Each month, millions of women go to their gynecologists complaining of excessive bleeding, cramping, and pain. Their gynecologists have been more than happy to cut out the problem–literally. And they’ve made small fortunes performing hysterectomies (removal of the uterus). But you don’t have to go to such drastic lengths to experience significant relief. You just need to try out two safe, natural, and effective treatments. And I’ll tell you all about those in a moment. But first, a little background.
More than half of all women ages 35 to 49 have uterine fibroids, or leiomyomata. These benign tumors feed off estrogen. And they grow on the smooth muscle walls of the uterus. Although they do not turn cancerous, they do cause a lot of problems. Including acute and chronic pelvic pain, excessive vaginal bleeding, anemia, infertility, miscarriage, and painful intercourse. The fibroids generally get better once a woman passes through menopause, but waiting for that to happen can feel miserable.
Unfortunately, no effective medical treatment exists for the disease. So many gynecologists now perform a uterine ablation (removal of the uterine lining) to ease the problem. But these procedures have mixed results.
Which is why, as I mentioned above, many doctors still take the direct route to remove the uterus altogether. In fact, the United States has the highest rate of hysterectomy in the industrialized world, with gynecologists performing 600,000 of them each year! And there are roughly 20 million women now living in the U.S. who’ve had a hysterectomy. So, you see, the old motto from my surgical rotation still holds true…when in doubt, take it out.
But some experts argue that up to 90 percent of all hysterectomies are not medically necessary. And I completely agree. Especially since two safe, natural, and effective treatments can significantly help.
First off, have your vitamin D levels checked.
Earlier this year I told you about a great study that looked at women with fibroids and their vitamin D levels. They found that women who had vitamin D levels above 20 ng/mL had a one-third lower rate of fibroid tumors. Also, the researchers found that women exposed to sunlight for just one hour per day had a 40 percent reduction in the rate of fibroid tumors.
So, if you have fibroid tumors, make sure to spend more time in the sun. Of course, at this time of the year, no one who lives north of Atlanta gets enough vitamin D from the sun alone. You also need a vitamin D supplement. Many experts now recommend taking up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D each day.
This dosage should definitely help alleviate fibroid symptoms. And it will also help protect you against a slew of other problems. Including osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
In addition to vitamin D, every woman with fibroid tumors should drink green tea. Or take a green tea supplement.
We already know that drinking green tea helps regulate your immune system. It tames unwanted immune response. It also thwarts the proliferation of rogue cells. And acts as an antioxidant. This is why green tea appears so protective against cancer.
Knowing this, Egyptian researchers recently decided to try green tea therapy on women with uterine fibroid tumors. For the study, they recruited pre-menopausal women 19 years or older who had at least moderately severe fibroids.
At the study’s outset, the women underwent ultrasound studies to assess the number and size of their tumors. Then, the researchers randomly divided the women into two groups. The first group took 800 mg of green tea extract each day for four months. The extract contained 45 percent epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the active ingredient in green tea. The other group received a placebo each day for four months.
After 4 months, the women received another ultrasound. The women in the green tea group reduced the size of their tumors by an average of 32.6 percent. On the other hand, the placebo group tumors increased in size by an average of 24.2 percent.
The green tea group of women also experienced significant improvements in their menstrual bleeding pattern. Their average blood loss decreased. And they increased their red blood cell count. Not surprisingly, their overall quality of life measures also improved.
The researchers attribute these fantastic results to two things. First, they say EGCG inhibits tumor cell proliferation. In other words, it stops the spread of tumor cells. Second, they say EGCG induces “apoptosis” (programmed cell death) in tumors This means it causes the tumor cells to die off.
As I mentioned earlier, this also explains why green tea protects you against cancer. It stops the spread and growth of cancer cells.
In the study, the women took supplements that contained 800 mg of green tea extract with 45 percent EGCG to reduce their fibroids. You can always just drink the tea, if you prefer. But one cup of green tea contains, roughly, 25 to 60 mg of EGCG. So, you’d have to drink nearly 10 cups of green tea each day to get the same benefits. Taking the green tea extract may be the simpler route if you suffer from fibroids.
1. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Feb 2013; 208: 137 e 131-113.
2. Epidemiology 2013; 24: 447-453.
3. The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition For A New Era. New York: Touchstone, 2005.
4. “Treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids with green tea extract: a pilot randomized controlled clinical study,” Int J Womens Health 2013; 5: 477–486.