Uterine fibroids - noncancerous growths in the uterus - are a common condition affecting 70 to 80% of black women during their reproductive years. I’m one of these women and, almost every day, I discover that others in my life - including friends, acquaintances, and colleagues - are, too.
My journey with fibroids began with stories passed down through generations of women in my family. They described them as “excruciating period pains”. This description resonates, given the general lack of awareness surrounding this condition. In our family, fibroids were believed to be an “inherited condition” passed from one generation to the next. I grew up thinking that I had “inherited” fibroids and was destined for the same agony as the women before me. However, extensive research and the growing wealth of information on fibroids have provided me with a vocabulary to understand this condition. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I don’t have to suffer through agonizing periods anymore; fibroids can be managed and treated.
In 2019 my fibroid condition intensified. I noticed worrying symptoms - a pronounced stomach bulge, along with unusual pressure and discomfort in my lower abdomen. I also started experiencing pain during sex. Alarmed, I visited a doctor, who confirmed the presence of a growing mass in my pelvis. Worried it might be a cyst, she referred me to a hospital for further tests. Thankfully, it wasn’t a cyst, but I was advised to see a gynaecologist, and subsequent consultations confirmed that I had fibroids. With a diagnosis in hand, I embarked on a transformative journey of research, self-discovery and healing. No longer willing to rely on painkillers or suffer debilitating pain, I sought alternative solutions: extensive research, lifestyle adjustments, exercise, supplements, and a plant-based diet.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet was a natural starting point; after all, food is medicine. I began incorporating more legumes to reduce the size of uterine fibroids by flushing out toxins and restoring oestrogen levels to normal. I eliminated refined carbohydrates, which can exacerbate fibroid growth by affecting oestrogen levels, and increased my intake of fish rich in vitamin A and omega-3 to manage and prevent the fibroids.
Balancing my hormones was a significant aspect of my journey. Did you know that high oestrogen levels can contribute to fibroid development and growth? After learning about this, maintaining healthy progesterone levels became a priority. Turns out turmeric can help manage oestrogen levels and shrink fibroids thanks to curcumin, which contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I started taking Curcumin Complete supplements and adding turmeric to my meals and drinks. Within a month, I experienced reduced inflammation and associated symptoms, significantly reducing my dependency on painkillers. Turmeric has since become part of my daily regimen.
Additionally, my research revealed that sea moss could help shrink fibroids, because it is a good source of iodine, which is an important mineral, and may help to reduce the risk of developing fibroids. So I began taking sea moss supplements. Surprisingly, this ended up being a game-changer. After a worrisome two-week-long period accompanied by shedding blood clots, I saw a visible reduction in my fibroids - a testament to the power of natural supplements.
Exercise and mindfulness practices, including yoga and Pilates, became integral to my treatment plan, helping to balance my hormones and alleviate fibroid-related pain and discomfort.
My goal is to treat my fibroids, not just manage them. In addition to embracing a holistic wellness approach, I’m also exploring alternatives to invasive surgery. I believe in a dual approach - combining non-invasive medical interventions with holistic wellness to prevent fibroid recurrence. Many women experience fibroid regrowth post-surgery due to overlooked hormone imbalances. Through diet and lifestyle, I’ve seen that it is possible to address hormone imbalances and shrink fibroids. Now, I want to show that the same approach can also minimise or prevent fibroid regrowth after surgery. My exploration has just begun, and I invite you to stay tuned for more as we learn and heal together…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Noxy Khowane is a health and sustainability advocate with a special interest in helping women to shrink, manage, and treat fibroids through a dual coaching approach.