Green Tea Extract Shows May Help Uterine Fibroids

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Green tea extract, which has been linked to the prevention of many health conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity, may also provide women with another benefit – shrinking benign uterine fibroid tumors.

Researchers from Meharry Medical College in Nashville TN found that green tea extract may have the ability to kill human leiomyoma cells in tissue cultures and eradicate fibroid lesions in animal models. The group will soon begin trials in human subjects through a $21.4 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

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Uterine fibroids are bundles of smooth muscle and connective tissue that implant in the wall of the uterus. They are not cancerous, but can disrupt the blood vessels and glands in the uterus causing bleeding and loss of other fluids. Uterine fibroids affect approximately 40% of reproductive age women. African American women are four times more likely to be affected than women from other ethnic groups.

Symptoms include excessive vaginal bleeding leading to anemia, fatigue and lack of energy. Women may also experience bloating, pressure and pain during sexual intercourse. Women who suffer from uterine fibroids often lose time from work, have higher medical expenses and may need advanced medical treatment to reverse infertility. Surgery, including myomectomy or hysterectomy, is the most common treatment option.

Increase in estrogen levels, specifically estradiol, is suspected to play a role in the cause and growth of uterine fibroids. Foods high in phytoestrogens, including green tea can reduce circulating estrogen levels and reduce its influence on the fibroid tumor. They can also bind to the estrogen receptors in the fibroid tissue, reducing growth effects on the tumor cells. Other sources of phytoestrogens include soy, flaxseeds, and nuts and seeds.

The research from Dr. Ayman Al-Hendy, Meharry’s Director of Clinical Research and lead investigator, is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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