Getting the news that you have a fibroid is an experience of mixed emotion. By its very definition—a firm, compact tumor that develops in the uterus—a fibroid sounds like something very bad. But fibroids are not cancer, and that’s reason for celebration and relief! Indeed, most physicians say fibroids are not a concern for worry, as there is very little threat that they will turn malignant. Women who are between the ages of 30 and 40 are at the highest risk for developing fibroids, but they can still occur in women who have passed menopause.
With that said, fibroids aren’t always nothing. Sometimes they cause pain, heavy menstrual periods, constipation, pelvic pressure, and frequent urination. Importantly, fibroids can cause complications during pregnancy, and women with fibroids have an increased likelihood of cesarean delivery (C-section) because the tumors can cause the baby to sit in a position not ideal for delivery. Even if you have symptoms associated with a fibroid, there is a very low likelihood that the mass will affect the baby, but it is worth noting that women who have fibroids have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage and premature delivery.
What Are Fibroids?
Fibroids, also known as leiomyomas or myomas, are benign tumors that grow in the muscles of the uterus. These noncancerous tumors range in size–from the size of a pea to as large as a melon. Though it is largely unknown what specifically causes fibroids, doctors believe they are linked with higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone due to the fact that they tend to swell or grow during pregnancy or when taking birth control, both scenarios that heighten hormones in the body. Note that fibroids are incredibly common. It’s estimated that 30 to 77 percent of women will develop fibroids at some point during their childbearing years, though only about a third are large enough to be detected by a doctor during a physical exam.
Eating Right to Manage Fibroids
In addition to hormone levels, what we eat plays a major role in our likelihood of developing fibroids. Evidence links consumption of red meat, alcohol, and caffeine to a heightened risk of fibroid development and those who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop them. Indeed, like most health concerns, fibroids are affected by diet. Treatment usually requires either waiting it out or trying pain medications, birth control pills or hormone therapies. If you’re looking for a way to manage fibroids naturally without medication, a healthy diet is a good place to start.
So, what should you eat if you have fibroids? First, know what not to eat and start yourself on a fibroids diet plan. Be sure to cut out any red meat, alcohol, and caffeine from your diet. Additionally, know that fat can secrete estrogen, so try to limit your consumption of fat during the management process.
- High-Fiber Foods—Introducing high-fiber foods into your diet, such as whole grains, or doing a full-body fiber cleanse arms your body with the tools it needs to bind up heavy metals, which have been linked to uterine fibroids. Add plenty of leafy greens, berries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts to your diet to flush the metals effectively.
- Nascent Iodine—As you know, fibroids are connected to your body’s levels of hormones, so taking supplements such as Nascent Iodine, which helps support healthy hormone levels, can bolster your treatment plan. Iodine may help support the body’s ability to detoxify estrogen and make the cells less reactive to it.
- High-Iron Foods and Supplements—Iron deficiency has been demonstrated to contribute to fibroid growth, primarily because excess bleeding causes anemia, which in turn causes iron deficiency. When you’re bleeding a lot, you need to make sure you’re equipping your red blood cells with the right amount of iron through high-iron foods and iron supplements.
Eating Your Way to Better Health
Changing the way you eat can improve your health and well-being for the better, whether you’re struggling with reproductive health concerns, lack of energy, a compromised immune system or any other physical ailment. Knowing what to eat is the first step in living a healthy, enjoyable life! For more articles on women’s health and nutrition, be sure to read posts in our The Science of Her section at Hallelujah Diet.