Fibroids and Peri-Menopause

hormone Sep 03, 2020

Fibroids are common in peri-menopause, it’s estimated up to 80% of all women transiting into menopause have them. The good news is that if you survive through to post-menopause they tend to shrink and self resolve.  But surviving through to post-menopause can be a challenge for some.

Most women with fibroids have seriously heavy periods. Flooding is a term they often use to describe their flow.

Anemia is often seen alongside fibroids due to the high amount of blood lost.

Other signs of fibroids can include:

  • abdominal pain
  • feeling bloated or full
  • pain during intercourse
  • infertility
  • lower back pain
  • frequent urination
  • rectal pain

So what are fibroids? They are benign muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. They are also called leiomyoma or myoma for short. They can grow in isolation or in clusters.

Fibroids are most commonly seen in peri-menopausal women. This is because in peri-menopause your progesterone levels start to drop first. It’s not necessarily a time of high estrogen but it’s a time of relative estrogen dominance due to lower progesterone levels. Think of progesterone as the supervisor, it keeps estrogen in check, and when there's not enough, estrogen runs amuck. Estrogen is a growth hormone, when it’s the dominant hormone it likes to grow cells. Its also linked with other reproductive growths such as cyst, polyps, and endometriosis.

Other risk factors for fibroid growth include genetics - if your mother had a fibroid you are 3 times more likely to develop one, if you are overweight your risk also increases 3 fold.

If you have fibroids you have treatment options.  You don’t need to wait it out and hope for a quick transition. The most invasive option is surgery. If this is something you are thinking about I recommend you get a second opinion and if you choose to move forward please reach out. I have a strong interest in helping women best prepare for a medical menopause. The more prepared you are the easier the surgery and subsequent recovery will be.

Other options include having a Mirena IUD inserted, using anti-hormone medication to put you into an early medicinal menopause or my preferred option is to start with the least invasive/ most natural option first. This is where I come in. Naturopathic treatment for fibroids can be very effective. Ideally, see if you can give yourself 3 months to see a positive result before moving to a more invasive approach.

Here are a few areas I focus on for women with fibroids.

  1. Better hormone balance. I want to increase estrogen metabolism and clearance. Optimise progesterone and SBHG production. A few key nutrients I use include: I3C, DIM, Calcium d- glucuronate, zinc, flaxseeds.
  2. Optimising your digestive function and health of your estrobolome. Estrobolome is a collection of digestive microbes that regulate the circulation and excretion of estrogen. They do this by producing beta-glucuronidase. You can test your glucuronidase levels in a GI map stool test. Healthy digestive function also requires lots of fibre, fresh fruit, vegetables, salads, and flaxseeds! I like flaxseeds as they are a fibre and a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogen-like substances that are similar in structure to estrogen and can weakly bind onto estrogen receptors and this effectively reduces the number of available receptors.
  3. Reduce your menstrual flow. Key herbs to reduce heavy periods are called uterine astringents. You will need to see a naturopath or a medical herbalist to prescribe you a formula. Common herbs I like to include are yarrow, lady’s mantle, shepherd’s purse, or squaw vine.
  4. Look at key blood-building nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, vitamin B12
  5. Address and reduce inflammatory markers. Pain is a key sign that inflammation is present. Dietary changes are needed. One of the most inflammatory foods is SUGAR! You need to move away from a processed diet and towards an anti-inflammatory real food diet.
  6. Assess for environmental toxicity. consider reading this article. Xenoestrogens

 

Whether you are interested in starting a natural treatment program for your fibroids or looking for assistance in preparing for a medical menopause, I'm here for you. To get started book a discovery call so we discuss your health and see if we are the right fit to work together. Book a discovery call with Naturopath Jennifer Harrington.

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