Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus). About 20 to 80 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50. The good news is that, in many cases, fibroids shrink back on their own, especially after menopause. There are also natural routes you can take to support fibroids.
You can have one fibroid or multiple growths. The effect of fibroids on health is determined by factors such as the size of the fibroids, the number of fibroids and the location.
Fibroids are also referred to as:
Fibroids can grow in any part of the uterus. They are named according to where they’re found:
Moderate to severe cases where symptoms are very uncomfortable and not improving, may be treated with surgery or ultrasound therapy.
While most fibroids are not cancerous, they can still cause health issues.
There are some people with fibroids who experience small amounts of pain or no pain at all. Some aren’t even aware they have them. It is thought that 20-50% of people have symptoms[i] which can include experiencing a lot of pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and other symptoms including anaemia, urinary incontinence, pain during sex and weight gain:
Please get your symptoms checked out by a GP if they are severe and of concern.
Age: fibroids most commonly occur in women between 30-50.
Increased body mass: Being overweight increases the risk as fat tissue produces oestrogen[iii]
Genetics: A family history of fibroids can increase the likelihood of development.
Age you started your period: Starting menses before the age of 10 is linked with an increased risk of fibroids.
Alcohol intake, those with a higher alcohol intake are more at risk[iv]
Vitamin D deficiency[v] and high blood pressure also increase the risk
Simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference:
As defined by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, endocrine-disrupting chemicals are “chemicals that interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse reproductive, neurological and immune effects.”
The reproductive organs have many receptors for hormones. This is partly why endocrine disruption may be a cause of fibroid growth. Researchers found oestrogen stimulates the growth of uterine fibroids during a woman’s reproductive years[viii]. Therefore, oestrogen must be balanced to reduce fibroid occurrence.
Try these simple tips to make sure you eat a healthy diet to help you manage your weight and oestrogen levels:
Researchers have seen a positive effect of the Mediterranean diet on fibroids[ix]. The Mediterranean diet involves plenty of green vegetables, quality fats such as olive oil and nuts, fresh fruit, legumes, meat and fish.
Other ways to reduce oestrogen include:
Avoiding plastics, a study found that almost all commercially available plastic products release oestrogen-like chemicals into our food and drink[x]. Instead, opt for glass packaging where possible.
DIM (diindolylmethane) is a metabolite of a phytochemical called indole-3-carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage. DIM encourages active and healthy oestrogen metabolism. Try DIM Ultra (60 Caps) with added milk thistle by Pure Encapsulations or Cell Active DIM 60 caps by Cytoplan.
High Potency NAC (60 caps) - N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant that inhibits free radicals and may therefore reduce fibroid occurrence.
DUTCH test: this dried urine test looks at your hormone levels and their metabolites. This would be the go-to for working out hormonal issues. It includes sex hormones, cortisol and DHEA which helps to evaluate stress levels felt throughout the day and which may be contributing to your symptoms. Most importantly, in the case of fibroids, this test will identify how you metabolise oestrogen, and may therefore point towards the cause of fibroids in some individuals.
Thyroid function: it is worth checking thyroid function, as this commonly changes around menopause. Thyroid function is also inextricably linked to reproductive health and hormone production and function. Usually testing for markers such as: TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), FT3 & FT, thyroid function tests can be sought privately or through your GP. Talk to us for further advice.
Metabolomix Plus Advance: this finger prick test provides a fully detailed analysis of individual vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and amino acids status, markers for gastrointestinal function, oxidative stress, essential fats status and the nutrient and toxic elements clearance. It helps to identify your nutritional needs, which if supported appropriately, could help with supporting a healthy uterus and reproductive system by making sure your body has everything it needs for optimal health.
NutrEval: This test provides a unique and comprehensive assessment of nutritional status, which is the same as the Metabolomix Plus Advanced with added extras. This test requires a full blood sample done via a partner phlebotomy service together with the urine sample and this provides the analysis of some additional markers such as vitamin D, glutathione and homocysteine.
[i] Katz TA, Yang Q, Treviño LS, Walker CL, Al-Hendy A. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and uterine fibroids. Fertil Steril. 2016 Sep 15;106(4):967-77.
[ii] Chiuve SE, Huisingh C, Petruski-Ivleva N, et al
Uterine fibroids and incidence of depression, anxiety and self-directed violence: a cohort study
J Epidemiol Community Health 2022;76:92-99.
[iii] Eaton SA, Sethi JK. Immunometabolic Links between Estrogen, Adipose Tissue and Female Reproductive Metabolism. Biology (Basel). 2019 Feb 7;8(1):8.
[iv] Takala H, Yang Q, El Razek AMA, Ali M, Al-Hendy A. Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Uterine Fibroids. Curr Mol Med. 2020;20(4):247-258.
[v] Vergara D, Catherino WH, Trojano G, Tinelli A. Vitamin D: Mechanism of Action and Biological Effects in Uterine Fibroids. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 11;13(2):597.
[vi] Yuan He ； Qiang Zeng ； Sheng-Yong Dong ； Li-Qiang Qin ； Guo-wei Li ； Pei-yu Wang
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition ； 22卷1期 (2013 / 03 / 01) ， P109 - 117
[vii] Katz TA, Yang Q, Treviño LS, Walker CL, Al-Hendy A. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and uterine fibroids. Fertil Steril. 2016 Sep 15;106(4):967-77.
[viii] Katz TA, Yang Q, Treviño LS, Walker CL, Al-Hendy A. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and uterine fibroids. Fertil Steril. 2016 Sep 15;106(4):967-77.
[ix] Ciebiera M, Esfandyari S, Siblini H, Prince L, Elkafas H, Wojtyła C, Al-Hendy A, Ali M. Nutrition in Gynecological Diseases: Current Perspectives. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 2;13(4):1178.
[x] Yang CZ, Yaniger SI, Jordan VC, Klein DJ, Bittner GD. Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jul;119(7):989-96.
[xi] Roshdy E, 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
[xiii] Ciebiera M, Włodarczyk M, Ciebiera M, Zaręba K, Łukaszuk K, Jakiel G. Vitamin D and Uterine Fibroids-Review of the Literature and Novel Concepts. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jul 14;19(7):2051.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.