Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterus made up of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. They can be located inside or outside of the uterus and can range in size from a pea to a melon, but are usually between the size of an orange and a grapefruit. 20-30% of women aged 35-50 suffer from fibroids making them the most common structural abnormality of the uterus. Some people can have them and never know but most people ae aware that they have fibroids.
Fibroids are another example of "blood stasis" and can cause heavy bleeding, cramping, bleeding or spotting between periods, abdominal swelling and sometimes pain during intercourse. They can also interfere with the ability to conceive. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help reduce the size of fibroids and are a good adjunctive treatment to western medicine interventions when fibroids are advanced in size.
Fibroids grow in response to excess estrogen in the system. That means that it's important to reduce exposure to external sources of estrogen and support your liver in metabolizing estrogens. As mentioned above, fibroids are a sign of "blood stasis" in Chinese medicine so promoting circulation of blood in the pelvis is recommended.
How You Can Help Yourself:
- Adopting a mostly plant based, low fat, high fiber diet is helpful. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds could help as excess fat increases the amount of estrogen in your system which in turn causes fibroids to grow.
- For the same reason as above, avoid hormonally treated meat and dairy and eat as much organic produce as possible.