What Are Fibroids and How Do I Know If I Have Them?

What Are Fibroids?

What Are Fibroids And How Do I Know If I Have Them?

Fibroids – The Signs.

Fibroids.

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.

Aha 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.

 

Conventional Treatment.

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.

Love,

 

Oestrogen Dominance – Do YOU Have These Common Signs?

Oestrogen Dominance

 

 

Oestrogen Dominance – Do YOU Have These Common Signs?

Oestrogen Dominance. Big.  Complex. Words.

Big. Complex. Issue.

It can lead to horrible hormone symptoms and influence health and fertility

How would you know if YOU have it? And what can you do about it, anyway?

 

What Is Oestrogen Dominance?

Oestrogen is actually a group of women’s hormones. Sex hormones to be precise.

It’s produced by the ovaries.

Oestrogen is responsible for the changes in girls at puberty- like breasts growing and periods starting.

It controls the lining of the womb in the first part of our monthly cycles.

When a woman falls pregnant, the placenta creates oestrogen to help the body carry the pregnancy.  Oestrogen suppresses periods in breastfeeding mothers.

It helps maintain healthy bones, sound sleep and balances cholesterol. Oestogen supports good skin and a healthy urinary tract.  It’s involved in different body processes like fluid balance.

Oestrogen expands blood vessels, relieves hot flushes and night sweats, prevents dry vagina and improves memory.  Premenopausal and menopausal women will spot menopause symptoms here.  Basically, many menopause symptoms are due to low oestrogen.

But what happens when you have TOO MUCH oestrogen?

Too much oestrogen is usually called Oestrogen Dominance. It can mean either just too much oestrogen OR just too little progesterone to balance it out, if that makes sense?

 

Symptoms Of Oestrogen Dominance.

Common signs of too much oestrogen/ not enough progesterone include:-

  • Bloating
  • Sore boobs
  • Hormonal migraines and other headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Chilly hands and feet
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain and slow metabolism
  • Sleeplessness
  • Low sex drive
  • Period problems
  • Thyroid issues
  • Endometriosis
  • Mood swings, irritability and depression
  • Infertility and miscarriage
  • Fibroids
  • PMS
  • Brain fog and memory issues
  • and MORE

 

Oestrogen Dominance – Why Might I Have It?

When women get into pre menopause – which can be late 30s to 40s typically – there can be cycles where no egg is released. So oestrogen goes unbalanced by progesterone.

But in this crazy, modern world, there are other factors that influence oestrogen dominance.

Excess body fat i.e. more than about 28% body fat.

Low fibre diets meaning that excess oestrogen is not being pooped out. Diets low in nutrients, high in refined carbs and low in good fats don’t help.

High stress meaning your stress hormones and fat-storing hormones go haywire. That can  lead to adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance.

Artificial “oestrogens” from plastics and other chemicals which pretend to be oestrogens in our bodies.  That also risks hormone health and fertility.

Oestrogen Dominance – What To Do About It.

If you think you may have signs, of course speak with your doctor. Here are my suggestions for superb self-care at home.

 

Get plenty of fibre

Excess oestrogen needs to be pooped out.  If it’s not, it gets reabsorbed and goes round and round your body. Do yourself a favour and make sure you “go” regularly.

Be kind to your liver

Your liver is your filter system.  It screens out all the alcohol, drugs, caffeine, toxins, chemicals and other nasties. If it’s already working flat out on that, it’s not going to be that efficient at cleaning our blood of oestrogen.

Learn to love your liver – find out how here.

Reduce stress

Self-care isn’t selfish. Invest time and energy in yourself – removing sources of stress and reducing stress. AND taking the best care of yourself that you can.

I know we’re all busy, but you can’t keep giving from an empty vessel. Somethings gonna give and it just might be your health, hormone balance and wellbeing.

Manage your weight

If you’re carrying to much weight, lose it slowly and sensibly.  That’s not crazy slimming diets, removing whole food groups or snarfing the chemical sh1t storm that is diet /lite/slimming products.

Eat real food- also see next point below. Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed and packaged food and takeaways.  Eat good quality carbs in moderation only – it’s sugar and carbs that influence fat storage most.

Take regular, gentle exercise – mix it up a little between weight bearing, fat burning and strengthening. Choose things you’ll enjoy and stick with.

Eat real food

Eat lots of veggies and fruits, organic if you can. Take a look at my guidance on hormone harmers lurking in your fridge.

Take good quality protein with each meal and snack.  Think organic meat and poultry, wild fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans/peas/lentils, a little organic dairy, fermented organic soy, quinoa.

Choose healthy fats – olive oil, coconut oil, a little organic butter or ghee, nut and seed oils for drizzling.

Have wholegrains in moderation and avoid “white” and processed carbs like white flour, white pasta, white rice, cakes, biscuits etc.

Cut down or avoid caffeine and alcohol to give your liver a rest.

 

These are common issues I see in my clinic.  AND in my online groups.  That’s where we can get into more detail on how to reduce your symptoms and get better hormone balance…naturally.

For now, these tips and tricks should really help.

 

Love,

 

Help – I Need A Sex Drive Boost

HELP! I Need A Sex Drive Boost

Help – I Need A Sex Drive Boost.

 

Are you like Boy George, who once said he’d rather have a cup of tea, than sex?

Is it causing issues in your relationship? Or holding you back from looking for a partner?

Lady, you’re not alone.  It CAN happen to anyone.  And it’s not about always about being “a certain age”.

It can be tough admitting it when everyone seems to be having mind-blowing sex ….in adverts, on TV, in films, in Fifty-Shades-of-Grey erotic books.  It’s knackering watching it all go on, let alone DOING it.

There can be different reasons your sex-drive tanks.  Often it’s temporary.  And we all have naturally different sex drives anyway. What’s normal for you, may be different for the next person.

The good news is that you can give yourself a sex drive boost naturally with some of my top tips.  IF you want to relight your fire.

 

Reasons For Libido Loss

Let’s just start with a few reasons you might need a sex drive boost.

Relationship Issues

Yes, it could be anything from a problem that’s crept between you, anything from communication issues to a lousy lover. Sometimes relationship problems impact your sex life when they have nothing to do with sex , like money worries.  Which leads me to …

Stress and Depression

When you’re stressed, your body makes and pumps major stress hormones. More stress hormones can mean less sex hormones.  So your sex drives flags.

For some couples trying to conceive, sex becomes a source of stress.  Because it’s all about ovulation and baby-making. Ironically, the stress of trying to make a baby can reduce sex drive.

But it doesn’t matter what the source of stress is – it can still impact libido.

Stress often comes with busy-ness and tiredness – no-one wants to make sweet love when they’re literally struggling to stay awake… in the middle of their favourite soap opera.

Depression too can interfere with your daily life, including your sex life.

Life Events

I’m thinking pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding mainly.  Your hormones can be haywire, you can be totally knackered and so your sex-drive tanks.

Self Confidence

I have had many clients tell me they feel unattractive or unsexy at some time and THAT affects their sex life. Whether they’re young whippersnappers, frazzled Mums or Perimenopausal Princesses.

I’m sure many of us girls can relate to this at some point of our lives.

Hormone Imbalance

The hormones that improve sex drive are testosterone (yes we girls have it too) and progesterone.

Imbalances in these can cause low libido. Where oestrogen is high in relation to progesterone, it’s often called Oestrogen Dominance. High oestrogen can squish sex drive.

Low thyroid function can also affect your love life.

If your sex drive reduces, it’s always worth checking with your Doctor there is no underlying cause like this.

Medications

There are many prescribed medications that can cause your sex drive to nose dive.  You need a sex drive boost.

Many women know that anti-depressants can have that affect.

Did you also know that the contraceptive pill affects libido?  The very pill that overrides natural hormone cycles to enable you to have sex with little chance of pregnancy, can CAUSE low libido. Isn’t. It. Ironic?

But hold on!  Don’t just stop taking any prescribed meds – you must speak with your doctor to agree a plan to stop taking them.  If you read the smallprint in your med packets and they mention low libido as as side-effect, speak with your Doctor.

Alcohol

While one glass of something alcoholic may help you relax and get in the mood for love, don’t overdo it.  Too much alcohol risks snoring and drooling on the carpet.  With the promise of a hellish hangover. No sexy-time for you.

The same is true for some recreational drugs.

“Maturing”

I  hate the word “ageing” – we’re like fine wine, girls, are we not?

Sex drive can lower as we mature, but not always.

In peri-menopause or after menopause it can be associated with vaginal dryness AND all the other reasons mentioned here.  Including hormone imbalance. Testosterone production can reduce after menopause.  And that can affect sex drive.

If you thought everyone needs sex drive boost as we mature, check out my blog on menopause myths.   It’s not true…

 

 

5 Ways to Boost Your Sex Drive

Love Up Your Liver

That might seem whacky, but read on.

If hormone imbalance is behind your waning sex drive, and you have oestrogen in excess,  you need to get that old oestrogen out of your system. That means boosting digestion and loving your liver to help eliminate i.e. poop out old hormones.

So take in plenty of fibre, eat for nutrition and drink lots of filtered water.  Knock the booze on the head. Quit caffeine.  Sack off sugar.

Get more top tips on liver love right here.

Eat A Sexy Diet

For sexy diet, read Hormone Friendly diet.  Basically, eat for nutrition. Food is fuel and food is medicine. Cut down on alcohol, caffeine and sugar.  Yada yada. You can find some more info on eating right in this blog. 

Some foods are said to be aphrodisiac. Foods rich in zinc, including oysters, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate (NOT a family slab of milk choc) boost libido, as do maca, ginseng and ginkgo.

Ditch the Pill

Th pill has been touted as the ticket to a worry-free sex life, but it can lower libido.

It also comes with a raft of potential side effects and depletes our bodies of valuable nutrients.

Please make an informed choice about contraception.

And consider carefully when the pill is offered for other issues.  Many women tell me they have ben prescribed the pill for cycle issues, acne and much more.  There are other ways to start addressing those things.  Please start with natural ways.

Exercise

Exercise reduces stress and increase libido. Twice yay.

Choose activities that you will enjoy and can fit into your life, so that you are likely to keep them up.

Ideally do something a few times a week and incorporate more “activity” into your life generally…gardening, housework, walking, take the stairs, washing the car by hand, playing sports with the kids.  Pillow fight?

Relax and Unwind

Reducing your stress levels can help improve your sex drive. It’s better to tackle the causes of stress head on.

If you can’t do that immediately, find ways of coping.

Exercising is a great way to start de-stressing.  You could also try meditation and there are some great online resources and apps to get you started. Or buy some cds.

Getting enough sleep is also key.  You thought bedtime routines were just for kids – heck no!  Work out ways to get enough good quality sleep yourself.  There are some tips in this blog about insomnia.

Where sex becomes the source of tension e.g. when couples are trying for a baby or haven’t been having much sex, relax and enjoy.  Put to one side how often, timing and all that shizzle.  Have fun together, enjoy each other’s company, be romantic, hold hands, take a bath, have that pillow fight and see what happens.

 

Other Expert Help

Where you suspect there may be a medical issue, do speak with your Doctor.

They can check to see if there are any medical conditions behind your problems, like low thyroid or hormone imbalances. And discuss possible treatment options.

If you need specialist support to heal your relationship or for sexual issues, also check out experts.

Check out RELATE for relationship counselling in the UK.

If you think you’d prefer a sexual counsellor , look for one who is a member of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) or the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine.

 

So that’s it ladies, my 5 tips for a natural sex drive boost. I’m off for a cup of tea.  Now, why does that makes me think of Boy George?

Love,

 

Hormone Balance – Why Ladies Should Love Beans

Hormone Balance - why ladies should love beans

Beans For Hormone Balance?

Beans. The subject of many a schoolboy (and girl) joke… and rhyme.

“Beans, beans good for your heart, the more you eat the more you … ” … well, you catch my drift!

Did you know beans and other legumes ARE good for your heart?

AND they are great for hormone balance, especially for the Perimenopausal Princesses and Menopausal Misses.  And I’m about to dish *groans* the dirt on why beans are so good for us girls, to encourage some Lentil Love and Chickpea Cherishing.

Beans Contain Phytoestrogens

These are oestrogen-like substances found in some plants. They help hormone balance in the body.  They help reduce risks of breast cancer  They help calm menopause symptoms like hot flushes. They can help reduce breast pain and tenderness.

The Queens of Phytoestrogens are called Isoflavones. Soya beans, lentils and chickpeas are great sources.  I suggest eating one serving of isoflavone-rich food daily. A serving is roughly a couple of ounces or 50 grams.

Beans Contain Fibre

Back to the rhyme? No. Fibre can actually reduce bloating and windy-pops.

Most girls know that fibre plumps out your poop, makes you “go” more regularly and generally helps for a healthier digestive system.

Did you know that fibre helps control levels of oestrogen in the body?  Here’s how…

Old oestrogen that your body no longer needs, goes into your gut. You need fibre to bind to the old oestrogen and basically get rid of it in your poop. If you don’t get rid of all the old oestrogen, it can lead to “oestrogen dominance” – basically too much oestrogen. And too much oestrogen has been linked to fibroids, endometriosis and even breast cancer.  Wahay, better hormone balance if you love your legumes!

legumes-665788_1280

A Word on Soya

Lots of women have heard that soya is good for them. The tell me that Japanese women eat loads of the bloomin’ stuff and have a lower rate of breast cancer AND reach menopause later in life. That may be true, but it’s not a fair comparison…wanna know why?

Soya might contain the Queen of Phytoestrogens, Isoflavones but not all soya is created equal. No sirree.

Soya can be highly processed and refined to make “soya protein isolates”. Processing sometimes means being exposed to aluminium and aluminium exposure has been linked to Alzheimers.  Are the Japanese eating highly refined and processed soya? Maybe not.

So please read labels. Look out for the soya protein isolates and avoid them.

Also steer clear of genetically modified or GMO soya.  And much of the world’s soya is now genetically modified. Bleurgh.  I prefer not to eat a science experiment, if I can avoid it.

I suggest organic soya. And eat it in it’s natural form. Try miso, tofu, soya milk, tempeh, fresh or frozen soya/edamame  beans to get your isoflavones.

The Spice of Life

There’s an old cliche that variety is the spice of life and nothing could be more true than in food choices.

Isoflavone filled foods include beans, chickpeas, lentils, which are beaut for hormone balance, as I said.

There are also different phytoestrogens called Lignans in flax seeds, grains such as oats and rice and veggies like green leafy veg and broccoli.  They are also very positive for hormone harmony.

And AGAIN great for fibre.  Make sure you grind your flaxseeds for maximum benefit. I like mine in smoothies or sprinkled on my porridge and granola. A couple of tablespoons are good for starters.  And I grind mine in a cheap coffee grinder I bought online. It was a worthwhile investment.

 

So cook yourself up a storm and get more hormone balance with phytoestrogen and fibre filled foods into your diet, gorgeous girls.

Love those Lentils. Favour those Flaxseeds.   And they don’t call them CHICKpeas for nothing, eh ladies?!

As a little gift, here’s my recipe for crunchy chickpeas – a tasty, savoury snack that is way better than crisps – honest!

Love,