What is it?
Fibroids are benign tumors formed of smooth muscle cells and a variable proportion of fibrous tissue, which can develop in both children and adults, persist for a long time, without leading to the onset of serious symptoms.
They can develop in different areas of the body. In females it mainly develops in the uterus (uterine fibroids) or on ovaries (leiomyomas). They rarely develop within the skin and in bones.
Fibroids are generally classified by the shape, composition and location:
- If they have a nodular shape they are called fibroid nodules;
- If they have a polyp shape, they are called polyp fibroids;
- The hard fibroma consists of many fibres and few cells;
- The soft fibroma consists of many cells and few fibers;
- Intramural fibroids grow within the muscular uterine wall;
- Pedunculated fibroids are fibroids that are attached to the uterus by slender stems or stalks called peduncles;
- Submucosal fibroids bulge into the uterine cavity;
- Ossifying fibroma is a slow-growing, benign lesion of bone most commonly associated with the jaws;
- Angiofibromas are fibroids containing many blood vessels;
- Renal medullary fibromas are fibroids arising from the interstitial cells of the renal medulla;
- Fibroxanthomas are benign bone lesions of children and teenagers.
Fibroids usually grows slowly and are almost always benign. In any case, they must always be monitored, to avoid malignant degenerations.
The main tests carried out to monitor fibroids are:
- Ultrasound and CT scan;
- Transvaginal ultrasound for ovarian and uterine fibroids.
It is not known what causes fibroids, but studies show a higher incidence in obese people, in individuals with black skin, in people subject to trauma or in presence of the same condition in other members of the family.
Fibroids are almost always asymptomatic. In women who have symptoms, the most common signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Continuous and abundant menstruation;
- Pelvic pain;
- Difficulty getting pregnant;
- Risk of miscarriage;
- Infertility in severe cases;
- Sensation of heaviness;
- Abdominal swelling;
- Frequent urination;
- Intestinal disorders.
Drugs used to treat fibroids include:
- Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) reduce the size of uterine fibroids and relieve patients of myoma-related symptoms;
- Estrogen / progestogen contraceptive pills can help reduce menstrual in case of uterine fibroids.
However, since these drugs do not allow the remission of fibroids, but only allow the reduction of the menstrual cycle, they are only used to treat states of chronic anemia, due to menorrhagia.
In case of multiple fibroids, very large fibroids or very deep fibroids, surgical removal is required through:
- Laparotomy, a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity;
- Laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgical technique used in the abdominal and pelvic areas. It uses the aid of a laparoscope — a thin, telescopic rod with a camera at the end — to see inside your body without opening it all the way up;
- Hysteroscopic tissue removal and retrieval procedure is done by inserting a small tube with a telescope at the end (hysteroscope) through the vagina;
- Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure to shrink noncancerous tumors in the uterus called uterine fibroids.
There are several natural remedies to treat fibroids:
- Scientific studies show an important role of green tea in inhibiting proliferation of fibroids;
- Chasteberry slowly shrinks fibroids;
- Linseed oil, evening primrose and borage have an anti-inflammatory action;
- Shepherd’s purse is a traditional herbal remedy that’s often used to reduce bleeding. It is useful for blocking cases of menorrhagia induced by fibroids;
- Alnus incana or grey alder reduces uterine fibroids or slows their growth;
- Cardio milk and dandelion have a detoxifying action for the liver, which plays an important role in hormonal regulation;
- Ginkgo biloba helps improve the dysmenorrhea associated with fibroids;
- Massaging warm castor oil over your abdomen can be an excellent way to relieve the symptoms of bloating or abdominal pain.
A detoxifying diet is the most indicated for fibroids patients, as a clean and fluid blood allows greater resorption of the fibroids.
The primary purpose of the diet has to help balance the hormonal and endocrine systems, as well as excretory organs such as the bladder, kidneys and liver.
Foods that must be included in the diet are:
- Whole grains, rich in vitamins and minerals;
- Foods rich in iron and vitamin C to reduce the effects of anemia, due to heavy menstruation. Spinach, broccoli, rocket, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, soy, dried fruit, red or white meat, eggs, dark chocolate are excellent sources of iron. Foods rich in vitamin C are all dark green leafy vegetables and the citrus fruits;
- Foods rich in vitamin A such as carrots, potatoes, cabbage, citrus fruits and spinach;
- Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, chard, rocket, rich in anti-haemorrhagic vitamin K and anti-inflammatory molecules. Furthermore, they are rich in fibers. Including these foods in the diet reduces the risk of fibroids;
- It is better to avoid all inflammatory foods, such as milk and derivatives, salami, simple sugars, coffee, tea, alcohol and products packaged in canned or cans.