Believe it or not, the majority of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lifetime. Crazy, right? But it’s true—a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 80%-90% of African American women and 70% of white women will develop fibroids by age 50. That means you or someone you love will almost certainly be affected by this condition. But chances are, you’re not sure what to do about it. The good news is that by understanding the issue, you can apply a few simple, natural protocols to effectively treat fibroids.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop in the wall of the uterus. They’re the most common non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. Fibroids can range in size from tiny (the size of a pea) to very large (the size of a melon). Symptoms can vary from none at all, to heavy or painful periods, bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse, lower back pain, frequent urination, and reproductive problems.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
According to Western medicine, no one knows for sure what causes fibroids to form. What we do know is that they seem to be affected by our hormones. Specifically, excess estrogen in the body seems to make them grow, and they will often decrease in size after menopause (when overall body estrogen is lower). So one of the ways to treat uterine fibroids naturally is to address estrogen excess—or estrogen dominance—in the body’s ecosystem.
Estrogen dominance occurs in the body when there is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone. This can happen as a result of the foods we eat, the beauty and body care products we use, stress, poor sleep, other environmental factors—or a combination of all of the above. It can be very hard to completely avoid estrogen excess because we’re surrounded by chemicals that disrupt hormonal harmony every day. Endocrine disruptors are in everything from our furniture to our nail polish and even household cleaning supplies.
Is Birth Control the Answer for Treating Fibroids?
At the doctor’s office, a diagnosis of uterine fibroids often means one thing: a prescription for the birth control pill. That’s because most doctors consider the pill to be a way to control the growth of fibroids as well as the symptoms you’re experiencing. But the problem is, this “treatment” doesn’t actually treat the root cause of uterine fibroids or address uterine health long-term. In fact, hormonal birth control comes with a slew of side effects that ultimately make hormonal imbalances worse.
The other option that doctors give women with fibroids is surgery—and most of us, quite rightly, want to avoid invasive procedures as much as possible, especially as the scar tissue that can develop from this surgery can complicate pregnancy.
But don’t despair: Despite what your doctor may have told you, medications and surgery are not your only options. You can use natural strategies to reduce the size of the fibroids you have now, prevent the growth of new fibroids, and reverse the problem.
The Best Natural Ways to Treat Uterine Fibroids
To treat fibroids and alleviate symptoms, the first step is to make food and lifestyle choices that support your body in processing and eliminating excess estrogen as efficiently as possible. Your goal is to bring estrogen levels back into balance with progesterone levels in your body.
You may have heard that women with fibroids should specifically avoid meat and dairy products from animals treated with synthetic hormones. This is because synthetic hormones are powerful estrogens that can create estrogen dominance and provoke fibroid growth. But, just as some foods are bad for fibroids, other foods are great for fixing and even shrinking fibroids. Fibroid-fighting foods help the body process and flush excess estrogen and boost progesterone—both of which can help slow (or stop!) the growth of fibroids.
Another piece of the fibroid puzzle is genetics. If you have fibroids, it’s likely your mom or sisters have this health issue, too. It’s also more likely that a daughter of yours will be at higher risk of developing fibroids in her teens and 20s. But you can stop this domino effect in its tracks by addressing the estrogen excess that is the source of the problem.
The 6 Simple Steps To Naturally Treat Fibroids
To heal fibroids, you need to address one of the underlying causes of the issue: estrogen dominance. That’s the best way to stay fibroid-free for the future. This natural healing isn’t complicated, but it requires several steps, including eating in a way that flushes estrogen, elevating your progesterone levels, eliminating sources of synthetic estrogen like pesticides, chemical-based beauty products and cosmetics, and conventional household cleaners from your life, and supporting your body’s natural detoxification and elimination systems. There are steps you can take to reduce and ultimately get rid of fibroids.
1. Take a supplement specifically designed to treat fibroids at the source.
The FLO Living RELEASE Kit offers targeted nutrients that help support healthy estrogen and metabolism for easier, healthier periods. Our custom supplement blend provides you with the best-known optimizers to clear out excess estrogen and support the liver through each detox phase. We made sure to include an ideal blend of natural and herbal support which includes DIM, Sulforaphane, NAC, and Calcium-D-Glucarate in one spot.
2. Eat to nourish your hormones.
Reduce your estrogen overload by changing your diet and daily routine—this is called Cycle Syncing®. It involves eating, working out, and living your best life in a cyclical manner that optimizes your healing and long-term success. When you eat in a hormonally supportive way, you incorporate specific foods each week of your cycle and change that selection of foods as you move through each different phase of your cycle. This cyclical approach supports optimal hormone balance and metabolism all month long.
3. Cut out chemicals.
Research suggests that endocrine-disrupting chemicals—like those found in everyday cleaning supplies, cosmetic and body care products, lawn treatment chemicals, upholstered furniture, vinyl products (like shower curtains), plastic food containers and plastic food wrap—are strongly linked to the development of uterine fibroids.
The list of things to avoid (the shower curtain?!) might feel long and overwhelming, but avoiding these chemicals is easy—and, in great news, many of the chemical-free options are less expensive than conventional options. For example, baking soda and vinegar for cleaning the house can be bought in bulk—and for pennies on the dollar compared to chemical cleaning agents. Similarly, opting to not treat your lawn with chemicals is free! If you use plastic food storage containers, you can replace them over time with glass and stainless steel options (which last a lifetime); same with a shower curtain made of healthier material.
4. Support your microbiome.
You’ve likely heard of the microbiome, or, the collection of bacteria that live in the gut. What’s less well known is that the microbiome contains a colony of bacteria that actually helps metabolize estrogen. This colony of bacteria is called the estrobolome, and when the microbiome is healthy, so is the estrobolome. But when the good and bad bugs in the microbiome are out of balance (gut dysbiosis), the estrobolome can’t do its job efficiently and estrogen builds up in the body.
In other words, gut dysbiosis can contribute to conditions related to estrogen dominance, including the development of fibroids. Ditching sugar, dairy, and gluten is the first step in healing the microbiome. (If you’re ready to give up those estrobolome-destroying foods, try our free 4-Day Detox.) The other key to building and maintaining a healthy microbiome is supplementing with a great probiotic.
What is the estrobolome? The estrobolome is a term used to describe the collection of microbes living in the human gut that are involved in estrogen metabolism. These microbes play a crucial role in regulating the levels and balance of estrogen in the body. The estrobolome helps to break down estrogen and convert it into less potent forms, which can be excreted from the body.
When the estrobolome is not functioning properly, it can lead to an imbalance in estrogen levels, which has been associated with several health conditions, including breast cancer, endometriosis, and obesity. Research into the estrobolome is ongoing, and it is believed that maintaining a healthy balance of gut microbes through a balanced diet and probiotic supplements may help to optimize estrogen metabolism and reduce the risk of these conditions.
5. Improve your liver function.
The estrobolome metabolizes used-up estrogen. Then the liver gets it ready for elimination. So if your liver is sluggish (just like if your microbiome is imbalanced), estrogen can build up in the body—and, once again, you’re facing estrogen dominance.
Food is powerful when it comes to liver health. The liver thrives when we eat specific liver-nourishing foods—and it suffers greatly when we eat high fructose-containing processed foods and when we drink caffeine. The liver uses an enzyme called CYP1A2 to break down caffeine—and how much or how little CYP1A2 you produce is genetic. If your genes enable you to make a lot of this enzyme, you’re better at processing caffeine. But you are probably in the minority! It’s estimated that only 10% of the population makes robust levels of CYP1A2.
And here’s where things get really interesting: CYP1A2 is also involved in the metabolism of estrogen. So if you struggle with fibroids, there’s reason to suspect you might not be making enough of this enzyme—which underscores why giving up caffeine is so important. You need all the CYP1A2 available to you to process estrogen. You don’t want to waste your precious stores of this enzyme on caffeine.
More good news about our RELEASE supplement kit? It provides you with the best-known optimizers to clear out excess estrogen and support the liver through each detox phase.
- Flax seeds are part of a food group called “selective estrogen receptor modulators” that inhibit estrogen sensitivity in the uterus, which is beneficial when you have fibroids. They are also a fantastic source of fiber, which you need to move excess estrogen out of your bowels as quickly as possible to eliminate it from your body. Finally, flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (which reduce the insulin resistance and inflammation that can suppress liver function) and lignans (which bind to estrogen receptors and prevent absorption of excess estrogen).
- Whole grains are the best substitute for white processed stuff like bread, pasta, and noodles, and will help with insulin stabilization. High insulin levels from white starchy food (which acts like sugar in the body) are a factor in making fibroids grow. Whole grains are also a great source of fiber and will help to speed up the process and elimination of excess estrogen.
- Soy isn’t my favorite food for women with hormonal issues, but in the case of fibroids, certain forms of soy can be beneficial. Specifically seek out non-processed, organic soy in the form of tempeh and miso to add to your diet. This kind of soy has an anti-estrogenic effect on the uterus. Avoid all processed soy like soy cheese, soy meat, and other meat and dairy replacements. Moderation is key here and I wouldn’t recommend having soy every day, but unprocessed and organic soy is a useful dietary tool for managing fibroids.
- Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein, plus they have a low glycemic impact for most women, which reduces the kind of inflammation that can increase fibroid growth. You should focus on kidney beans, lentils, and mung beans. Beans and legumes can be a healthy protein replacement if you’re working to reduce meat (which can also help heal fibroids).
- Pears and apples are liver-supporting foods that contain lots of fiber, along with a flavonoid named phloretin, which impairs tumor growth.