By Michelle Mitchum, MPH HHP
Do you, or someone you know, suffer from fibroids?
As many as three out of four women have fibroids. Some are painful, while some are not. Fibroids can be a pain in the “you know what” because they can make your monthly flow unnecessarily heavy and painful. They can grow to obnoxious sizes, causing some women to appear 3-9 months pregnant. However, most importantly, a fibroid can complicate fertility. Yeah, it is a pretty pesky problem to have.
What is a fibroid…really? Well, a fibroid is a lump or growth in the uterus that is not cancerous, and can be as small as a pea, or as large as a basketball, or any size in between. If not discovered and treated early in its development, it can grow and cause major reproductive complications. The treatments for managing fibroids can include removal of a woman’s ovaries or uterus, key reproductive organs.
Fibroids are more common in African American women than in women of other racial groups. Studies show that fibroids are three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women, and tend to be larger and occur at an earlier age in African Americans.
While it is unclear to many medical professionals what causes fibroids, and why they occur more frequently in African American women, research has shown that diets laden with hormone-infused meats and processed foods are major contributors. This would validate why there is increased incidence of fibroids in the African American community, as statistics support that African Americans have diets that are high in processed foods and sugar.
To limit your chances of developing fibroids, do not feed your body foods that will cause them to grow. I have listed some foods to avoid.
White Foods and Sugar: Lower the amount of “white” foods (pasta, white bread, white rice, white sugar) you consume. According to Dr. Christine Northrup, a pioneer and visionary in the field of women’s health, these foods alter estrogen metabolism and can cause fibroids to grow larger. Sugar promotes increased insulin and estrogen levels and the increased estrogen feeds the fibroid tumor. This can lead to severe bleeding, pain, fatigue and other symptoms.
Meat and Poultry: Red meat and poultry are not recommended for women with fibroids. These foods are likely to be high in added hormones, including estrogen. Consider nuts, leafy green vegetables, broccoli and beans for added protein in your diet.
Saturated Fats: Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats. Examples are bacon, sausage, egg yolks, cookies and pastries. These fats can raise estrogen levels which cause fibroids to grow larger.
There are foods and herbs that can balance a woman’s hormones naturally, decreasing her susceptibility of developing fibroids. Two examples are to include in the diet are:
Flax Seed: Most women can benefit from taking phytoestrogens-plant-based hormones found in flaxseed. Studies show that eating soy and flax helps the body produce smaller amounts of unhealthy estrogens. Flaxseed is high in both fiber and omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation and tumor growth throughout the body and rid the body of toxins, including excess estrogen.
Herbs: Chasteberry, Dong Quai, and Black Cohosh herbs have been used for centuries for various gynecological conditions.
There are many ways to prevent and treat fibroids naturally. However, please consult with a professional before you begin any form of treatment.
Michelle Mitchum MPH, HHP, is a graduate of Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD) and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, (New York, NY). She has a successful history in the healing sciences. She has been featured on Fox Business News, Essence Magazine and is a contributing writer to Heart and Soul Magazine as well as other notable publications. In 2013 Michelle founded The OrangeMoon Holistic Health and Wellness to empower people to make intelligent and informed decisions about their health and to introduce and educate clients on holistic lifestyle alternatives.