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Uterine Fibroids – A Natural Approach

April 8, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

There are a great many gaps of knowledge in the field of natural medicine. A plethora of hypotheses abound, but hard data pertaining to serious medical conditions is often difficult to come by. This unfortunate reality places patients and physicians in a decidedly awkward position. Some choose to wait until more evidence of higher quality presents itself. Others apply the admittedly incomplete or preliminary information currently available as best they can. To my mind, a balance between these two camps is generally the most judicious way to proceed. My ideal approach is to keep an eye out for breaking new research and, at the same time, use the evidence that’s currently available when putting together an integrative plan of action.

When I refer to serious medical conditions, I mean those that dramatically impact the quality of one’s life and/or threaten life itself. Uterine fibroids almost always fall into the first of the two categories. According to US government statistics, these noncancerous tumors affect as many as 20% of all menstruating women. Researchers haven’t pinpointed all of the reasons why fibroids occur, but they are certain that higher levels of circulating estrogen stimulate the growth of these abnormal pelvic tumors. And while the size can vary, from that of a marble to that of a grapefruit, the symptoms are predictably disruptive and painful, including abnormal and heavy menstruation, constipation, increased urinary frequency, pain during intercourse and pelvic cramping. Conventional treatment options range from hormone therapy to surgical interventions such as hysterectomies. (1)

There’s no question that the treatment of uterine fibroids is a lucrative and thriving business. Also not in dispute is the fact that researchers are continually searching for new and innovative ways to address this prevalent disease. However, the one area that isn’t receiving nearly enough attention is prevention. What can be done, if anything, to discourage the formation of fibroids in the first place? The following is a compilation of little-known research that attempts to start the preventive ball rolling.

Diet and lifestyle considerations are a good starting point. These are aspects of daily life over which we generally have control and don’t require direct medical assistance and/or intervention. Recent studies published in prestigious medical journals provide the following useful data and tips: 1) Women who exercise 7 or more hours a week are up to 60% less likely to develop fibroids. 2) Overweight and unmanaged stress are both considered risk factors “in the aetiology and pathogenesis of this disease”. 3) Having metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease, also appears to contribute to uterine fibroid occurrence. As luck would have it, exercising and practicing stress management regularly are two of the leading methods of avoiding and reversing metabolic syndrome via numerous mechanisms including a reduction in inflammation, insulin resistance and waist circumference. (2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

The scientific examination of nutrition’s role in fibroid development is also beginning to blossom in the medical literature. It comes as no surprise to me that a diet rich in high glycemic foods that promote elevated and erratic blood sugar levels likely increases the incidence of uterine fibroids. This precise class of processed, starchy and/or sugary food is a principal contributor to the aforementioned metabolic syndrome as well. Consuming large amounts of alcohol is at least as damaging in this arena as well. A May 2009 paper appearing in the British Journal of Nutrition found that higher alcohol usage was associated with a nearly three-times greater occurrence of fibroids. However, there’s more to the diet-fibroid connection than just excess alcohol and carbohydrates. For instance, a study appearing in the January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that dairy consumption of more than two servings a day may afford up to 22% protection from benign pelvic tumors. Select nutrients including the trace minerals selenium and zinc, and Vitamin D may also reduce the occurrence of fibroids when present in optimal amounts via diet and supplementation. But, it’s important to note that these preliminary clues on nutrient requirements are based mostly on animal and human population studies. (9,10,11,12,13,14,15)

Optimal Vitamin D Levels May Discourage Fibroid Cell Proliferation

Source: Fertil Steril. 2011 Jan;95(1):247-53. (link)

Curcumin, an extract of the spice turmeric, and green tea seem to be the two most promising supplements that may lend a helping hand in the fight against fibroids. In vitro research indicates that curcumin interferes with abnormal uterine cell proliferation through the activation of PPAR gamma, a receptor that is intimately associated with some of the leading health issues of our time including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Animal and test tube studies have also yielded very positive results with respect to green tea and fibroid growth promotion. EGCG, an antioxidant component of green tea, not only inhibits the proliferation of uterine leiomyoma cells, but also induces their via a process known as apoptosis. In an animal model, this results in fewer pelvic tumors and a reduction in size of the remaining fibroids. (16,17,18,19,20,21)

In closing, I want to mention a final option which I think is worth considering: traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Additional research is currently being demanded by Western scientists in relation to TCM’s applicability to fibroid management. I support that point of view, but also believe that the data presently available should be seriously considered as is. A primary source of my optimism is a study from nearly 10 years ago, conducted at the well-regarded University of Arizona in Tucson. In the trial, thirty-seven women with “palpable uterine fibroids” took part in a holistic program that involved “weekly Chinese medicine, body therapy (somatic therapy, bodywork), and guided imagery“. A similar control group that did not receive alternative or complementary care was used as a comparison model. The findings of the intervention determined that 22 or the 37 patients’ fibroids shrank or stopped growing as a result of the novel treatment plan. Only 3 of the women in the control group reported a comparable affect. The one downside of this holistic style of treatment was the price tag: $3,800 over a 6 month period. However, when you compare this to the price of conventional care and factor in the real possibility of side effects that could result from the treatment, the added cost may be worth it. At the very least, it’s an alternative that you can consider and discuss with your health care team who may be unaware of these findings. (22,23,24)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health

9 Comments & Updates to “Uterine Fibroids – A Natural Approach”

  1. Femke Francissen Says:

    I just wanted to say that since I quit using birth control pills my fibroids (I have many and 1 large one removed by a surgeon years ago) stopped growing. So maybe the hormones in birth control pills are also something to consider? I agree that there is a clear relation with estrogen. This is not science, this is my one experience!

    Another interesting thing to consider: what happens after a woman gave birth to a child. Does something happen to her estrogen levels? I know 2 women whose fibroids stopped growing after they had children.

    I think there is more to ‘estrogen’ and women than we know about or hear about.

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Femke. Very interesting indeed!

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    More evidence showing that green tea extract helps shrink fibroids:


    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 08/22/15:


    Holist Nurs Pract. 2014 Nov-Dec;28(6):386-91.

    Efficacy of a standardized isopropanolic black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) extract in treatment of uterine fibroids in comparison with tibolone among patients with menopausal symptoms.

    Both therapies demonstrated efficacy in relieving menopausal symptoms; however, isopropanolic black cohosh (Remifemin) seems to be a more appropriate choice in alleviating menopausal symptoms in women with uterine fibroid. Isopropanolic black cohosh seems to be a valid treatment option in patients with uterine fibroids, as it provides adequate relief from menopausal symptoms and avoids increase in uterine fibroid size, which is usually a cause of concern for the patient.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Updated 08/22/15:


    Maturitas. 2015 Jul 17. pii: S0378-5122(15)30003-7.

    Urinary isoflavone and lignan phytoestrogen levels and risk of uterine fibroid in Jamaican women.

    BACKGROUND: Isoflavones and lignans are phytoestrogens, and therefore, are able to bind to and activate estrogen receptors. The resultant estrogenic or antiestrogenic effect is dependent on the concentration of these phytoestrogens relative to endogenous estrogens and the site of their action, among others. Thus, isoflavones and lignans act as selective estrogen receptor modulators; having a beneficial effect in some tissues while simultaneously causing deleterious changes in others.

    OBJECTIVE: This case-control study investigates the relationship between urinary concentrations of genistein, daidzein, equol, and enterolactone, and the presence of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) in Jamaican women.

    DESIGN: Phytoestrogen concentration in spot urine samples from 157 uterine fibroid cases and 171 fibroid-free controls diagnosed by ultrasonography, were assessed by Time-resolved Fluoroimmnoassay. Statistical evaluations were performed using SPSS 12.0.

    RESULTS: The median concentration of urinary enterolactone was significantly different between uterine fibroid cases and controls (p=0.029). However, this was not observed to affect risk of uterine fibroid, as trends across quartiles of urine enterolactone did not differ significantly between cases and controls. Median urinary genistein (p=0.510), daidzein (p=0.838), equol (p=0.621), total isoflavones (0.510) and total phytoestrogens (p=0.084) were similar for both groups. Binary logistic regression analysis of quartiles of urine genistein, daidzein, equol, enterolactone, total isoflavones, and total phytoestrogens showed no association with uterine fibroid.

    CONCLUSIONS: Uterine fibroid cases had a higher median urine concentration of enterolactone compared with controls. However, this was not observed to affect ones risk of fibroid. Neither was urine genistein, daidzein, equol total isoflavones, and total phytoestrogens observed to be associated with risk of uterine fibroid.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 08/22/15:

    Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:717686.

    Effect of Isopropanolic Cimicifuga racemosa Extract on Uterine Fibroids in Comparison with Tibolone among Patients of a Recent Randomized, Double Blind, Parallel-Controlled Study in Chinese Women with Menopausal Symptoms.

    Objective. Effect of isopropanolic Cimicifuga racemosa extract (iCR) on uterine fibroid size compared with tibolone.

    Method. The randomized, double-blind, controlled study in China enrolled 244 patients aged 40-60 years with menopausal symptoms (Kupperman Menopause Index ≥ 15). The participants were treated with either iCR of 40 mg crude drug/day (N = 122) or tibolone 2.5 mg/day (N = 122) orally for 3 months in 2004. Now, we investigated the subset of all women (N = 62) with at least one uterine fibroid at onset of treatment for the effect of iCR (N = 34) on fibroid size compared with tibolone (N = 28) by transvaginal ultrasonography.

    Results. The median myoma volume decreased upon iCR by as much as -30% (P = 0.016) but increased upon tibolone by +4.7%. The percentage of volume change, mean diameter change and geometric mean diameter change of the iCR group compared to tibolone were statistically significant (P = 0.016, 0.021, 0.016 respectively).

    Conclusion. Our results suggest that iCR (Remifemin) is a valid herbal medicinal product in patients with uterine myomas as it provides adequate relief from menopausal symptoms and inhibits growth of the myomas in contrast to tibolone.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 10/26/15:


    J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2015 Oct 12.

    Vegetarian diet and reduced uterine fibroids risk: A case-control study in Nanjing, China.

    AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate whether a vegetarian diet correlates with a potential reduced risk of uterine fibroids.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS: We used data from a case-control study conducted in Southeast University Zhongda Hospital between February 2010 and December 2014. Cases included 600 Chinese Han women with uterine fibroids (case group) whose clinical diagnosis dated back no more than 1 year. Controls were 600 patients without uterine fibroids as well as healthy volunteers (control group). All of the information gathered through the questionnaire survey was analyzed for the risk factors of the uterine fibroids pathogenesis.

    RESULTS: The multifactor analysis showed that women with uterine fibroids reported a less frequent consumption of broccoli (odds ratio [OR]: 0.552; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.316-0.964), cabbage (OR: 0.446; 95%CI: 0.211-0.943), Chinese cabbage (OR: 0.311; 95%CI: 0.102-0.946), tomato (OR: 0.453; 95%CI: 0.241-0.853), and apple (OR: 0.416; 95%CI: 0.213-0.814) (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The original evidence from this epidemiological investigation shows that a high consumption of broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato and apple seems to be a protective factor for uterine fibroids. We suggest that greater intake of fresh fruits and cruciferous vegetables may be able to reduce the incidence of uterine fibroids. Be well! JP

  8. Layla Forndez Says:

    I have been following this blog for a while now and today i felt like i should share my story because i was a victim too. I had endometriosis for 18 years and i never thought i would ever get a cure due to the terrible symptoms i had and this made it impossible for me to get pregnant even after 12 years of marriage and it was a serious issue. I got to know about Dr. Aleta who treated someone and the person shared a story of how she got a cure and let her contact details, i contacted Dr. Aleta and she actually confirmed it and i decided to give a try too and use her herbal medicine that was how my burden ended completely. My son will be 2 this december and i am gratetful to God and thankful to her for medicine too. If you have (Endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroid, Ovarian cyst, Ectopic Pregnancy or any infertility issues) just reach her on (aletedwin @ gmail. com) she has professional advise and a cure too.

  9. JP Says:

    Thank you for relaying your success story, Layla! I’m happy for you and your family! 🙂

    Be well!


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