Category: Diet and Exercise

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help my Fibroid Pain?

Many women diagnosed with fibroids—non-cancerous tumors in the uterus—want relief from symptoms like painful, heavy periods. But many women would also prefer to avoid medical interventions, especially right now, during this time of coronavirus uncertainty. So, as Houston area fibroid specialists, we are often asked: can everyday changes help me find relief from fibroid pain?

Well, here’s the deal: changes in diet, exercise and self-care won’t cure your fibroids. But, there are some tweaks you can make to your everyday routine that could keep your fibroids from getting bigger. And others may make your fibroid symptoms more manageable. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Dietary Changes to Manage Fibroid Symptoms

While the science on this matter is still not conclusive, evidence suggests that some foods can help shrink your fibroids, while others will potentially make them worse.

Research suggests that highly caloric diets full of red meat, sugar and fats can increase your risk of developing fibroids. In order to minimize your risk, then, you could try replacing red meats with leaner cuts like chicken or turkey. Better yet, you could try getting your protein from plant-based sources like beans or the new and widely-beloved Impossible Burger.

Which Vitamins Can Help my Fibroid Symptoms? New year's resolutions

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, getting Vitamin A from animal sources may help reduce your fibroid risk. Also, they found that eating more fruit can help lower your fibroid risk factor. The study further noted that African American women are far more likely to develop fibroids, and tend to have diets lower in these fibroid-fighting foods and vitamins.

If you want to add fibroid-fighting vitamins to your diet, try including:

  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel and other fatty fish
  • Blueberries, plums, apples, cherries and other flavonoid-packed fruit
  • Broccoli, lettuce, spinach and other green veggies
  • Lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Broad beans

Food-based vitamin sources are best for absorbing your fibroid-fighting vitamins. But, if making changes to your diet isn’t an option, vitamin supplements are still a great choice.

Exercise and Fibroids

Exercise in and of itself doesn’t stomp out fibroids. But getting your sweat on can reduce your BMI (body mass index.) It will also help eliminate fat stores in your body. And both of those factors will make it easier for your body to process estrogen hormones. Which, in turn, can help lower your fibroid risk, since high levels of estrogen in the body can increase your risk of developing new fibroids, or of seeing your existing tumors get larger.

 

Alternative Therapies

When you live with fibroids, you may develop anemia, severe pain, or problems when you pee. And you will need to address those issues with your doctor, But, when it comes to managing your chronic pain before fibroid treatment, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has some helpful suggestions. Some top tips include acupuncture, which is an ancient Chinese therapy that uses small needles, inserted to your skin at specific accupoints. Another suggestion? Try yoga, a flowing, low-impact exercise that can boost your fitness while also offering you helpful breathing exercises. Additionally, deep breathing, meditation and therapeutic massage can all offer temporary relief. Still, in order to find permanent fibroid pain relief, you’ll need to treat your fibroids, not just your symptoms.  

When fibroids are small, lifestyle changes can certainly help you keep fibroids in check so you can live your normal life. But when tumors grow large, or your symptoms are severe, targeted fibroid treatment will be a better option. Contact our Houston fibroid specialists today to see if our minimally invasive treatment protocol is your best option.

Sources: Health.Harvard.Edu

 

Three Ways to Balance Your Hormones (and Beat Fibroids!)

No one knows exactly why women develop fibroids. But we do know certain factors that can affect your risk: family history, race and your hormone levels. One specific hormone that seems tied to fibroid growth? Estrogen. Which is why women with estrogen dominance are particularly at risk for fibroids. And it’s also why balancing your hormone levels may help prevent existing fibroids from getting bigger, or even keep new ones from developing.

What Is Estrogen Dominance?

If your body has more estrogen than progesterone, you are estrogen dominant. Your body is supposed to have both hormones in order to function properly, but they are supposed to be balanced. When they aren’t, it can spell trouble for your body.

Some women’s bodies just produce more estrogen; others are just exposed to the hormone from their environments. And, for many women, having extra estrogen isn’t a big deal, because their bodies break it down in order to balance out hormone levels. But for women whose bodies can’t do that, carrying around extra estrogen can take a major toll on their health.

Symptoms of estrogen dominance include:

·         PMS

·         Weight gain

·         Dense breasts

·         Fibroids

·         Endometriosis

·         Heavy periods

·         Fatigue

·         Reduced sex drive

·         Fertility problems

 

How is Estrogen Dominance Diagnosed? woman exercising

Depending on your age and symptoms, your doctor will likely use one of three tests to determine your estrogen levels.

A blood test usually works for women who still menstruate. But, for menopausal women, a saliva test is usually more accurate. And a dried urine test is often the best choice for women who may be out of balance because their bodies can’t break down estrogen.

If your body is estrogen dominant, it’s likely a result of: genetics, environment or diet. And because two of the three most common causes are lifestyle based, easy lifestyle changes can often get your body back in balance!

How can I rebalance my hormones?

Before you even think about medication, let’s look at some everyday changes that can make a major difference in your hormone levels.

1.       Diet

Many foods, especially meat and dairy products, contain added hormones. To help avoid these additional stressors, try switching to organic foods—especially when it comes to your meat products. You should also increase your fiber intake, and try adding broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, since all of those veggies can help your body flush out excess estrogen.

2.       Clean house

Want to know a dirty secret? The containers in your home could be messing with your hormones. In fact, many women can improve their hormone balance just by banishing plastic food containers and water bottles from their lives. Bonus? It’s better for the environment, as well!

 

3.       Chill out

Stress can be a major source of hormonal imbalance. But you can’t just talk about stress: you have to actively fight it. First, work on getting more sleep (at least seven hours a night.) Then, make sure to schedule in you-time every day, whether it’s a long bath at the end of the day, or a quiet tea in bed each morning. Yoga practice may also help manage stress and help you live in the moment—a great step towards beating back stress.

 

Of course, not every case of hormone imbalance can be managed with lifestyle changes. And that’s where your doctor can help you explore medical options. But, since all of these changes are good for you anyway, they’re a great jumping-off point if you think your hormones are out of whack. Just remember, even with balanced hormones, you may end up with fibroids. And if you do, come see our Houston-area fibroid experts. We’ll be happy to help you out!

Here’s What to Eat (and Avoid) When You Have Fibroids

While there is no foolproof way to avoid fibroids, once you have been diagnosed with these benign tumors, certain dietary changes may help keep their growth in check. Balancing your hormone levels can help manage fibroid development and symptoms since hormones, particularly estrogen, are one of the leading causes of new fibroid development and growth. And one easy, non-invasive way to balance your hormones is through simple changes in your diet.

 

Foods to Avoid with Fibroids

If you are trying to manage your fibroids and maintain or shrink their current size, balancing your hormones naturally is a great first step. Your diet has a strong influence on your hormone levels, which is why it’s one of the first (and easiest) areas to apply changes.

For best results in managing your fibroids, try restricting the following food and drinks from your diet:

  • High-Fat, Processed Meats – Red processed meat is known to be high in added hormones, particularly estrogen.
  • High-Fat Dairy Products – Conventional dairy can contain high levels of steroids, hormones, and other chemicals that promote inflation.
  • Foods High in Salt – Highly salted foods are hard on your liver, which is the organ that is most responsible for removing toxins and balancing hormones.
  • Refined Carbohydrates – White foods such as pasta, white bread, white rice, cakes, and cookies have been known to alter estrogen levels, causing fibroids to increase in size.
  • Refined Sugar – High consumption of sugar can result in inflammation and weight gain; there is an association between weight gain and hormone imbalance.
  • Caffeine – Too much caffeine puts additional stress on your liver, discouraging the organ from working the way it should (think: balancing hormones!)
  • Alcohol – Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to inflammation of the body and reduced immune function. Reducing or eliminating alcohol can help promote a healthy balance of hormones.

Best Foods to Eat With Fibroids

If you’re already feeling restricted just looking at the list above, don’t panic: there are so many options that can help you fill the gaps you’re eliminating. Added bonus? They may just help improve your general health while helping keep fibroids in check: 

Foods for fibroids

  • Organic foods
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beta-carotene rich foods (such as carrots and sweet potatoes)
  • Food high in iron (such as grass-fed beef and legumes)
  • Flaxseeds
  • Whole grains

Supplements may also help shrink or maintain fibroid size. Vitex, fish oil, and B-complex are a few supplements that have been known for creating a better hormone balance. Be sure to speak with your physician before introducing new supplements into your diet.

Fibroid Friendly Recipe

Want to cook up something that may help your fibroids? Try this delicious recipe, courtesy of the Food Network

Ingredients

  • Rainbow carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Chives

Directions
Toss 3 bunches baby rainbow carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt on a baking sheet; arrange in a single layer. Roast at 450 degrees F, turning once, until tender and slightly browned, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and chopped chives.

When Your Diet Isn’t Enough to Control Your Fibroids

Your diet and lifestyle can only do so much in your attempt to manage your fibroids. If you suffer from common fibroid symptoms such as heavy periods, bloating, frequent urination, constipation, and pelvic pain, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be the next best option.

UFE is a low-risk, minimally-invasive procedure for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Women commonly choose UFE over a hysterectomy for fibroid removal as it avoids surgery, preserves the uterus, controls symptoms, and improves quality of life.

Contact us at (713) 575-3686 for more information, or to schedule an appointment with our interventional radiologists at Houston Fibroids.

Sources: webmd.com, foodnetwork.com

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#WCW: Growing Up Hip Hop’s Toya Wright

Welcome back to another installment of our Woman Crush Wednesday features. This week we’re highlighting Toya Wright, from We TV’s Growing Up Hip Hop, among other reality appearances the star has made. 

Back in 2017, Wright was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. At the time, she opened up to People Magazine about dealing with the effects of her conditions, which included heavy periods, bad cramping and the expansion of her uterus along with weight gain. She said: “I had to switch it up because I used to eat all types of stuff and I would just get bigger. I had to scale back and eat healthier things like fish and salads.” She also committed to working out four times a week, explaining: “I found exercising has been more helpful in relieving the symptoms. I do a lot of cardio, like walking and cycling. At that time of the month, the fibroids flare up, and when I exercise it helps me not feel so much pain.”

Then, in February of last year, Wright welcomed her daughter Reign (the star’s second child), and this routine became harder to follow. Last July, Wright admitted on Instagram, “I found myself hitting a plateau and getting bored with the gym.” 

Fast forward seven months, to Feb 2019, and Wright has recommitted to her fitness routine. She shared an Instagram video of her new workout routine, saying: “My first day back. … My goal is to lose 15 pounds…. I can do it!” While many fans commented that Wright looked great at her current weight, the star remains on her physical fitness journey, sharing her progress to help other fibroid sufferers stay strong. 

And reading responses like “This is inspirational I need to go too,” from the comments section of her feed is enough to earn Toya her spot in our #WCW hall of fame. Thank you for helping inspire women to manage their fibroid pain and stay fit and healthy! 

3 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions Your Mind and Body Will Thank You For

It’s that time of year again: we promise to hit the gym, eat healthier, and lose that weight. But do we ever stick to those resolutions? Sure, it sounds great on paper… but can we really get moving or give up our favorite snacks?

New year's resolutions

Sometimes, we can. At other times, however, it may be wiser to start with smaller, more realistic goals. Ones that, when we stick to them, will also make us healthier. With that in mind, check out what we’re proposing for your 2020 resolutions. The goals are specific enough to track, and should easily adapt into your everyday routine. Plus, even if you just pick one, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a happier and healthier version of yourself in this new year.

Make (and Keep) Your Health Appointments

We get it. You’re busy: your calendar and to-do lists are starting to look more like Charles Dickens novels these days. Naturally, we tend to prioritize all other obligations, whether it’s your career, your family, or your community, before taking care of ourselves (heck, it’s now common to put our pet’s health above our own!). With this mentality, it’s easier than ever to keep our personal to-dos on the back-burner, including our annual health appointments.

doctor appointment

The following exams are recommended on an annual basis: well-woman exam, eye exam, skin exam, dental exam, flu vaccine, and mammogram (starting at the age of 40). By taking a proactive approach with your health, you can avoid future illnesses and emergency visits to the doctor.

Getting started: Designate 30 minutes this month for calling each of your specialists and getting the appointments on the calendar. If you have already been diagnosed with fibroids and are suffering from related symptoms, schedule an appointment with our fibroid specialists. For some, making the appointment is the biggest hurdle, however, for others, it’s actually keeping the appointment that proves the most difficult. If the latter is true for you, be sure to mentally prepare yourself well in advanced for the appointment so it does not come as a surprise the week of.

Pencil in ‘Me Time’ 

Self love isn’t selfish, it’s vital. How you feel about yourself affects all other relationships in your life. As selfish as it may sometimes seem, it’s important to allocate time for yourself each day. Whether it’s waking up a little bit earlier for some morning meditation or it’s that evening walk to decompress from the day’s chaos, your mind and body will be thanking you.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to consider this an inefficient use of time since there’s no quantifiable or immediate result. However, according to Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and contributor to Forbes, that’s not the case. Your relationships, creativity and stress levels may benefit from some quality time with yourself.

Getting started: Begin with just 10 minutes a day by placing your phone in another room; focus on breathing. Forget the to-do lists and all other “mission critical” tasks your mind throws your way. This ten minutes will give you more clarity and energize you going forward.

Eat for Fuel, Not for Comfort

It’s time that we reevaluate our relationship with food and turns out, it’s actually quite simple: our bodies need food for energy – both physical and mental. There is a direct correlation with our food intakes and our outputs. Knowing this, shouldn’t we want to set ourselves up for success? By giving our food decisions a second thought, we may  just give our body and mind the energy they crave. Foods for fibroids

Do know that it is okay to have the occasional cookie or piece of cake. Stripping these delicious treats entirely from our diet may result in what we would refer to as the “crash and burn” effect where we overindulge after restricting ourselves for so long. It’s all about moderation so as long as you’re conscious of how often you allow yourself these treats, then your diet should remain unharmed.

Getting started: Take a minute to analyze your relationship with food. Are you a stress-eater? Emotional-eater? Do you view food as something that just pleases your tastes buds or do you consider the nutritional value in each item? By coming to realization with your eating habits, you can start to become more conscious of your food decisions.

Becoming a Happier and Healthier Version of Yourself in 2020

There is a significant correlation between our mental and physical health so it’s important to nurture both. From taking time out of each day for yourself to paying a visit to your OBGYN each year, you’ll have both your mind and body thanking you.

P.S. If you want to get a head start with your goals, schedule that fibroid treatment consultation today. (We won’t care if you’ve been pushing it off. Just focus on the now!)

 

A message regarding COIVD-19

We are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 developments in the greater Houston area, and encourage you to do the same. To ensure that our patients are able to receive the care they need, Texas Endovascular/Houston Fibroids will remain open and accessible. Because we are not a primary care or hospital environment where sick patients would go for testing or treatment for COVID-19, we feel that the risk of exposure in our office is low. To supplement our rigorous standard precautions for health and safety, please refer to the following guidelines:

Please refer to the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the most current information. The CDC reminds us to follow best practices, including washing hands often with soap and water, not touching our eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and limiting personal contact, including shaking hands. Learn more about the CDC recommendations here.

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