Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac, Registered Acupuncturist & Arvigo®Therapy Practitioner
Has your doctor suggested surgery for your uterine fibroids? Perhaps your physician is monitoring your situation and recommends surgery in the future? This is the perfect time to try natural healing ideas you can safely implement now.
Uterine fibroids occur in 20-30% of women of reproductive age. They are made up of smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. Fibroids are classified according to their location and can be located inside or outside the uterus. Size of fibroids can vary greatly from microscopic to that of a large grapefruit. Most are small and do not cause any problems.
However some fibroids can get very large or cause symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods. Many women never have any symptoms, or may only discover them when they have trouble getting pregnant. Fibroids may also be a factor in recurring miscarriages.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine view uterine fibroids?
In TCM fibroids fall into the category of disorders that are due to “blood stagnation”, namely a pathological condition that forms due to impeded blood circulation in the pelvic area.
Successfully treating fibroids requires addressing the root cause, which often includes looking at lifestyle and nutrition habits, as well as past health history. Implementing some simple health habits can go a long way in healing or even as preparation for future surgery. Lifestyle changes are often some of the most important things to consider, along with TCM treatments such as acupuncture.
Here are my top 5 recommendations to consider in dealing with fibroids naturally.
1. Avoid External Estrogens
The cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but research shows they are related to excess estrogen in the system. It is important to limit exposure to external estrogens as much as possible, keeping in mind that these may appear in foods as well as throughout our environment.
2. Stay hydrated and protect your liver
Did you know that up to 60% of an adult body is water? Drinking enough water maintains the balance of body fluids – most women should aim for 2 or more litres per day. Sufficient body fluids are needed in order to filter out all of the waste products and toxins that the body naturally needs to excrete. Since women with fibroids may be especially sensitive to excess estrogens in the environment – it is crucial to make sure you are drinking enough water.
Apart from other negative effects such as headaches, constipation and even weight gain – not drinking enough water can also hamper the body's own healing efforts to clear up stagnation and restore proper blood circulation. Avoiding alcohol and coffee can also help your liver and keep you better hydrated.
3. Get enough quality sleep
Our bodies are meant to rest and naturally “reset” during the time that we are asleep. This is what happens in our deepest and most restorative sleep level:
According to TCM, the liver is working hard to filter blood during sleep, which is seen as a time of essential regeneration. The time we spend in quality sleep helps optimize the body's innate restorative efforts.
4. Try Acupuncture for fibroids
Acupuncture helps accelerate the body's innate healing process, and can help with fibroids - especially if used as part of an overall health approach. Acupuncture works by:
5. Improve blood and lymph circulation in the pelvic area
Prepare for surgery and heal faster with Mind/Body techniques
Approximately 80% of uterine fibroids are asymptomatic and require no treatment. Natural methods are often effective for reducing the size of fibroids, but there are times when surgery is still necessary. If preparing to undergo surgery for fibroids (or any surgery really) I highly recommend the Mind/Body visualization techniques taught by Peggy Huddleston, RN in her program “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster” at http://healfaster.com.
These are a series of easy visualization techniques that are now recommended and taught in many hospitals throughout North America. They can be implemented in the months, weeks or even days leading up to surgery and throughout the period of recovery. Studies have shown participants experienced less anxiety going into surgery, as well as reduced need for post surgery pain medication and improved recovery times.
Are you or someone you know struggling with fibroids? I would be happy to answer your questions about how natural therapies such as Acupuncture and Arvigo® Therapy can help. Contact me here for your complimentary 20 minute consultation.
Integrated Gynecology Course notes (2012), Canadian Gynecology Institute of Chinese Medicine
Arvigo Techniques – Fibroid Management, Seventh Ed. (2016)
The Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine, Lyttleton Jane
Sleep Foundation research, SleepFoundation.org
Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster, Huddleston Peggy
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Hi, I'm Barbara Poczyniak. Registered Acupuncturist practicing in Toronto.