UTERINE FIBROIDS:

Uterine fibroids are tumors that are not cancerous that grow on or in the muscles of the uterus. Fibroids can range from the size of a walnut to the size of a cantaloupe or even larger. Fibroids can appear as a single large tumor or as a cluster of small ones.

Fibroids are the number one reason American women have hysterectomies. Between two and four women out of every 10 who are 35 years old or older have fibroid tumors. African-American women are more likely to have fibroids than women of other origins to develop uterine fibroids. Some studies suggest that up to eight out of 10 African-American women will eventually develop uterine fibroids.

The causes of uterine fibroids are unknown, but estrogens, especially estradiol, promote their growth. Fibroid tumors are not generally cancerous. A tumor is a swelling or a growth, not a malignancy, not cancer. Less than 0.1% of all uterine fibroids are malignant.

Small fibroids often disappear spontaneously. Larger fibroids are more difficult to resolve, but not impossible to control with natural measures.

There are three basic types of uterine fibroids:

They are identified by where they are located in the uterus.

  1. Subserosal fibroids develop in the outer portion of the uterus and grow outward. These fibroids can be painful if they are large and press on other organs. They usually don't affect a woman's menstrual flow.

  2. Submucosal fibroids develop just under the lining of the uterine cavity. These are the least common type of fibroid tumor. They often cause very heavy, long menstrual periods.

  3. Pedunculated uterine fibroids occur when the fibroid grows on a stalk. These can grow into the uterus or on the outside of the uterus.

*A woman may have one or all of these types of fibroids*

 

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

Some women experience no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they vary depending on the location and size of the fibroid tumors.

Common symptoms of fibroids include: An enlarged abdomen, Anemia from heavy menstrual bleeding, tiredness, heavy menstrual bleeding (sometimes with clots) and long monthly periods, pain during sex, Pain in the back of the legs, pelvic pain or pressure, pressure on the bladder and bowel and infertility.

 

Acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine can shrink fibroids

Chinese medicine believes that menstrual cycles in a healthy woman, should be regular and pain free. Eastern medicine claims that fibroids result from blood that is not flowing freely through the channels of the body. These results in a darker more clotted menstrual flow and a negative impact generally on the body's immune system.

In addition to acupuncture treatment, medicinal herbs are often prescribed to help alleviate blood and energy stagnation. Chinese medicine has claimed great success in the treatment of fibroids. There is evidence of fibroids either reducing in size or disappearing altogether alongside an improvement in some of the menstrual symptoms.

 

-Gilli Stuppel, L.Ac
Licensed Acupuncturist, Childbirth Doula, Herbalist, Naturopath