What are fibroids?
Fibroids are circular, dense, vascular, benign growths of the uterus. They range in size from almond to watermelon. They can grow all over the uterus and they have different names depending on where they develop.
Fibroids weren’t common 50-70 years ago but now, 75% of women have them. That rate is even higher in African American women! If they are smaller and not interfering with anything, you can usually just let them be. However, if they are larger they can cause painful symptoms and they might need to be surgically removed.
Conventional doctors will tell you that the development of fibroids has everything to do with estrogen imbalance. And while it is true that estrogen plays a role, we also know that endocrine disruptors and environmental factors are huge contributors!
What causes fibroids?
The better question to ask is what contributes to fibroid development because there are lots of factors! The first one to discuss is endocrine disruptors. The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defines endocrine disruptors as many chemicals, both natural and man-made, that mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones, known as the endocrine system. These chemicals are linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems.
ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS AND WHERE THEY ARE FOUND
1. Aluminum: found in deoderants
2. Phthalates: found in many hygiene products
3. Parabens: found in body lotions
4. Glyphosate: found in other pesticides and herbicides; organic means no glyphosate was sprayed on crops
5. Dioxins: found in feminine products like tampons
6. Smoke: found in cigarettes
7. BPA: found in plastic storage containers and water bottles
8. PFAs: found in teflon that cooking pans and pots are coated in
9. Flame Retardants: found in furniture like mattresses or car seats
Estrogen receptors and how they play a role in the development of fibroids
Current research tells us that it’s not just too much estrogen that makes us develop fibroids; progesterone is part of the story too!
We have two different types of estrogen receptors in our bodies; Alpha and Beta. Alpha receptors are more often associated in the breast and uterus tissue while beta receptors are more often associated with our bones, brain and cardiovascular system.
You want to make sure you aren’t stimulating too much of the alpha receptors.
Too many alpha receptors = FIBROIDS!
If you don’t have enough natural progesterone production and you’re only getting estradiol and estrogen production, those alpha receptors up regulate and you actually MAKE MORE alpha receptors. Whereas, if you have progesterone, it down regulates those alpha receptors and you make more beta receptors which is a good thing!
Estrogen is kept in check by progesterone and progesterone protects the uterus and the breast tissue by decreasing the amount of alpha receptors available.
Progesterone is key to keeping these fibroids from growing!
How can you decrease fibroid development
Or avoid it altogether?
FIRST, gain control of your environment! Pay attention to what you are allowing into your home. You can’t avoid all endocrine disruptors but you can certainly reduce your toxic burden! Say no to store receipts and swap out your fragrances, lotions, hygiene and cleaning products.
SECOND, focus on your health! Get regular pelvic exams, eat an anti-inflammatory diet and avoid dairy and alocohol because these things all contribute to fibroid development! Move your body and focus on your cardiovascular health!
THIRD, supplement for extra support! Take Vitamin D, Zinc (to help with the activation of those beta receptors) and support estrogen metabolism by taking Diindolylmethane, Indole-3-carbinol (found in my supplement Estrotame) and Sulforaphane. All of these will help you metabolize estrogen more efficiently and decrease the bad estrogen (estrone) that feeds those fibroids!
Take control of your environment before it takes control of you!
In health and love,