The uterus is one of the first organs to manifest symptoms when a woman's hormones are out of balance. Two of the most common uterine symptoms of premenopause syndrome are an enlarged uterus and uterine fibroids. Women with PMS often experience painful periods (dysmenorrhea) which are most often caused when the industrial lining of the uterus extends into the muscular wall of the uterus (adenomyosis). When shedding of the endometrium occurs (menstruation), the blood is released into the muscular lining causing severe pain. Conventional medicine treats this pain with NSAIDS (non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, but ignores the underlying metabolic hormonal imbalance that caused it. The problem can often be simply resolved by restoring proper progesterone levels, which restores normal growth and shedding of the endometrium.
The cause of uterine fibroids are unknown, but estrogens, especially estradiol, promote their growth. After menopause fibroids disappear. But because estrogen levels can rise during the early menopausal years, previously asymptomatic fibroids may grow in the years just before the cessation of menses, resulting in symptoms such as feeling of heaviness in the belly, low back pain, pain with vaginal penetration, urinary frequency or incontinence, bowel difficulties, or severe menstrual pain and flooding.
Women of color are three to nine times more likely to have fibroids than white women, and their fibroids will grow more quickly.
Uterine fibroid tumors are not cancer, not malignant. Tumor means a swelling or a growth, not a malignancy, not cancer. Less than 0.1% of all uterine fibroids are malignant.
Small uterine fibroids often disappear spontaneously. Larger fibroids are more difficult to resolve, but not impossible to control with natural, healthy measures, not hysterectomies.
Some women's uterine fibroids and menstrual cramps disappear within three months of beginning a vigorous exercise program. Exercise helps insure regular ovulation, and irregular ovulation seems to worsen fibroids.
Strengthening the liver with herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle or yellow dock root helps to metabolize excess estrogen out of the body, thus reducing uterine fibroids.
Vitex or chaste berry taken two to four times daily, often shrinks small uterine fibroids within two months. But continued results come from long-term use.
Reduce uterine fibroids by reducing your exposure to estrogens(Xenohormones): avoid birth control pills, ERT/HRT, estrogen-mimicking residues from herbicides and pesticides used on food crops (eat organically-raised products). Tampons that are bleached with chlorine may mimic the bad effects of estrogen also.
Lupron (leuprolide acetate), a drug which induces artificial menopause by shutting down the body's production of estradiol causes a decrease in fibroid size within 8-12 weeks. Fibroids do regrow to about 90 percent of their original size when the drug is withdrawn however.
Major advances have been made in surgical treatments for women with uterine fibroids. There are many options now besides hysterectomy(removal of the uterus), including hysteroscopic resection, uterine embolization, myomectomy, and suprecervical hysterectomy. Since these are fairly new procedures, take the time to find a surgeon who is skilled in the procedure.
Hysterectomy can be a life-saving procedure, but by the age of sixty, more than one-third of American women will have given up their wombs to the surgeons. The presence of non-symptomatic uterine fibroids is never sufficient reason for a hysterectomy. Women who did their homework, that is helped themselves before and after their surgery with all the tools at their disposal seem to fare much better than those who do not.
With very few exceptions, no woman is healthier without her ovaries. So, even if you elect a hysterectomy, keep your ovaries.
If you have a uterine fibroid and it is a problem, begin with the mildest remedies first. Set a time limit for your use of any remedy, but, except in an emergency, don't go on to stronger remedies until you are sure the safer ones aren't effective for you. As with any advise, you are the best judge of what works for you after you weigh all the factors.
Estrogen dominance causes the uterus to grow and without the monthly balancing effect of progesterone it doesn't have the proper signals to stop growing. In some women this results in an enlarged uterus that presses on other organs, such as the bladder and often on the digestive system and generally causes discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding. In other women estrogen dominance results in uterine fibroids which are tough, fibrous, non-cancerous lumps that grow in the uterus. Some uterine fibroids can grow to the size of a grapefruit or cantaloupe causing constant bleeding and such heavy menstrual periods that the blood loss is akin to hemorrhaging.
Uterine fibroids always shrink at menopause, but the most common course of action a doctor takes when a patient comes in with a fibroid is to remove the uterus. The explanation given is that a fibroid is too difficult to remove without irreversibly damaging the uterus. But in most cases this is no longer true. If you do end up needing to have a fibroid surgically removed, find a doctor who can do it without removing your uterus with it. If you have many small fibroids, it may be more difficult to remove them. On the other hand, their smaller size may make it easier to treat them without surgery.
Natural Alternatives for Uterine Fibroids
Bioidentical Progesterone Cream (Progensa 20)
Bioidentical progesterone cream minimizes the size and frequency of uterine fibroids by balancing the excess estrogen levels.
Uterine Fibroid Formula (ProSoothe)
ProSoothe is an all natural herbal formula that significantly improves uterine fibroids and pelvic pain/cramps, irritability, tension, mood swings, acne, headaches, breast pain, bloating and weight gain.
Also found in this synergistic herbal formula is dandelion and vitex,(chaste tree) that helps the body remove exogenous,(external excess estrogen)from hormone therapy or contaminated food,(xenosteroids) which is a known cause of uterine fibroids.
Milk Thistle (Silymarin)
Beyond the treatment of liver disorders, everyday care of the liver lays a cornerstone for total body health. Naturopaths and others who look beneath the symptoms of an illness to its underlying cause, often discover that the liver has had a role to play. This is true across a vast range of different ailments including uterine fibroids.
Additional Information-Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroid Options
Uterine Fibroids-Condition Treatments