Fibroids affect 20% of women over the age of 30 and whilst they are usually non-cancerous ( less than 1 in 1,000 are malignant) they can cause a number of debilitating symptoms including
- Heavy and irregular periods
- Painful periods
- Abdominal swelling ( in extreme circumstances looking pregnant)
- Constipation/Frequency of Urination due to pressure on the bowel/bladder
- Infertility in some cases
Fibroids are known to be sensitive to oestrogen and develop in part as a result of having too much oestrogen in our bodies ( otherwise known as Oestrogen Dominance). Whilst conventional medicine offers either drugs to reduce the size of problematic fibroids, or a Myomectomy (surgery to remove fibroids) or sometimes a full blown Hysterectomy, there are less drastic more natural treatments available. A client recently came to see me to explore natural dietary and lifestyle interventions to alleviate her fibroid symptoms and here is the clinical case study highlighting the process:
My client had been living with a very large non- malignant Fibroid which caused her
- uncomfortable and embarrassing bloating (worse just before ovulation due to oestrogen surge)
- irregular periods
- sensitivity to food
- poor sleep
- low mood and energy.
She had been offered a hysterectomy (which initially would require injections to induce an early menopause to shrink her fibroid and ease the operation but was interested in avoiding both of these for as long as possible).
After reading her 5 page questionnaire including a 3 day food and lifestyle diary we agreed an initial one hour consultation which was followed up with 2 further consultations over a 4 month period.
At the first consultation I explained that Fibroids were associated with
Oestrogen Dominance plus Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency and how our protocol would be aimed at addressing these 2 key imbalances.
The key dietary changes included:
- Increasing Essential Fats into her diet so adding nuts, seeds, olive oil and increasing oily fish
- Increasing Phyto- oestrogenic foods to support oestrogen detoxification such as beans, lentils, garlic
- Increasing foods which support liver and oestrogen detoxification such as beetroot, kale, watercress & cruciferous vegetables
- Reducing dairy (my client had already eliminated meat) – both are higher in saturated fat which blocks absorption of Essential Fats
- Eating 3 regular meals with high protein intake ( hormone balancing) and limiting snacks to stabilise blood sugar and energy
Key Lifestyle Change
- Exercise daily to support bowel movements and get outdoors in morning whenever possible to promote better sleep
Supplements were individualised but notably Iodine was particularly useful in this case as it reduces oestrogen sensitivity.
After the 3rd consultation all of the client symptoms had significantly improved. She reported regular periods, better sleep and energy, a happier gut. Her bloating was no longer embarrassing or debilitating – she still noticed it just before ovulation but felt optimistic this would improve further with longer on her programme.
Whether my client decides in the future to continue to manage her fibroid in this way it shows that ( fibroids can shrink by up to 50% after menopause which provides hope that she can) I hope this case study shows that dietary and lifestyle interventions can be transformative in resolving long standing health issues.