Alternative treatments for fibroids include herbal treatments, homeopathic treatments, and oral therapy. Uterine fibroids are benign growths that adhere to the uterine wall. The size of a fibroid can range from the size of a dime to that of a grapefruit. Symptoms are typically vague until the fibroid encroaches on other organs or begins to bleed. These growths are very common and depend on the hormone estrogen to grow.
Popular alternative treatments for fibroids include eating foods high in the a compound called Indole-3-carbinol. This substance is derived from cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Although eating foods high in Indole-3-carbinol, has been shown to deactivate estradiol and shrink fibroids, taking the compound in supplement form has not been proven to be beneficial. Discussing dietary alterations with a physician is recommended before any changes are made.
Herbal medicines and treatments are also used as alternative treatments for fibroids. These treatments include drinking tinctures or teas containing red clover, black cohosh, wormwood, and evening primrose. Although herbal treatments may not cure and eliminate fibroids, they may help control or manage them. As with other alternative treatments, talking to a health care provider before beginning treatment is prudent to make sure the treatments are considered safe.
Homeopathic treatments are also being investigated as alternative treatments for fibroids. Although this method of treatment, which includes Chinese medicine, may be effective in reducing the size of the fibroid, consulting with an experienced medical practitioner is necessary to determine the efficacy and safety of these alternative treatments for fibroids.
Not all uterine fibroids produce symptoms. If, however, they become large, they can cause pelvic and back pain, urinary frequency, and heavy menstrual periods. In addition, fibroids may contribute to infertility and spotting between periods. Conventional treatments for fibroids include birth control pills and various surgical interventions. In severe cases, where symptoms cannot be relieved by other means, hysterectomy may be recommended.
Conventional and alternative treatments for fibroids may be beneficial in relieving symptoms, however, as women get older and estrogen decreases, fibroids typically shrink dramatically. Many women report their uterine fibroids almost completely resolve when menopause is reached. This is because as women age, circulating estrogen decreases, causing fibroids to shrink.
When women have symptoms of excessive bleeding during menstruation, prolonged menstrual periods, pelvic pain, or bloating, they should not assume their symptoms are related to fibroids. Other medical conditions can mimic uterine fibroid symptoms and need to be ruled out before a definitive diagnoses can be made.