Fibroids are benign growths in the uterus (womb) that are not cancerous but are made up of muscle tissue. Fibroids can be as small as a pea or can grow as large as a melon. It is estimated that 20-50% of women have, or will have, fibroids at some time in their lives. They are most common in women in their 30s and 40s.
Fibroids are named according to where in the uterus they grow
- Intramural fibroids – These grow in the wall of the womb and are the most common type of fibroid.
- Subserous fibroids – These fibroids grow from the outer layer of the womb wall and sometimes grow on stalks. They can grow to be very large.
- Submucous fibroids – Submucous fibroids develop in the muscle underneath the inner lining of the womb. They grow into the womb and can also grow on stalks which, if long enough, can hang through the cervix.
- Cervical fibroids – These fibroids grow in the wall of the cervix (neck of the womb) and are more difficult to remove.
If you have fibroids, you may have one or many. You may also have one type of fibroid or a number of different types.
It is estimated that 75% of women with fibroids do not have symptoms, therefore many women don’t know they have fibroids. Whether or not you have symptoms depends on the size of the fibroids and where they are in your womb.
The most common fibroids symptoms are:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Abdominal pain or pressure
- Pain during sex
- Changes in bladder habits – Frequency, urgency, difficulty urinating
- Changes in bowel habits – Constipation, haemorrhoids
Some women with fibroids also develop anaemia as a result of heavy menstrual bleeding. Anaemia can make you feel weak, dizzy and tired. If you suspect you are anaemic is important to have this confirmed via a simple Anaemia Blood Test.
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown, but there are a number of factors which are thought to contribute
High oestrogen levels – Fibroids seem to be influenced by high levels of the female hormone oestrogen. This would explain why they appear during a woman’s middle years (when oestrogen levels are high) and stop growing after the menopause (when oestrogen levels drop). Oestrogen levels can be monitored using a Comprehensive Female Health Test. This gives a picture of the balance between oestrogen and the other main female hormone progesterone. Once any imbalance have been identified, a nutritional therapist can put together a specific diet and supplement plan to help curb excess oestrogen and minimise fibroid enlargement. Complete Female Hormone Health Test.
Being overweight – Women who weigh over 70kg may be more likely to have fibroids. This is thought to be due to excess body weight raising the level of oestrogen in the body. Trimming down could help to reduce excess oestrogen, however, for safe and effective weight loss it is best to consult a qualified nutritional therapist who can support and motivate you through the process. For more information about Smart Nutrition Weight Loss Packages Click Here.
Poor diet – Research has shown that a diet high in saturated fats such as those from red meat combined with sugar and alcohol can predispose a woman to a greater risk of fibroids as these foods make it difficult for the body to regulate hormones properly. Conversely, certain fruits and vegetables may help the body regulate oestrogen levels and key nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and potassium can reduce painful cramps and bloating. To find out more about how diet can influence your fibroids then Book a Consultation.
Stress -Stress interferes with the balance of female hormones in the body. Leading a stressful lifestyle can exacerbate an imbalance between the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. If you think stress may be a contributing to your fibroids An Adrenal Stress Test can shed some light on this.
Sluggish liver – The liver regulates and removes excess oestrogen from the body. If the function of the liver is compromised then oestrogen levels can start to build up, feeding the growth of fibroids. One way to check your liver is working at its best is to have a liver test which measures how well your detoxification pathways are working. If your liver is found not to be functioning optimally Smart Nutrition will be able to suggest dietary changes and supplements to get things back on track.