Fibroids & Non-Surgical Healing
Too many of us are told invasive procedures are our only option…
Here you’ll learn about the different types of fibroids and to how to use vaginal steaming and other non-surgical modalities to heal fibroids naturally.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are firm, roundish, noncancerous growths of muscle layers in the uterus. They consist of dense tissues and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are “solidified phlegm.” Usually located within the main part of the uterus, fibroids are rarely found along the vaginal cancel or the outer extremities of the vulva. Fibroids can range in size quite dramatically, from the size of a small pebble to a cantaloupe of even larger.
Three types of fibroids:
- Intramural fibroids: These are the most common type of fibroids and are embedded on the muscular inner wall of the uterus.
- Submucosal fibroids: These fibroids push into the uterine cavity and are usually found in the muscle beneath the inner lining of the uterine wall.
- Subserosal fibroids: These fibroids extend beyond the uterine wall and grow within the surrounding outer uterine tissue layer. These fibroids can still be treated with steam but the steam has a bit harder of a time getting to them.
*Pedunculated fibroids: Both submucosal and subserosal fibroids can be pedunculated, meaning they have a stalk and can grow quite large in size.
How Common are Fibroids?
In short, fibroids are VERY common, affecting 7-60% of yoni bodied folks depending on factors including age and race. However, the prevalence of fibroids does not make them “normal” and despite the opinion of many modern medical professionals there ARE non-surgical options for healing.
Racial Inequities in Health & Hysterectomies:
Black women have a far higher incidence rate of fibroids than white women.
“Black women receive a diagnosis of fibroids roughly three times as frequently as white women. Black women have other issues with fibroids: They start to develop them earlier (in their 20s versus 30s for white women), and their fibroids tend to be larger and more numerous, causing more severe symptoms. Some estimates show that a quarter of black women between 18 and 30 have fibroids, compared with 7 percent of white women; by age 35, that number increases to 60 percent.”
“More than 400,000 hysterectomies are done each year in the United States, and fully a third of the hysterectomies done in women between 18 and 44 — prime reproductive years — are done to treat fibroids. As a result, black women are four times as likely as white women to receive a hysterectomy.
- The New York Times, “Black Women are Hit Hardest by Fibroid Tumors And Experts Don’t Know Why.” By Hilda Hutcherson | April 15, 2020
Fibroids & Estrogen dominance:
The occurrence and growth of fibroids is connected to a high prevalence of estrogen in the body. This may be caused by hormonal birth control, estrogen building foods, environmental toxicities, and other lifestyle considerations including stress.
As estrogen naturally declines in menopause, some folks will see a mitigation or elimination of their fibroids during this life phase.
Fibroids & Symptoms:
A majority of folks with fibroids will not have any symptoms, and their fibroids don’t pose serious health risks. Others may experience:
- Mild to severe pelvic pain
- Heavy and/or painful periods
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
- Lower back and/or leg pain
- Weight gain
- Discomfort or swelling in the lower abdomen (especially with large fibroids)
- Urinary or bowel problems, including frequent urination and constipation
Fibroids & Reproductive concerns:
Fibroids may lead to problems with fertility, repeated miscarriages as well as pregnancy and labor complications.
FIBROIDS & VAGINAL STEAMING
How Steaming Works & The Underlying Imbalances of Fibroids
Steaming is believed to be so helpful for healing fibroids because of its ability to release stagnation and dampness. Fibroids themselves are indications of stagnation and dampness the body. The fluid/mucus is getting stuck in the body and the fluid build-up is creating the dampness.
Steaming Herbs for Fibroids
The most regularly recommended custom herb blend for steaming for fibroids is the Kitara Release Cleansing Herbs. The blend has extra cleansing properties and is therefore wonderfully supportive of the release of fibroids for folks with consistent cycles of 28 days or more. However, if someone has fibroids and is experiencing short cycles of 27 days or less, they are likely better suited to use the Kitara Rejuvenate Strengthening Herbs.
Best practice for determining herbs: Book a consultation with a Certified Vaginal Steam Practitioner with specific training in steaming for fibroids.
Vaginal Steam Set-up for Steaming for Fibroids
To determine whether to use the 10 Min Mild Steam Set-up or the 30 Min Advanced Steam Set-up, please follow the standard procedure of checking for sensitivities.
Sensitivities, including those listed below, indicate a necessity for the 10 Min Mild Steam Set-up (longer steams are NOT advised).
- You are prone to shorter cycles, 27 days or less.
- You have an IUD.
- You are prone to infections (bacteria, yeast, herpes).
- You have indications of excess heat in the body (night sweats, hot flashes, etc)
- You are prone to fresh red spotting/ trickle bleeding. Remember, never steam while currently bleeding fresh red blood.
- You have a herstory of spontaneous bleeding or 2 periods per month.
Detailed information about steam set-ups is available here.
Vaginal Steam Schedules for Steaming for Fibroids
The steaming protocol for releasing fibroids is more robust than other more routine steaming schedules used for reducing cramps and balancing cycles, etc It will likely involve what is known as a "full uterine re-set" which requires an advanced steaming schedule that may include steaming for three consecutive days after and before your bleed and every other day in-between. Following this initial month of steaming, your practitioner will be able to screen you to see if it is safe and advised to steam daily (except when menstruating) for the intentional release of fibroids.
This is why it is highly recommended that you first book a consultation with a Certified Vaginal Steam Practitioner with specific training in steaming for fibroid release.
A note on working with a practitioner for fibroid release: Many certified vaginal steam practitioners have not yet completed the advanced modules and training required to best guide folks through a steaming protocol for fibroid healing.
Kitara's founder, Kit Maloney, offers consultations and is a certified practitioner with specific training and experience suited to support folks through steaming for fibroid release. Consultations with her are available here.
Initial 3-6 month steaming schedule:
After three months of steaming, if it is possible and desired, you may choose to get an ultrasound to check on progress. However, there is no requirement for this and as there is a very real possibility that the fibroids will clear from steaming and the other holistic care practices covered below.
If you do feel called to get an ultrasound, remember that Midwives, Naturopathic, and some Homeopathic doctors can do ultrasounds. Ideally you’ll go to one of these professionals as they are likely to be more receptive and supportive of your steam practice and holistic healing goals.
If the fibroids are not yet completely gone, please steam for another three months. Keep in touch with your practitioner so that progress is monitored and protocols adjusted when necessary.
Maintenance Steaming for Fibroids
If after 3-6 months you feel that fibroids have been released, then please maintain uterine health with steaming weekly (avoiding menstruation). This may prevent the problem of recurrent fibroids coming back.
What to Expect When Steaming for Fibroids
Fibroids may come out in clumps/chunks of white phlegm. They may also come out as vaginal discharge because sometimes the phlegm and mucus melt and it looks like irregular vaginal discharge. Sometimes the fibroids are expelled during your period/bleed. You may notice a stickiness to your menses/blood that could be a sign of fibroids coming out. However, you might not experience noticeable signs of clumps, vaginal discharge, or stickiness.
Regardless of what you can tangibly see and touch, what's most important is achieving a healthy cycle which is regular and pain free. With the occurrence of a healthy cycle, your uterus will be cleansing completely, including releasing the fibroids. Pain relief and pain reduction are very good signs as they are indicators that the uterus is doing its own cleanse in a more optimal way.
Check in and keep us posted on developments and progress.
We LOVE witnessing your healing and celebrating your successes!
The email firstname.lastname@example.org is exclusively read by our founder and Certified Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Kit Maloney
When steaming for fibroids, it is always recommended to book a consultation with a Certified Vaginal Steam Practitioner who has particular knowledge in this area before starting your vaginal steam practice.
This will ensure the safety and efficacy of your practice.
FIBROIDS & HOLISTIC HEALINGThe following lifestyle adaptations and healing modalities work in conjunction with your vaginal steam practice to support the non-surgical release of fibroids.
TOXICITY & FIBROIDS
Many commonly used beauty, hair, hygiene, and cleaning products have harmful ingredients that may be carcinogenic and/or disruptive of the endocrine system. As discussed above, fibroids are an indication of stagnation and excess dampness in the body. Reduction and elimination of exposure to toxins helps the bodies cleanse naturally and completely, clearing stagnation and dampness and thus helping to heal and prevent fibroids.
Toxic Beauty Supplies
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals like parabens and phthalates are unfortunately all too common in our everyday products, including our lipsticks, foundations, and eyeshadows too. So check the ingredient list on all your beauty products. For an all natural beauty brand we can’t recommend highly enough, check out the wildcrafted and organic product line from Annmarie Skincare.
The skin is the body's LARGEST ORGAN. So double check those soaps, lotions, sunscreens, and oils to make sure they are using only clean and natural ingredients.
Toxic Hair Products
Many frequently sold hair products and procedures contain carcinogenic and/or hormone disrupting ingredients. Furthermore The New York Times confirms that “preliminary research shows that hair relaxers — chemicals used by millions of Black women — are associated with higher incidence of fibroids."
So please read the back labels of all your hair products and ask your salon for information about their procedures and the ingredients of the products they use.
Toxic Feminine Care Products
Conventional tampons and pads contain chlorine bleach which creates toxic dioxin and other disinfection by-products. Toxic dioxin collects in fatty tissues and may cause abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs, abnormal cell growth throughout the body, immune system suppression, and hormonal and endocrine system disruption.
Opt for all natural products, including pads, period underwear, and menstrual cups.
PROPER PERIOD CARE FOR FIBROIDS
No tampons! Tampons block the release of the natural cleanse of the period and may cause further stagnation.
Your body is building more blood to support the cleanse that happens in menstruation, this requires extra nutrients and rest! During your bleed eat lots of nutrient dense warming foods like teas and soups to help aid the natural cleansing process. Opt for restorative movement practices such as yin yoga and gentle nourishing walks in nature.
FOOD THERAPY FOR FIBROIDS
Foods to Reduce/ Eliminate
Fibroids are filled with fluid that the steaming is helping to drain. To support the efficacy of your steam practice and the attainment of your health goals, please avoid overly damp foods including dairy, sugar, and alcohol. A reduction of these foods by just 50% is a great start! As you see results, you may be motivated to cut back further.
Avoid estrogen building foods:
Because fibroids are associated with estrogen dominance, avoid any foods that increase estrogen levels in the body. Red meat and animal fats, dairy products including cheese, cream, butter, and ice cream, and alcohol have all been shown to raise levels of estrogen.
Avoid refined sugars and simple carbohydrates:
Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates rank high on the glycemic index which affects blood sugar levels and may stimulate fibroid growth. A recent study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that a high GI rating also boosts fibroid risk, especially in African American women.
Alcohol is loaded with sugars and creates dampness in the body.
Remember, by cutting back on these foods, you are avoiding the re-introduction of the dampness that you are clearing by steaming and a 50% reduction is a great place to start!
Introduce Liver Supportive Foods:
Fibroids are connected to an excess of estrogen in the body and breaking down that estrogen is the job of the liver. So while addressing fibroid release, it is important to give extra support to your liver.
Ways to support the liver include:
- Eliminate gluten and processed foods from your diet. Again, you can start with cutting back 50% of gluten and processed foods and go from there.
- Eat gluten-free grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice. These grains also contain vitamins and minerals that may help shrink fibroids.
- Eat liver supportive cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, and arugula.
- Eat detoxifying foods like ginger, garlic, onions, and fresh aloe.
- Drink LOTS of alkaline or distilled water to assist the body in eliminating stored toxins and waste.
- Sip detoxifying teas throughout the day (more below)
HERBAL & DRYING TEAS:
Drink herbal and drying infusions and teas 2-3 times daily.
Recommended teas for fibroid healing include:
Red Raspberry Leaf is known as a uterine tonic for helping to support and tone the uterus. It may relieve menstrual cramping and pain and reduce heavy period flows.
Dandelion supports liver detoxification. It is particularly helpful for uterine health as the body relies upon the liver to metabolize excess hormones, including estrogen.
Nettle is known as a blood tonic and may support the increased production of healthy blood in the body, necessary for supporting an optimum uterine cleanse during menstruation.
Cornsilk is a drying herb, which is particularly beneficial for fibroid healing.
Oat Straw is a gentle herb used for calming the central nervous system, stress reduction, and it is also associated with reduced cramping and PMS.
Ginger is great for supporting detoxification.
FIBROIDS, CARDIO, & MOVEMENT
Exercising may reduce the production of excess estrogen & progesterone and in turn limit the growth of fibroids.
Fitness and movement also helps burn visceral fat which allows the body to process estrogen more efficiently and balance your hormones, preventing the growth of fibroids.
Just 5 min of daily cardio (except when bleeding or experiencing any pre-period cramping) is a great way to get the heartbeat up, increase circulation, and release some toxicity through some good ole sweat. So start including some brisk walks, jogs, jump rope, elliptical training, and/or whatever other blood pumping activity you feel called to do each day! From 5 minutes per day, slowly build up to 30 minutes of daily cardio.
In conjunction with your steaming practice and supportive dietary choices, with exercise you may prevent the development of fibroids and/or limit their growth.
Acupuncture is a wonderful compliment to steaming in general, and for fibroid release in particular. It helps clear stagnation, eliminate dampness, and bring emotional balance. So if you're called to it, keep an ear out for a good local practitioner. I highly recommend it!
CASTOR OIL PACKS
Castor Oil packs are hot packs made with wool flannel, hexane-free castor oil, and a heating pad. Evidence suggests that they work through stimulating the lymphatic system and reducing inflammation. The castor oil pack is applied over the uterine area for 30-60 minutes per session to support the release fibroids.
Benefits of Caster Oil Packs for Fibroids May Include:
- An increase in circulation, promoting the elimination and healing of the tissues & organs underneath the skin.
- Stimulating the liver, reducing inflammation, and aiding the detoxification process.
- Pulling toxins from muscles and aiding the removal of fibroids.
Contraindications: Castor oil packs are NOT to be used during pregnancy or during menstruation.
Tips for Castor Oil packs:
- Reuse the same jar & cloth for a year, and re-saturate with castor oil when it dries.
- Relax with meditations, visualizations, affirming mantras, and calming music.
- Use at least 3 times a week for deep uterine cleanse.
- For best results at the start, use four days straight; take a break for three days and then resume for at least 3 times per week for a month (but don’t use it when bleeding).
Check out this VIDEO for guiding you through the process of using a castor oil pack.
HEALING BATHS & MASSAGE
Herbal Baths and Clay Baths may help pull out toxins and clear fibroids.
Herbal Baths: You can use the same herbs you steam with in the bath and/or choose herbs that evoke a sense of calm and release into your system.
Bentonite Clay Baths: Add a cup of the clay to the warm bath water (it doesn't need to be hot). The clay may help to draw out the dampness in the body.
Self Massage: A gentle abdominal massage can be done while in the bath and can loosen the fibroids and help them to drain.
Two additional forms of abdominal massage that are highly recommended for releasing fibroids include:
Mayan Abdominal Massage (Arvigo Practitioners) &
Chi Nei Tsang (Chinese Abdominal Massage)
Dry brushing also stimulates the lymphatic system and helps the body detoxify.
Dry Brushing Tips:
- Dry brushing can be done daily (or even twice a day) and is most easily done right before you start your shower. You might want to do it inside the shower so that the exfoliated skin can wash easily down the drain.
- Always sweep the direction of the brushing towards the heart.
- Use small, firm strokes, and be sure not to press too hard. Allow it to feel soothing and energizing, never harsh.
- Start with the bottom of your feet, moving up the legs.
- On your arms, begin at the hands and move upwards.
- Be gentle on your abdomen and around your breasts. If you do choose to dry brush these areas, do so soothingly and move the strokes towards the heart.
- You can finish with downward strokes on your neck.
FIBROIDS & EMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS:
Fibroids can often be an indicator that we might be out of balance with the equilibrium of giving and receiving. Women and menstruating folks tend to give so generously and sometimes our body shows us signs that it is time to redirect that giving towards ourselves, which is what receptivity is all about. Our vaginal steam practice and other holistic healing modalities invite us into restorative moments that are all about receptivity and receiving nourishment and love for yourself.
Allow these messages of self-worth and self-love to carry with you throughout your days.
For more information and guidance around non-surgical fibroid healing:
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.