Fibrocystic Breasts, Endometriosis & Fibroid Tumors

August 5, 2017

Fibrocystic Breasts, Endometriosis & Fibroid Tumors

We’re sharing the estrogen connections with the many uncomfortable symptoms associated of fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis and fibroid tumors along with when they’re more likely to develop. Behind these hormonal disorders there is a nutrition connection to help you find relief. Listen in to learn more.

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Transcript 

KARA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I’m Kara Carper, a licensed nutritionist and also a certified nutrition specialist. I just want to welcome you to Nutritional Weight & Wellness. If you are experiencing Fibrocystic Breasts, Endometriosis or Fibroid Tumors, we invite you to stay tuned, because as nutritionists, we work with women on a weekly basis who have these health conditions. We want you to become aware of each of these hormonal disorders so that you can realize the nutritional connection to each of these health conditions.

CAROLYN: Good morning everyone. I’m Carolyn Hudson and I’m a licensed nutritionist. If you are living with uterine fibroid tumors, you may be experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, frequent urination, backaches and sometimes even leg pain.

KARA: Sometimes these growths become considerably large and can cause severe abdominal pain and extremely heavy periods. Many women who are having these symptoms are the same clients that we see as nutritionists, because they are desperately looking for a solution and a lot of people are wanting to avoid surgeries. Whether that is a hysterectomy or a myomectomy, which is just the removal of the surgery, still a big surgery.

CAROLYN: It is a big surgery, so anything we can do to help we’re really thankful that we are able to help a lot of our clients. Fibroids can grow dramatically during perimenopause phase, because it is during those years before the actual start of menopause that women often have excess estrogen, which is called estrogen dominance.

KARA: That’s right and if you look at possible causes of fibroid tumors, there always seems to be an estrogen connection. It always gets back to that estrogen dominance piece. Women who experience estrogen dominance or excess estrogen seem to be at higher risk of developing these fibroid tumors. So research has found an association between the development of fibroids and women who got their periods at an early age due to excessive estrogen. I think that’s a really interesting connection to make. That an early period is a sign of excess estrogen.

CAROLYN: I often ask my clients that, “Do you remember when you started menstruating? Was it earlier than other girls around you?” Often that gives me another clue – oh yeah, I think she might have a little bit of this estrogen dominance.

KARA: It’s great we get this health history from our clients which gives all these clues.

CAROLYN: That’s those thousand questions that we ask! Another estrogen connection and the development of fibroids is pregnancy, because pregnancy tends to be a time when we have higher estrogen levels for women.

KARA: There is research that indicates a link connecting alcohol and caffeine to the development of fibroids, that’s not surprising. Here is what researchers found, while examining the Black Women’s Health Study, researchers discovered that current alcohol drinkers had a significantly higher risk of developing uterine fibroids than those who never drank alcohol. There is also evidence that women who drank more than three cups of coffee per day had a higher risk of developing fibroids. There’s too common beverages.

CAROLYN: Lots of people drink them. They increase your risk obviously. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that African American women who are within their reproductive years are at an increased risk for developing fibroids. We might ask, “Why?” “Is there a genetic link or is it an estrogen dominance factor?” Let’s dig deeper into this discussion.

KARA: Sure. All these connections are so interesting. Researchers have found the risk of developing uterine fibroids is two to three times greater in women who are significantly overweight or obese and particularly women who have extra fat in the abdominal area. Sometimes we talk about that as central obesity, carrying more of the belly fat. 

CAROLYN: Listeners, you may be thinking, “What is the connection between extra body fat and fibroids?” The connection is that uterine fibroids appear to be an estrogen-related disease. Excess weight or obesity has been linked to higher rates of circulating estrogen and its production. So why does this happen? There are really quite a few reasons. The fact is extra weight can cause changes in fat metabolism that results in abnormally high estrogen levels. There is a direct link between insulin resistance and excess estrogen production.

KARA: We talk about that with our clients and in our classes. Insulin resistance is kind of similar to pre-diabetes. People tend to have higher blood sugar levels, more insulin circulating in their blood. So that goes right along with excess estrogen. Generally, when women are not carrying extra weight, uterine fibroids appear to decline and shrink in size after menopause, but for women who do carry extra weight after menopause, these extra fat cells usually increase circulating estrogen circulating in their bodies. We know 68% of the population are overweight, so let’s talk about how people can shrink fibroids?

CAROLYN: The good news is even a small amount of gradual weight loss, such as 5-10% of your body weight lowers your risk of chronic disease. If you weigh let’s say 200 lbs, losing 5% would be 10 lbs and losing 10% would be 20 lbs. After teaching several Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes, I find that most of our clients average at least a 12-pound weight loss in the 12 weeks. They form new habits and a new way to eat that is really anti-inflammatory and also helps reduces body fat, so less estrogen is produced.

KARA: It’s kind of that vicious cycle isn’t it? That excess estrogen goes along with more body fat, more body fat creates more estrogen. So like you were saying, it’s so important just losing a little bit of weight.

CAROLYN: In our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Program, our emphasis is on avoiding consumption of processed carbs, which, in turn, like you just said, reduces insulin resistance. The less sugar and processed carbs, the less insulin needed to control blood sugar levels. The less insulin, the less estrogen produced. It is a complicated biochemical process, so to simplify if, maybe we should just say cut out processed carbs to cut out unhealthy toxic unhealthy estrogens and in turn, reduce fibroid growth.

KARA: Bottom line, Carolyn you just said to cut out processed carbs. Shrink those fibroid tumors. Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that women who followed a weight-loss diet with an exercise plan saw over a 20% reduction in excess estrogen levels. Reducing weight by reducing the fat cells can decrease estrogen levels and really that’s what’s going to help shrink fibroid tumors, reducing that estrogen in the body. .

CAROLYN: Yeah, all those toxic estrogens that are circulating. Now let’s talk about the risk of fibroid tumors. One main concern is excessive heavy bleeding. In fact I just had a client email me the other day and she said “Oh my gosh, I’ve been bleeding for 23 days.” That’s as a result of her fibroid tumors, so we’ll be working on getting that going. We see many clients who have become anemic – and that was one of her things “Now I’m getting lightheaded” and I said you need to go and get your hemoglobin level checked because I’m pretty sure that’s what was going on.

KARA: Right! Bleeding that much I’d be surprised if she wasn’t really low in iron.

CAROLYN: Exactly. So some of those women have hemoglobin numbers of 10 or even lower. These women are very fatigued and are often in a great deal of pain. So I think it’s time for our first break.

You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are discussing the estrogen connection to fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis and fibroid tumors. It may surprise you that all hormonal issues commonly have a nutrition connection.

BREAK

KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Have you noticed the many news stories about the latest study that reported fewer Americans today are trying to lose weight than in previous years? This is an interesting study, because today two out of three American adults are considered to be overweight or obese. We have all heard that being overweight or obese may increase the risk of many health problems including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, so why have Americans stopped trying to lose weight?! There are several possible reasons that have been discussed, these are all hypothesis, people are just kind of speculating what’s going on. One thing is that primary doctors not having the time or feeling comfortable discussing a patient’s weight, to a general acceptance, or more common, that carrying extra pounds is now okay, to people just being sick and tired of being on a low calorie low-fat starvation-type diets to lose weight. Carolyn and I get the last reason, for sure. I’m so pleased to be able to teach people there is another way to think about managing their weight and health. We’ve talked before about our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss is not about eating less; it’s actually about eating more, more food to support your metabolism, control blood sugar, reduce those sugar cravings and support your health and well- being. When we teach these classes, our primary focus is helping people to make changes in their daily lifestyle habits. In class, we talk about eliminating habits that are holding you back from being healthy and also applying habits that will move you forward. One simple habit to move you forward is to eat breakfast. It’s not about eating less; it is learning to eat more to support your muscles and metabolism. We also teach that healthy eating does not have to be boring, we have great recipes in those classes and people share stories and ideas, there’s a lot of learning that goes on. Our main goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help people feel better and be healthier through eating real food in balance is that key. Isn’t it Carolyn? 

CAROLYN: Absolutely, if you have any questions, give us a call, we’re here in studio at 651-641-1071.

KARA: Before we went to break, you were talking about some of the detrimental effects of uterine fibroids. The heavy bleeding leading to low iron and being anemic. You have said women often get fatigued, have a great deal of pain. Another sign of anemia could be lightheadedness, shortness of breath. I had a client two days ago that came in with low iron, she had just been tested. She said “I was so tired I could barely walk a flight of stairs.” And she had stopped exercising because she was so short of breath. And it was confirmed by labs.

If people are wondering what do we recommend? In many cases, it’s following a real food plan of eating – healthy proteins, carbs and fats. I usually take that Nutrition 4 Weight Loss plan and tweak it a little bit. I suggest that the majority of my fibroid clients have a majority of their carbohydrates be vegetables.

CAROLYN: There you go. And the vegetables that we really like are those cruciferous ones, right?

KARA: Exactly, so that would be broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach and chard. Those are all cruciferous veggies that are going to help the body detox and get rid of excess estrogens. And to be honest, clients tend to lose weight when they’re eating more of their carbs as vegetables and it really supports the liver too for that detoxification.

CAROLYN: The next step I would take is to make sure my client is not struggling with constipation, because when women are constipated the estrogen oftentimes just continues to circulate in the body and therefore, will not be eliminated naturally. To stop constipation and restore normal bowel habits, I typically suggest four to six capsules of Mixed Magnesium.

KARA: Do you mind talking about why the mixed?

CAROLYN: Sure. There are two forms of magnesium that we tend to use the most. Magnesium Glycinate as well as Magnesium Citrate and it’s the Magnesium Citrate that really helps with those bowel movements and the Magnesium Glyncinate also helps with relaxing the blood vessels and this is the one people really love, for sleep as well. The combination of the two are really great for bowel movements. 

KARA: That’s great. I may also suggest adding a supplement called EstroFactors and that supports the liver’s ability to detox the excessive estrogen. EstroFactors is a high quality product from Metagenics that helps people maintain healthy estrogen metabolism. 

CAROLYN: If you have fibroid tumors and they are starting to give you trouble or even, if you have fibroids and they aren’t causing excessive bleeding or pain, we believe it is healthy to get on a plan to reduce the size of the fibroid(s) before they become problematic. Set up an appointment with one of the Nutritional Weight & Wellness nutritionists and get a plan for you and it will be specific for you. Remember we consult clients in person, over the phone or on Skype. Whatever works for you works for us.

KARA: I have found that shrinking fibroid tumors can be a very complex process. We know that a dairy-free, sugar-free food plan that really focuses on vegetable carbohydrates and high quality meats as well. We say healthy proteins and what we really mean by that is grass-fed organic meats, wild caught fish and those healthy fats of course – butter, oil, avocado, etc. That is really going to support and balance hormones. It can be kind of complicated though and that’s why we really recommend working with a nutritionist. Because sometimes we might need to choose a specific supplement and get more specific.

CAROLYN: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Here is a great question for all of our listeners. Do you think it’s possible to actually prevent Alzheimer’s? New research conducted at Cambridge University suggests that a significant portion of the population with Alzheimer’s could have prevented their disease by making different lifestyle choices. Stay tuned, because we will discuss some small changes you can make that will bring about a significant difference. Again if you have questions for us, please give us a call in studio at 651-641-1071.

BREAK

KARA: You’re listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break, Carolyn was talking about making small changes in lifestyle habits that will result in significant differences in the prevention of Alzheimer’s.

#1 – Improve Your Diet, particularly to decrease unnecessary inflammation. Many studies recommend eating healthy fats, such as olive oil, olives, nuts, nut butters, avocados, coconut oil and butter.

#2 – Quit Smoking. Two weeks ago on our show, Brain Boosting Habits, Marcie and Dar discussed how detrimental nicotine is to the brain. As nutritionists, we can help you break that chain of addiction.

#3 – Get Moving. Regular exercise is a key lifestyle habit to help prevent the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer’s.

#4 – Get 7½ to 8 Hours of Sleep. Researchers have found that sufficient sleep appears to be brain protection.

How do you establish lifestyle habits that move you forward to prevent Alzheimer’s? Ask yourself these questions, “Do I need a nutrition class to help me practice good eating?” “Do I need to join an exercise class, so I will move my body?” “Do I really get enough sleep for good brain health?” As nutritionists, naturally, we believe eating better is the first step, so you can continue to think better, but I mean exercise and sleep are pretty close behind the eating. But your brain needs to be fed constantly to receive the nutrients for good memory.

CALLER: I was just wondering. My son, who is 20, he was on antibiotics for his acne and during that course of antibiotics he ended up getting what we believe is either thrush or candida. So we put him on a candida diet and now he’s feeling kind of rundown and he’s a runner and he says he doesn’t have any energy and has an increased heart rate. I was on the internet and it looks like those are kind of symptoms of candida die off?

CAROLYN: Yeah, it could be. What about probiotics? Is he on some healthy probiotics?

CALLER: Yup, he’s taking the Bifido Balance and we also did the oil of oregana.

CAROLYN: One of the things I would definitely suggest is to add Lactobacillus Acidophilus, because that is really quite effective at helping increase the good bacteria. So that’s the dominant bacteria in your stomach and I would take it at night and so not at the same time as the Bifido. How much Bifido is he taking?

CALLER: He was taking one to two of those Bifido a day.

CAROLYN: I would increase that and get it up to maybe two per meal, twenty minutes prior to each meal. That’s certainly really key as well as trying to kill off that candida with by starving it. So you mentioned a candida diet, so that’s no processed foods, low sugar, so that will help. Do you have any other suggestions Kara?

KARA: Yes, I would definitely start with all of that and I would give it a couple weeks of Carolyn’s suggestions. If he is still feeling what might potentially be candida die off we actually have a couple great products that might be helpful. One of them is called Biocidin and that’s an herbal antifungal, antiviral and also he could take that along with something called G.I. Detox and without too much detail it has some activated charcoal and that helps to mop up what might be candida die off. 

CALLER: Ok. So I also read that maybe upping vitamins too might be helpful?

KARA: Yeah, that wouldn’t hurt the immune system definitely. But I would go with Carolyn’s suggestions of increasing the good bacteria and continuing to starve the yeast with no sugar.

CALLER: Ok. So you just have to flush out these toxins? So maybe more water or something like that? 

CAROLYN: Definitely a lot of water. At least half his body weight in ounces and then of course in this heat, if he’s an athlete he’s going to want to drink a little more than that.

KARA: If he’s still struggling in a couple weeks have him make an appointment with a nutritionist, because we can really get to the bottom of this for him.

CAROLYN: Thanks for the call, Lynn! We are now going to switch topics to Fibrocystic Breasts, which is a benign, non-cancerous condition. It’s interesting to note that more than 50% of women will experience fibrocystic breasts sometime in their lives. This usually occurs between the ages of 20 to 45. It’s rare in women after menopause, unless they are taking estrogen. Again, it appears that excess estrogen plays a role in fibrocystic breasts. We’re back to that hormonal thing.

 KARA: If you have fibrocystic breasts, rest assured this condition is very common and again, it is benign, meaning it is noncancerous. That’s the good news about fibrocystic breasts. 

CAROLYN: But let’s face it, having fibrocystic breasts can cause great pain and discomfort. Some of the symptoms women experience are breast swelling, breast tenderness and lumps in one or both breasts. It’s an uncomfortable and often painful condition that women typically don’t talk about.

KARA: It’s a private condition. Dr. Tory Hudson is Program Director of the Institute of Women’s Health and Integrative Medicine she’s also a recognized author, speaker, educator, and researcher. She has found in her 30 years of clinical practice that here is a high estrogen/low progesterone connection to fibrocystic breasts. I’m just going to repeat that. Women have typically high progesterone and low, not enough, progesterone and that can lead to Fibrocystic Breasts. We, at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, have also found this connection and follow Dr. Tori Hudson’s recommendations to add a natural progesterone cream once or twice a day to rebalance the estrogen and progesterone ratio. For most women ¼ tsp of natural progesterone cream is going to be all that they need. Emerita is one brand that we carry, it’s a really great brand, but this fibrocystic breast condition can be a complicated problem, so we find it is best to work individually with a nutritionist. Some other things we may recommend would be vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil, but again it is based on the needs of each client.

CAROLYN: Our third hormonal topic to talk about today is endometriosis. If you have it, you no doubt know the symptoms. What exactly is endometriosis? Endometriosis can be an extremely painful condition and occurs when the endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus, so this normal tissue ends up in abnormal locations. These endometrial growths can then attach to the ovaries, the surface of the uterus, the pelvic cavity, fallopian tubes, bladder or even the intestines.

KARA: Endometriosis can cause severe pain, uncontrollable bleeding and can actually lead to infertility. The pain can be so intense that some women spend a couple days of month, or more, in bed, missing work, not able to participate with family functions. Endometriosis is a fairly common hormonal problem and it affects 7 to 15% of women. It is found in women between ages 20 and 45. So 70% of women with this condition experience severe and recurring symptoms, such as menstrual cramps and intense pain month after month.

CAROLYN: We are coming up on our last break here. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am Carolyn Hudson, Registered Dietician and I’m here with Kara Carper, Licensed Nutritionist discussing the estrogen connection to Fibrocystic Breasts, Endometriosis and Fibroid Tumors. Be sure to tune in to next week’s Dishing Up Nutrition as Dar and Marcie talk about Stopping the Disease of Aging…you won’t want to miss that one.

BREAK

KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you want to start the fall with an upbeat mood and feeling great, I encourage you to sign up for one of our September Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Programs. We are offering 20% off the regular program price, so rather than $399, save $80 and join for only $319. Call 651.699.3438 today to sign up or go online to weightandwellness.com.

Before break we were getting into endometriosis, our third topic of the day. I want to remind everyone of the statistic that 7 to 15% of women get endometriosis, usually between the ages of 20 and 45. It can be so painful which is what we were talking about.

CAROLYN: And it is a fairly common hormonal problem. We realize there are medications and surgery to control symptoms, but today we want to address nutritional changes you can make to actually reduce the high estrogen level most women have with endometriosis. We believe endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease.

KARA: If we can reduce your high estrogen/low progesterone levels, the growth of the endometrial tissue will be slowed and that could eventually lead to an elimination of symptoms. I start my clients on an anti-inflammatory diet. I advise my clients to eliminate dairy products…no more cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt or ice cream. I recommend they eliminate soy products, especially the more processed soy like soymilk, soy protein, soy protein bars and some people that are avoiding animal protein rely on a lot of soy burgers and things like that. I also advise clients to eliminate most grains especially gluten grains which would be wheat, barley, oats and rye. And of course sugar, that’s a big one. I would just say get rid of the sugar, it’s worth it if you’re really in that much pain from endometriosis.

CAROLYN: Right. Who wants to spend days in bed every month. We then recommend they eat grass fed meats and wild caught fish, so the body isn’t exposed to the hormones and antibiotics fed to commercial animals and fish.

KARA: Another reason we want to touch back on eliminating dairy. Dairy can be inflammatory but a lot of times people are drinking conventional milk and they would be getting hormones from that as well. Just another reason to eliminate dairy products, not to get those hormones. Next we recommend several servings of vegetables each day to help detox estrogens from the body.

CAROLYN: Lastly, we ask clients to eliminate all refined and damaged fats. This means no corn oil, no soybean oil and no vegetable oils and we replace those oils with these beneficial fats, olive oil, avocados, olives, coconut oil, butter, nuts or nut butters. Those are all really beneficial fats.

KARA: Those fats that you asked people to eliminate are very inflammatory. The damaged fats. They’re very inflammatory for the body. We also encourage clients to eliminate alcohol and caffeine, that means coffee, caffeinated tea, cola and even chocolate contains caffeine. In addition, I add key vitamin supplements as well. I first start with essential fatty acids. I have found having sufficient essential fatty acids to be important for any woman having menstrual cramps. Essential fatty acids have muscle-relaxing qualities and even blood vessel repairing properties. Essential fatty acids also have anti- inflammatory and an example would be GLA, that stands for Gamma Linoleic Acid. Of course another essential fatty acid would be Omega-3 fish oil. So those GLA and fish oil I would say at least three per day of each of those. Maybe more.

CAROLYN: Sometimes I go higher depending on the circumstances. Three to six, depending on the client. Another thing I always recommend is 400 to 600 mg of Magnesium Glycinate to my clients who are experiencing menstrual cramps or even leg cramps. Magnesium is an amazing mineral that nearly 3/4 of the population is deficient in today.

KARA: Can we talk about a couple signs of being deficient in magnesium?

CAROLYN: Leg cramps is the one that pops into my mind! 

KARA: Leg cramps. Insomnia. High blood pressure.

CAROLYN: Yeah, magnesium glycinate helps lower our blood pressure.

KARA: Chocolate cravings? If you have chocolate cravings that’s actually a sign that you could be magnesium deficient. On top of that, as a nutritionist I would take a deeper look and determine how to help each client eliminate the high toxic estrogens. There’s one more supplement I’d like to talk about, it’s a go to supplement called Meta I3C, this is a Metagenics product. If listeners are wondering what that stands for it’s indole 3 carbinol, I don’t want to get too technical but you may have heard of that, it’s designed to promote healthy estrogen. And people really have had great luck with that. It helps the body get rid of the excess estrogens that we keep talking about.  

CAROLYN: We have many other suggestions to reduce high estrogen levels, but as our airtime is limited, we’re coming up to the very end, this is all we have time for today. Again, all of these hormonal health conditions are very complex and the symptoms and the solutions must be based on each individual. We believe that each and every one of these conditions is related to an excess estrogen problem and diet and key supplements can help to rebalance you. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, it may be time to follow the Weight and Wellness eating plan to reduce your inflammation and rebalance your hormones.

KARA: Since we are coming up to the end of the hour, if you have additional questions, that haven’t been answered please call one of our offices at 651.699.3438 or email me at kara@weightandwellness.com

and I will do my best to answer your question. I also want to mention that we are now transcribing each of our Dishing Up Nutrition shows, so if you missed something like a doctors name or name of a supplement, go to our website it’s weightandwellness.com. Click on Blog + Podcast + Recipes, then click on Podcasts on the next page and you will find all of the transcripts of our recent Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts.

CAROLYN: That’s great I love that they’re transcribing them now.

KARA: Me too. People are often driving or cooking, maybe they’re cooking right? In the kitchen and they might miss something.

CAROLYN: I love that. I’m always listening to past podcasts when I’m in the kitchen making dinner. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It’s a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing.

Thank you for listening and have a healthy food day!

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