Uterine fibroids (leiomyoma) are benign tumors of the smooth muscle of your uterus. They can protrude into the uterine cavity (submucosal), be located within the wall of the uterus (intramural) or protrude into the abdominal cavity (subserosal).
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
- Abnormally heavy periods – often very heavy bleeding and/or bleeding between menstrual periods
- Severe pressure or pain
- Urinary or bowel complaints – sensations of pressure or incontinence due to pressure on the bladder from these growths
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Abdominal distension. Leiomyoma can sometimes be felt when pressing on the abdomen. They may feel like a ball or a solid mass in the lower abdomen and may even extend higher in the abdomen.
What causes uterine fibroids?
There are a couple of popular theories as to why they develop:
- They are the result of an excess of estrogen, excess xenoestrogens, and/or unopposed or imbalanced estrogen relative to progesterone.
- They are a response to excessive inflammatory processes in the body.
- A newer theory is that these abnormal growths are a response to excess progesterone.
What is the natural medicine treatment for fibroids?
- Helping with liver detoxification of excess estrogen or estrogen-like compounds known as xenoestrogens using supplements that aid the liver breakdown of these substances so that your body can excrete them. This involves specifics nutrients, in specific forms and specific quantities to allow healthy liver processing of waste, toxins, and hormones.
- Balancing progesterone production using herbal medicine and nutrition. Maintaining health progesterone levels can balance out estrogen. There is a natural progesterone receptor modulator known as kaempferol. Kaempferol is found in a number of foods and also in certain herbs and supplements.
- Reducing systemic inflammation through proper diet, exercise, and anti-inflammatory herbs.
- Using herbal remedies to support healthy, balanced progesterone production.
Frequently asked questions about leiomyoma
Can fibroids turn into cancer?
This can occur, but rarely (less than one in a thousand). A greater concern, if there are many fibroids or very large ones, is that they may obstruct visualization of a cancerous growth on examinations like an ultrasound. Also, the conditions that created them may also be conducive to cancer development.
Can fibroids go away without surgery?
That depends on the size of them. Smaller leiomyoma, less than 4 cm, can resolve if the underlying cause is addressed and corrected through naturopathic treatment. Larger ones may not shrink, but their symptoms may improve and their growth may be able to be stopped. Also, menopause may also cause them to shrink once that tissue is no longer being stimulated by estrogen and progesterone. Through naturopathic treatment, I have seen them go away without surgery or other medical intervention.
Authored by Dr. Pamela Frank, ND, updated Jan. 1, 2020
Natural Treatment of Fibroids: Research
Li Y1, Ding Z2, Wu C1 Mechanistic Study of the Inhibitory Effect of Kaempferol on Uterine Fibroids In Vitro. Med Sci Monit. 2016 Dec 8;22:4803-4808.
Kim JJ1, Kurita T, Bulun SE. Progesterone action in endometrial cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and breast cancer. Endocr Rev. 2013 Feb;34(1):130-62. doi: 10.1210/er.2012-1043. Epub 2013 Jan 9.
Roshdy E1, Rajaratnam V, Maitra S, Sabry M, Allah AS, Al-Hendy A Treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids with green tea extract: a pilot randomized controlled clinical study. Int J Womens Health. 2013 Aug 7;5:477-86. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S41021. eCollection 2013.