Seed cycling is a gentle way to balance hormones, but with fibroids many women hesitate to start. Uterine fibroids, or leiomyomas, affect millions of women, causing heavy bleeding and often pain. They are space-occupying lesions that can interfere with fertility, with urination, with digestion and also cause severe pain and pressure in the pelvis. Seed cycling could be a gentle way to limit fibroid growth and manage symptoms. They are a serious condition and it is important to work closely with your physician when considering any new protocol, including this one.
What Is Seed Cycling or Seed Rotation?
Seed cycling, also called seed rotation, is a nutritional method of regulating women’s hormones. It works by using two different combinations of seeds for the two phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you are unfamiliar with the basics of the menstrual cycle or of seed cycling, there is a helpful article here. Typically, 1 Tablespoon of flax seeds and 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin seeds are taken for the first half of the cycle (from day one of bleeding to ovulation, or the first 14 days) which is the follicular phase. 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and 1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds are taken for the second half of the cycle (from ovulation, or day 15 to the end,) which is the luteal phase. The basic protocol, however, isn’t appropriate for women with estrogen dominance so severe that it has led to fibroids. Seed cycling for fibroids should be a different protocol.
Days 1 – 14; The Follicular Phase
The first fourteen days of a woman’s cycle are dominated by the effects of estrogen. Estrogen is the strongest known contributor to the growth of uterine fibroids, and so it is important to modulate this time of the month. Flax seeds work in two ways to REDUCE the effects of estrogen on the body. In one aspect, the
Days 15-28 (ish); The Luteal Phase
This portion of a woman’s cycle is influenced most strongly by progesterone. Progesterone, although it reduces bleeding from fibroids, is known to increase their growth. Here’s an article about the progesterone link. Sesame seeds are used in seed cycling for fibroids in this phase. They are also lignan-rich like flax seeds and have been shown to have strong anti-tumor effects including anti-proliferative effects that might also slow tumor growth. I have never seen research specifically on sesame seeds and hormone levels but this article on lignans is the closest.
Seed Cycling Protocol For Uterine Fibroids
Seed cycling for fibroids should include the flax and sesame seeds in rotation, without the testosterone boosting effects of pumpkin seeds or the progesterone boosting effects of sunflower seeds.
Days 1-14: 1-2 Tbsp ground flax seeds.
Days 15 – 28 (or the end of your cycle): 1-2 Tbsp sesame seeds.
As always, check with your physician to make sure this is appropriate for you before you start anything new. Also, be sure you are monitoring the size of your fibroids to make sure that their growth is actually slowing and that you are not putting yourself in any danger. As always, listen to your body in everything that you do for your health.
Why do you suggest dropping the pumpkin and sunflower seeds? Having testosterone and progesterone helps to reduce the estogren? There is another source Magdelana something of ‘hormonesbalance.com’ who says to use pumpkin/sunflower seeds. It’s confusing! Which of you is right?
It can be really confusing and I’m sorry about that. The problem is that there is no actual clinical research on seed cycling for fibroids, so both Magdalena and I are using our own best clinical judgment and obviously applying different logic to it. The reason I don’t suggest pumpkin seeds is not because of the testosterone boosting effect (which would be great) but because there is some evidence that they can be estrogenic – this article will tell you more. My concern with the sunflower seeds is that progesterone can also convert to estrogen in the body, so I’m wary of giving anything that could potentially increase fibroid growth. I can’t say 100% that my way is the right way, but it is the way that I feel would have the best outcomes. Does that make sense?
My fibroids have caused bleeding that is never-ending, so it’s nearly impossible to know when my period starts and stops. Would it be appropriate to start the protocol on the next full moon (I read this somewhere!)?
Fibroids are such a challenge. I would actually start at the new moon with the flax/pumpkin seeds. Fibroids grow in response to estrogen, so the flaxseed will always be especially important for you to help reduce those estrogen levels and hopefully slow down or stop the growth of those fibroids. Keep us posted on what you notice!
Can I still take evening primrose oil if I have fibroids? If so, can I take it during the whole cycle? Thanks,
I have found no research to indicate that evening primrose oil is harmful with fibroids, and some sources (although not primary research) suggest that it may be helpful. If your focus is seed cycling for homeone balance, I think you are better to either cycle with the fish oil, or to add the fish oil to the follicular phase of your cycle alongside the EPO. I hope this is helpful!
Amazing article about fibroids!