Uterine Fibroids: Are they Avoidable?
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are tumors composed of smooth muscle tissue that are inside a female’s uterus. The symptoms that women experience from their uterine fibroids include:
• Frequent urination
• Heavy menstrual periods
• Painful cramping
• Back pain
• Difficulties getting pregnant
Between 20 and 80 percent of women 50 or younger have one or more fibroid tumors, and in some cases, they are unaware of having the problem until a thorough internal examination or medical imaging. Women having fertility issues or experiencing painful periods visit a gynecologist to learn more about the problem. For some women, the pain and side effects from uterine fibroids is severe enough that they need a hysterectomy.
Treatments for Fibroids
Fortunately, physicians are learning more about the causes of uterine fibroids and have developed new treatments. Women with minor pain from this condition can take over-the-counter analgesics or apply heating pads to their abdomen to relieve discomfort. If a woman develops anemia due to heavy bleeding, then she can take iron supplements to improve her health. A few physicians prescribe hormones to reduce the size of fibroids, but these often lead to side effects. Cancerous uterine fibroids are a rare occurrence, and today, the most common treatment for large or numerous growths is uterine artery embolization.
Uterine Artery Embolization
Researchers know that fibroids are more common in overweight females and are probably due to the increase of progesterone and estrogen. Genetics is also responsible for women developing uterine fibroids, and geneticists have already found one chromosome that is responsible for the condition. Physicians classify these growths according to the position of the fibroid. Depending on the severity of the condition, a physician might perform a uterine artery embolization procedure that is designed to stop the blood supply to the growths. A catheter is inserted by a surgeon into the blood vessels to inject particles that will block blood flow to a fibroid. After this procedure, a growth will shrink gradually, leading to less discomfort and side effects. A surgeon can also surgically remove one or more uterine fibroids rather than performing a hysterectomy.
Diet, Vitamins and Herbs
To avoid developing uterine fibroids or having the condition get worse, physicians advise women to lose weight with a proper diet and frequent exercise. Excess fat increases estrogen levels in a female’s body, leading to a higher incidence of uterine fibroids. Diet recommendations include restricting:
• Red meat
Adding dietary supplements such as vitamin D, C and B is also helpful to reduce the chances of developing uterine fibroids. Herbalists recommend natural treatments with liver detoxification from dandelion root, drops of milk thistle under the tongue or applying castor oil packs to the abdomen.