Maintaining a healthy reproductive system is important to the overall health of a woman, but fibroids -- which are found on the uterus -- can cause health problems. Though fibroids do not normally cause excessive symptoms, they can be irritating and at some points painful. The reduction of fibroids is in the interest of those who suffer from them, and flaxseed may play a role in this function.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that, the majority of the time, appear on the uterus. Most of the time, fibroids don't cause problems, according to Dr. Scott C. Goodwin in his book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibroids," though in some women, they cause bleeding, pain, pressure, bloating, sexual problems and complications during pregnancy. Fibroids may grow slowly or rapidly and sometimes shrink spontaneously. It has yet to be determined what causes fibroids, but diet may play a role.
There are a variety of treatments available to deal with fibroids, some less invasive than others. Goodwin notes that if your symptoms are tolerable, modify your diet, including reducing red meat intake, hydrogenated oils and processed foods. Also, begin an exercise program if you are not on one, and institute stress-reduction techniques such as tai chi or meditation into your daily routine. Birth control pills are also sometimes used to reduce fibroids, as is ibuprofen. Finally, some women have surgery to remove fibroids or their uterus.
Flaxseed is an important food to eat when dealing with fibroids, notes Eve Agee, Ph.D., in her book, "The Uterine Health Companion," because omega-3 fatty acids may help with the reduction of tumors. She notes that some research has indicated the decrease of tumors in animals who were given omega-3 fatty acids, and other research indicated flaxseeds can help shrink tumor growth in women with breast cancer. She recommends eating plenty of flaxseeds, along with other omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods such as walnuts and wild cold-water fish, for three months to see if your fibroid symptoms ease.
Though fibroids are usually not life-threatening, work with your doctor to determine the best course of action to reduce your fibroids. Set up a schedule with your doctor to monitor fibroids over time. The multi-pronged approach is the best way to work with fibroids, including dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes, along with medication if necessary.
- "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibroids"; Scott C. Goodwin, M.D.; 2003
- "The Uterine Health Companion"; Eve Agee, Ph.D.; 2010