Fibroids: natural alternatives
I am a huge advocate for women's reproductive health. We want to feel powerful and healthy in our bodies, right? It is scary when something feels "off" or we discover chronic health issues.
This is a compilation of resources that I have found helpful since discovering I have fibroids. It is based on my opinion and experience as both an herbalist and as a woman on the path of healing herself.
Please add comments or email me as I'd love to keep this post updated with new information for all of our benefit.
A healers journey with fibroids
I had heard of them, but it wasn't until I was in immense pain during my period one month that I discovered how common and uncomfortable fibroids can be. I knew something was wrong in my uterus for months. I felt heavy, bloated, full, and was having heavier periods. I had to pee often because it was pushing up against my bladder.
Before knowing it was a fibroid, I took matters into my own hands with core workouts to tone my muscles and practiced Mayan Abdominal Massage Arvigo Technique on myself once/day. I was really moving the Qi around!
Then, two days into my period, the pain doubled from a 4 to an 8 leaving me unable to walk, sleep, or engage in any activity. I went to the ER where they did an ultrasound and CAT Scan discovering a 3" fibroid inside my uterine wall. Let’s call the fibroid “my little plum.” They are the same size, after all.
Learn more about fibroids from a Western Medical perspective here and the various treatment protocols, which in my humble opinion, aren’t very appealing.
My OBGYN's suggestions:
Hormones: Birth Control Pills, Hormonal IUD, Ring (these convince your body it is pregnant all the time and also lower the sex drive and can dry up the vagina)
Surgery: either laparoscopic or abdominal depending on where the fibroid is
Embolization: Cutting off blood supply to the fibroid by inserting material into the vein. Fun! I love putting plastic into my veins. Yikes....I have not heard anything positive about this procedure.
Ablation: While the woman is under anesthesia, filling her uterus with boiling water to destroy the entire wall so she never has a period or baby. Hmmm...that one is not listed anywhere online, but my OBGYN told me about it. Let me think...um...no.
Hysterectomy: removal of the entire uterus (most women in the 1970s-90s opted for this because it was the only procedure available then).
Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fibroids are seen as stuck blood, stagnancy, excess heat caused by excess cold/damp congestion. They are estrogen dependent and can develop if there is a hormone imbalance. Hormones control much of our body’s functions. They get out of balance from stress, diets high in estrogenic foods, lack of pelvic Qi flow, liver congestion, exposure to toxicity, or all the above.
Excessive estrogens also known as xenoestrogens are now found in our environment due to the industrial production of plastics which are then used as containers for food. Xenoestrogens mimic the body’s natural estrogens and fill up the receptors, leaving more natural estrogen to roam free with nowhere to go in the body. If the liver is already working too hard, it may not be able to process all the excess estrogens.
Estrogenic Foods: coffee, soy, chocolate, cow dairy, and red meat. Non-organic foods may contain higher amounts of hormones.
Estrogen Eliminating Foods: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brusell sprouts, mustard greens, kale, collards all aid the body in elimination of excess estrogens through the colon. High fiber diets with beans, whole grains, and lots of veggies. Pomegranate. Take DIM supplements for support as well.
It's always wise to work with a practitioner you trust. Healers need healers, too. That's why I called on others for support despite that stubborn voice that says she can do it all alone.
Damp Heat draining herbs - see an acupuncturist or herbalist for formulas
Liver support: dandelion root, milk thistle, burdock
Chinese herb powders prescribed by an acupuncturist to remove damp heat and aid blood / Qi flow
Sparganium 12 - Seven Forests, 2 capsules 2-3 x daily with food
B complex - Integrative Therapeutics 1 x daily with food
DIM - Thorne 1 with breakfast and 1 with dinner - removes excess estrogens
Probiotics for the vagina: I like Integrative Therapeutics because it is geared toward the vagina and only has 3 strains. The other brands loaded with thousands of strains seem less effective. Always refrigerate.
Practitioners I trust:
Bonnie Bloom, Abundant Splendor Clinic-Turners Falls, MA
Dennis von Elgg, L.Ac. The Redwood Needle Acupuncture Clinic 3840 Doris Murphy Court, Occidental CA 95465 510-725-2292 www.redwoodneedle.com
Greenfield Community Acupuncture - I believe they have clinic days that are more affordable and excellent herbalists
Diet and Nutrition:
Eliminate all sugars, refined carbs, alcohol.
Eliminate caffeine for the time being. Coffee disrupts the digestive systems intelligence, and causes acidity in the body, therefore a pH imbalance.
Blueberries and other tart berries are fine, but no bananas or super sweet fruits
Lots of green vegetables, low glycemic foods like sweet potatoes, squash, nuts, seeds, quinoa
Minimal red meat and cow dairy. Best to eliminate during your luteal phase (post ovulation)
Lots of fiber, grains, beans, chicken, fish and loads of cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brusell sprouts, mustard greens, sprouts, cabbage.
Omega 3’s from eggs, flax oil, chia seeds, fish oil 2 capsules/day. Omega 3’s help balance estrogen and progesterone especially related to ovulation.
Drink lots of room temp or warm water: ½ your body weight in ounces, so a 140 pound person should drink 70 ounces of water each day.
Staying away from all inflammatory foods is important.
Meditation and Mantras:
Reduce stress - this means letting go of commitments that aren't serving you.
What nourishes you deeply?
Exercise daily. Get a good sweat, move the Qi in the pelvic floor with yoga and Qi Gong. Swirl the hips.
Imagine the uterus cleansed, clear, spacious, free of fibroids. I whirled my hips each morning while imagining I was washing out my pelvic floor with golden light. Sounds nuts, but our minds are truly powerful. If you believe you are sick, you will be sick. If you believe you are healthy and thriving, you will be. May it be so! And so it is.
Daily castor oil packs infused with poke root oil from Bonnie Bloom, Abundant Splendor Clinic-Turners Falls, MA. Castor oil detoxes through the muscles and brings blood flow. Poke Root oil breaks down cysts and masses. This practice key for healing fibroids!! I do it every night except while I have my period.
Mayan Abdominal Massage can also help degenerate fibroids. This is how I discovered I had one, by doing daily massage which brings blood circulation to the womb.
Podcasts, Articles, Videos and Books:
The Fibroid Tumor Cure - Susan M. Lark
Birth control - OBGYNs recommend this for treatment, but I do not suggest it since your hormones will be even more out of whack. Let’s get to the root of the issue before ingesting more hormones, right?
Pain Reliever for cramps such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Tylenol
You know your body best.
Trust yourself and listen to what you need. Every body is different.
Contact me with any questions and if you would like support with your wellness let's set up a time to connect over zoom or phone.