Uterine fibroids or "myomas" are non-cancerous growths composed of muscle and fibrous tissue that occur on, inside or outside the uterus wall. At least 20 percent of women over the age of 35 have fibroids ranging in size from microscopic to as large as a cantaloupe, and their cause is unknown. More than 200,000 hysterectomies are performed each year because of fibroid tumors.
Fibroids are unusual in that even large fibroids may produce no symptoms. It depends on their location, size, number and activity. Symptoms include heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, spotting in between periods, pain, pressure or heaviness. Some women also will have to urinate frequently. Large fibroids can sometimes be felt in the lower abdomen.
A December 2004 article in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine evaluated the use of an herbal formula in pill form on 120 women with uterine fibroids. Use of the formula resulted in a reduction in size of the fibroids along with improvement of symptoms such as irregular menstruation, spotting between periods and abdominal pain, with a total effective rate of 95.8 percent. The herbs showed no toxicity in analysis and were considered safe.
If fibroids are 2 cm or smaller, acupuncture can be a viable solution; if they are larger than 2 cm, herbal medicine may be more appropriate.