Uterine Fibroids: A holistic approach

    What are they?   Fibroids are noncancerous growths beginning on muscle tissue that can get larger or decrease in size over time most often found in women of childbearing age.  Some signs and symptoms include abnormal or heavy bleeding and pain, a sense of fullness or pressure in the womb and sometimes you can even see […]

    What are they?   Fibroids are noncancerous growths beginning on muscle tissue that can get larger or decrease in size over time most often found in women of childbearing age.  Some signs and symptoms include abnormal or heavy bleeding and pain, a sense of fullness or pressure in the womb and sometimes you can even see the abdomen become a bit distended.  Uterine fibroids, according to allopathic medicine are caused from an overproduction of estrogen in the body, or excessive amounts in the body.  In allopathic medicine they are usually “controlled” with hormonal drugs or with surgery.  In holistic medicine, these growth indicate an imbalance.  The imbalance may be from hormone levels, dietary influences, elimination blockages or a combination of these things.

    What to do about fibroids: Ultimately you need to make an educated decision about your own situation and come from a place of strength, not fear.  Fear will land you immediately to allopathic methods of suppression or slicing.  Susun Weed has a great lecture she’s given on the levels of healing, I encourage you to go through all of your options, this is my interpretation 7-8 years later of her lecture, these are in order of their level of invasiveness:
    0 Serenity medicine–Do nothing–many illnesses work themselves out
    1 Story Medicine–Tell people about your situation and get opinions–several
    2 Energy Medicine:  Flower Essences, Reiki, Etc that can shift your vital energy without actually the nutritional or chemical makeup of your body
    3 Food Medicine:  Eating well and balanced for your body.  Eliminating things that cause imbalance or inflammation.  Adding the proper nutrition and even adding some dietary supplementation in at therapeutic levels
    4 Sedate or Stimulate: Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, and other therapies like Massage, Yoga, Mayan Abdominal Massage, Chi Nei Tsung
    5 Suppression:  Steroids, Antibiotics or extremely high amounts of herbal substances acting like drugs–or drop dosage herbs that act like drugs
    6 Surgery and other Invasive procedures.  Keep in mind once you open the body up you can’t go back.  It doesnt like being sliced into and being exposed to the outside world.  This is where secondary infections and other problems can come in.  Sometimes surgery is necessary, but in this scale of invasiveness, it is a last resort, not one of the first ones.
    Please do not go immediately onto the internet and do research unless you know where to do research.  You can look at the student section of my website and I have put together a list of places to do herbal research on the internet at www.wildflowerherbschool.com/students.htm
     Most articles you will “google” on the internet about your condition and what to do about it site each other and have a limited amount of information available to you.  I encourage you to go see a Herbalist, Naturopath, Traditional Chinese Medicine Pracitioner, Ayurvedic Practitioner, or Homeopathic Pracitioner in your area.  Be sure to research and ask people their background and philosophy of practice.  You may or may not be a match for them.  In the realm of holistic medicine, you have lots of choices and I truly believe taking back some of the control over your health includes choosing practitioners you enjoy and have some common ground with–be responsible to yourself before you put your health in someone else’s hands.  Sometimes this can seem expensive, but try surgery….even with insurance………I think you’ll find that seeing a holistic practitioner regularly is far less expensive in the long run. To truly heal from any illness usually takes a support team made up of practitioners, family, and friends.

     Dietary Changes:  Industrially produced meats, eggs, and dairy have abnormally high amounts of estrogen, since the animals are routinely given estrogen(amongst other drugs) to boost production(thanks Chanchal Cabrera).  Eliminate all of it from your diet.  Yet another reason to buy from the farmers market!
    Inflammatory foods like gluten (wheat and other grains), sugar, dairy–ah yes here it is again, and it also makes elimination harder.  Eliminate it.
    Refined carbs and deep fried foods, caffeine, SOY, and alcohol…yup eliminate it.
    Taking things out is going to make what you put in work better.

    Dr Tori Hudson, ND also says:
    Saturated fats, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and junk foods are presumably problematic in two main ways:
    1. they interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize estradiol to estrone to estriol, and
    2. some of these foods are deficient in vitamin B or interfere with B-vitamin metabolism. If B vitamins are lacking in the diet, the liver is missing some of the raw materials it needs to carry out its metabolic processes and regulate estrogen levels.

    Nutritional Supplementation to consider:  According to Chanchal Cabrera: B Complex, Vit E, Vit C and Lipotropic Factors ,may be helpful see article here: http://medherb.com/Therapeutics/Female_-__Holistic_Treatment_of_Fibroids_.htm

    Herbs to research:  Raspberry Leaf(Rubus idaeus), Lady’s Mantle(Alchemilla vulgaris), Ginger(Zingiber officinalis), Yarrow(Achillea millefolium), Wild Yam(Dioscorea vilosa)White Dead Nettle(Lamium alba)  Cinnamon(Cinnamonum spp) Vitex(Vitex agnus-castus) and Dandelion Root(Taraxacum officinale)

    This list does not mean  to go out and buy all of these herbs and take them.  A skilled holistic practitioner will look at your constitution(body type) and blend together something that works best for your body.  OTC herbal supplements may help somewhat, but they are generally designed as kitchen sink remedies, where the company puts in anything that may influence the body towards better balance and that you will recognize one or more of the herbs and buy it.  I would not recommend buying premade formulas without having a skilled practitioner you trust decide if they are helpful.  Quality considerations are a big factor.  If you want herbs to work, get them from herbalists, not large herb companies that are now owned by pharmaceutical companies(surprise!).

    In general, drinking gentle, nutritive teas that are slightly astringent like
    Raspberry leaf(Rubus idaeus), 
    Lady’s Mantle herb(Alchemilla vulgaris)
    and Nettles Leaf(Urtica dioica)
    will most likely be beneficial in most situations for those that have fibroids.  Herbs that influence our hormones or shift our bodies to eliminate things better should be taken with care and other supervision so that changes in pathology can be monitored.   A general detoxification and liver herb that can be taken regularly to make sure you are eliminating estrogens and other things that can influence the growth of fibroids is
    Dandelion Root(Taraxacum officinale).  This can cause pretty sudden shifts in body chemistry, menstrual flow, and elimination so again please make sure and find a trusted herbal practitioner that can monitor you.

    Applying castor oil packs by rubbing castor oil onto the womb and covering with a hot towel covered by plastic wrap or wool to keep it warm for about 20 min 1-2 times a day is another general remedy you can do prior  or while eeing a practitioner.

    Cod Liver Oil:  Omega 3s are Anti-inflammatory and regulating to our bodies, therapeutic doses of these will most likely have beneficial effects for those with fibroids

    My experience:  I have worked with a few clients with fibroids and the greatest changes came from dietary shifts.   Herbs alone may help the body but unless the client in question makes major dietary, emotional work,  and lifestyle shifts, I have found it difficult to affect change and see them shrink.  I have found that in order for most major shifts to happen, the client MUST have regular check ins with a practitioner–like every 2 weeks so that they can be kept on track with diet and lifestyle and be held accountable at check ins.  Eliminating is harder than putting things into the mix.