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What Are Uterine Fibroids? A Natural Approach To Relief.


What are Uterine Fibroids?


Uterine fibroids are made of connective tissue and muscle that grow on the inside or outside of the walls of the uterus. They vary in size (pea to small watermelon). They vary in consistency from round and firm, soft, or rock hard.

They are non-cancerous growth (benign fibrous tumors) found in the female reproductive system.


Who gets Uterine Fibroids?


Most women are symptom free and as many as 75% are unaware they have them. They are typically found during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound.


Women of child bearing age have the highest incidence with estimates from 25 to 50%, mostly in their 30’s and 40’s. Women’s health expert Dr. Susan Lark, M.D., estimates that 40% of American women have a benign fibroid tumor by the time they reach menopause.


What are the common signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids?


  • Bloating, pressure and sense of heaviness and the lower abdomen

  • Enlarged abdomen

  • Back pain

  • Extreme and increased PMS-pain, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles that include mid-cycle bleeding

  • Excessive vaginal discharge

  • Low energy which can be due to low iron levels from increased blood loss

  • Constipation

  • Infertility

  • Pain and/or bleeding with intercourse

  • Frequent urination

  • Frequent UTI


Why do women get Uterine fibroids?


Fibroids are estrogen driven. What does that mean? They often occur in the reproductive years and regress AFTER menopause, therefore there is a strong implication that estrogen is one of the main factors. Women who are peri-menopause will also see an increase in fibroids due to decrease of lack of ovulation, when there is low progesterone and too much estrogen.

Fibroids also have a higher concentration of estrogen receptor sites than the uterine muscle.


How do you test and diagnose fibroids?


Most often uterine fibroids are discovered during a routine pelvic exam. However them most common tests to help the practitioner in the diagnosis include:

Ultrasound is used to confirm the presence of a fibroid

Ultrasound will help with confirm the size and how it is impacting the uterus

Follow up pelvic exams and/or ultrasound every 4-6 months will help to keep an eye on the growth rate


What are some causes other causes of fibroids?


As mentioned estrogen plays a role in growth of fibroid but there are other causes too.


Xenoestrogens


Foreign estrogen, estrogen mimickers AKA xenoestrogens can interfere with normal hormone balance by mimicking the body’s own natural estrogen. When this happens it can lead to estrogen to progesterone imbalance, ESTROGEN dominance, and fibroid can develop as the result of this.


The most common endocrine disruptors:

  • BPA – canned foods, plastic, store receipts

  • Dioxin – often found in meat, fish, eggs, milk and butter

  • Atrazine – found in corn crops and drinking water

  • Phthalates plastic wrap and food containers, children’s toys, personal care products from shampoos to perfumes

  • Perchlorate – found in milk and water

  • Fire Retardants – milk, clothing, furniture

  • Lead – pain and drinking water

  • Arsenic – drinking water

  • Mercury - seafood

  • Perfluorinated chemicals – non-stick pans, water resistant coatings on clothes, furniture and carpet

  • Organophosphate pesticides – commercially raised produce

  • Glycol Ethers – common solvents in paints, cleaning products, cosmetics and brake fluid

Diet


A poor diet will impact how estrogen is metabolized. It’s important to avoid foods that promote excess estrogen. The most common are:

  • Processed foods

  • Refined carbohydrates

  • Dairy products

  • Excess alcohol (for many women their daily glass of wine can do this)

  • Caffeine

  • Conventionally raised chicken, beef, pork and eggs

These will slow down how efficiently estrogen is metabolized in the body. It will slow down the metabolism of estrogen in the liver therefore more opportunities to create hormone chaos (particularly Estrogen)


Personal hygiene & beauty products


Xenoestrogens are found in many personal care products including body soap, shampoo, conditioner, perfumes, creams, skin lotions and deodorants. Cosmetics have many xenoestrogens and are not a industry that is regulated by any government agency for safety.


Household cleaners


Other sources of xenoestrogens include plastics, pesticides, chemicals and water systems.


Other causes include

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Poor liver function or toxicity

  • Poor bowel movement or constipation

  • Progesterone deficiency

  • Melatonin deficiency

  • Obesity

  • Low physical activity

  • High levels of IGF-1


A Wellness approach to Uterine Fibroids


Liver health


A healthy liver is key in metabolizing estrogen. It converts the strong form of estrogen (Estradiol) into estrone to estriol “the safe estrogen.” So If you have a sluggish liver you will have a back up and increase level of circulating estrogens, especially the xenoestrogens.


Increase consumption of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy)


Some key supplements include sulforaphane, calcium-d-glucarate, indole -3- carbinol, Tumeric, Milk Thistle, DIM, Green tea extract.


Enzymatic Therapy


Serrapeptase is an enzyme that is thought to help digest the protein cell membrane around that surrounds the abnormal growth, cells and the fibrous material of the fibroid.


Diet


Eat hormone free and pesticide free foods. Eat healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil, organic vegetables and fruit (limit to 2 servings/day)clean proteins like wild caught fish, hormone free and sustainably raised animal products like beef and poultry.

Add fiber to diet to include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp heart along with 5-7 cups of vegetables. They help with excreting xenoestrogens.

Remove sugar, processed foods, alcohol, dairy products, alcohol, refined carbs, and conventionally raised beef and poultry.


Thyroid Health


Have your thyroid checked because we often see higher estrogen levels and low thyroid hormones that are important in the metabolic process.


My favorite supplements


Apex Energetics Hepato Synergy – liver support

Seeking Health DIM + I3C Estrogen Support – liver support

Pure Encapsulations Chaste Tree (Vitex) – healthy hormone support

Enzymedica SerraGold – enzyme therapy

Arthur Andrew Medical FibroVera 730 mg - could help maintain normal hormone balance and could promote liver function.


I can’t over emphasize the importance of healthy liver function because of its role for metabolizing estrogen and eliminating harmful substances in the body.


Diet will play a VITAL role especially by eliminating alcohol because it slows down the metabolism of estrogen.


The above referenced products can be found on our dispensary, HERE.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information or products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before starting any new dietary regime or use of any these products.

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