In the weeks leading up to my first pregnancy scan, I was filled with so much anxiety and I felt terrible for it because ‘pregnancy is a blessing and you should be happy’. I’d been vomiting daily- full on projectile vomiting that felt as if my eyes would dislodge and my crippling fatigue made me worry that something was wrong. Also, not having been ill as a child or admitted into hospital as an adult had me overthinking worst case diagnoses for myself and my baby.
The day finally came.
I walked into the dark scan room and laid down on the bed with my head turned away from the screen. I was nervous.
The nurse applied the cold gel to my stomach and begun working the probe.
After some minutes she paused and said “You have fibroids”
News I hadn’t anticipated. Fibroids? This was something my mum and aunts had. Surely, at age 24 I was too young to have them.
Out flooded my pent-up emotions. The realisation my pregnancy may not be this smooth sailing journey I’d hoped for and the fear I might miscarry.
Growing up I envisioned the pregnancy of movies; a woman discovers she’s pregnant, she throws up on and off in the early stages, her day of delivery arrives, and she’s whisked off to a hospital where she is fussed over, propped up with pillows with a team of dutiful nurses at the ready to guide her through her painful and arduous labour; then boom, out shoots her healthy child. Perfect. No complications. Job done and ready to be chauffeured home.
A textbook pregnancy, except mine wasn’t so.
I went on to experience an excruciating 2 months of my fibroids degenerating ( I had about four, the largest the size of a grapefruit). That, along with fatigue, daily nausea and vomiting till the last day of pregnancy when my son was delivered by C-section; as the largest of my fibroids was close to my cervix and my son wasn’t in position for birth (uterine fibroids can prevent contractions, block the birth canal, or lead to a breech position).
On discovering I had fibroids I determined I would do whatever I could to prevent their growth and any possible fertility or health issues down the line.
In order to manage my fibroids, I needed knowledge. I ploughed the net for information on fibroids; how they could affect me and what could be done to get rid of them. I also read books on alternative healing and consulted with my herbalist friend.
Since I had conceived quickly and naturally and didn’t experience any noticeable symptoms associated with fibroids (heavy or painful periods, bleeding between periods, frequent need to urinate. constipation, abdominal pain or pressure, pain or discomfort during sex) I decided to go the natural route to deal with my fibroids.
Below I’m sharing some of the common remedies that are known to yield great results in the treatment of fibroids and the dietary and lifestyle changes I made to help prevent their growth.
Diet for fibroids
You can’t run away from the fact that a healthy diet will improve some if not all of the symptoms associated with fibroids and create an environment in which your body hopefully balances your hormones and shrinks existing fibroids without resorting to drugs or surgery. Surgery should be a last resort not the first option.
A lack of knowledge of something can scare the living day lights out of you. That was me the afternoon I found out I had fibroids. The best remedy for fear is to gain knowledge. The facts are, fibroids (also known as myomas or leiomyomas) are non-cancerous and most never cause any problems. They are called tumours because they are solid masses made up of muscle and fibrous tissue- they’re usually visible in or around the womb. All women of childbearing age are at risk of developing fibroids but black women tend to develop fibroids more than women of other races and are hit the hardest. While a family history increases your risk, the cause of fibroids is not known, but they seem to develop when estrogen levels are high. Fibroids tend to shrink when oestrogen levels are low, such as after the menopause when a woman’s monthly periods stop.
Coming from a position of awareness you can approach healing with optimism.
Foods I increased since finding out I had fibroids
After finding out I had fibroids, my Cameroonian mother advised me to limit my sugar intake and to drink bitter leaf juice. Wisdom of the elders shouldn’t be taken lightly, so I took her advise onboard. As I’ve never been big on sugary foods, I focussed on increasing my intake of green leafy vegetables like, bitter leaf, Ugu, eru and spinach. I also started including vegetables at every meal- fresh or cooked. Vegetables I typically eat include Bell peppers, courgettes, broccoli, lettuce, bok chuy, mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers.
While I enjoy refined carbs such as white rice and occasionally spaghetti, I maintain a healthy balance by eating more complex carbs such as, yams, plantains, sweet potatoes, Nigerian honey beans, black eyed beans, lentils, chick peas, beetroot to name a few. For a more comprehensive diet cheat sheet and 4 week meal plan that’ll stop your uterine fibroid related symptoms and help you control your weight along the way click here
View this post on Instagram
A nutritious diet helps the body eliminate the accretion of toxins and balance the hormones estrogen, progesterone and other hormones that make the body prone to fibroids.
Foods I limited
- Sugary foods- sugar, cakes, sweets, store bought fruit juices, fizzy drinks
- Fatty foods- fast food, fried foods, pastries
- Salt and cube seasoning in my cooking- I use a lot of fresh herbs, seasoning and dried spices
- Refined and processed foods- white rice, pasta, spaghetti; white bread
- Dairy- This is quite easy for me as I never grew up drinking milk, yoghurt or consuming cheese so I never developed an affinity for these foods; and all well and good as dairy isn’t as healthy as we’re made to believe.
Herbal Teas for fibroids
On most days I drink any one of the following teas namely for their benefits in womb health and curative properties that help the body eliminate toxins.
- Red raspberry leaf tea
- Green tea
- Apple cider (Apple cider, molasses and honey in hot water)
- Turmeric tea
- Ginger tea
There’s no replacement for water. If you cannot get your hands on any of these teas, drink water! I prefer sipping on hot water. Water helps the body flush toxins out of the lymphatic system.
Firstly, before taking any supplements, it’s important to find out if you are deficient and if needed, consult with your health professional to get the right dosing. Secondly, when it comes to nutritional supplements, price isn’t always an indicator of quality. Always read the label and do your research. Lastly, as the name suggests, food supplements are only intended to ‘supplement’ your diet and not replace healthy foods.
Supplements I take that are known to create a better hormone balance and may also help to maintain or shrink your fibroid size: Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, Magnesium, Selenium, zinc, iron.
Herbal remedies that are commonly used for the treatment/management of fibroids:
- Milk thistle
- Agnus Castus
(White, L., Foster, S. and Health, T., 2003. The Herbal Drugstore. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.)
Castor oil pack
Our lymphatic system defends our body against infections. When our lymphatic system is not working effectively, our immune system is compromised, and waste and toxins can build up ultimately leading to inflammation and disease.
Castor oil penetrates the deep layers of the skin than most oils. When applied topically to the abdomen with a heat source, the castor oil absorbs deeper. The castor oil increases lymphocyte production and increases the circulation of the lymphatic system which helps in the process of detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system and improving overall health.
To make a pack:
- Soak a clean cloth in the castor oil,
- Place it on the abdomen or on any painful areas.
- Cover the cloth with cling film, then another clean cloth.
- Finally, apply a heat source- a hot water bottle, a heating pad
- Leave on for about an hour
Women who have turned to natural remedies in the treatment of their fibroids swear by this remedy.
There’s no argument that exercise helps our bodies heal more easily. One of the reason is exercise activates our lymphatic system to help it flow more effectively. A healthy lymphatic system helps the body heal faster as the vital organs involved in detox are working more efficiently. You can see how eating healthy, together with regular exercise supports the body to heal and repair. The type of exercise you choose to do is not nearly as important as how regularly you engage with it.
Exercise is not an option when it comes to keeping our bodies in tip top shape and this includes our mental well-being. Stress causes disease and can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Sweating it out stimulates the body’s production of feel good hormones known as endorphins. Exercise is the gift that keeps giving!
View this post on Instagram
Last and certainly not the least is prayer. Excuse me while I testify. I remember the days I prayed for healing (chronic anaemia and hyperthyroidism) and woke up one day feeling at peace in my body and couldn’t pinpoint when and how it’d happened. More energy, no brain fog or irritability- literally all symptoms of hyperthyroidism gone. God brought divine order to my body and I felt it. Through prayer I’ve stumbled on knowledge I would have otherwise not known, received free professional guidance at the most unexpected time, the wherewithal for treatments and resources and most especially the faith needed to keep believing and waiting. Never doubt the power of prayer and God’s infinite ability to bless you with health and strength to overcome whatever pain or struggle you might be facing.
It’s been 11 years since I found out I had fibroids. I don’t suffer from any fibroid related symptoms and at the last scan with my 5th child (2020), I was told my fibroids have calcified. I know first-hand that fibroids may disrupt your life, but you can take back power by addressing the fibroids before they create havoc in your life.
Women have gotten good results in the treatment of their fibroids with natural remedies and really cleaning up their diets. No two women are the same and your circumstance might be different. Even if surgery is found to be the best course of action for you, following a healthy protocol may prevent them from coming back.
To you reading this, I wish you health, wealth and happiness.