Not all women with fibroids will experience fertility issues in fact some may not experience any symptoms at all and go on to have healthy pregnancies. However even if fibroids are small and symptom free, steps should be taken to prevent further growth and reduce risk of new fibroid formation.
- This drug helps to reduce the size of the fibroid and is often prescribed prior to surgery. This should not be taken if trying to conceive as it can cause serious harm to an unborn baby.
- GnRH agonists
- These drugs commence a medical induced menopause and are therefore also not suitable if wanting to conceive
Surgery is one of the only medical options available and the above drugs are generally only prescribed prior to surgery.
- The aim of a myomectomy is to remove existing fibroids. However it won’t stop new fibroids growing back. This is the only surgical option for women still wanting to conceive.
- Uterine fibroid embolization
- This procedure helps to shrink or completely destroy existing fibroids however it can throw the body into early menopause and cause infertility. Therefore this is not a suitable option for those wanting to conceive
- Hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus. For obvious reasons, this is not an option for women wishing to conceive.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
- Ginger is excellent for supporting circulation to the uterus as well as reducing inflammation. It’s also a great anti-nausea for morning sickness in the early stages of pregnancy
- Recommended dose – 500 – 1000mg per day or fresh ginger can be grated and used to make herbal tea.
- Raspberry leaf
- Raspberry leaf helps to tone the uterine muscles as well as helping to normalise menstrual blood flow. It also possesses astringent properties, which can be beneficial for supporting the contraction of fibroids and reducing excessive bleeding.
- Recommended dose – 400 – 800mg 3 x per day or 2 – 4 cups of raspberry leaf tea per day
- Milk thistle
- Milk thistle is a gentle liver tonic to support clearance of excess estrogen. It also provide mild anti-inflammatory action
- Recommended dose – 10,000 – 15,000mg 2-3 times per day
- Iron deficiency is relatively common in women with fibroids due to the regular heavy bleeding. Ensure a healthy intake of iron rich foods and have your iron levels checked by your Health Care Professional to see if supplementation is required
- Recommended supplemental dose – 5 – 24mg per day (do not exceed the Upper Safe Limit of 45mg per day unless under medical supervision)
- Food sources – Oysters, beef, turkey, chicken, pork, fish, soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, spinach, tofu
Diet should focus on
- Whole foods
- Focus on vegetables and vegetable based protein sources
- Limit red meat, which can exacerbate inflammation and focus on white meat or vegetarian iron sources
- Increase fibre to support estrogen clearance eg.
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Chia seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Wholegrains such as brown rice, spelt, millet, oats, rye, barley and buckwheat
Some foods may contribute to estrogen excess, so you should avoid
- Processed, refined white grains
- Processed/junk foods
- Saturated/trans fats
The Fertility Diet encompasses these elements to support fertility in women with fibroids.
Exercise helps to stimulate healthy circulation to prevent stagnation and help alleviate congestion, which may be present around the fibroids. Aim to exercise for around 30 minutes 5 times per week. Particularly core exercises focusing on the uterine region can be beneficial, for example belly dancing, Pilates and yoga or even grab yourself an old fashioned hula hoop!