The Curious Coconut / TheCuriousCoconut.com

Healing Uterine Fibroids Naturally with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Health is a journey, not a destination, and I'm overdue to share details about where my journey has taken me in the last year+. My last update was September of 2015 when I was really at an extreme low point, and which was shortly after arriving here in Memphis, TN.

I can sum it up with 2 words: uterine fibroids. This will be a long post - my background in science won't let me skimp on information and I have spent the last 8 months poring over all the information I could find about fibroids, and I'd like to do my best to distill and share so that it may help other women. 

Fibroids are so much more common than you probably realize so at least read on to learn more about statistics and symptoms, so you can keep an eye on what is going on in your own body and make lifestyle changes sooner rather than later to improve uterine health. 

About Uterine Fibroids

Quickly, I want to share a few facts and statistics about fibroids.

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue and they grow inside the cavity, within the walls, or on the outside of the uterus. They are also called uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas. 

I was shocked to learn that conventional doctors are starting to consider them a "normal part of aging" given how extremely common they are today. 

Here is a quote from an NIH Fact Sheet on fibroids:

Most American women will develop fibroids at some point in their lives. One study found that, by age 50, 70 percent of whites and 80 percent of African Americans had fibroids.
— https://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/viewfactsheet.aspx?csid=50

Most. American. Women. MOST OF US are going to have fibroids in our lives. THAT is such an insane statistic, and makes me so sad. And it is so not NORMAL despite being common today. Here are some more staggering facts from the National Uterine Fibroid Foundation:

~600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States (~170,000 - ~300,000 due to uterine fibroids)
Over 5 billion dollars spent annually on hysterectomies (medical expense of procedures only)
Average time off from work to recover from a hysterectomy is 6 weeks (~144 million lost work hours)
~60% of all women undergoing hysterectomy have their ovaries removed (castration)
Over 5 billion dollars spent on hormone replacement therapy annually
37% of all women undergo hysterectomy by age 60
Myomectomy is performed less than 40,000 times a year in the U.S.
Over 25,000 uterine artery embolizations have been performed worldwide since 1996.
For every 10,000 hysterectomies performed, 11 women die. (Approximately 660 women die each year in the United States from complications of hysterectomy.)
— http://www.nuff.org/health_statistics.htm

I am just so not OK with having any of my organs removed from my body. I have chosen to use holistic methods and Chinese medicine to address the root causes and alleviate symptoms. I have already had huge improvements and I hope that sharing my story will help other women find relief and encouragement, too. 

My Uterine Fibroids Symptoms

My symptoms are pretty classical for fibroids. Not every woman will have all of these, and some have others. Some women are lucky enough to have no symptoms related to their fibroids, if they are small. Further down, I will address how Chinese Medicine has improved these symptoms (everything is so much better now!)

  • Irregular periods - ranging from 18 up to 42 days
  • Heavy bleeding 2-3 days per cycle- the official parameters for this mean you have to change your pad/tampon more frequently than every 2 hours
  • Brown, "old" looking spotting 1-3 days before menstruation
  • Large stringy clots in menstrual fluid
  • Extreme, debilitating cramping, both during menstruation and in the week after, sometimes randomly throughout cycle
  • Painful sex and orgasms, sometimes enough to bring me to tears
  • Raw, inflamed feeling in lower abdomen
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Increased urinary frequency and pain with a full bladder
  • Ability to physically palpate masses
  • Labile moods throughout cycle - sadness during follicular phase, anger during luteal
  • Constant discomfort, pressure, and pain in the lower abdomen, with an inability to focus attention elsewhere
  • Extreme fatigue, usually coupled with the pain episodes

Basically, the fibroid symptoms took over my entire life. All of this came to a head right when I had to work hardcore on my print cookbook, Latin American Paleo Cooking, making that already difficult process so much harder. Looking back I am truly amazed at what I was able to accomplish while dealing with these symptoms.

Other symptoms that I haven't had include:

  • Very long periods (7-10 days) 
  • Pain shooting down the legs
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods

Fibroids and Hormonal Imbalance

We don't know yet for certain exactly what kind of hormonal imbalance causes uterine fibroids to develop. When women reach menopause and naturally stop producing as many hormones, fibroids can shrink or disappear entirely. Some gynecologists will tell you to just hang in there until menopause, when your body will give you natural relief from symptoms. 

Some doctors believe that the body being in a state of estrogen dominance is the root cause condition that allows the fibroids to form in the first place. Estrogen dominance can occur when you produce too much estrogen, not enough progesterone, or a combination of both. Hormone balancing is tricky business, but one common alternative treatment for fibroids is bio-identical progesterone supplementation, either via oral, transvaginal suppository, or transdermal cream route of administration. 

I personally prefer to try to address the root cause of why my body is not producing hormones in the correct balance rather than supplement with hormones, but know that that is an option you can explore with your doctor. 

Diagnosing My Uterine Fibroids

Skip this if you want to hurry up and get to the details about my healing protocol.

After I moved here to Memphis in August 2015 (which was extremely stressful, done hastily, and followed fast on the heels of a heartbreaking falling out with people I deeply cared about), the symptoms related to my period got worse and worse. I knew something was really wrong, but was in denial until about May 2016. But I did not see a conventional Western MD until September, because I have such a difficult time seeing that kind of doctor, since it is, in my experience, almost always so disempowering and makes me super anxious and stressed.

At the end of July I had a really scary experience that lit a fire under me to finally work up the courage to see an MD. I was in the worst pain of my life, balled up in the fetal position, unable to stop crying due to the blinding pain. I called to make an appointment after that. 2 months later when I was able to be seen (oh, the joys of being uninsured and relying on low-cost, donation-funded healthcare!) the doctor said right away during the pelvic exam that it felt just like fibroids, and referred me for pelvic and trans-vaginal ultrasounds to confirm. 

I still have not seen copies of the ultrasounds, but the very basic report said: "there are multiple fibroids seen within the uterus with the largest measuring 5.8 x 4.3 cm. The uterus measures 9.1 x 6.2 cm." Endometrium and ovaries were normal. 

So, the largest one at the time of scanning was about the size of a lemon. That's about as big as they can be and still shrink on their own using the methods I have been using. They can grow much larger, the size of grapefruits or melons and in those cases surgery is usually unavoidable. 

I declined a consult with a gynecologist because I did not want to be told that I should have a hysterectomy since I am not having children and/or take drugs/hormones. I also declined because I was told the GYN would not even be able to see my ultrasounds and therefore would be unable to give me more detailed information, such as exact number and type(s) of fibroids (again, joys of using donation-funded healthcare and all the headache that entails. Even though I am grateful the service exists, it is extremely disorganized.) 

I made a resolve to do everything I could to shrink fibroids naturally, and began my intense research and started to formulate a plan, working with my Chinese medicine doctor on the details. 

I do not handle being told that I cannot do something, which I am pretty sure the GYN would have done. In my early 20s I was told by doctors that I would never see remission of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) or rosacea (I did), that I would forever need chronic antibiotics to keep HS under control (I sure haven't), that eventually I would need disfiguring surgery and skin grafts for the HS (nope, hasn't happened), that I would never come off antidepressants (I did), that I would never lose weight without overexercising and restricting calories (I sure did!).

It makes me absolutely furious to be told I am powerless to effect change without drugs or surgery, and I have made the choice that it is not worth the emotional toll. I am not saying YOU should decline consulting with a GYN, but I encourage you to do thorough research before making any health decisions and to consult with practitioners whom you trust and who listen to you desires.

I do have a holistic-minded GYN on my radar that I will travel to consult with should that need ever arise, but I trust it won't given my improvement to date with my current protocol and my stubborn determination to heal.  

Chinese Medicine for Healing Fibroids

If you've followed me for any length of time then you know how much trust I place in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I consider my acupuncturist to be my "primary care doctor" since the treatments he provides *actually* result in measurable (sometimes profound) improvements in health and wellness. I can't say any MD labeled by an insurance company as my "primary care doctor" ever accomplished anything even remotely similar...

I am so extremely lucky to be working with my current doctor, who is trained in Chinese herbs as well as acupuncture, and makes me custom batches of herbs each week that vary based on where I am in my cycle and on my symptoms - not just physical, but also emotional. Chinese medicine does not separate the body from the mind. 

Quick note about Chinese herbs: The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the AMA of the Chinese Medicine world and is the organization that administers board exams/certifications and licensure as diplomates. Not all acupuncturists receive in-depth herb training, so if you want to use herbs the way I have, you should look for a doctor who is either a Certified Diplomate in Oriental Medicine (which includes herbology) or who is a Certified Diplomate in Chinese Herbology. Find a practitioner near you and see their certifications on the NCCAOM website. 

If you are interested in getting a better understanding about Chinese medicine then I really strongly encourage you to read one or both of these books. I found them at my library but ended up purchasing them because I like to refer back to them. They are both wonderful but if I had to choose one, I would chose The Web That Has No Weaver. It will change how you view your body, health, and disease and empower you to make better choices for your health.  

Acupuncture and Electro-acupuncture For Fibroids

Electro-acupuncture for uterine fibroids // TheCuriousCoconut.com

This is not me, but it almost could be! I get electro-acupuncture on some of those same points, but usually a max of 4 at a time.

I get acupuncture 2-3 times per week, sometimes getting electro-acupuncture on special points on my lower abdomen (called Zi Gong Xue) and/or on my legs (usually around Spleen 6) or even hands (Large Intestine 4). I was nervous the first time I had electro-acupuncture, but I promise it is nothing to be afraid of and if you are dealing with any type of pain you will be so glad you had it, since it is so wonderful at relieving pain. 

Acupuncture, and especially electro-acupuncture, has a profound and significant impact on the fibroid symptoms, which I often notice as soon as I get off the table. I always have immediate pain reduction, reduced feeling of inflammation, and can forget I have fibroids after a treatment. This has been a cumulative effect bringing me to my current state of having immense relief from symptoms (more on how my symptoms have improved further down in the bulleted list). 

Interestingly enough I just saw this research out of the VA showing that electro-acupuncture (EA) causes a flood of a type of adult stem cell called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which is what researchers believe are the reason why EA is so healing and pain-relieving. Side note: the last lab I worked in used bone-marrow derived MSCs as a therapy to heal the brain after stroke, so it's super cool to me that there is this MSC connection with electro-acupuncture and my own healing! 

Raw Chinese Herb Decoctions For Fibroids

Chinese herbs can be taken as pills, powders, "tea pills" that you either chew or brew into a tea by dissolving in hot water, or as what are called raw herbs, pictured above.

I am doing raw herbs because it gives my doctor the ability to adjust my formula each week based on my current symptoms as well as where I am in my cycle. It involves weighing out specific amounts of bulk herbs (and by herbs, I mean everything from barks to roots to dried fruits to seeds and even some animal products, like oyster shells and seashells). I take this bulk formula and soak it in water and then simmer into a decoction, drinking half in the morning and half at night. 

I take a few days off during each cycle when I'm bleeding. My doctor likes women to take a break from herbs/supplements/medications (if it can all be done SAFELY and after consulting with whoever put you on everything to confirm it is OK) for the few days when you have real menstrual flow. The body is in purge-mode during this time, so it is nice to give it a break from the things you are taking, too. I often lose my appetite during my period, so I listen to my body and will generally fast or eat much less than normal. 

Previous doctors I've worked with have put me on all the other types of herbs, too, and they can be very effective depending on what you are treating. But I am really grateful to be able to do the raw herbs to treat fibroids.

The formula, as I said, changes week to week. Please don't ask me to tell you which herbs I am taking because it is not smart for you to try to re-create the formula without guidance from a qualified Chinese Herbologist. Here's a photo of my current batch....what do you recognize? ;-)

Chinese Medicine Herbal Prescription for Uterine Fibroids // TheCuriousCoconut.com

Just because I think it is so neat that I've got seashells in my medicinal herbs, here is a bit about it: it's Ark Shell (Wa Leng Zi) and is included for its ability to break up abdominal masses and relieve menstrual pain. I also save them and use them to decorate my garden :-)

There are some clinical trials that have been done in China that have shown some specific herb formulas to be effective at shrinking fibroids. I know my doctor has used those formulas as a guideline in his treatments. If you want to read a rather dense article about Chinese medicine theory, herbs, and fibroids, here you go. If you aren't versed in Chinese medicine's unique language and way of talking about the body, you may get lost, fair warning. But, if you read one of the books I linked above first, it will make a lot more sense. Show this article to the doctor you want to work with and ask about the clinically-evaluated formulas described at the end of the article. 

Moxibustion (Moxa) and Acupressure For Fibroids

Moxa Roll Burning for Uterine Fibroid Pain Relief // TheCuriousCoconut.com

Moxa is something I do at home as part of my self-care routine. Moxibustion refers to the burning of the herb mugwort, which has a rich history of use in many herbal medicine traditions. I use sticks that are rolled like big cigars, light one end, and then use it to warm specific points on my body. You hold it about an inch away from the skin and move it in small circles to warm a point.

Without getting into too much Chinese Medicine theory, I've been fascinated to observe that some of my meridians are "Cold" and that I can barely feel the heat coming from the burning moxa. Move it over a few inches and I feel the warmth normally. That is a clear sign that those "Cold" points NEED the "Heat" from the moxa. And it also means I am really really careful when I use it so I don't accidentally scorch my skin on those "Cold" spots. 

I also find burning moxa over my lower abdomen to be extremely soothing and also great at relieving fibroid pain. Mugwort is known to be relaxing, so it's great to breathe the aroma at night, to help wind down for sleep. Some people use it to promote vivid dreaming, but I haven't noticed that effect. 

I have been instructed to use moxa on the inside of my legs, particularly focusing between my ankles and knees. The point Spleen 6 is well-known for it's effects on the uterus - you can massage it to relieve cramps, and it can also induce labor. With acupuncture/acupressure, the more tender a point is the more that point NEEDS to be needled/massaged to break up the stagnation that is causing the pain. My Spleen 6 is alway super duper tender, so I try to give it a lot of TLC with moxa & acupressure. To assist with acupressure, I like to use a Theracane and also a selenite massage wand, which has a rounded end as well as a pointed end - sometimes I really like that pointy end for stubborn points!

You can order moxa sticks on Amazon or get them through your Chinese medicine doctor. Please consult with one before using them on yourself! I have not ordered on Amazon but these look like the ones I use. Also make sure that you get an extinguisher if you purchase moxa.  

The larger leaf-based moxa rolls produce smoke (like a cigar) and need to be used in a ventilated area or outdoors. Moxa has an......interesting odor that smells remarkably like marijuana. Do keep that in mind before burning it. In clinics that use moxa it is not uncommon to see signs hung up declaring that no, the doctors aren't sitting around getting high, but rather moxa is being burned.

Over the winter I also used smokeless moxa, so I could comfortably use it inside, rather than freezing my tush off outdoors. Smokeless moxa sticks have the herb bound with charcoal so that the smoke is drastically reduced and has very little to no odor. They do not get as hot and some say they are less effective than the leafy herb, but are better than no moxa at all!

Meditation and Visualization For Fibroids

One of the best things my doctor has done for me is help me to develop a regular meditation practice. My default way of thinking about illness and relating to my body having something "wrong" with it is to go down a spiral of self-hatred and despair. With meditation I have learned to stop that process in its tracks and to regain perspective. I've also learned some methods for coping with and relieving pain with meditation with Natural Pain Relief

I also use some visualization practices with meditation, seeing a healthy, fibroid-free uterus and using all my senses to see what that reality feels like. Healing Fibroids: A Doctor's Guide to a Natural Cure has some really fabulous exercises I've been using! 

I use a free app & website call Stop, Breathe, and Think for wonderful guided meditations or for a gentle meditation timer. I also recently upgraded to the paid version so I have access to instructional yoga videos and even more meditations. 

I have also found the meditation book Turning the Mind Into An Ally to be incredibly helpful, with the title describing exactly what I so desperately needed to do!

I also use some Tibetan singing bowl meditations, particularly note D which is associated with the reproductive organs and the 2nd chakra. I have this YouTube video bookmarked for easy reference:

I do believe there is something to looking at the body as divided into chakras, but I am not prepared to back that up with any scientific references - if anything, my background as a neuroscientist has given me a much more open mind when it comes to things like this since we know so VERY LITTLE about how the brain and nervous system even work. I also can't deny my own experience using the singing bowl meditations!

I also have been using crystals during my meditations. I was extremely skeptical at first but some of them make my Qi all tingly! Also I have never experienced such a profoundly relaxing and grounding meditation as I have when I have placed appropriately colored crystals on each of my 7 chakras. If you want to hear more about how I use crystals please tell me in the comments, I might blog about it separately.

Other Healing Tools for Fibroids

I am also using a few things that are not specifically related to Chinese Medicine to really throw everything I can at healing. Much of this is discussed in the book I mentioned above, Healing Fibroids. I really recommend you read it! However do take the dietary recommendations with a grain of salt (more on that below). 

Castor Oil Packs

I try to do castor oil packs over my lower abdomen (below my navel) at least 3 times per week for 20-30 minutes at a time, but never when menstruating. I have to admit it has been difficult to be regular about, but it helps if I combine it with a meditation. Read more about castor oil packs here. These are the products I have been using on myself. Castor oil packs need to be heated, and I love nothing more than my far infrared (deep penetrating) jade-stone heating pad. I use it when I'm having cramps, too, and it is AMAZING. 

Essential Oils

My good friend Suzi is an essential oils expert (and all around awesome person - she & her husband run the Farm Bus in the Richmond & DC areas!) and has been using them for decades. She now uses doTerra oils and when I reached out to her for help with fibroids recommended that I use the DDR Prime on my lower abdomen and Clary Calm to help symptoms. I love love love the Clary Calm so much! If you are interested in buying, please connect with her on Facebook and check out her website

Addressing Trauma

I read a book last year called The Body Keeps The Score. It was really eye-opening for me, and helped me see how my past traumas have affected my health both in the past and still in the present. It is on my must-read list if you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, because the science is clear that so many conditions may have a root cause in a past traumatic event. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study has shown a sobering link between a high ACE score and obesity, depression, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and suicide. Read more and find out your ACE score here. (My score is 5 - yikes).  

The author of this book, Bessel van der Kolk, is THE authority in trauma in the US, and I found it fascinating to read about how his medical career as a psychiatrist was just beginning back when the pharmaceutical boom was happening. His observations about how the field was changing so dramatically just as he was entering it are quite profound. 

As a neuroscientist I am well versed in the two ways our brains function - electrically and chemically. In the book van de Kolk notes that it seemed so foolish to him to focus solely on the chemical side with drugs while disregarding the electrical, which is just as important! Therapies that tap into the electrical function of the brain, like neurofeedback, can be life-changing and are much safer than psychiatric drugs.  

One of the exercises discussed in this book is based on a study that had students either write about the most traumatic experience of their past or a neutral topic (describing their past 24 hours in mundane detail) for 15 solid minutes for 3 days in a row. The trauma writers were split into 2 groups, one that was allowed to reflect on their writing for 5 minutes after finishing, the other who were told to actively suppress their emotional reaction to their writing (yuck!)The study found that the expressive writing group who did not suppress their emotional reaction showed stronger, better functioning immune systems and reported they were happier compared to the other groups. These effects were long-lasting and persisted for 3 months (!!) after the study was over. Read more about this here

I've used this "trauma writing" as I call it to work through some past experiences I previously suppressed emotionally. When doing this writing I let myself feel all the feelings of anger, rage, sadness, humiliation, despair.....all of it. I actually have quite a list of past experiences that can be classified as traumatic, including but not limited to nearly dying of an allergic reaction to excessive antibiotics when I was 5, being raped at age 17 (which I really think was a huge contributing factor for developing fibroids), living in New Orleans when Katrina hit when I was 21, and my mom suddenly passing away when I was 27 (for reference now in 2017 I am 32). 

I have also been using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, also called "tapping") and Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) to address stuck emotions and heal these past traumas. 

Both Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine view stagnant/stuck emotions at the root of fibroids, so I take this emotional work just as seriously as I do everything else in my healing journey. I encourage you to explore healing stuck emotions if you are healing any type of chronic condition.

How Chinese Medicine Has Improved Fibroid Symptoms

Literally everything on my symptom list has improved. I felt like I got my life back after about 3 months of treatment. 

  • Periods are more regular (range since treatment has reduced to 18-28 days)
  • Less heavy bleeding - I used to have 2-3 days of heavy bleeding, now I have 1
  • I no longer have the old, brown spotting before my period
  • Reduced clots - the clots are smaller and are no longer stringy
  • Extreme cramping is a very rare occurrence now. There is a strong emotional component to this....it happens when I get really stressed
  • Painful sex and orgasms have thankfully improved. Still happens sometimes, but not EVERY time
  • The raw, inflamed feeling in lower abdomen usually only happens during menstruation now, rather than a constant feeling every day
  • Pain with bowel movements still happens on occasion, but no longer all the time
  • Increased urinary frequency and pain with a full bladder <-- this has improved tremendously, but still happens sometimes
  • Ability to physically palpate masses - I can still feel some of them, but I swear one in particular feels much smaller than it did last year.
  • Labile moods throughout cycle - sadness during follicular phase, anger during luteal <---- this is better....but still a problem. Meditation and mindfulness have helped tremendously with maintaining more stable moods
  • Constant discomfort, pressure, and pain, with an inability to focus attention elsewhere <---- I said goodbye to this after 3 months of treatment
  • Fatigue is oh so much better. I usually only feel fatigued when I'm bleeding now

Even though I am doing SO MUCH BETTER I know the healing is nowhere near complete, and a big missing factor for me, rather ironically, has been my diet. 

I was so burned out from writing my cookbook for so many months that I am embarrassed to admit just how much I've been relying on eating out and gluten-free convenience foods. I'm finally ready to get back on track with lots of nutrient-dense home-cooked meals!

Dietary Changes for Fibroids

So far, I have not done anything diet-wise to address fibroids. But going forward I do plan to make some changes. 

It can get a little confusing if you are already following Paleo or AIP and then search for diet recommendations for fibroids, because most of the "holistic" advice you will find is so very NOT in line with this way of eating, recommending whole grains, lots of legumes, no red meat, no dairy, and low fat.

My diet has of course evolved over these last 7 years of eating real food/Paleo/AIP but in the last 2 years I have really been bad about eating too much land animal meat and almost no oily fish....and since Fall 2016, due to writing my cookbook, I have been really bad about eating enough vegetables. No bueno! 

Consistent recommendations for fibroids that I can get behind include to increase consumption of dark leafy greens and crucifers, cold-water oily fish, replace some meat consumption with eggs, and boost the overall nutrient-density of the diet. 

So what I have decided to aim for is Wahl's Paleo. I don't think Wahl's Paleo Plus (ketogenic) is the right option but I may shift after a period of adhering to Wahl's Paleo. This means 9 cups of vegetables per day, split into 3 categories:

  • 3 cups of leafy greens like kale, collards, turnip greens, spinach, chard, lettuce, etc. for the rich source of B vitamins as well as vitamins C, A, and K
  • 3 cups of sulfur-containing vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, radishes, Brussels sprouts, turnips, etc. Sulfur is important for supporting our body's detoxification pathways.
  • 3 cups of deeply colorful vegetables and fruit (the color must go through the flesh, so bananas and apples don't count) This includes peaches, plums, berries, mangoes, asparagus, avocados, celery, pomegranates, peppers, tomatoes, carrots....and too many more to list! These colors are a result of the antioxidants inside.

Wahl's Paleo also means:

  • at least 9 oz animal protein per day
  • 12 oz organ meats per week
  • 16 oz cold-water fish per week
  • about 1 tsp seaweed flakes per day
  • nuts, seeds, and fermented foods

The biggest changes for me are going to be packing in that many vegetables and being consistent about fish and offal. I've done this before, and I am excited to do it again.

This also means that finally, after almost 3 years of being off the AIP (I healed leaky gut and was able to reintroduce all foods), I will be shifting the focus of my blog away from strict AIP recipes to include more broadly Paleo dishes. After all, Wahl's Protocol IS an autoimmune protocol, and one I actually trust more than AIP since it has undergone peer-review, is led by an actual medical doctor, and is being evaluated with clinical trials. Don't worry - I am sure I will still bake more amazing AIP breads, and I will try to be mindful of offering substitutions when I can if a recipe is Wahl's but not AIP. 

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

Something else that I have just started doing that is commonly prescribed by naturopathic doctors is seed cycling for hormone balance. This is separate from the Wahl's Paleo, but does not contradict with the guidelines. However you can't do seed cycling if you are AIP since seeds are excluded. I've heard from quite a few readers who have used or know someone who has used this method and seen positive results. There are some studies that show benefits of these individual seeds, but not used in a cycle like this. I am willing to try it for 2-3 months to see if I notice any changes. 

It involves eating different seeds and fats at different points in your cycle to support hormone production in the proper balance. 

During the follicular phase, which lasts from the onset of menstruation until ovulation, each day you take:

The lignans in the flax prevent estrogen dominance by binding excess estrogen so your body can eliminate it rather than recirculate it. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc to prevent our testosterone (yes, we need it too!) from converting to excess estrogen. 

During the luteal phase, which lasts from ovulation up until the onset of menses:

This combo promotes sufficient progesterone production by the corpus luteum (which is what the follicle that nourished and released the egg turns into after ovulation) thanks to the zinc, selenium, and linoleic acid, which converts to gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Evening primrose oil is an optional source of additional GLA. 

I am also finally charting my basal body temperature so that I can keep a closer eye on ovulation so I know when to switch seeds. To take your basal body temperature, you use the same thermometer at ideally the same time each morning when you wake up, before doing anything else.  I'm already seeing my body temp is erratic and low....both signs of hormone imbalance. I'll write more about that at a later time, after I've charted more and have done more research on the topic.

Summing it All Up: My Fibroid Healing Protocol

Whew! This was a lot of information, so here is a quick recap of everything I am using to heal fibroids:

  • Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture
  • Custom Chinese herb decoctions
  • Moxa
  • Acupressure
  • Meditation
  • Visualization
  • Castor Oil Packs
  • Healing past traumas
  • Seed cycling to balance hormones
  • Wahls Paleo protocol
  • Essential oils
  • Crystals
  • Chakra balancing
  • Supplements (if you are interested to know which ones let me know)

Do you have fibroids? What have you done to heal them? Please share in the comments or join us in my Facebook support group

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