Fibroids are making me look fatter than I already am. Help!
May 13, 2011 2:04 PM   Subscribe

YANMD: Are there any legit natural cures/treatments for fibroids? There are lots of sites out there saying such, but of course they are solely from the perspective of the person or company touting out the product. My surgical options are limited so I'm hoping for some sort of alternative.

I'm 29 and thanks to multiple fibroids I look like I'm 4 months pregnant. I'm already fat as it is, so it's really embarrassing for me (hence the anon post.) I want to get rid of them, but my gynecologist says I'd have to get an abdominal myomectomy, which would leave me with a really big scar on my bikini line. I honestly wouldn't mind getting a flat-out hysterectomy since I don't want any children, but of course no surgeon would do that. Either way, the bikini scar freaks me out. If there are any natural supplements that may be worth trying out, I'm willing to experiment. What has (or hasn't) worked for you?

Also, should I bring up to my doc about possibly going on a hormone treatment and then trying a laprascopic procedure, or am I completely and utterly SOL and will have to fend off the "When are you due?" inquiries until menopause?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need a new gynecologist. There are many non-invasive treatment options that are medical and have been shown to reduce fibroid size. A lot of gyns are hesitant to recommend them to women who've not yet had kids, because they either interfere with the ability to have kids, or the long term impact on childbearing is unknown because the procedures are so new. However, if your gyn is unwilling to even mention these options -- in essence, making your childbearing decision for you -- you need a new one. One caveat: you might not be a good candidate for these because of the location and size of your fibroids, but it's worth going to a gyn who at least brings them up.

Here's a great previous AskMe with some non-invasive options.

As far as natural treatments, I've tried a bunch, but honestly, they're not even worth mentioning. The fibroids were causing blood loss so bad I was severely anemic, and no natural treatment was causing them to shrink at all. Really, I only tried the natural methods because I was too anemic to even have surgery for months.

And, just to hopefully assuage your fears if you end up having the myomectomy: It's more than possible for a gynecologist to do an abdominal myomectomy with a small horizontal scar at your bikini line (as opposed to a vertical one, which is large and icky). If your gyn can't promise this, or seems unsure in any way, get a new one. With this scar, you can still wear a bikini. You could even be a stripper, with the right lighting ;-) . The scar fades relatively quickly. Also, there are gynecologists who will give 29 year olds hysterectomies - but that's really drastic just in terms of recovery time compared to less invasive methods of fibroid reduction/removal.
posted by lesli212 at 2:35 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

This is more of a lifestyle change than naturopathy, but I have read a number of accounts of women who have found some relief from fibroids after dropping weight (excess fat can mess with hormones).
posted by schroedinger at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2011

Not sure what technique was used (and my fibroids were small) but I had them out twice while I was undergoing fertility treatment and they, um, went in via a method that leaves no external scar, nor does it cause fertility problems; they were doing it to *improve* chances of pregnancy.
posted by Maias at 2:41 PM on May 13, 2011

Agree with lesli212 that you MUST GET a second opinion.

To answer your original question, I found that none of the recommended natural remedies did ANYTHING AT ALL to help with my heavy menses and intense pain from fibroids and I tried all kinds of herbs and creams and diets for two years!

Finally, this past March, I had uterine fibroid embolization. Since, like me, you don't want children, this could really be the way to go for you. The entire procedure took 90 minutes (I was out like a bulb the whole time.) It's laproscopic so the incision they make in your bikini area is tiny, tiny, tiny. I can't see at all where the radiologist cut me.

I spent the night at the hospital to deal with the first of the post-procedure pain (Woooo Hoooo morpine pump!). I went home the next day and rested comfortably for about a week. I probably could have used two. It took about a full month before I felt truly back to normal but it was just minor fatigue.

My first cycle post-UFE didn't give me any relief but the radiologist told me to expect that. I'm hoping for some normalcy here on out.

I know you're considering a hysterectomy but you're looking at a 6-week recovery there and you know, I just think it's best to leave with as many parts as you came in with.

Good luck. Feel free to MeMail me for more information. I had a heck of a time deciding to do the UFE.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 2:48 PM on May 13, 2011

Hey anon, I feel your pain. (Literally. These fuckers hurt.)

The bad news is, I don't think any of the natural cures work.

The good news, as others pointed out above, is that the treatments don't have to be as invasive or scarring as your doctor may have led you to believe.

I strongly recommend that if you're not happy with the options your OBGYN is giving you, you look for a new doctor. I did. I went to three different OB-GYNS, in fact, before striking lucky with someone who took me seriously when I said this shit was affecting my life, big-time.

Anyway, I'm scheduled for one of those minimally invasive treatments within the month. If you send me a me-mail I'll let you know how it goes once I'm through it.
posted by mylittlepoppet at 4:09 PM on May 13, 2011

How do you feel about ~4 one-inch scars elsewhere on your abdomen? I suggest researching a DaVinci robotic myomectomy. Also, I agree with getting a second or third opinion. Find someone who specializes in this, perhaps a gynecological/oncological surgeon.

Also, I think there is something called Uterine Artery Embolization, but I'm not familiar with any details about it, sorry.
posted by jay dee bee at 8:32 PM on May 13, 2011

YES, there are alternative to surgical options for some fibroids. However, fibroids can cause serious medical problems (anemia, pain, interfere with digestion, etc) so you would need to work with someone well trained (an acupuncturist, an herbalist, an osteopath, etc) who has lots of experience. You can assess your progress by ultrasound every two months.

There is NO magic pill that is just sitting out at your pharmacy. Ask around to friends if they know a local alternative healer that is really good and then be very clear with that person about your goals. This method will take time - it took you more than a day to make a fibroid and it will take more than a day to unmake them.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 7:57 AM on May 14, 2011

A surgical myomectomy doesn't have to leave much of a scar. Mine's tiny and almost invisible; you can just barely see it if you know it's there and you look very carefully.

Whatever you do, you'll feel so much better minus the pseudo-pregnancy. (I used to refer to my fibroids as "alien babies.") It is also a joy not to have to pee ALL THE DAMN TIME.
posted by tangerine at 2:19 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have seen some reports of acupuncture helping fibroids elsewhere on AskMe. I would recommend taking a look at those threads while you're getting your second opinion from another gynecologist.
posted by kristi at 9:12 AM on May 16, 2011

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