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.