Tue | Oct 24, 2017

Healing fibroids - naturally!

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Fibroid, uterine fibroid, tumour, fibroid tumour, growth, leiomyoma, fibroma, and fibromyoma - different names for a condition that may affect as many as 80 per cent of women.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths or tumours of the uterus that arise from the muscle cells that form the walls of the womb. They can be as small as a pea or as large as a watermelon.

Amazing as it may sound, little research is being done on the cause and prevention of this huge problem. Conventional medicine, unfortunately, directs almost all of its attention and resources at treating fibroids and their symptoms after they become problematic. Commonly, women with small fibroids are told by their doctors, "Let's watch them until they get bigger." I do not agree with this approach.

In Jamaica, the commonest major surgery performed on women is the hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). I don't have the figures for Jamaica but, in the United States, more than 600,000 women lose their wombs each year to the gynaecologist's scalpel because of uterine fibroids.

FIBROID FACTS

Although as many as four out of every five women have them, only about 25 per cent of women have fibroids that cause troublesome symptoms. Most fibroids remain small and cause no problems. If they create symptoms, they usually appear after age 30. Sadly, however, many young Jamaican women are now being afflicted.

Black women who adopt a Western diet and lifestyle are twice as likely as white or Asian women to have fibroids.

Each fibroid is derived from a single cell that begins to multiply abnormally. Research suggests changes in a woman's hormonal balance influence the development of fibroids. Excess oestrogen or lack of the hormone progesterone leads to a condition called oestrogen dominance. This is a root cause of fibroids.

Fibroids tend to grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormonal levels are high, and shrink after menopause when hormone levels fall.

All the hormone-sensitive organs in the body - such as the uterus and breast (and prostate in men) - are now plagued by various fibroid-like growths.

Modern women (and men) are now being exposed to unnatural hormones (xeno-oestrogens) in unprecedented ways - many animal foods are laced with hormones while many pesticides, industrial chemicals, drugs, dyes, plastics, and even some personal hair and skincare items, have oestrogen-like hormonal activity.

A diet high in commercial meats (non-organic beef and chicken) is associated with the development of fibroids.

A plant-based diet - high in soy and organic green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables - is associated with a low incidence of fibroids. Food influences hormone balance.

Many other common female problems - endometriosis, breast cysts and tumours, PMS, menstrual disorders, infertility - are linked to the same hormone imbalance as that which causes fibroids.

There is also a relationship between obesity and fibroids. The fatter a woman is, the more oestrogen her body produces, and oestrogen fuels the growth of fibroids. Of course, not all women who develop fibroids are obese.

THE ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO FIBROIDS

CHECK YOUR CONVEN-TIONAL OPTIONS:
Many women are very reluctant to have their wombs removed, while there are others satisfied with this option. Each case is unique and I strongly recommend that before making a decision for or against surgery, women have a frank and unhurried discussion with their gynaecologist.

You should prepare for this meeting by writing down, beforehand, all the questions and concerns you have. Ask about more recent procedures like uterine artery embolisation and myolysis. Make sure you understand the difference between myomectomy (removal of the fibroids only) and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).

CONSIDER THE ALTER-NATIVES:
Consider less aggressive, safer alternatives first and reserve surgery as last resort. These non-conventional therapies, which I will, discuss have the following goals:

Relieving or removing the symptoms, the growth produces - excessive bleeding, pain or pressure.

Preventing further enlargement of the fibroid.

Encouraging the long-term shrinking of the fibroids.

I am not acquainted with any miraculous alternative therapy that can instantaneously cause you to pass out or expel your fibroids. Nor do I know of any single product that will magically dissolve or melt fibroids. I recommend a comprehensive approach that focuses on dealing with the underlying cause and which supports the body's natural healing potential.

DIET:
Switch to a plant-based diet, high in soy and organic, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These contain phyto-oestrogens, substances that naturally improve oestrogen/progesterone balance.

Minimise your intake of animal foods, especially commercial red meats, dairy and poultry. Avoid the simple and processed sugars and carbohydrates such as flour products, candy, pastries and soft drinks.

A plan for supplementing with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients is also essential.

CORRECT OBESITY:
The fatter a woman is, the more oestrogen her body tends to produce, and oestrogen fuels the growth of fibroids. I use an effective weight-loss programme called Shapeworks.

DETOXIFY:
Cleanse the body of pollutants and toxins that accumulate from the food we eat, air we breathe and water we drink. Many of these chemicals behave like oestrogens and worsen hormonal imbalance. An effective cleansing programme can include fasting, colon cleansing, far-infrared saunas, herbal cleansers and chelation therapy. Intensive detoxification needs the supervision of an experienced health-care provider.

USE NATURAL PROGESTERONE CREAM:
This is a safe and useful tool to correct the oestrogen dominance causing fibroids. This is skin cream containing the natural progesterone that women produce. It can be very effective in relieving the symptoms while inhibiting the growth of fibroids. Supervision, with the dosage and timing of use of natural progesterone cream, is important.

HERBS:
A number of herbs help control the symptom of fibroids. These include tang kuei, chaste tree, ginger and black cohosh. Again, get professional advice. Castor oil packs are a novel approach for fighting fibroids. I have been unable to find any scientific studies on the subject, but castor oil packs have been used for thousands of years throughout the world for a variety of ailments, including tumours. I have found this treatment useful, but not for all patients, for the relief of pain, discomfort and cramps from uterine fibroids.

STRESS MANAGEMENT:
Excess stress and poor stress management seem to worsen fibroid symptoms. An important part of your anti-fibroid programme is finding time for rest and practising effective relaxation strategies. If you are worried about cancer (a major stressor), talk it over with your doctor for reassurance.

MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS:
Finally, I suggest you keep a notebook to record your symptoms and progress in response to any of the natural approaches recommended. This will help you discover what works best for you.

Email Dr Tony Vendryes at vendryes@mac.com; visit the website www.drvendryes.com; or listen to 'An Ounce of Prevention' on Power 106 FM on Fridays at 8 p.m. Check out his Facebook page - An Ounce of Prevention.

Switch to a plant-based diet, high in soy and organic green leafy and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These contain phyto-oestrogens, substances that naturally improve oestrogen/progesterone balance.