In women who have symptoms, the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Prolonged menstrual periods — seven days or more of menstrual bleeding
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying your bladder
- Backache or leg pains
The health products included in our tailored Fibroid Treatment Pack have been specifically chosen to support a healthy menstrual cycle giving you vitality, increased energy levels, immunity and well-being.
More about the products that make up this Fibroid Treatment Pack:
- 1x pot LivSupport: An all-in-one liver and gallbladder cleanse and protective food based formula with 14 active herbal ingredients, including burdock root, beetroot extract, dandelion root extract, parsley piert extract and more. A specific combination for supporting these two important detox organs!
- 1x pot GentleRelease: Specifically formulated to encourage regular bowel movements, clear excess toxins and re-population of beneficial bowel bacteria – to bring balance to the body.
- 1x pot CandidAway: An all-in-one yeast balance, digestion, detox and colon health support supplement. This caprylic acid formula helps to maintain the correct balance of bacteria and yeasts and encourages the growth of friendly bacteria (probiotics). Ideally combined with an anti-Candida diet. This is a traditional herbal combination used to promote overnight digestive transit and intestinal cleansing.Tthere is a strong connection between endometriosis and candida yeast overgrowth.
- 1x pot OmegaKrill: These essential fats have a profound effect on every system of the body, including the reproductive system and they are crucial for healthy hormone functioning.
Easy step-by-step guide to using this Fibroid Treatment Pack:
LivSupport: Take 1 capsule, 1 – 2 times per day with food.
GentleRelease: Add 1 to 2 heaped teaspoons of powder (5g to 10g) to a small amount of water or juice (¼ of a glass) 30 minutes before a meal.
CandidAway: Take 1 capsule, 1 – 2 times per day with food.
OmegaKrill: Take 1 capsule, 1 – 2 times per day with food.
Note: Use this Fibroid Treatment pack in conjunction with improved eating habits, increased water intake and regular exercise for best results and to support cell cleansing, hydration and natural body detox processes. This Pack can be used on a long-term basis. Ideally, the products in this pack should be taken continuously for 3 – 4 months, with a 1 – 2 month break before starting the combination again.
Understanding How Uterine Fibroid Tumors Can Affect Fertility
Uterine Fibroid tumors, or myomas, are benign (not cancerous) tumors that grow in or around the uterus and affect nearly 20 percent of women over 35 years of age. Diagnosis is generally made by your physician during your annual gynecological exam when your physician feels a mass. When a mass is detected, an ultrasound, MRI, cat scan, or a sonohysterogram, is often ordered as the next step in diagnosing the condition. Although most fibroids cause no symptoms, the estimated 25 percent of women who do have symptoms may have abnormal/heavy bleeding, pain during menstruation and/or sex, fertility problems, frequent urination, complications during pregnancy and delivery (typically requiring cesarean delivery), and as the fibroid tumors grow larger, a swollen abdomen. From a fertility perspective, fibroids can inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. No one knows for sure what causes uterine fibroids, but we do know they are affected by the body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone. They grow rapidly during pregnancy, when hormone levels are high. They shrink when anti-hormone medication is used. They also stop growing or shrink once a woman reaches menopause.
How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Uterine Fibroid Tumors
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes fibroids are caused by obstructions in blood flow, and therefore are alleviated through processes which remove those obstructions. Acupuncture near the site of the fibroid has been seen to reduce proliferation of abnormal cells. Chinese herbs are used to help restore optimal blood flow to the pelvic organs. Reproductive organ massage helps to manually breakdown the tissue and aid the body in recovery. Not only will Chinese medical treatments shrink and eliminate the fibroids, but when used together can re-balance hormonal production, improve ovarian production and ovulation, regulate menstrual cycles, lower FSH levels, create better egg quality, and strengthen embryos– all of which improve fertility and your chance of conception.
Acupuncture treatment focuses on realigning the delicate hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis which controls the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. When estrogen levels are increased, fibroids tend to grow in size, causing pain and inhibiting implantation. By curbing excess estrodial, abnormal cell proliferation can be slowed, and when in combination with herbal and reproductive organ massage, often halted entirely.
Natures herbs concentrate on invigorating the blood, which helps to break up the stasis of the fibroid itself and flood the uterus with oxygen and nutrient rich material. By moving the blood swiftly to the area, herbs that have documented antineoplastic effect can begin addressing the improper cellular proliferation. Formulas also contain individual herbs that have a direct effect on smooth muscle, helping to generate uterine contractions to eliminate the dissolved stasis.
Reproductive organ massage is a highly specialized form of therapeutic massage that manipulates the fascia of the pelvic cavity to unblock any obstructions or reduce any adhesions in the reproductive organs and improve the blood flow to these organs. The massage gently breaks up the accumulated stagnations by literally untying the muscular tension that can contribute to the holding patterns associated with fibroids. After the muscular tension is addressed, venous and arterial blood flow through the uterus will increase, generating optimal reproductive organ function and encouraging a balanced hormonal system. By working deeper, the lymph circulation can be stimulated to help filter out any residual toxins associated with the dissolution of the fibroid mass.
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia) is defined as soaking a pad and/or tampon every hour or less during each menstrual cycle. For many women, heavy menstrual bleeding is a huge obstacle to their lifestyles. Have you ever had to reschedule an activity around your menstrual period? Then, you know the toll it can take. You may not know that heavy bleeding can be more than a schedule buster. The heavy bleeding can also lead to iron-deficient anemia, the most common health-related threat of menorrhagia. While most cases of anemia are easily treated with oral iron supplements, sometimes the bleeding is so severe a woman’s entire volume of blood drops, leading to shortness of breath, severe fatigue and heart palpitations that require hospitalization.
There are several options you may want to try to reduce your heavy menstrual bleeding. These include:
- Ice packs. Put an ice pack on your abdomen for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day when bleeding is especially heavy.
- Vitamins.Try vitamin C supplements to help your body absorb iron and possibly strengthen blood vessels.
- Iron. Some research suggests low iron levels can increase menstrual bleeding, and that supplementing with the mineral can reduce menstrual bleeding.
Always check with your health care professional before taking any medication—this includes taking herbal remedies and nutritional supplements—for managing health conditions or for general health and wellness concerns.
Women’s Health: Healing Fibroids Naturally
Most women with fibroids don’t even know they have one until their doctor discovers it during an annual pelvic exam. These benign growths are amenable to lifestyle changes such as diet, taking certain herbs, exercise, and changes in emotional patterns. Lifestyle modifications are likely to have an impact because fibroids are very sensitive to changes in hormone levels in the body. Your hormones can be influenced by everything from dietary modifications to changes in your thoughts and emotions!
The good news is most fibroids don’t cause symptoms, don’t require any fancy treatment, and almost never require a hysterectomy, despite what you may have heard. Unfortunately, fibroids are the number one indication for hysterectomy in this country. And many times the ovaries, a woman’s source of testosterone, are removed along with the uterus to prevent possible ovarian cancer in the future. Though I certainly understand the rationale for this, many women suffer from unexpected side effects from ovarian removal and subsequent low testosterone levels, which result in a loss of sex drive and decreased vitality.
Of course, depending upon the size, number, and location of the fibroid, some women experience pain, heavy bleeding, or pressure. If the fibroid is large, 10 cm. or greater, the lower abdomen can swell slightly and make it appear that a woman is a few months pregnant, which is what happened to me. Even if her fibroids are causing problems, there’s a lot that a woman can do besides taking drugs, having surgery, or undergoing the new Ex Ablate ultrasound procedure. (See below.)
In his excellent and comprehensive book Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure (which he co-wrote with Elena Oumano for Fireside, 2002), Allan Warshowsky, M.D. (a board certified ob-gyn colleague and friend of mine), gives you everything you need to know to decrease fibroid symptoms naturally. If you have fibroids, I urge you to read his book. You’re likely to find just the solution you’re looking for. And keep in mind that the lifestyle changes you adopt to heal your fibroids will also improve the health of every cell in your body! Here are a few points from Healing Fibroids. There are many other fantastic insights in the book.* Decrease or eliminate “white” foods. Foods such as white bread, cookies, cakes, and pasta increase insulin, which changes the way estrogen is metabolized, creating compounds that are more likely to cause cellular inflammation and fibroid symptoms, including enhanced growth of existing fibroids. (Further evidence of the diet-estrogen-fibroid connection is the fact that fibroids are more common in overweight women.)* Eat soy and flax. Nearly all women can benefit from taking phytoestrogens-plant-based hormones found in soy and flaxseed. Not only are phytoestrogens a safe alternative to synthetic hormones, these phytoestrogen-rich foods decrease the effects of estrogen levels naturally by blocking the estrogen receptors on the cells in fibroids and other estrogen-sensitive tissues. Studies have shown that eating soy and flax helps the body produce smaller amounts of unhealthy estrogens. Flaxseed is high in both fiber and omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation and tumor growth throughout the body and rid the body of toxins, including excess estrogen.* Consider herbs. There’s a wide variety of herbs that help balance estrogen levels naturally. These include chasteberry, dong quai, and black cohosh-all of which have been used for centuries for various gynecological conditions. Dr. Warshowsky’s book contains a comprehensive list of the herbs that work best for fibroids and includes instructions for exactly how to take them. (I also address the subject of herbs for menopausal symptoms in my book The Wisdom of Menopause [Bantam, 2001].)* Add a tincture of time. Perimenopause and menopause are nature’s own treatment for fibroids. Falling estrogen levels that occur in late perimenopause often shrink fibroids considerably. And nothing further needs to be done! Watchful waiting is especially good for women who have no symptoms from their fibroids or don’t even know they have them!When Natural Methods Aren’t Enough
There is a new ultrasound treatment for fibroids called ExAblate, which was approved in the fall of 2004 by the FDA. ExAblate is a new device that combines MRI imaging to map out uterine fibroids followed by high-intensity, focused ultrasound that heats up and destroys fibroid tissue. Fibroid tissue is very well suited to this treatment because the blood vessels in fibroids help the body dissipate the excess heat that’s generated. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and is noninvasive, leaving the uterus and ovaries intact. It involves lying on your abdomen in an MRI tube for up to three hours while ultrasound waves heat up and destroy the uterine tissue. Side effects may include blisters on the abdominal skin, cramping, nausea, and some pain that can be managed with over-the-counter medication.
I had my fibroid surgically removed during perimenopause some years ago, but didn’t undergo a hysterectomy. (Though I had no symptoms, I simply got tired of looking pregnant-mine was very large-and I didn’t want to continue to “dress around my fibroid.”) However, if ExAblate had been available at the time, I would have strongly considered this treatment.
Studies show that ExAblate successfully reduces fibroid symptoms in about 70 percent of women, but that 20 percent will require additional surgery within a year. The FDA reports that though the procedure successfully reduces symptoms in the majority of women, these symptoms will return in some women. And so will the fibroids. This is why I also recommend that all women suffering from fibroids do their best to adopt the kind of lifestyle changes mentioned above-you’ll be able to reduce fibroid symptoms over the long term and improve how your hormones are metabolized. Still, I feel that ExAblate is a major step forward and a very exciting use of technology.
Please Note: ExAblate should not be used by those who want to get pregnant because not enough data is available to determine what happens to the uterine wall and lining following the procedure. For more information about ExAblate, you can call 866-392-2528 or check out the InSightec Website, the company that developed the technology, at www.uterine-fibroids.org.Symptoms Always Carry a Bigger Message
There are many treatments available for fibroids, including drugs, surgery, and the newer high-tech ultrasound treatment known as ExAblate. Regardless of which one(s) you choose, it’s important to understand that fibroids, like all conditions, don’t just jump out of the closet and land on you (or your uterus). They’re a signal from your inner wisdom that something in your life needs to be addressed. This doesn’t mean that you need to obsess or make a career out of them, but it does mean that you’ll be happier and healthier if you regard them as messengers and then heed the message. (It might be as simple as losing ten pounds!)Fibroids often represent creativity that hasn’t been birthed yet, or creativity (such as a job or relationship) that’s being directed down a dead-end path. I’ve written about this extensively in both Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. Addressing the lifestyle and mind/body factors that favor fibroid growth in the first place will also help prevent recurrence. And if you eventually need a medical procedure for your fibroids, your health will have improved greatly and you’ll heal much faster.
Provided from the September/October 2005 Issue of The Dr. Christiane Northrup Newsletter