: These fibroids have a stem that supports the tumor.
- Submucosal fibroids: These types of fibroids develop in the middle muscle layer of your uterus (the myometrium) and are less common than the other types.
- These types of fibroids are located on the cervix and are a rarer type.
If you have fibroids, as most of us do, taking a pro-active approach can help prevent any potential symptoms from occurring. And if you are already experiencing symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options available to you – from conventional medicine to natural remedies, so you can get the relief you’re looking for. Because let’s get serious, aren’t periods/menopause enough to deal with on their own?
Speaking with a healthcare provider will help you develop a plan for treating fibroids, based on your age, the type of fibroids you have, the size of them and your general health and wellness. They may recommend taking medication to regulate your hormone levels to shrink the fibroids or your doctor may even recommend simply observing your condition if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms or complications.
You can also start tackling your fibroids on your own with the many different natural remedies and alternative therapies available. Whatever option you choose – whether you’re heading to the doctors or planning on trying a home remedy, we’ve got you covered with all of the information you need to start healing or shrinking your fibroids.
Most doctors will prescribe medicine to help balance your hormone levels to reduce the size or your fibroids and relieve any symptoms you’re experiencing. If medication isn’t working as it should, surgery or less invasive options may be recommended. Speaking with your doctor will give you the best information regarding these procedures. However, here is a quick look at common treatment options:
- Medications: to shrink fibroids and to relieve symptoms.
- Surgery: to remove large or multiple growths.
- Forced ultrasound surgery: destroys fibroids using high-frequency sound waves and energy.
- Myolysis: uses heat from a laser or electric current to shrink fibroids.
- Uterine fibroid embolization: injects small particles into the uterus to cut off the fibroids blood supply.
Natural Treatments for Fibroids
If the conventional treatment options for fibroids don’t appeal to you, we don’t blame you. Many of these options can produce a vast array of side effects that can often feel worse than the fibroids themselves.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of home remedies and natural treatments you can use to treat fibroids. Here is a collection of some of the most effective ones:
Making some positive lifestyle changes can help boost your overall health and wellness, while reducing your risk for fibroids. For example, losing excess weight has shown to have promising results for doing just that, according to studies. Many lifestyle factors can also help improve your symptoms, including pain, heavy periods and depression.
As such, some healthy lifestyle strategies to implement are:
- breathing exercising
- stress management
- prioritizing sleep
- staying hydrated
- regular exercise
- healthy eating
Diet and Nutrition
Speaking of healthy eating, nutrition is a very important factor when it comes to treating fibroids. Not only can it affect your weight, which can affect your fibroids, but it can also help ease certain symptoms.
Here are some nutritional tips to get you started:
- Avoid eating a lot of refined carbs and added sugar (white breads and pastas, sugary drinks, corn syrup, chips, baked goods, crackers, etc), as they can worsen fibroids.
- Limit added salt, especially from processed and packaged foods.
- Eat more fiber-rich whole foods to balance hormones and prevent excess weight gain.
- Enjoy a glass of milk or some dairy, as the high amounts of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus may help prevent fibroids from growing.
- Take vitamins, such as vitamins B1, B6, D, and E to help reduce the size of fibroids.
- Take magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids supplements to decrease fibroids growth.
Remedies involving the use of natural herbs and spices have been used for hundreds of years to treat a vast array of health conditions and ailments. Various studies have even found many herbal remedies to produce promising results for reducing the risk of fibroids and diminishing fibroid symptoms.
Some popular herbal remedies to try are:
- Green tea: The antioxidants in green tea can help reduce cell damage by reducing oxidative stress and the EGCG (a bioflavonoid) may potentially help reduce the number of fibroids and the size of your fibroids.
- Resveratrol: Found in blueberries, grapes, mulberries and raspberries, this plant chemical can help stop cell growth and the reproduction of fibroid cells.
- Curcumin: an active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammation properties that can help destroy fibrotic cells.
- Chasteberry: contains benefits for both the uterus and reproductive system, which may help reduce your risk of fibroids.
Treating yourself to some self-care can help boost various factors that may contribute to fibroids and/or its symptoms, such as stress. Home remedies can also be used to soothe any symptoms you’re experiencing, such as a sore stomach or painful periods. Here are some remedies to try at home:
- applying warm compress where you feel pain or tension
- taking warm baths, preferably with Epsom salt for that extra boost of magnesium
- practicing yoga and meditation for regular exercise and stress relief
- getting a massage from your partner (or booking one for yourself at a local spa)
- using essential oils, such as thyme, frankincense and clary sage to help balance hormones or for pain relief
- using acupressure (or booking an acupuncture treatment) to help treat heavy or painful periods
Fibroids may be common for most women, but that doesn’t mean they have to be a normal part of your everyday life. In fact, if your fibroids are producing symptoms that are disrupting your daily health and wellness, it’s definitely time to use these natural treatment remedies and/or to seek medication attention. But even if your fibroids are unnoticeable or you just want to reduce your risk of developing them in the first place, there are many treatment options available.