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Fibroids

General characteristics

General characteristics

Fibroids are over growths of fibrous tissue and/or muscle that occur in and around the womb walls and are classified as non-cancerous tumours (or uterine myomas). They tend to grow within the muscular layers of the womb or sometimes around the cervix or fallopian tubes. They appear in approximately 2 out of every 5 women of menstruating age and usually shrink (or at least stop growing) after the menopause is complete.

They are relatively common and, if small, can remain unnoticed and symptom free. Problems and symptoms can arise if there are multiple fibroids or if they grow large in size. Symptoms can include dull pain in the pelvis or bladder region, heavy bleeding during or between periods, painful penetrative sex, bowel problems (due to pressure on the bowel), frequent urination, infertility, repeated miscarriages, abdominal swelling (if large) and lower back pain.

There appearance and growth is thought to be linked to an excess of oestrogens in the body although being overweight, not having children, early puberty and being of afro-caribbean descent all increase the likelihood of their formation.

Conventional treatment for problematic fibroids consists of hormonal treatments, physical removal of the fibroid in some form or hysterectomy.

Herbal treatments and natural healing aim to shrink the fibroids using hormonal balancing herbs, improve energy and circulation to and from the womb and relieving symptoms where possible.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Whole grains and certain seeds contain substances called lignans which act as anti-oestrogens and can cause the fibroids to shrink in size. Large daily portions of things like whole barley, oats, millet, rye, flax seeds (richest known source of lignans to date), corn, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and wheat have shown very promising results in treating fibroids for many women. Make a muesli mix containing all of these and eat every morning. You could also make them into cereal bars to eat as snacks or sprout the grains and seeds to add to salads etc. Many dark leafy veg and fruit also contain lignans.

Eat organic, unprocessed whole foods wherever possible.

Avoid foods that are processed and high in sugar and salt as these all burden the liver. The liver is also responsible for disposing of excess hormones so overworking it by regular consumption of poor foods will only exacerbate the problem and increase oestrogen levels in the body.

Avoid any foods that contain oestrogens or oestrogen like components such as conventionally farmed meat and dairy products (hormones are added to their diet and pass into our body) and many other things containing 'xenoestrogens'. Organic animal foods are better as they do not have added hormones but is still worth lowering your intake of these foods overall. Click here for more information on external sources of oestrogens.

Tea, coffee and chocolate also contain oestrogens so avoid these.

Cut back on alcohol to give the liver a rest.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Drink 3 cups daily of raspberry leaf and nettle tea before you try anything else as this may well help.

Agnus castus is perhaps the most reliable of hormonal balancers capable of shrinking fibroids. Take half a teaspoon of the tincture in water twice daily for best results (Renowned herbalist and wise woman Susan Weed says you can safely do this for up to 2 years if needed).

Damiana herb also has a hormonal action and may help with fibroids.

Liver cleansers and tonics like dandelion root, gentian, yellow dock, milk thistle, holy (or 'blessed') thistle and burdock root can help tonify the liver and make it more effective at dealing with hormonal excesses. Make a tincture using equal parts of the tinctures and take half a teaspoon twice daily (perhaps mix in with the agnus castus dose) in a little water.

Lymph cleansers and dispersers such as mullein leaves and flowers, cleavers, violet leaves, yarrow and marigold will help to clear away the area as the fibroids are gradually broken down or shrunk. Make a tea using equal parts of the dried herbs and drink 2 cups daily, alongside the two above formulas. Add a tiny pinch of freshly grated or dried ginger powder to each tea for its warming and diffusive effects on the circulation to and from the womb.

Add approximately 20 drops of poke root tincture to 100ml of any good quality oil (especially castor oil) and rub gently into the pelvic area, front and back, every other night to benefit from its remarkable dispersing and clearing effects. Place a hot water bottle over the skin to increase its effects.

Try drinking a simple cup of chickweed tea 2-3 times daily for a couple of months and see what happens.

Use crampbark tincture, 5 ml up to 3 times daily for effective pain relief from excessive cramping during periods.

See Anaemia if you are low in iron from excessive bleeding. Raspberry leaf, lady's mantle and shepherds purse tea will help to staunch profuse blood flow.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Make a castor oil pack by soaking a cloth in warm castor oil and place it over your low pelvic area. Place a hot water bottle on top and lie back and relax. Castor oil is pain relieving and soothing and is a very dispersing remedy and can be used to gradually loosen and disperse many kinds of congestion or congealed masses within the body such as tumours, cysts etc. Do this every other night for up to 6 months.
Regular exercise helps many women obtain significant relief from symptoms but in some it makes symptoms worse.

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