Fibroids can cause chronic pelvic pain and abnormal bleeding, leading to a reduced quality of life for many women. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous muscle tumors in the uterus. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with fibroids, you are probably beginning the journey to find the right treatment for your fibroids.
Medical Treatment for Fibroids
The treatment for fibroids depends on a few factors: the size of your fibroid, the placement of your fibroid and your desire for children in the future. There are non-invasive options to consider including medication therapy and hormonal management. For women with severe cases of fibroids, surgery may be the best option. Types of surgery for fibroids include uterine artery embolization (technically this is a procedure rather than surgery), myomectomy and hysterectomy.
Alternative Treatment for Fibroids
Many women living with fibroids have found that altering their diet has reduced their fibroid symptoms. While changing your diet isn’t likely to cure your uterine fibroids, research shows that it can reduce or limit fibroid growth, curbing the symptoms of the condition. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber and low in meat, dairy and other fats has been shown to alleviate some of the painful symptoms of fibroids.
Flax Seed in Your Fibroid Diet
Uterine fibroids are responsive to your hormones – as a result they may change with your menstrual cycle and shrink when you are pregnant. The hormones estradiol (a type of estrogen) and progesterone stimulate fibroid growth. Lignans are chemicals found in food like flax seed that can act as antiestrogens to reduce fibroid growth.
Plant lignans are compounds in plants like flax seeds, whole grains, berries, vegetables and fruits. Lignans are metabolized by the microflora in your intestines. Flax seed is rich in a lignan called SDG that is broken down in your intestines and liver. New research shows that dietary flax lignans can lower incidence of fibroids. A study from the American Society for Clinical Nutrition found an inverse association between lignans and uterine fibroid risk.
So if you are altering your diet in an attempt to reduce fibroid symptoms, adding flax seed for fibroids may be an easy way to get started. Top oatmeal, granola and other cereals with flax seed and fruit. You can add flax seed to baked goods like bread, brownies and even casseroles. As an added benefit, flax seed also has omega-3s that can work to improve your mood and have cardiovascular benefits.