While there is much information discussed on this website in regards to foods that can help reduce fibroid symptoms and circumvent additional fibroid growth, we have not talked too much about drinking! Sorry gals, not talking about alcoholic drinks here but rather a quick overview of research results related to women with unwelcome fibroids and beverages that bust them.
Quick Overview: What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids affect over 70% of the female population by the time they reach the age of 50. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that form in and on the uterus, and experts have been unable to determine their exact origin.
Because of historical research, we do know that excess estrogen prompts fibroids to grow, obesity produces excess estrogen, genetics can determine the likelihood of developing fibroids, Vitamin D deficiency contributes to fibroid development, and African American women have a higher risk of developing fibroids. Fibroids can grow quite large in size, and a woman may have several fibroids growing in her uterus at the same time.
Some women do not have any symptoms and may not even know they have fibroids, while others suffer each month with life-affecting symptoms, such as pelvic pain and pressure, bloating, frequent urination, pain during sex, or heavy and prolonged bleeding that affects their social lives, their ability to care for their families, intimate relationships, infertility, and their overall health. Fibroids can sometimes lead to anemia and even a blood transfusion.
Diet and Fibroids
Research has proven that there are some steps that can be taken to help reduce or prevent some fibroids from growing. That being said, women who are genetically predisposed to fibroids may not be able to prevent them from appearing, but they can try to keep them from becoming large.
This subject has been the topic of much research and debate for years. However, there has been evidence through epidemiological studies to support that dietary habits do play a part in mitigating the risk of women’s gynecological disorders such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and others.
Findings have shown that a diet full of vegetables, fruit, vitamins, plant-derived compounds, and green tea may help, while a vitamin-deficient diet lacking adequate servings of fruits and veggies and high in fat, red meat, or alcohol produces the opposite effect.
Green Tea And Fibroids
Forever, green tea has been hailed as a healing balm with stories and much folklore surrounding it. The more research is conducted regarding the benefits of green tea, the more we understand how the stories originated. Studies have revealed that there is a link between the reduction of fibroid growth and green tea extract.
During a random, double-blind research study, some of the subjects (women who were diagnosed with fibroids) were given green tea extract, and others a placebo.
The women were observed and evaluated five times during the study and by the end of the fourth month, the women who were given the placebo showed an average increase in the size of their fibroids of 24.2%, but the fibroids of the green tea women had dramatically decreased by an average of 32.6%.
So you may ask, what is the difference between drinking green tea for fibroids or taking green tea extract supplements for fibroids? It is always more beneficial to our bodies to ingest nutrients in their purest form, so the recommendation is a cup of organic, freshly brewed green tea.
That being said, if green tea is not “your cup of tea” you can try a reputable green tea supplement. It would be a good idea to ask your doctor for a recommendation since the FDA does not regulate supplements and quality can be questionable at times. I know you are now running to fix a cup of green tea!
Can Hibiscus Tea Help with Fibroids?
While research has shown that hibiscus tea is beneficial in some women’s health issues, it has not been proven to help with uterine fibroids. Research suggests that hibiscus flowers deliver an estrogenic effect because of the phytoestrogen or plant-based estrogen that it contains.
This plant-based estrogen can bind to the natural estrogen receptors in our bodies and mimic the effects of estrogen. Since we already know that fibroids react and grow due to excess estrogen, it is reasonable to deduce that it would be counterproductive to consume hibiscus tea if you have uterine fibroids.
Is Caffeine Bad for Fibroids?
There have been studies done to answer this question and remarkably, the results of the studies perplexed the experts. The results were different for different studies and it is still an issue surrounded by controversy. A study done on Asian women concluded that when they consumed 200 mg of coffee a day, it raised their estrogen levels but the same study conducted on Caucasian women had the opposite effect.
However, if the caffeine came from one cup of caffeinated soda, it raised estrogen levels in both, Asian and Caucasian women. The Black Women’s Health Study conducted a trial in 2004 and concluded that they did not find a relationship between caffeine consumption and uterine fibroids. A cross-sectional study conducted in Italy came to the same conclusion.
Another independent study showed a correlation between consuming 500 mg of coffee or caffeine and an increased fibroid risk in women under 35 years of age. In a nutshell, it does not appear that caffeine from coffee has a profound impact on fibroids but caffeine from soda or caffeine consumed in large amounts may.
Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Fibroids?
Studies conducted thus far have revealed that there is a relationship between beer and fibroids, but there has been no confirmation of an increased risk of fibroids from wine or other liquor.
The Black Women’s Health Study of 2004 was the first study conducted to examine risk as far as it relates to a specific type of alcoholic beverage and concluded that beer consumption may have some type of effect on hormone levels.
An Italian study found no association between alcohol and fibroid risk but 90% of their participants were wine drinkers. Interestingly, these studies also concluded that beer drinkers have the largest relative risk for breast cancer.
What Can I Drink To Help Shrink Fibroids?
Juice! Juice! Juice! Several studies conducted have concluded that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of uterine fibroids. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, broccoli. Also, fruits containing a flavonoid called phloretin like tomatoes, apples, grapes, figs, melons, peaches, and avocados are estrogen blockers and in some cases were shown to inhibit fibroid growth.
The number of servings of fruits and vegetables made a difference as well, and women who consumed more servings of fruits and vegetables were at less risk (4 or more servings a day).
You may be asking yourself how in the world am I supposed to have that many servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Turn them into delicious juice! When you juice fruits and vegetables with a masticating juicer, you are getting all the nutrients that they have to offer – none of them are getting cooked out.
If you balance the green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, or other green veggies with pineapple, apples, peaches, melons, etc., it yields a great tasting juice that makes it easy to get all those servings in a day without having to eat the entire backyard!
Daily Habits to Reduce Fibroid Growth
Although it is true that experts do not know what causes fibroids, we should use the knowledge we have regarding fibroids and what helps or hinders their growth to our advantage. Implementing strategies in our daily life to mitigate the risk or growth of fibroids as well as prevent other health issues would be nothing but beneficial to our bodies.
Avoiding beauty care products or foods that have ingredients that mimic estrogen or promote excess estrogen, eating a healthy fibroids-in-mind diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring we get vitamin D and an adequate amount of sleep are all things that will mitigate fibroid risk and may stop feeding existing fibroids.
UFE Shrinks Fibroids Forever
All of these strategies may help control fibroid symptoms and mitigate risks, but the only way to completely remove fibroids is through treatment like uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). If you have been diagnosed with fibroids and are experiencing painful symptoms, we are here to help you make an informed decision regarding treatment. Call our office today and set up a consultation.
Dr. John Lipman and Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout are expert Interventional Radiologists who have combined experience of over 35 years in performing the UFE procedure and have helped thousands of women become fibroid free. UFE is a non-surgical procedure that takes about 45 minutes and is done as an outpatient procedure.
It works by blocking the source of blood that is feeding the fibroids and making them die out gradually. It targets all the fibroids, preserves your uterus, and has only a 5-7-day recovery time. Contact us today to learn more about uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).