What Are Fibroids And How Do I Know If I Have Them?
Fibroids – The Signs.
You might have them and not even know. Sneaky devils. Often they’re symptomless. And are only found in gynae tests.
Or you might discover them when the symptoms get sooooo bad, you see a doctor for …
- really heavy, horrible periods with flooding…
- oh and pain… tummy pain and painful periods…
- and pain in the lower back…
- not to mention the need to pee OFTEN…
- and constipation…
- or the pain during sex…
If you suffer these signs, go and see a doctor. It may be fibroids. I had them. Pesky little blighters.
They can be diagnosed by ultrasound scan.
But what are they?
What Are Fibroids?
Fibroids are growths in or around the womb. They are not cancer.
They’re made up of muscle and fibrous tissue. They can vary in size. They can get pretty big.
There are different kinds – depending on where they are :-
- intramural fibroids – the most common type. They develop in the wall of the womb.
- subserosal fibroids – these fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb and can become really big.
- submucosal fibroids – these develop in the muscle layer beneath the womb’s inner lining and grow into the womb cavit.y
In some cases, fibroids are attached to the womb with a kind of “stalk” . These are known as “pedunculated” fibroids.
Who Gets Fibroids?
Fibroids are EXTREMELY common. It’s said that about 1 in 3 women will have them at some point. Deep joy, eh? They form in our reproductive years say 16-50 and are most common in our 30s and 40s.
Women who have had children are at lower risk, than women who have not.
African Caribbean women are more at risk.
It’s thought that overweight women are more at risk too and that’s because of the hormone oestrogen.
Doctors say the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but we do know it’s related to oestrogen. High oestrogen.
So I’d like to add to that list of “at risk” women – women who are exposed to lots of artificial oestrogen from plastics, bug and weed killers, non organic meat and dairy and artificial hormones like The Pill.
And women whose livers are not removing excess oestrogen properly.
Many women are offered meds or devices to stop the heavy bleeding, which is a symptom. Everything from Tranexamic Acid to reduce bleeding, through progesterone in the womb/orally/ via injections to balance out oestrogen to The Pill or anti-inflamatories.
As with all treatments, weigh up the pros, cons, risks, side-effects, nutritional impact, how long you’ll need them and all the alternatives before deciding for yourself. Get info from a range of sources.
The most commonly offered conventional treatments for the actual fibroids are:-
- do nothing. Over time, fibroids will often shrink and disappear without treatment, particularly after the menopause. I chose this option myself. Coupled with self-care.
- hormone injections to shrink the fibroids. They suppress hormone function. They work on the pituitary gland in the brain to stop the ovaries producing oestrogen. This stops your periods but is NOT a form of contraception. Side effects are similar to menopause symptoms.
- Ulipristal acetate meds to stop bleeding and shrink fibroids. You need to use barrier contraception if choosing these meds.
- Surgery to remove the fibroids or whole womb. There are different procedures available. All surgery carries risks so please do your homework before you decide.
Fibroids can make natural conception more tricky and lead to issues in pregnancy. I’ve known cases of fertility issues where tests showed fibroids that were symptomless or very low/moderate symptoms.
Self-Help For Fibroids.
If you’re at risk or have them already and would rather not choose drugs or procedures just yet, there are some steps you can take to prevent and reduce them naturally.
Here are my top tips:-
#1 Start by loving your liver. This will make sure you’re processing and removing old oestrogen as well as you can. Read more on liver love right here.
#2 Detox your life of hormone disrupters called xenoestrogens. These are artificial oestrogens found in a huge list of things including …
- BPA found in plastic bottles, cartons, can linings, storage containers and more
- Food preservatives especially BHA
- Food dyes including artificial red dyes
- Artificial estradiol, common in oral contraceptive pills
- Weed killers
- Bug killers
- Sunscreen with 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor known as 4-MBC and other cosmetics and toiletries
This is NOT a full list. SADLY.
#3 Eat to beat fibroids. Choose a hormone friendly diet. Get the skinny right here. Basically eat clean and avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol and trans fats. And make sure you have tip top digestion through eating plenty of fibre and fuelling those good bacteria with the right foods – kefir (a type of thin yoghurt), sauerkraut, kimchi (Korean kraut), kombucha (a fermented tea drink), organic bio yoghurt. Eat phytoestrogens to regulate oestrogen.
#4 Get a bespoke supplement programme. For 1-1 clients, I arrange hair tests for mineral status and toxic metals and then develop supplement programmes tailored to them.
#5 Exercise. Yes, really. It boosts circulation in your pelvis and can help prevent or shrink fibroids. Exercise helps weight management too.
#6 Lose excess weight. Because we produce oestrogen from fat cells as well as our ovaries.
#7 Choose hormone balancing herbs. If you want to choose medicinal herbs see a qualified Medical Herbalist. For 1-1 clients I use a combination of herbs as a tincture, aimed at balancing hormones. It contains Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Chaste Tree, Cramp Bark, Licorice, Motherwort, Pasque Flower, Shepherds Purse, Squaw Vine, Wild Yam. And it’s prepared homeopathically so it gentle and safe.
#8 Choose complementary therapies. I practice homeopathy to support women with hormone imbalances. I also favour acupuncture for a whole range of women’s health issues.
So that’s it. A quick tour around the wacky world of fibroids and how to help yourself to prevent them or deal with them, naturally.