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Clinical evidence is preliminary that turmeric could help treat or prevent fibroid growth

Natural Help for Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that are a common occurrence in women prior to menopause. Risk factors linked to higher incidence of fibroids include race and excess body weight. However, genetics, hormones, the environment, and the immune system may all have some influence on fibroid growth. (x.53)

Fibroid Symptoms

Although non-malignant, these growths are still troublesome for some women. They can cause: (x.53-54)

  • Heavy bleeding and/or painful periods
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Impaired fertility
  • Low back pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • Urinary problems and/or constipation

Conventional Treatment Targets

Conventional treatment depends on the size of the fibroid(s) and symptoms. Mild symptoms are typically treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication (such as ibuprofen). For more symptomatic fibroids, conventional therapy options include:

  • Drugs that suppress estrogen and progesterone hormone levels (such as GnRHa) or hormone activity (such as mifepristone, an anti-progesterone drug) to reduce size of fibroid.
  • Synthetic hormones (such as progestin in contraceptives) that can relieve symptoms of heavy and/or lengthy periods.
  • Surgical fibroid removal.
  • Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus).

Experts recommend that successful nonsurgical treatment of symptomatic fibroids must do two things: (x.55)

Figure X.1: Therapy Targets for Anti-Fibroid Medication
Figure X.1: Therapy Targets for Anti-Fibroid Medication

Conventional drug treatments for fibroids often address only one of these targets, although some have shown benefit against both. However, they can involve adverse side effects, especially with long-term usage. Surgical fibroid therapy can be effective but come with the typical risks or complications associated with invasive treatment. (x.53-55)

How Can Turmeric Help?

Clinical evidence is preliminary that turmeric could help treat or prevent fibroid growth. Studies suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in turmeric address both anti-fibroid targets. Turmeric and curcumin are also considered safe, and turmeric is commonly used in traditional herbal formulas for fibroids. (x.5356-58)

Table X.7: Effects of Turmeric on Uterine Fibroids
Turmeric Compound/Form Type of Study Results

Whole turmeric rhizome in a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formula

(Huoxue Sanjie Tang)

Randomized Clinical Trial

  • 115 women with fibroids less than 60 mm in size participated. (x.53)
  • 59 of the patients took the TCM herbal formula containing about 8% turmeric rhizome. (x.53)
  • 56 took the pharmaceutical drug mifepristone. (x.53)

According to a Cochrane analysis, the TCM formula had similar effects to the conventional drug: (x.53)

  • Slightly more patients who took the turmeric-containing formula than mifepristone had disappearance of fibroids altogether or fibroids that shrunk over a third.
  • However, significantly more patients who took mifepristone had fibroids shrink greater than 50%.

TCM herbal product containing ten herbs, one of which was whole turmeric

(Nona Roguy)

Randomized Clinical Trial

  • 35 women with fibroids participated. (x.53)
  • 18 took herbal formula daily for 6 months. (x.53)
  • 17 took gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist via 3.75 mg injections once a month for 3 months. (x.53)

No statistically significant difference between reduction of fibroid size between those who used the herbal formula and those who used the GnRH antagonist was found. (x.53)

Curcumin

Lab Study

  • Conducted on fibroid and normal uterine cells from patients with fibroids. (x.58)

The turmeric compound significantly reduced growth of fibroid cells without negatively affecting normal uterine cells. It did so by: (x.58)

  • Fibronectin, a structural protein
  • Inflammatory transcription factor proteins and enzymes
  • Enzymes that promote cell death in fibroid cells

Curcumin

Lab Study

  • Conducted on animal uterine fibroid cell lines. (x.2)

Turmeric's curcumin compound significantly reduced fibroid cell growth. It did so by activating the beneficial transcription factor protein PPAR-γ in the cells. (x.2)

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