Gail: Foods which contribute most significantly to fibroid growth are things that are carbonated (even water); processed and preserved foods, especially nitrites; and caffeine. Coffee will also increase the bleeding within five minutes of drinking it. Decaf isn't much better.
Carol: Reducing estrogen levels in the body means avoiding foods that have an estrogenic effect such as dairy products, red meats, and for some women, soy foods. Other substances such as alcohol, caffeine, saturated fats, white sugar and tobacco should also be avoided because of their ability to prevent the liver from efficiently processing estrogen and progesterone out of the body, which then allows these hormones to actually feed the fibroids.
Gail: In addition, supplementing with flax oil, bioflavonoids, fiber, vitamin C and the B vitamins will help curb bleeding tendencies and promote healthy ovulation. "American women have more female health issues than women in other cultures who eat 'closer to the earth'," says Susan Lark, MD. "Women eating a diet that is centered on legumes, seeds and grains have lower circulating estrogen levels, and therefore less problems."
Jamie: Also highly recommended is a diet including lots of soy. Can work to reduce and even eliminate fibroids. Topic at last week's women's meeting. Her doctor, a woman, was recommending hysterectomy, and only when asked specifically if anything else would be helpful did she mention the soy connection. Asian women following traditional tofu-rich diet having very few fibroid complications, and so forth.
Carol: Wow -- I have always thought exactly the opposite... but I guess it depends--in some women soy phytoestrogens will actually exert their own estrogenic effect and help to feed the fibroid. Here are some dietary recommendations:

Pelvic Surgery or Trauma

Supracervical hysterectomy versus total abdominal hysterectomy: perceived effects on sexual function.

Visual Aid:

Really nice article with plentiful resources; actually mentions the fact that an ovariohysterectomy is castration:

Embolization -- Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Endometrial Ablation -- removal of the lining of the uterus. Not totally innocuous, still likely to render you unable to have children. Done vaginally as an outpatient procedure, 15 to 45 minutes.

See Andriana Holman's article on fibroids, included in Options to Hysterectomy, July 2003 issue of PlanetWaves.

Short article from Susun Weed (herbalist, author of the Wise Woman books) including one on menopause and women's health):

The Fibroid Tumor

Fibroid Tumors and Endometriosis, Susan Lark, MD, Celestial Arts, 1995.

National Uterine Fibroid Foundation

Centre for Uterine Fibroids: Basic Anatomy and Physiology of the Uterus



American Aids Magazine, May 2003, Volume 12, Number 5, Art and Understanding Inc.

This is excellent for its take-a-deep-breath-and-get-some-perspective quality, which can be an absolutely vital tonic to the panic induced by the extreme recommendations of the allopathic medical community. It also references a couple of books:

HIV PLUS Magazine, May 2003, Volume 6, Number 3, LPI Media

HIV PLUS Magazine, July 2003, Volume 6, Number 4, LPI Media

Psychospiritual Aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Francesca Diebschlag

TCM Extraordinary Yang Organs
Traditional Chinese Medicine

"The Pain-Less" Hysterectomy

The function of the womb in shamanic dreaming:
The Ixtlan Mailing List

The difference between male and female sorcerers in the lineage of the old Nagual is the simplest thing in the world.

Anatomy of the Spirit, Caroline Myss, Bantam Books.

Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology, Roger Morrison, MD, 1998.

Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints, Robert H. Seller, MD, 1996.

Homeopathic Medical Repertory, Robin Murphy, ND, 1996.

Sheila Kitzinger has written about 20 books on women's issues, specifically sexuality, pregnancy, birth and the postpartum.

Lotus Materia Medica, Robin Murphy, ND, 1995.

The Manual of Conventional Medicine for Alternative Practitioners, Stephen Gasgoingne, MB, ChB, CAc, Dip. CHM, 1994.

The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Merck Research Laboratories, 1997.

Misinformed Consent: Women's Stories About Unnecessary Hysterectomy, by Lise Cloutier-Steele

NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way: Alternative Approaches for Women 30 -- 90, Susun S. Weed's women's health/menopause book in which she writes about fibroids, among many other things.

Perimenopause, Changes In Womenís Health After 35, James E. Houston, MD and L. Darlene Danka, MD, Second Edition, New Harbinger Publishers, 2001.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch CNC, James F. Balch, MD, 2000.

Prisma, The Arcana of Materia Medica Illuminated, Frans Vermeulen, 2002.

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, Volume II, Guild Publishing.

The Unofficial Guide to Womenís Health, Carol A. Turkington with Susan J. Probst MD, IDG Books Worldwide, 2000.

Marsden Wagner is another good reference for these kinds of things. He in an MD (perinatologist) who was for quite a while the director of women's health at WHO and is an expert witness frequently called to address the issues regarding quality of care, practice standards, and evidence based practice vs. the "community standard of care".

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, John R. Lee MD with Virginia Hopkins, Warner Books, 1996.

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Christiane Northrup, MD.

This website is a huge resource for medical info on hysterectomy alternatives:

Overview of AIS

Harvard University, Women Studies Department

Hers Foundation

The Womanís Health Institute

Online Etymology Dictionary:

Gail: I'll tell you now that an herbal approach using equal parts of trillium and shepherds purse tincture will stop fibroid bleeding about 90% of the time in one-two doses.

Lise: Herbs that are recommended for fibroid treatment and might be worth further research: Sargassum seaweed, vitex, and ginseng.

Also, warm to very warm oat baths are great for anyone, anytime, but also help reduce abdominal pain (soothing, mucilaginous). I use quick oats, bought in bulk in the whole food store. Just put a half cup to a cup in a cheese cloth bag and let it do its milky magic in your bath water. (Other benefits: softens winter dry skin, relaxes your whole body and makes you sleep well).

Gail: The herbal iron supplement I'd recommend is called Floradix. If the woman is seriously anemic however, she probably needs more than herbs. Most drug-store prescription iron is constipating and not very absorbable. A good one to try instead, if you can get it, is Ferrasorb by Thorne. A therapeutic dose of iron will make your stool black.

See Andie Holman's article on fibroids, included in You Have Options
July 2003 issue of PlanetWaves.

Gail: Using ferrum phos, 6X-30C on a daily basis will help the absorption of any iron the woman is taking. Check to see if it would be counter to a constitutional.

Gail: I had a case of a serious postpartum hemorrhage once where the woman did not respond to IV therapy or any drug I gave her, and just as I was getting ready to call an ambulance to transport her I gave her a dose of Sabina and her bleeding was stopped within two minutes.

Misinformed Consent: Women's Stories About Unnecessary Hysterectomy, Lise Cloutier-Steele, $16.95.

This website is a huge resource for medical info on hysterectomy alternatives:

Nerve Sparing Hysterectomy

Comparison of classic intrafascial supracervical hysterectomy with total
laparoscopic and laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy.
J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc 1998 Aug;5(3):253-60 (ISSN: 1074-3804) Kim DH; Bae DH; Hur M; Kim SH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chung-Ang University, Pil-Dong Hospital, 82-1, 2Ga, Pil-Dong, Chung-Gu, Seoul, Korea

Laparoscopic hysterectomy. Supracervical vs. assisted vaginal.
J Reprod Med 1994 Aug;39(8):625-30 (ISSN: 0024-7758) Schwartz RO Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Georgia, Atlanta

Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy.
Baillieres Clin Obstet Gynaecol 1997 Mar;11(1):167-79 (ISSN: 0950-3552) Lyons TL Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory University Medical School, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Somewhere that does laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy and Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which is an alternative to hysterectomy for fibroids in some cases.

Myomectomy -- surgical removal of individual fibroid leaving uterus intact; fibroids can grow back.

Details of myomectomy here

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Christiane Northrup, MD, p. 194.

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Space graphic above from the Rosette Nebula in Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfur.
Credit: T. A. Rector, B. Wolpa, M. Hanna.