Living with Fibroids
Fibroids are non-maligant tumorous growths within the womb which can cause pelvic pressure, severe pain, bloating, heavy periods, painful sex, problems with conception and miscarriage. They can be stressful to live with and lead to physical and emotional problems for those living with the condition - and also for their families, friends and loved ones.
At their worse, they are a major risk to fertility, but there are now advances in the treatment of fibroids. Operations like a myomectomy for the removal of uterine fibroids can remove the fibroids and leave the womb intact for women who wish to conceive. It is important to note, though, that fibroids can come back once they have been removed.
There are also claims by herbal medicine practitioners that certain herbs, healthy lifestyle changes to diet (for example, eliminating dairy and animal products), rest and exercise can help to shrink small fibroids and diminish their growth.
Ras Daniel Babu, a herbalist and practitioner of macrobiotics says, "If fibroids are below the size of 6.5cm, women may not need an operation as certain herbs may be able to shrink and destroy them. Above that size, an operation may be the best treatment."
Ras Babu recommends certain herbs to boost blood circulation and in some cases even break up the mass of tumours, including dried prunella, logan berries, cinnamon twigs, black cohosh, safflower, angelica and tumeric.
A "good blood booster" recommended by Ras Babu is blending callaloo or spinach, carrots, ginger and beetroot and drinking as a health drink. He claims this is especially beneficial to women several days ahead of, during and after their periods because it will help to build and replenish blood, as well as boost its circulation.
He also cites lifestyle changes like: getting good rest and sleep, more exercise and overcoming a sedentary lifestyle (sitting in front of a computer screen all day long, for example), becoming less stressed, angry and depressed, and cutting out meat and dairy products because they are too often packed with hormones which feed the growth of fibroids.
* The Lois Project Women's Health Education Network is conducting research about women's experiences of fibroids. If you have an experience to share or examples of useful therapies and treatments, get in touch. Email and join our forum.
* Look out for our forthcoming publication about fibroids.
* The British Fibroid Trust is holding a Fibroid Patient Support Group event every 3 months on Wednesday evening. The aim of this meeting is to bring together women with fibroids to support each other and share information about living with the disease.
Meetings take place at:
3rd Floor Seminar Rooms
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing (Entrance on Grafton Way)
University College London Hospital.