A young lady in her late twenties, came to me with an issue of uterine fibroids. Her doctor confirmed that she has a “family of fibroid tumors”. Although the tumors were benign, they had caused her a lot of PMS cramps, painful intercourse, and heavy menstrual bleeding.
She had had some surgical procedures to have them removed but the fibroids kept returning! She was told that her infertility was linked to the growth of these fibroids. She knew her diet had something to do with the growth of the fibroids but was unsure, as she claimed to be a vegetarian.
Foods That Cause Uterine Fibroids
When I did an assessment on her diet, I found that although a vegetarian, her diet was not completely “clean” and a few things that she ate regularly were contributing to the growth of the tumors. Some of the culprits:
- Soy products: Vegetarians tend to eat more soy products for protein. Eating some soy may be beneficial, but eating them in excess may cause gout and fibroids growth. Soy products (except for fermented soy such as miso and tempeh) have high content of phytoestrogens that are detrimental to women’s health.
- Soy milk: Soy milk has very high content of estrogen that causes hormonal imbalance. An estrogen dominance condition may cause many other health problems, other than fibroids growth. Some of the symptoms of estrogen dominance are:
— Blood clots in menstruation
— Fibroids in breasts
— Irregular menstruation cycles
— Weight gain
— Thyroid issues
— Low or no sex drive
- Birth control pills: Oral birth control pills may be prescribed to reduce heavy menstrual flow but it actually may further contribute to the growth of the fibroids. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is another estrogen-mimicking drug that encourages fibroids growth.
- Herbicides and pesticides: Residues from herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizers used on food crops mimic estrogen and affects the hormones. Foods stored and/or cooked in plastic wares may also contribute to hormonal imbalances and with that, a host of female health issues.
- Processed foods: Limit consumption of processed foods that are laden with artificial food additives such as colorings, preservatives, flavorings, emulsifiers, transfats, salt and sugar. These are very toxic to the liver and only serve to weaken your liver functions and detrimental to your health.
Other Non-Vegetarian Causes Of Uterine Fibroids
Stay away from dairy and meat products from commercially-raised animals that are injected with antibiotics, steroids and hormones. These added hormones stay in the meat you eat that can feed the tumors. If you want to eat dairy and meat products, opt for organic hormone-free animals.
Warning Signs That You May Have Fibroids
Bladder Issues: Fibroids that grow on the outside wall of the uterus near the bladder may press against it, causing pressure that will require more frequent visits to the washroom. If you find yourself going to the toilet frequently in the night, you may like to get it checked out.
Rectal Pressure: Fibroids that grow towards the back of the uterus may press on the rectum and make the sufferer have an uncomfortable feeling of wanting to pass motion. Straining may further cause hemorrhoids.
Lower Back Pain: Fibroids that are located on the outer back wall of the uterus may press against spinal nerves and cause intense pain. Problems may be more severe before and during menstruation.
Swelling of Lower Abdomen: Large fibroids may make a woman appear as if pregnant. There may not be a presence of pain so many women don’t have it checked.
Infertility or Frequent Miscarriages: Although there are many reasons for infertility and miscarriages, presence of uterine fibroids may also cause these issues. A simple ultrasound scan could reveal if there are presence of fibroids.
Prolonged and Heavy Menstruation: This is one of the first and common warning signs of uterine fibroids. Excessive bleeding with blood clots are signs to look out for and should be treated as it could also lead to anemia from heavy bleeding. Cramps and pain in lower abdomen or in the back of the legs are also common.
Painful Sexual Intercourse: Depending on the location and size of the fibroid, sexual intercourse can become uncomfortable and painful. The pain may be more evident in certain positions.
How To Prevent And Shrink Uterine Fibroids
When you understand the causes of uterine fibroids, it only makes sense to remove the causes to stop feeding their growth. Here are some other diet and lifestyle changes/additions you can make to shrink the fibroids:
- Vigorous exercise: Exercise and physical body movements, together with eating the right healing foods, will help regulate your ovulation and gradually reduce/shrink the fibroids.
- Manage your stress: Women often underestimate the damages that stress can do to their bodies. Stress depletes the body of important nutrients, weaken the adrenal glands and other organs, and contributes to hormonal imbalances.
- Eat legumes and beans: Avocados, eggs, quinoa, chia seeds, legumes and beans are examples of some excellent sources of protein that you should consume, instead of going to soy products for protein. Eat a small portion of these protein foods with every meal that will not only help reduce the size of your fibroids but may also offer protection from breast and cervical cancers as well.
- Liver support foods: Strengthen your liver with foods that support your liver, such as beetroot, grapefruit, dandelion and milk thistle. Try this very beneficial Healthy Liver Beetroot Juice.
- Beverages: Stay away from alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as sodas and coffee as they are diuretic and dehydrating. Many sites recommend drinking green tea for this condition but I advise that you should avoid it. Green tea inhibits the absorption of iron and in the case of fibroids, you may have lost a lot of menstrual blood and are possibly anemic. You don’t need this further complication.
- Water: Do not drink tap water as it contains fluoride, chlorine and other heavy metals. Make sure you have a good filtering system installed in your home to avoid taking in these toxins that may cause permanent damage. I drink distilled water.
- Fruits and vegetables: Eat plenty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. If you have recurring fibroids, juice fasting/feasting on green juices may be very helpful to shrink the fibroids more rapidly. The chlorophyll content is very cleansing, alkalizing and healing for the reproductive system.
- Helpful supplements: Some supplements that may be beneficial for shrinking fibroids (choose only from high quality and reputable brands)—spirulina, chlorella, omega-3, L-arginine, L-lysine, vitamin C and zinc. I would also recommend taking Essiac Tea that has 8 powerful herbs that are highly beneficial for detoxifying the reproductive system.
- Helpful herbs: Some of the herbs you may take to eliminate fibroids include: “Dong quai“, black cohosh, dandelion root, chasteberry tincture, nettle tea, pau d’arco and turmeric. If you wish to take any of these herbs, check with the herbal store how to use them.
While many conventional doctors will recommend more surgeries and ultimately hysterectomy to prevent regrowth, fibroids really do respond well when you stop feeding them with the wrong foods, and start eating the healing foods. Stop your exposure to excessive estrogens and put the above into practice to avoid surgery.