I’ve come to realize that whatever you believe in will be tested. A familiar scripture in the bible reminds us that “the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:3). Well, my faith in my beliefs has been tested quite a bit over the past year and a half.
After a routine visit to the gynecologist I found out I have fibroid tumors. Actually, an ultrasound revealed that I have one huge fibroid that sits on top of my uterus.
Fibroid tumors are very common to women. Approximately 30 percent of white women and 50 percent of black women suffer from the troublesome symptoms caused by these nonmalignant growths.
Despite how common they are, I didn’t know much about them. I did my research and found out there were three primary options for my condition. Unfortunately, because of the size of my fibroid the only option for me was surgical.
My immediate response was “No, I want to try a natural approach.” This was a defining moment for me. I was forced to test my beliefs. If I promote the benefits of following a plant based diet, I couldn’t doubt that now. Truth is, I never doubted it for a second.
Once I realized that many women have shrunk their fibroids using a natural approach I knew it could work for me. I asked my doctor to give me six months to try my approach. I wanted to see if I could shrink my fibroid by using a natural approach. Since I was basically asymptomatic, she was fine with that, under the condition that I would come back if my condition worsened.
I assured her that I would. Besides, she was uncomfortable performing surgery on me when I wasn’t presenting with any symptoms. I’m fortunate that my fibroid tumor isn’t located inside my uterus. That would certainly cause me to manifest more symptoms like bleeding and cramping. That’s why I never knew that I had them. I just knew that I was suffering from excessive urination. So much so, I knew it had to be attributed to something else. I just didn’t know what. So after researching fibroid tumors I learned that was one of the symptoms.
Taking a natural approach primarily consisted of nutritional therapy. Research revealed that nutrition is key in shrinking fibroids and alleviating symptoms. Most of the research emphasized getting rid of animal protein and basically adopting a plant-based diet. Since I’m already a vegan I didn’t think it was a lot I could do, but I realized there was room for improvement.
Here are some of the changes I made to my diet to tackle my condition.
Eliminate sugar – simple sugars and refined sugars deteriorate health and promote fibroid growth. Simple sugars and starches are deadly to your overall health and wreak havoc on hormone balance.
Eliminate wheat – studies show that gluten (a protein found in commercially grown wheat (i.e barley, oats, and rye) can interfere with the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. Non-gluten grains like rice, millet, and buckwheat are a better choice because they are more alkaline.
Reduce caffeine – Caffeine promotes hormonal imbalance by compromising the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. It can interfere with the body’s absorption of iron- a major problem for women who suffer from fibroid-induced anemia due to heavy bleeding
Take B vitamins – B vitamins like B6 stop fibroid growth by helping the liver metabolize estrogen efficiently and help restore hormone balance.
Increase omega 3’s – consuming the right foods creates a balance between the omega 6 and the omega 3 fatty acids, thereby reducing the risk of hormone balance disturbance.
Eat organic as often as possible – vegetables should be organic, free of pesticides and insecticides, and grown in soil that is rich in nutrients important for optimal health. In particular, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale and swiss chard are standouts for their ability to help metabolize hormones in a beneficial way.
One of the primary things that contribute to fibroids is high estrogen levels. So, an effective strategy is to be mindful of those things that increase estrogen and hormone levels.
I made the changes and returned to the doctor for a follow up ultrasound six months later. What I found out was that my fibroids had not disappeared. But there was some good news – they had not increased in size. Initially, I didn’t see this as good news because the only thing I wanted to hear was that my fibroid was gone or at least had significantly shrunk in size. I guess that wasn’t realistic.
However, my doctor was impressed. She even encouraged me to continue what I was doing. What I hadn’t realized was how quickly fibroids grow, so for mine to have stopped growing that was a positive change.
After I shifted my perspective and accepted that this was good news, I decided to get back at it. I’m still on this journey to shrink my fibroids and I know that I can. For the past few months I’ve been suffering from the repercussions of having estrogen dominance. It has been difficult to lose weight. So, I modified my diet (AGAIN) and I’m finally starting to see progress. I will tell you more about that in the coming weeks.
I just wanted to share my story and let everyone know what I’m dealing with because I’m not alone. I know I’m gaining a lot of knowledge through this experience and I plan to pass it along. If I can help one woman avoid surgery I will be happy. Some women really need surgery, but there are others who do not. I want those women to know there is another way – a simpler way.
If you’re one of the millions of women dealing with fibroids, I’d love to hear YOUR story. Please leave a comment.
Until next time…
Peace, Love & Fitness!
References: Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure