We’re fibroid specialists in Houston, and it’s our job to help women. Now, we do that job by providing a minimally invasive fibroid treatment called UFE (uterine fibroid embolization.) But we also know that choosing your best treatment option takes time. And, during that time, we want to help you alleviate some of your painful symptoms, like pressure, bloating or long and heavy periods.
As a result, we always follow fibroid research to learn about effect symptom management tools. And, recently, we’ve been excited about findings connecting Vitamin D and fibroids. Here’s what you need to know.
Does Vitamin D Limit Fibroid Growth?
While we wait for a clinical trial, we’ve got some exciting news to share. Early evidence suggests that, in the short term, Vitamin D therapy helped keep fibroids at their current size, preventing further growth for both Caucasian and African American women. (While we don’t know why, African American women are disproportionately impacted by uterine fibroids.) And, with long-term Vitamin D treatment, many women experienced fibroid shrinkage.
A recent study in Fertility and Sterility helped us understand how much Vitamin D is needed to help prevent fibroid growth. After following the Vitamin D levels of 1610 black women, aged 23-35, without existing fibroids, researchers made an important discovery. The women were either given 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, or 20-hydroxyvitamin D3 and then received follow-up care. And, over the course of 5 years, women taking the higher dose experienced a 9.7% reduction in the rate of fibroid growth.
Obviously, this is exciting news. We know that many women with fibroids end up choosing hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Often, they do so when less invasive options were available. So why does that happen? Too many women just don’t know of other options. And too many doctors don’t tell women about less invasive choices like UFE.
To help fill this void, we share news about every kind of less-invasive fibroid treatment. Because we want women to find their personal best option. And accurate information is the best way to make that decision. Now, Vitamin D might not provide enough relief from fibroid symptoms (we’ll need a true clinical trial to really explore this fibroid treatment option.) But, in the meantime, Vitamin D supplementation could offer some fibroid symptom relief while you explore more permanent treatment options. Plus, you could enjoy additional Vitamin D benefits. Let’s take a closer look.
Additional Benefits of Vitamin D
Research suggests that Vitamin D can help boost your immune system, and may even prevent certain diseases. Vitamin D also helps manage depression, and may help with weight loss. (This could be another reason why Vitamin D affects your fibroids: maintaining a healthy weight can also limit fibroid growth.)
So, how can you get more Vitamin D in your diet? Our primary source is sun exposure, but you have to be careful about sun damage, especially in our hot Houston summer. Therefore, you may need to add a Vitamin D supplement. But before you do, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. And be sure to explore all your fibroid treatment options, either with your primary care provider or by making an appointment to consult with one of our Houston-area fibroid specialists.
Sources: Fertility and Sterility Journal