Fibroids: What are they and how are they detected?
Uterine fibroids, also called myomas, are benign tumours which mostly appear on the inner and outer wall of the uterus in the pelvic cavity. These tumours can be as small as a sunflower seed and can grow bigger than a sweet melon. Some women have just one fibroid, whereas others have multiple at a time. These bulky masses can even enlarge the size of the uterus if left untreated.
Risk factors for uterine fibroids
Black women are two to three times more at risk to develop fibroids. Early menarche, overweight or obesity and fewer or no pregnancies can increase the risk for fibroids due to the longer or higher exposure to oestrogen.
Other risk factors for developing uterine fibroids are: Poor estrogen metabolism; exposure to xenoestrogens like plastics and pesticides; vitamin D deficiency; high blood pressure; a diet high in red meat; drinking alcohol regularly; a diet low in green vegetables.
Symptoms of fibroids
Some women don’t show symptoms at all, only to discover the fibroids during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound at the doctor. Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, they can cause symptoms such as:
- pain in the pelvis or lower back
- pressure or fullness in lower abdomen
- bleeding between periods
- pain during sexual intercourse
- heavy menstrual bleeding with clots
- spotting or bleeding between periods
- prolonged menstruation
- difficulty getting pregnant
- urge to urinate
- frequent urination
Foods and drinks to avoid when you have uterine fibroids
Avoid oestrogen rich foods when suffering from fibroids
Fibroids are hormone dependent and as oestrogen stimulates development of the uterine lining, too much of it can promote the growth of fibroids. Therefore avoid foods that have high levels of oestrogen, such as:
- soy milk
- soy beans
- tofu and tempeh
- high-fat cheese, cream and butter
- red meat
- red wine
- animal fats
- all hormonally treated meats from factoring farming
These foods should be eliminated from your diet
- refined carbohydrates e.g white bread, pasta, white rice, bread, etc.
- hydrogenated and refined oils like margarine, fried foods. etc.
- foods containing gluten like wheat, spelt, etc.
- refined sugar
- dairy products
- foods high in salt
- fruit juices
- high-fat, processed meats
- artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame potassium
Foods and drinks that shrink fibroids
The best organic foods to eat when suffering from fibroids are:
- fish, oysters, mussels and clams
- modest consumption of eggs
- consume several times a week lemons and limes
- vegetarian foods rich in iron like spinach, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli, apricots, amaranth
- cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- beetroots, radish, parsnip
- cooked glutenfree whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, etc.
- green leafy vegetables to help the liver to detox and to eliminate excess oestrogen
- legumes such as black beans and lentils
- beta-carotene rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and butternut squash
- fresh culinary herbs like basil, chives, parsley, etc.
- herbal teas with liver relieving properties like milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion
- herbs like bladder wrack and Irish moss
- essential fatty acids like olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, etc.
Another very efficient way to support the treatment of fibroids, and improve common symptoms which go with it like weight-gain, digestion problems, cysts and menstruation problems , is to regularly consume congee, a rice porridge. But instead of white rice you take a mix of brown rice and millet (50/50). You can find more information and the recipe in my article: “Congee – The Healthy Rice Porridge to Boost your Health”