How to Treat Fibroids Naturally

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An estimated 20,000 hysterectomies are performed on Canadian women every year to treat fibroids.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that are attached to the inside or outside of the uterine wall. They cause heavy bleeding, pain or pressure for many women. A large fibroid pressing on the bladder can cause urinary frequency. Many women also experience a sense of fullness in the rectum, lower back or abdomen.

Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause; however, fibroids will grow larger in women who are taking estrogen, since they depend on estrogen for their growth. Small fibroids that cause no symptoms can be left alone. However, many women opt to have them removed surgically, leaving the uterus intact. (See Herizons Winter 2001: "Five Dangerous Myths about Hysterectomy" by Carolyn DeMarco.)

Fibroids that are less than an inch in diameter or have a stalk, or protrude into the uterine cavity can be removed through a hysteroscope-a small, lighted instrument (scope) inserted into the uterus. Fibroids between one and two inches in diameter can be removed the same way after they are shrunk using medication. Fibroids larger than two inches in diameter can be reduced in size using drug therapy, and then removed.

Fibroids that are larger than the size of a grapefruit and cause pressure symptoms or severe bleeding can be removed through myomectomy, the removal of the fibroid with preservation of the uterus.

However, surgery is not the only way to reduce the discomfort of fibroids. Small and sometimes even large fibroids may be treated naturally. Natural treatments seek to address the cause of the fibroids. Usually the supervision of a skilled professional such as a naturopathic physician or chiropractor is necessary to co-ordinate a multi-pronged approach.

The aim of natural treatments is to decrease estrogen in the body. Extra estrogen can come from many sources including a diet high in animal fat, as well as through pesticides and other chemicals that mimic the action of estrogen in the body. Extra estrogen can also be present when a woman has a low functioning liver, nutritional deficiencies or bowel problems.

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Here are five treatments that I have recommended to women that have achieved favourable results:

1. Switch to a low-fat, high-fibre diet to decrease the symptoms of pain and bleeding of fibroids.

Many of the chemicals that mimic the action of estrogens in the body are concentrated in the fat of meat and dairy products. Be sure to add flaxseed oil, fish oils and lots of vegetables, especially the brassica group (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) to your diet too.

2. Apply hot castor oil packs to the abdomen three to five times a week.

These packs improve elimination, reduce inflammation and draw toxins out of the body. …