Fibroid cysts, or uterine fibroids, are also called myomas, leiomyomas or fibroid tumors. Fibroids most commonly occur in women over 40 and, although they can become quite large, up to 80 percent of fibroids are about the size of a walnut. A fibroid tumor is generally not cancerous and less than 0.1 percent are malignant. Hormones, especially estrogens, can promote fibroid growth but the cause of fibroids is unclear. A uterine fibroid can cause symptoms such as low back pain, a heavy sensation in the lower abdomen, painful intercourse, bowel difficulties, urinary incontinence and severe menstrual bleeding or pain. Certain home remedies may help reduce symptoms, although there is insufficient evidence to support these claims, according to the Menopause Metamorphosis website. Please consult with your physician prior to using home remedies for fibroids.
Castor Oil Packs
According to Randine Lewis, Ph.D., a Chinese medicine women's health expert, castor oil packs may help to reduce uterine fibroids. These packs can help improve your lymphatic system, stimulate blood circulation and balance your hormones. You can warm a small amount of castor oil and apply it to your lower abdomen. Cover the area with plastic wrap and top with a heating pad or hot water bottle for 30 to 60 minutes, two or three times daily. Dr. Lewis recommends using castor oil packs during the premenstrual and menstrual phase of your cycle. Do not use castor oil packs during pregnancy.
According to Sherrill Sellman, naturopathic physician, try to avoid foods that promote excessive estrogen production, such as non-organic foods, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, refined carbohydrates and soy products. Cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carbinole, which helps your liver to effectively metabolize excessive hormones. Incorporate more broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage into your diet.
Since fibroids may increase with excess estrogen, herbs that help your liver metabolize hormones, such as dandelion, milk thistle or yellow dock, may help to reduce your fibroids. According to Susun Weed, author and women's health herbalist, vitex may help shrink your fibroids within two months. Poke root is another herb that may help to reduce pain and other uncomfortable fibroid symptoms. Consult with your health care provider or a certified herbalist prior to using herbs for fibroids.
Dr. Sellman recommends taking a vitamin B-complex, which may help your liver break down estrogen. Vitamin E can also help to normalize your estrogen levels and regulate excessive bleeding. If you have sluggish bowel movements you can increase your fiber intake to help to reduce the amount of estrogen that might be re-absorbed in your intestines. Furthermore, taking a systemic enzyme may help to dissolve the hard, fibrotic material of the cysts.
- Menopause Metamorphosis: Help for Women With Fibroids
- "Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition:" Sherrill Sellman, ND; 2004
- Acufinder: Treatment of Endometriosis and Fibroids with Acupuncture
Lindsay Staker is an Oriental medicine practitioner who specializes in treating infertility, women's health and pregnancy. She utilizes more than 15 years experience in the healthcare field including background as a midwife and has a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.