Food, lifestyle changes are often the first plan of action to treat uterine fibroids. Natural remedies, stress management, and alternative pain relief may also help ease symptoms.
If you’re dealing with fibroids, you might be wondering how you can deal with symptoms at home. Keep reading to learn about treatment options, both at home and at your doctor’s office.
Uterine fibroids are growths in your uterus. The Office on Women’s Health estimates that between
- benign tumors
- uterine leiomyomas
While 99% of fibroids aren’t cancerous or life threatening, they can sometimes cause health problems.
Fibroids range in size from as small as a seed to larger than a grapefruit. They often go undiagnosed because only about a third are large enough to be discovered in a physical exam. You can have one fibroid or multiple growths.
Most people don’t know they have fibroids because signs and symptoms vary depending on the size, location, and number of fibroids. Some people experience no symptoms, while others may have:
- periods that last longer than a week
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- spotting or bleeding between periods
- pelvic pressure or pain
- backache or leg pain
- frequent urination
- difficulty emptying your bladder
- difficulty getting pregnant
Fibroids can grow in any part of the uterus. They have different names depending on where they’re found.
- intramural fibroids grow inside the uterus walls
- submucosal fibroids grow into the hollow cavity of the uterus
- subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus
It’s not always known why some people have fibroids. However, some factors that increase the risk of fibroids include:
- age: Those between the ages of 30 and 50 are more likely to have fibroids.
- weight: Being overweight or having obesity may increase risk.
Researchsuggests that African American women are three times more likely to develop fibroids than white women. However, this may be due to a number of factors, including racial discrimination, which negatively impacts well-being and increases stress.
- genetics: Those with a family history of fibroids may be more likely to develop fibroids themselves.
- early age of first period: Starting menstruation before the age of 10 increases risk.
- diet: Those who are deficient in vitamin D are
more likelyto have fibroids. Additionally, alcohol consumption is associatedwith increased fibroid risk.
- high blood pressure
Making certain lifestyle changes may help reduce your risk of developing fibroids or help to shrink existing fibroids. According to a 2018 research review, these include:
- increasing physical activity
- improving diet
- managing stress levels
- avoiding smoking
- reducing caffeine and alcohol intake
Data from ongoing research shows that vitamin D deficiency may also increase the risk of getting fibroids or worsening fibroids. People with darker skin tones and those who live in cooler climates may especially be at higher risks of vitamin D deficiency.
Raising vitamin D serum levels may help reduce the risk of fibroids. However, further studies and research that includes more diversity are needed.
Balancing blood pressure
A Dutch study found that there may be a link between high blood pressure and fibroids. To manage your blood pressure and help reduce your risk and improve your overall health:
- limit red meat, salt, and added sugar
- check your blood pressure regularly with an at-home blood pressure monitor
- visit your doctor for regular check-ups
- discuss blood pressure readings with your doctor
- get regular physical activity
- take prescription blood pressure medication exactly as prescribed
Fibroids typically grow slowly or not at all. In many cases, they shrink on their own, especially after menopause. You may not need treatment unless you’re bothered by symptoms. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment plan. You may need a combination of therapies.
In moderate to severe cases where symptoms are bothersome, worsening, or not improved with medication, fibroids may be treated with surgery or ultrasound therapy. Surgery may involve removing just the fibroids or your entire uterus.
At-home care, diet changes, and natural remedies may help treat fibroids and relieve symptoms. The lifestyle changes below are also important in the prevention of fibroids.
These natural treatments may or may not help your fibroid symptoms, since relief depends on how severe your symptoms are and how your fibroids have progressed. Talk with your doctor before trying any of these options.
A clinical study in China showed that obesity and excess weight increase the risk for uterine fibroids. This happens because fat cells make high amounts of estrogen. Losing weight may help prevent or reduce the size of fibroids.
Your daily diet is a very important factor in treating fibroids. Eating a nutritious diet can help you maintain a moderate weight and reduce your risk. Certain foods can also help ease symptoms.
Foods to avoid
According to clinical studies, eating excess refined carbohydrates and foods with added sugar may trigger or worsen fibroids. These foods raise blood sugar levels, which may cause your body to produce too much insulin hormone. Limit simple refined carbohydrates like:
- white rice, pasta, and flour
- soda and other sugary drinks
- corn syrup
- boxed cereals
- baked goods like cakes, cookies, and doughnuts
Additionally, it may be helpful to limit foods with added salt, particularly processed and packaged foods. While sodium is an essential mineral for health, the recommended amount for adults is less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon of salt) per day to help balance high blood pressure.
Foods to eat
Fiber-rich unprocessed and whole foods help:
- increase satiety
- balance hormones
- prevent excess weight gain
Fruits and vegetables also help reduce inflammation and lower your risk for fibroids. Add these whole foods to your daily diet:
- raw and cooked vegetables and fruit
- dried fruit
- whole grains
- brown rice
- lentils and beans
- whole grain bread and pasta
- fresh and dried herbs
Milk and dairy may help to reduce fibroids. Dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These nutrients may help prevent the growth of fibroids.
Vitamins and supplements
Some types of vitamins may help reduce the growth and size of fibroids. Research confirms that your risk for fibroids may increase if you have low amounts of vitamin D and vitamin A from animal sources, such as dairy.
Uterine fibroids may worsen menstrual pain, bloating, and cramping. A number of vitamins may help ease these symptoms:
You can find these vitamins in food as well as supplements. If you want to start incorporating supplements into your daily routine, talk with your doctor before you begin.
At-home care may help to manage stress, which can worsen fibroids and your overall health. Try these treatment options that can help manage stress:
- warm compresses or applying local heat
- warm baths
- yoga and exercise
- massage therapy
Herbal remedies may help to treat fibroids or reduce related symptoms. However, more research is needed to determine whether these remedies work, as well as the most effective dosage.
Herbs are potent medicines and can interact with medications and other supplements. They’re also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talk with your doctor before taking herbal supplements.
Traditional Chinese medicine
Herbal remedies are used in traditional Chinese medicine to slow fibroid growth and treat symptoms. One herbal formula is called Guizhi fuling or Gui Zhi Fu Ling Tang. This formula contains several herbs that act to shrink uterine fibroids, balance hormone levels, and keep your uterus healthy:
- ramulus cinnamomi
- semen persicae
- radix paeoniae rubra
- radix paeoniae alba
- cortex moutan
A bioflavonoid in green tea called EGCG may help reduce the size and number of fibroids. This may be due to its ability to reduce inflammation and remove toxins from your body.
Chasteberry, or vitex, is taken for heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, and other symptoms. However, there isn’t much research on its efficacy.
In most cases, symptomatic fibroids are treated with:
- hormonal medications
- ultrasound therapy
Medications help to shrink fibroids or ease symptoms. Surgery may involve removing just the fibroids or your entire uterus.
Some treatments your doctor may recommend include:
- hormone-balancing medications
- progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD)
- MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery
- uterine artery embolization, which works by blocking the blood supply to the fibroids and uterus
- myolysis, which is removal with a heat source (such as radiofrequency waves); Acessa is an example of this procedure
- cryomyolysis, which removes fibroids by freezing
- myomectomy, which is surgery to remove just fibroids
- hysterectomy, which surgically removes your uterus
Visit your doctor if you experience any symptoms related to fibroids, no matter how mild. Your doctor will examine you and decide if treatment is required.
Follow-up appointments may be needed to monitor your fibroids. If you’re having difficulty becoming pregnant, your doctor can determine if it’s due to fibroids.
What is the fastest way to get rid of fibroids?
Treatment for fibroids depends on a number of factors. To get rid of fibroids quickly, your doctor may recommend surgery or medication. Some people may also benefit from home remedies and lifestyle changes.
What are the signs of fibroids shrinking?
If your fibroids are shrinking, you may have fewer symptoms. For example, one 2022 study of women over 50 years old found that once fibroids start shrinking, symptoms like pressure, urinary incontinence, and bleeding are usually relieved.
Some people may have no symptoms at all.
In some cases, people with larger fibroids may feel pain when a fibroid shrinks or breaks. Contact your doctor immediately if you have severe pain or changes in symptoms.
What can happen if fibroids go untreated?
In some cases, smaller fibroids do not need treatment and will go away on their own. However, sometimes fibroids can get larger and increase in number if left untreated. This can cause symptoms to worsen. Your doctor can determine the best treatment plan for your fibroids.
Your doctor can determine whether alternative or natural fibroid treatment is right for you. Treatment depends on your age, health, and lifestyle. It may also vary by the number, size, and location of your fibroids.
Changes to your diet and lifestyle are often the first plan of action to treat uterine fibroids. These healthy changes are important even with surgery or medication.
Diet, natural remedies, stress management, and alternative pain relief may also help ease symptoms.
Talk with your doctor before taking any type of herbal remedy or supplement. Keep a list of all your medications, supplements, and herbal remedies. Purchase herbal supplements from reputable sources to avoid contamination and unhealthy ingredients.