Lifestyle Modifications & Self-Care for Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous, or benign, growths that develop in or on the walls of the uterus. Fibroids typically appear during a woman’s childbearing years, between their late 30s and early 40s, and can present as single tumors or in clusters. Most women with fibroids do not experience symptoms or require medical treatment. However, in some cases, they can cause symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, severe menstrual cramps, frequent urination, and pain during intercourse.
Although not a permanent solution to eliminating fibroids, lifestyle modifications and self-care can help control your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. It’s important to note that these suggestions are not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have been diagnosed with fibroids, you should schedule an appointment at American Fibroid Centers to consult an affiliated physician to help you determine which treatment options are right for you. Keep reading to learn more about some lifestyle modifications and self-care tips to consider.
1. Healthy Diet
A healthy, balanced diet can ease common symptoms and complications of uterine fibroids. In some cases, certain foods can help slow fibroid growth. Fiber-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can promote bowel regularity and reduce estrogen levels. You should also incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, to manage inflammation. In addition, you should remove processed foods, red meats, and high-fat dairy from your diet.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity and excess weight are common risk factors associated with uterine fibroids. Keeping a healthy weight can help regulate hormone levels, as excess body fat can lead to higher estrogen levels, which may contribute to fibroid growth. The best ways to maintain weight while dealing with fibroids are eating a balanced and nutritious diet, staying physically active within your comfort limits, and exploring exercises that do not heighten any discomfort caused by the fibroids.
3. Regular Exercise
If you have painful and uncomfortable fibroids, exercising may be the last thing on your mind. However, exercise boosts endorphins, which are known to suppress pain and help maintain a positive balance of hormones. You should focus on low-impact cardiovascular exercises, such as walking or moderate jogging, swimming, or cycling. Avoid any activities that put too much strain on your stomach and be attentive to your pulse. Training intensity should gradually increase but not by more than 30% of your resting heart rate.
4. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Drinking any type of alcohol or caffeinated drink can increase your risk of developing uterine fibroids. This is because both substances raise the level of hormones needed for fibroids to grow. They may also trigger inflammation, depending on various factors such as genetics and age. One study found that women who drank one or more beers a day were 50% more likely to be affected by fibroids. That being said, limit your alcohol and caffeine intake where possible. One tip is to try swapping out one cup of coffee per day with green tea.
5. Manage Your Stress
When you experience negative emotions, your body responds physically. Symptoms can range from increased discomfort from fibroids to high blood pressure to stomach ulcers, eczema, etc. Chronic stress may intensify hormonal imbalances and potentially affect fibroid growth. Women with fibroids should implement a self-care routine that includes stress-reducing activities, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness.
6. Natural Remedies
Some women may find relief from their uterine fibroid symptoms through herbal remedies or supplements. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these remedies varies from person to person, and scientific evidence supporting their benefit is limited. Before trying any natural remedies, consult a healthcare professional to be sure they’re safe for your specific situation. Some herbal remedies and supplements to consider include, but are not limited to:
- Chasteberry (Vitex)
- Green tea extract
- Dandelion root tea
- Milk thistle
- Castor oil packs
7. Routine Health Check-Ups
Regardless of whether they’re experiencing uterine fibroid symptoms, all women should keep up with regular gynecological check-ups to monitor the size and growth of fibroids. It is also an opportunity to discuss any changes in symptoms as well as questions or concerns you may have about your condition. Consistent and open dialogue between the OBGYN and the patient can help establish a strong partnership in care and ensure you understand all the treatment options available to you.
8. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Uterine fibroids often cause pelvic pain, discomfort, and pressure. They can also sometimes affect your bladder and bowel function, leading to urinary incontinence or constipation. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are recommended to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and may provide relief from symptoms associated with fibroids. Kegels are easy to do and can be performed almost anywhere, and these exercises work best when done regularly.
9. Adequate Sleep Schedule
Uterine fibroid symptoms can be debilitating and interfere with various aspects of your daily life, including your sleep schedule. Not getting enough sleep puts your body under a lot of stress, which triggers an increase in stress hormones during the day. Sleep is also essential for a healthy immune system, and women with fibroids may benefit from a robust immune response to reduce inflammation and slow fibroid growth. Quality sleep can have a positive impact in several other ways, including:
- Pain management
- Menstrual regularity
- Weight management
- Cognitive function
- Energy levels
Manage Your Fibroid Symptoms with American Fibroid Centers in NY & NJ
At American Fibroid Centers, our affiliated physicians are among the nation’s leading providers of endovascular care. They have years of experience diagnosing and treating patients with uterine fibroids, using state-of-the-art technology and innovative techniques. Our affiliated physicians proudly offer uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE, a minimally invasive-image guided procedure to reduce symptoms and eliminate fibroids. For more information about lifestyle changes that can help improve your overall well-being, or to speak with a specialist about other treatment options, contact us at your nearest location in New York or New Jersey to schedule an appointment today!
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