Fibroids are the most common benign tumour and gynaecological disorder that affect us women, and the risk of developing fibroids increases in perimenopause because of the hormonal changes.
This hormone imbalance may be a progesterone issue rather than just an oestrogen issue, which is the most common line of thought. The risk of developing a fibroid is 1 in 3 women aged 30-50 years old (NHS) but some statistics put this as high as 70% in women over the age of 40.
You may not know you have a fibroid as they often cause no symptoms and are not easily undetected in a physical examination. An ultrasound is required for confirmation of fibroids being present. However, depending on where your fibroid (or fibroids – you can have more than one!) are located, and the size of them can then also determine symptoms such as:
Heavy or prolonged bleeding
Pain or pressure, especially in the pelvic region
Bladder issues such as frequent urination or difficulty emptying the bladder
The are four different types of fibroids:
intramural– the most common type of fibroid, which develop in the muscle wall of the womb
subserosal– fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb into the pelvis
submucosal– fibroids that develop in the muscle layer beneath the womb's inner lining and grow into the cavity of the womb
pendunculated – fibroids that grown on a long stalk
Source: Midwest Institute for NonSurgical Therapy
If a fibroid (or fibroids) is diagnosed the actions could be:
To do nothing if it asymptomatic for it may disappear over time, particularly over menopause
Medications to help with the symptoms of fibroids such as the uterine coil or the contraceptive pill
To remove it surgically. The type of surgery will depend on the size and location of the fibroids.
A hysterectomy which is often recommended in menopause and if the fibroids are large in size
You should always consult with your GP if you suspect or have a fibroid to discuss the options that are right for you.
BUT, also consider the question:
“Why have I got fibroids in the first place?”
As a functional medicine nutritionist we always talk about lifestyle interventions first. So when we are talking about fibroids, we go back to the imbalances that may be contributing to the growth of a fibroid in the first place:
Increased adipose tissue
Impaired hormone clearance
Poor gut health
Hormone imbalance including stress and cortisol
So the diet and lifestyle interventions that should be considered for every woman who has a fibroid include:
Hormone balancing – using functional testing and diet and lifestyle interventions you can balance your hormones
Improved detoxification – liver health and gut health are vital!
Gut health – you do not want to be constipated as this exacerbates hormone imbalance!
Balanced blood sugars – get those insulin levels under control
The right exercise (us women need to build muscle as we age!)
Nutrition – works on all of these parts, and there are some key foods that help support hormones
Weight – reducing adipose tissue
So if you have a fibroid or you have had a fibroid removed, it is still important to get your hormone balance in check to ensure that:
They don’t get bigger
That you don’t get more than one
They don’t come back if you have had them removed
There is so much that can be done to prevent them in the first place as well as stop them growing or multiplying.
If you want to know more about fibroid interventions then book a discovery call now to find out more.