Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterine wall and are the main reason for hysterectomies in the United States. Hysterectomies are performed more often for fibroids than for all of the gynecologic cancers combined. It is estimated that 80% of women have these growths but only about a quarter of them have growths that are large enough to see or feel. These growths can cause a number of conditions that can range from annoying to very painful including: heavy menstrual bleeding, (heavy enough to lead to anemia, low red blood cell count) pain or pressure in the pelvis, pain during sexual intercourse and can cause complications in pregnancy (Levine, 2010).
There are few real risk factors for uterine fibroids but includes a family history of having them. There is also a larger risk of uterine fibroids in African American women than in other ethnicities. Birth control pills or having had a child decreases the risk of fibroid tumors. Treatment options include hysterectomy for the more serious cases but there are other, less serious options that can be used as well.
Birth control pills or other types of hormonal medications can be used to relieve some of the bleeding symptoms but they cannot change the size of the fibroid itself. Other drug options may change both the size of the tumor and the symptoms that it can produce. In women who would like to try to have a child, there are surgeries that can be done to remove the fibroid; however it does not stop the chance of them returning in the near future. A new treatment, using a specialized ultrasound is available but it is new and takes nearly three hours to complete.
While there are no known reasons or risk factors for uterine fibroid tumors, it is important to make sure that you are at the healthiest you can be so that your entire body is healthy. You must also ensure that you have good gynecologic health as well. Experts recommend that you exercise regularly, quit smoking, achieve and maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Foods to Avoid
Fibroids are fed by estrogen, so any foods that may contain synthetic estrogen should be avoided as much as possible. These foods include: red meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs. After eliminating these foods for a period of around three months or so, you can start adding them back, if you opt for organic, hormone free items. An expert who specializes in the treatment of uterine fibroids also tells his patients to avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes, as well as refined sugar and white flour. These all stress the body, especially the liver and may increase the frequency, size and amount of uterine fibroid growth.
The Foods to Add
The same expert, who suggests eating organic and hormone free foods, also encourages his patients to eat extra fiber and soy or soy products. Fiber is one of the best ways to help the liver process and then to eliminate any excess estrogen in the body. Good high fiber food choices include whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits. Soy, the only complete, non animal protein, comes in many forms including soy milk, tofu and miso. Soy protein powder is a good choice to add to the diet and has heart healthy benefits as well. Soy has natural estrogens (phytoestrogens) but they are far weaker than synthetic estrogens so they typically do not cause any damage to the body. They also can bind to receptor sites so that other types of estrogen are not able to do any damage.
All diets should have the right balance of necessary calories that give the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Every healthy diet should start with carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins. A good diet should get 50% of calories from carbs, 30% from protein and 20% from fats. For weight loss the numbers for proteins and fats can be changed slightly - increasing protein to 35% and dropping fats down to 15%. However, the American Heart Association's recommendation is that the level of protein should not be any higher than that. The higher level of protein can help with weight loss because it increases the feeling of satiety but does not change the hormones associated with hunger.
Proteins - Our bodies use proteins for every single cell and for every function. If we do not have the right kind or amount on protein in our diet, the body will continually seek more and more food until the right level is reached, regardless of the extra calories that we are consuming. Protein, whether it comes from the food that we eat or the supplements that we add to our diet, comes from two sources: animals and plants. All animal products are complete because they supply all eight essential amino acids that the body cannot create on its own. Plant proteins, with the exception of soy, are incomplete proteins because they lack one or more the essential amino acids. Grain, nuts and seeds are typically low in the amino acids, isoleucine and lysine while legumes do not have enough tryptophan and methionine.Lose weight quickly diet.
Women with uterine fibroid tumors are warned against the most common animal proteins because of the hormones that are fed to the animals, at least for a few months. Until women can resume eating organic, hormone free animal proteins, they can get their protein from other sources including cold water fish. Salmon is a good choice for animal protein.
The body is getting adequate protein intake, even in a vegetarian or vegan diet as long as there is plenty of variety to make sure that the foods are making up for each other's shortcomings. The average diet gets between 13-15 % of calories from protein, the average vegan diet supplies between 10-12%
Protein supplements are a beneficial way to make sure that you are getting enough of the protein of your choice and can often serve as a meal replacement for those who are trying to safely reduce overall calories. (A protein shake averages about 180-220 calories, the average lunch can be as high as 400) without letting calorie count get too low.