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A Plant-based Diet Could be Beneficial for Uterine Fibroids

 

by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sarka_Jonae Miller

(The Best Years in Life) Many women may have uterine fibroids and not know it. Although uterine fibroids are not usually cancerous, they can still lead to complications like excessive menstrual bleeding and anemia. Around one in 800 fibroids become cancerous and some grow to become even larger than a grapefruit.

When a woman has symptoms are usually related to the fibroid or fibroids’ size. They usually don’t cause much in the way of symptoms until they result in the uterus growing to the size of a about a 14 week pregnancy.

Bleeding – Being in the wall of the uterus means they tend to stretch the uterus lining and result in heavier than normal menstrual bleeding. Sometimes a woman may present to her doctor with tiredness due to anaemia from heavy bleeding and the fibroids are found later after a full history and examination is performed.

Pressure effects – Fibroids can press against other structures and if large enough they may cause abdominal swelling.

•Frequent urge to pass urine due to pressure on bladder
•Feeling of constipation or difficulty passing faeces due to pressure on bowel
•Difficulty conceiving due to squashing of a fallopian tube

However it is important to note that these symptoms are not diagnostic of fibroids and any or all of them may be due to something other than fibroids.

Up to 77 percent of women have fibroids, according to "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibroids." Many women have them and never know, but they can cause symptoms that significantly lower your quality of life. Eating the right foods helps to shrink fibroids by lowering estrogen levels naturally.

Fibroids

Fibroids are small, noncancerous growths on the uterus. In some cases, they can cause pain, excessive bleeding and even infertility. A surgical procedure to remove the uterus called a hysterectomy is a guaranteed way to get rid of fibroids. Although the cause of fibroids is unknown, fibroid growth is linked to estrogen, according to Medline Plus. Drugs can block or suppress estrogen in order to treat fibroids. Gonadotropin releasing hormone medication can shrink fibroids by 30 to 90 percent by causing the ovaries to stop making estrogen, according to "The New York Times." Fibroids often shrink when women go through menopause, which is a time when they make less estrogen. Eating foods that reduce estrogen levels may therefore also shrink fibroids.

Fiber and Uterine Fibroids

The most important thing you can do to combat fibroids with your diet is to eat a high-fiber diet of vegetable-based foods. Aim for at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily, according to the authors of "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause." Apples, whole grains, oatmeal, nuts and seeds are all good sources of fiber. Eating a high-fiber diet helps significantly decrease your circulating estrogen levels. Too much estrogen causes your uterus to grow excessively, which sometimes causes fibroids. Less estrogen because of diet may cause your fibroids to shrink as your estrogen levels lower, just as fibroids shrink during menopause or when taking estrogen-lowering medications.

Planet Estrogens and Uterine Fibroids

Eating a vegetable-based diet is important because plant foods contain substances called phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. These substances bind themselves to the same cell receptors as estrogen. This blocks estrogen's ability to affect your cells. Without the excess estrogen causing your uterus to grow, it can shrink along with your fibroids. Foods with high amounts of phytoestrogens include soy products, nuts, seeds and ground flaxseeds. Dr. Michael T. Murray, author of more than 30 books and a member of the Board of Regents of Bastyr University in Washington, recommends eating one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day.

Foods Not Recommended for Uterine Fibroids

Avoiding certain foods may also help lower estrogen levels. Dr. Murray suggests avoiding sugar, caffeine and saturated fat. The authors of "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause" also suggest that women with fibroids cut back on coffee, dairy products and non-organic meats to avoid contact with hormone drugs and pesticides.

Sources for this article include:

DrFeelGood.com
Fibroid101.com
DoctorMurray.com
PowerSurge
The New York Times Health Guide
Medline Plus: Menopause
Medline Plus: Uterine Fibroids


About the Author

Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

See also:

Natural Ways to Shrink and Eliminate Fibroid Tumors

The Importance of Digestive Enzymes for Health and Longevity

 

     

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