Living with uterine fibroids often means managing challenging physical symptoms, like heavy periods, back and pelvic pain, and bloating. That’s not to mention the emotional and mental toll that comes along with the diagnosis, as it’s common for women who discover they have the condition to worry about the potential long-term impacts on their health and fertility.
When learning more about living with UF, many women are curious about whether taking particular dietary supplements or vitamins can help relieve their symptoms, or even help stymie the progression of the condition. In this blog, we’ll explore recent research into this topic, which has found that some vitamins may provide benefits for women with UF.
It’s critical to note that while vitamins and supplements offer potential benefits, consulting with a healthcare professional before beginning to take them is paramount. Every woman is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. A clinician can evaluate your specific situation, provide personalized recommendations, and ensure that any supplements you take are safe and effective.
Do vitamins help with UF, or is that a myth?
While the exact causes of fibroids remain unknown, research has indicated that there is a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and the presence of fibroids. A significant percentage of women who are living with fibroids are found to lack Vitamin D, and it’s thought that taking Vitamin D supplements may help reduce the symptoms of UF and limit the growth of fibroids.
A recent study established a link between a stabilization in the size and volume of fibroids, as well as relief from symptoms, and women who took Vitamin D supplements. Researchers discovered that the heavy bleeding during periods – a common fibroid symptom – was reduced by nearly 30 percent, and pelvic and back pain were lowered by 35 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Another study, which took place over a six-year period, found that women living with fibroids who consumed Vitamin D supplements had a lower rate of surgical intervention to manage their condition. Researchers concluded that taking Vitamin D helped curb the progression of the disease and prevent the growth and expansion of fibroids, reducing the likelihood that they needed to undergo invasive procedures to manage their condition.
Additional short term research has found that a combination of Vitamin D and ECGC, also known as green tea extract, prevented fibroids already present in the uterus from growing larger. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a compound found in plants, which is linked to reducing inflammation and relief from chronic disease symptoms.
However, it’s important to remember that research into this topic is still ongoing, and while Vitamin D supplements are emerging as a promising treatment, this vitamin is by no means a definitive cure or solution for fibroids.
Are the vitamins from food enough for UF relief, or do I need to take supplements?
A well-balanced diet that’s rich in essential nutrients is crucial for overall health. But managing uterine fibroid symptoms may require additional support beyond what food alone can provide. Because our diets constantly change from day to day, it can be challenging to consistently consume optimal amounts of specific nutrients on a regular basis.
While vitamins and minerals from food are valuable, the concentrations and bioavailability of certain nutrients may not be sufficient for relieving the symptoms of uterine fibroids. Supplementation can be a helpful addition to your overall treatment approach, because it ensures that you consume a specific vitamin in a trackable, predictable amount.
Supplements can help bridge the nutritional gap and provide concentrated doses of nutrients that are beneficial for managing uterine fibroids. They can offer higher levels of vitamins and minerals that are difficult to obtain in adequate quantities from food alone, especially when you’re trying to raise your levels of a particular nutrient, such as Vitamin D.
Even if you’re planning on taking supplements, it may be worth it to take a good look at your overall diet and whether or not it’s exacerbating your fibroids. Studies have noted a correlation between eating lots of fruits and vegetables and a lower likelihood of fibroids, or less severe symptoms if you already have them.
On the other hand, women with meat-heavy diets, especially processed red meats, are found to have a higher chance of developing fibroids and suffering more intense symptoms.
When should I consider medical intervention for my symptoms?
If taking supplements and making lifestyle changes, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, cutting out foods that exacerbate your condition, reducing your alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t providing you with sufficient relief from your fibroid symptoms, you should consider speaking to a doctor about your options.
Symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, can seriously disrupt your day-to-day life, as well as lead to other issues like anaemia. The good news is that there are a number of treatments that can provide you relief from this uterine fibroid symptom that isn’t invasive in nature.
From specific medications to in-office procedures that don’t require anaesthesia or hospitalization, your doctor can provide you with options that can help you take control of your condition and make your day-to-day life easier.
Unfortunately, many women with uterine fibroids think that experiencing physical discomfort is an inevitable part of living with the condition. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case. If your uterine fibroids are negatively impacting your health and quality of life, you should consult with a clinician to learn more about your options.
You might be reluctant to consult with your doctor because you’re afraid of being pressured into having an invasive procedure, or mistakenly believe that your clinician’s first response will be suggesting surgery. But today, there are numerous non-invasive treatment paths that can help you manage your condition and feel better. Speak to your doctor, and take control of your fibroid journey, on your terms.