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Shrink fibroids with diet

How to Shrink fibroids with diet (science-backed)

In this blog post: learn how to shrink fibroids with small, consistent changes to your diet and lifestyle.

As a Black woman with several family members and friends who battle fibroids daily, I understand the distress this condition causes.

Heavy periods, back pain, abdominal pain and constipation are just the tip of the iceberg. Infertility, pregnancy complications and hysterectomies are some of the more severe consequences of this condition.


Fibroids affect women of all races, but they are larger, more common and more severe in Black women. Black women have a 2-3-fold greater risk of fibroids than Hispanic, Asian and Caucasian women.

Fibroids start earlier in Black women, and research shows that by age 35, 60% of Black women have fibroids increasing to >80% by age 50, compared with 40% in Caucasian women at age 35 and almost 70% by age 50.

Black women are 2.4-times more likely to have a hysterectomy and 6.8-times more likely to have a uterus-sparing myomectomy than other races.

Why are fibroids more common and more severe in Black women?

We still don’t know.

However, we do know that environmental, genetic and dietary factors impact severity. Before we explore diet, let’s discuss the basics.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids, also known as myomas or leiomyomas, are non-cancerous tumours made up of muscle and fibrous tissue that grow in or around the uterus (womb).

Fibroids range in size from a few millimetres (pea) to massive growths of 20cm in diameter and more (melon). There are three main types:

  • Intramural – develops in the muscle wall of the womb.
  • Subserosal – develops outside the wall of the womb and grows into the pelvis
  • Submucosal – develops in the muscle layer under the womb’s inner lining and grows into the womb.

Black women usually have intramural fibroids.

What causes fibroids?

Scientists are still unsure of the cause. But hormonal imbalances play a role because fibroids rarely start before puberty, are common during the reproductive years and shrink after menopause.

More studies are required, but scientists have discovered genetic alterations and mutations on chromosome 12 and 7, and signalling pathways in people with fibroids.

What are the symptoms of fibroids?

Not every woman with fibroids displays symptoms. When they exist, symptoms may include:

  • Heavy, irregular, and prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Anaemia
  • Pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • Frequent need to pee
  • Infertility
  • Recurrent abortions

What factors affect your fibroid risk?

If you have a first degree relative with fibroids, you have a higher risk of developing them. Women with a family history of uterine fibroids are three times more likely to have fibroids than those without a history.

Smoking increases the risk of fibroids in underweight Thai and Italian women, but there is currently no link between smoking and fibroids in Black women.

Many studies show that having a baby reduces the risk of fibroids. And the risk of fibroids reduces after each birth.Japanese women with three or more successful pregnancies had a 20% lower risk of developing uterine fibroids than women without successful pregnancies. However, in Black women, there is no additional reduction in risk after one birth.

Risk factors for fbroids

It is worth noting that induced abortion increases the risk of fibroids.

According to Italian studies and the Nurses’ Health Study II, oral contraceptives lower the risk of fibroids. A multicentre- case-control study in Thailand also showed a 24% lower risk of uterine fibroids in women who used oral contraceptives than those who had never used them.

Progestin-only contraceptives are associated with a 40% lower risk of fibroids in Black women.

Obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, exposure to plastic products, cosmetics, frequent intake of milk and soybean, particularly in Chinese women are other factors associated with an increased risk of fibroids.

Studies on Black women show that women with a family history of fibroids and formula-fed with soya milk had larger fibroids than those who didn’t use soy-based formula milk.


Physical activity, stress, diet, alcohol and caffeine consumption affect your risk of developing fibroids.

Exercise reduces the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in your bloodstream and your insulin levels, lowering your risk of fibroids. Studies show a lower incidence of fibroids in Black women who exercise for at least seven hours per week than those who do not (less than two hours per week).

Your risk of fibroids is high if you drink alcohol, particularly beer, and caffeinated drinks, frequently. Beer contains high levels of phytoestrogens. Caffeine has a stronger effect on fibroids in younger Black women than in older women.

Observational studies show that a high intake of red meat, including beef and ham, increases fibroid risk, while fish decreases it. High intakes of fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes and apples, also reduce fibroid risk by blocking crucial signalling pathways that encourage fibroid growth.

Many studies show that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of fibroids, particularly in Black women. In vitamin D-deficient Iranian women, a 10-week vitamin D supplementation programme reduced fibroid size by approximately 10mm.


Phytochemicals - fibroids

Several dietary phytochemicals arrest the growth of fibroid cells and induce spontaneous death. Scientists have researched some of these phytochemicals only in cell culture studies and have examined others in randomised clinical control trials.

The compounds scientifically proven to shrink fibroids include:

  • Epigallocatechin gallate is rich in green tea. In cell culture studies, this compound stops growth and destroys fibroid cells. Clinical trials also show that green tea extract shrinks fibroids, and improves symptom severity and quality of life.
  • Curcumin is rich in turmeric. Cell culture studies show that curcumin prevents fibroid growth.
  • Isoliquiritigenin is rich in liquorice, shallots and soybean
  • Genistein is rich in soybeans and fava beans
  • Resveratrol is  rich in mulberries, peanuts and grapes
  • Other phytochemicals that could prevent inflammation, shrink fibroids, and improve symptoms include:
  • Allicin is a sulphur-rich compound found in garlic.
  • Ellagic acid is a polyphenol compound rich in berries, including strawberries, pomegranates, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries and grapes.
  • Indole-3-carbinol is a compound rich in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, Chinese cabbage, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, rocket (arugula), watercress, and daikon.
  • Lycopene is a carotenoid compound rich in tomato, watermelon, papaya, pink guava, pink grapefruit and apricots.
  • Quercetin is a flavonol in tea, lemon, tomato, onion leaves and strawberries.
  • Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate rich in broccoli and sprouting broccoli. It is also present in Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choi and Chinese cabbage.
  • Ursolic acid is a 5-ring compound found in apples, basil, cranberries, peppermint, rosemary, oregano and prunes.


1 | Eat a low glycaemic index diet

shrink fibroids - low glycaemic diet

The glycaemic index (G.I.) measures how quickly the carbohydrates you eat affect your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates such as sweets, cakes, white rice and white bread increase your blood sugar much faster than whole foods such as berries, legumes, vegetables and fish.

Consistently eating large amounts of refined carbohydrates can lead to hyperinsulinemia – high glucose levels and insulin resistance in your liver, muscles and fat tissues.

High insulin increases insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) and lowers the levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in your circulation. These changes are detrimental to your fibroids.


Because they increase the amount of oestrogen in your bloodstream and encourage your fibroid cells to grow and multiply.

Epidemiological studies confirm the association between a high G.I. diet and the increased risk of fibroids.

To prevent or at least lower the risk of this happening, choose whole foods often. When you eat whole grains and starchy carbohydrates, pair them with a source of quality protein to keep your blood sugar balanced.

2 | Eat plenty of fruits and green leafy vegetables

Shrink Fibroids | Fruits and Vegetables

Epidemiological studies associate diets rich in fruits and vegetables with a lower incidence of fibroids. Other studies show that fruits and green leafy vegetables contain phytochemicals that destroy fibroid cells.

Green leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid and magnesium. Both nutrients are essential cofactors for detoxification pathways in your liver.

Your body also uses magnesium to make glutathione, a crucial antioxidant for neutralising harmful oestrogen by-products.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and sulphur-containing vegetables like garlic contain phytochemicals that directly destroy fibroid cells. These vegetables also support the liver with oestrogen detoxification.

3 | Eat fibre-rich foods

Fibre binds to oestrogen by-products in your gut and stops your duodenal cells from reabsorbing them into your bloodstream.

Fibre can also contribute to satiety and promote weight loss if you’re overweight. Epidemiological studies show a clear link between obesity and fibroid risk.

Eat high-fibre foods such as oats, brown rice, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), vegetables, nuts and seeds.  And aim to eat at least 30g of fibre per day.

If you currently eat a low-fibre diet, increase your fibre intake slowly as drastic increases can lead to stomach discomfort. 

4 | Eat omega-3-rich foods  

omega-3 rich foods | shrink fibroids

Inflammation is a critical component of fibroids.

Omega-3 fats are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the primary anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, and they are present in oily fish.

EPA increases beneficial oestrogen by-products and reduces harmful oestrogen by-products. EPA also reduces inflammatory prostaglandins and lowers inflammation.

Eat oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, trout and salmon. Plant foods, including walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a form of omega-3 fats.

Your body needs to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. Unfortunately, conversion rates are <10% for most people. Take this into account if you eat a restricted diet.

5 | Eat Vitamin-D rich foods and supplement

Vitamind D rich foods_Shrink fibroids

Low vitamin D levels and vitamin D deficiency are risk factors for fibroids. Recent studies show that vitamin D supplementation shrinks fibroids and prevents them from becoming more severe.

 Vitamin D is rich in oily fish, UV-treated mushrooms, cereals, and fortified dairy-alternative products. Take a 10ug vitamin D supplement daily.

6 | Avoid Trans fats

Avoid trans-oxidised and hydrogenated fats often in margarine and processed foods. Trans fat can damage your cell membranes and promote inflammation.

Avoid cooking with vegetable and seed oils, particularly if you need to heat them to high temperatures. Cook with coconut oil, olive oil or ghee instead.

Now, it’s up to you…

Infertility, miscarriages, back pain, abdominal discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding don’t have to remain your reality.

You now have a clear guide to help you reduce your symptoms and potentiallyshrink your fibroids. Implement these dietary changes at a pace that suits you and be consistent! Don’t ignore Dr’s advice based on the information in this article. Medical advice works in tandem with diet and lifestyle changes.

You may see changes in your well-being in as little as 30 days with consistency, so give it your best shot.

I’m rooting for YOU!


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  • First published: January 3 2021
  • Updated: Jan 5 2024

DISCLAIMER: Not a substitute for medical advice – All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical or nutrition advice or to take the place of medical/nutrition advice or treatment from your doctor or health professional. Since each person’s health conditions are very specific, viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information in this post/video, is for general information only and does not replace a consultation with your doctor/health professional.

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The Comments

  • Claudia Felix
    March 19, 2021

    Well this was helpful because there things I didn’t know and I know now .By reading and going though this page I learn a lot because right not am having a lot of pain now I just in my early 50s and had fibroid for a long time now.

    • Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
      > Claudia Felix
      March 19, 2021

      Hi Claudia,

      Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback.

      I’m pleased to hear that you’ve learned something from the post. I hope you’ll be able to implement many of the dietary changes I suggest.

      Have a wonderful day.



  • Chiku
    July 16, 2021

    Somi thank you for sharing. Sharing is caring. I can access some of the things mentioned. It is good to learn more about garlic as well. is it okay to boil the garlic in water and drink the water or just blend it in smoothies?



    • Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
      > Chiku
      July 17, 2021

      You’re very welcome Chiku, thanks for reading.

      Cooking with garlic is just fine or enjoying it in sauces like hummus or pesto.

  • dgshealth
    July 19, 2021

    nice information there are numbers of article that show only surgery is the way to solve this problems but at finally i got a good news by this article that is can be cured without surgery just changing your lifestyle and diet and it is true because i have done so i can believe.

  • Jazmin
    December 30, 2021

    Im confused why you would list soy products in the article as beneficial wren they contain high levels of estrogen which to be avoided if you have fibroids. Can you please clarify?

    • Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
      > Jazmin
      December 31, 2021

      Hi Jazmin,

      Thank you for your question.

      In my article, I do state that soybeans are associated with a higher risk of fibroids. I presume your confusion is based on genistein, which is found in high concentrations in soybeans. I would avoid eating soybeans and instead eat other types of beans like broad beans (fava beans) or chickpeas, which are also good sources of genistein.

      I hope this helps.

  • Martine
    February 11, 2022

    Thank you for sharing this information. I just had a surgery a few days ago to remove one large fibroid of my many fibroids. The obgyn did not want to be aggressive in her procedure since I am looking to have another baby. I am looking to shrink them naturally and I have been eating pretty healthy and do lots of research. I am little confused about phytoestrogen fruits and supplements as far as do they shrink or increase the fibroids . I am referring to garlic, berries, oatmeal, ashwagandha, maca… that are part of my regular diet. There are some contradictions in the information available online. Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Saliu Kafayat Aramide
    November 22, 2022

    This is well detailed, these are the dietery changes I implemented for the past one month with intermitent fasting (start eating from 12noon to 8pm but I drink green tea and water anytime) and I am seeing changes, the fibriod is reducing bcos I am consistent in eating all these: I cooked Gabbage and carrot with extra virgin olive oil (maggi and salt to taste and any healthy spices of your choice, I add mackerel fish too, I used to add broccoli and caulflower sometimes and eat it at 12noon. I also soak 3 teaspoons chia seed in the water and drink, eat 17pcs of Almond. In the afternoon (from 3pm) I take green apple and cuccumber, At night (from 6pm) I take unripe plantain flour swallow with vegetable soup, you can option for potato flour swallow if you don’t see unripe plantain flour. I stopped taking whole grain food like brown rice, wheat bread etc. bcos they are high in carb, high carb food should be reduce to 50% to 60% if you want your fibriod to reduce faster.

  • Abena Christ
    January 21, 2023

    very helpful and I will stick to it. God bless you

    • Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
      > Abena Christ
      January 21, 2023

      I’m so glad to read this! Please let us know how you get on 🙂

  • Onyi
    January 22, 2023

    This was both helpful and encouraging. Thanks ma’am.

  • ngozi Itabor
    April 23, 2023

    Yes , very helpful.thanks

  • aprilqdawn
    May 1, 2023

    thank you so very much for this. i was in the process of taking lemon juice every daw to reset my biome & address certain GI issues & noted changes that indicated that my fibroid situation was changing, hopefully shrinking; i wondered if there was a lemon-fibroid link & this brought me here. this has been the most useful source of information on the subject, & the most comprehensive, & comprehensible, to date (& this includes my PubMed research).

    you may want to add myrcene, specifically β-myrcene (a terpene found in cardamom, verbena, hops, houttuynia, lemon grass, mango, myrcia, & West Indian bay tree; cannabis sativa has between 29.4% and 65.8%; wild thyme leaves up to 40% by weight; it is also made commercially via pyrolysis of pine oil): the literature indicates its usefulness (i am assuming that this route would be internal or possibly topical as opposed to, in the case of c. sativa, smoked). i am planning personal experimentation in this regard, & with a little encouragement would be happy to report back, as i am sure you would benefit from the datapoint.

    thank you again.

    • Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
      > aprilqdawn
      May 20, 2023

      You’re welcome; I’m so glad you found the article helpful. I’d love to know how you get on.