Fibroids- the growth inside that can cause so many life changing symptoms for women. Fibroids are presenting 70 to 80% of all women by the age of 50. They are often associated with genetic factors, as well as hormonal and environmental drivers.
Fibroids arise in the muscular uterus wall which is a tissue designed for only limited amounts oestrogen and progesterone. But when a fibroid grows it produces aromatase , which promotes a higher level of oestrogen that contributes to further even growth.
What are fibroids?
They are a growth inside the uterine tissue made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. In more than 99 per cent of fibroid cases, the tumors are a benign growth
Symptoms caused by fibroids
Often women with fibroids are put on a contraceptive to control bleeding, or they are recommended to have a hysterectomy to remove the uterus. What we need to remember is these are all processes that are just masking the symptoms. Yes, there are times when a hysterectomy is necessary though due to the debilitating nature of fibroids.
What we know can promote growth of fibroids
Endocrine Distruptor Chemicals- (EDC’s) these are chemicals found in the environment that can trick the body into changing the endocrine system. These changes can affect the endocrine system in a negative way. For example- the thyroid, ovaries or pancreas.
High oestrogens- oestrogen has a action of growth. It helps grow the endometrium to prepare for pregnancy each month. But this oestrogen also if too high or unopposed (meaning not enough progesterone to balance it out) can promote growth of fibroids.
Inflammation- The fibroid itself is an inflammatory structure. Therefore anything that causes inflammation in the body can promote growth. Think excess weight, wrong food choices, sitting too long and excess alcohol and coffee.
Poor uterine bacteria- even our uteruses have their own set of bacteria. If there is an imbalance with this bacteria then this can promote an inflammatory environment for growth.
Low Iron- this can be a cause and effect. Low iron is common in fibroids due to blood loss, but low iron can also cause poor progesterone sensitivity. Which means our progesterone may not be acting as strong as it could be. And strong progesterone helps to balance out excess oestrogens.
Stress or hormone changes- often before the growth occurs I see women have had a particularly stressful year or event happen. This stress can take away valuable hormones that help reduce growth of fibroids.
What can help with fibroid management?
Vitamin D levels are very important for fibroid function. Please always check with a practitioner before dosing higher than the recommended intake.
Decrease inflammation- it is recommended to remove coffee, alcohol and refined foods first on a fibroid treatment plan. If you already are not consuming these foods, then you may also need to look at dairy and gluten. Or if you have a food you know you are sensitive to then it is best to avoid this, as consuming this food will promote inflammation in the body.
Ensure healthy digestion and liver health- often the oestrogen that is being produced in the body isn’t being removed out of the liver or colon properly. If you have a history of IBS, constipation, digestive weakness or any other signs of an imbalanced digestive tract then make sure you get this sorted through a practitioner.
Remember to treat the underlying cause of your condition, instead of just treating the heavy flow and pain.
Wanting health advice from our experienced Naturopath? Jacqui has over 11 years experience in women’s health. With expertise in hormone testing as well as hormone and thyroid treatments for all ages.
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