Introduction to Fibroids
Uterine fibroids (uterine leiomyomata) are non-cancerous tumors consisting of fibers or fibrous tissue that arise in the uterus. It is the most common growth of the female genital tract. These tumors are highly sensitive to estrogen. They develop following the onset of menstruation and enlarge during pregnancy. Age will shrink fibroids, often disappear after menopause when estrogen levels are decreased by half. They can be as small as a hen’s egg, or commonly grow to the size of an orange or grapefruit. The largest fibroid on record weighed over 100 pounds. It afflicts many women, especially from age 35 to 50. One in 5 women in the U.S. has at least some evidence of fibroids. Discovery is usually accidental and coincidental with a heavier period, irregular bleeding, and or painful periods. A few simple life changes can help you shrink fibroids.
In cases where the tumor’s size compromises other bodily function such as compression of the bladder or excessive bleeding, surgery may be indicated. The most common surgery is the hysterectomy where the uterus is removed. Many hysterectomies, however, are performed way before the patient reaches this stage. In fact, over 500,000 hysterectomies are performed every year in the U.S. alone.
Dr. Stanley West, chief of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York and author of The Hysterectomy Hoax, strongly believes that hysterectomy is seldom indicated unless a woman has cancer. Looking back at history, it is interesting to note that until unopposed estrogen was given as hormone replacement therapy in the mid-1960s, uterine (endometrial) cancer was very rare. We now know that endometrial cancer is clearly linked to unopposed estrogen. Most commonly, endometrial cancer begins about 5 years before the onset of menopause during the pre-menopausal period, when estrogen is still plentiful.
During the pre-menopausal period, the amount of estrogen is still relatively high while the level of progesterone is dropping quickly, compared to before. Remember that estrogen and progesterone are the two balancing female hormones and balance is important if one is to shrink fibroids. One opposes the other. It is this balance that is critical in maintaining optimum female health. When the drop in progesterone is faster than the drop in estrogen
Estrogen dominance occurs because of several reasons. First, many women in their mid-thirties begin to have anovulatory (non-ovulating) menstrual cycles. These periods can be verified by checking serum or saliva progesterone levels the week following supposed ovulation. A low reading indicates a lack of ovulation. Without ovulation, the all-importance progesterone is not secreted, and the body is flooded in a sea of estrogen, setting up an estrogen dominant environment. Second, even if the menstrual cycle is normal, as a woman approaches the decade before menopause, the amount of progesterone produced is much less in comparison to estrogen. As a result, the estrogen/progesterone ratio is increased. Thirdly, our body is exposed to environmental estrogen found in our food and household goods.
Commercially grown vegetables contain pesticide residues whose chemical structure is similar to estrogen, and commercially raised cattle and poultry are fed with a variety of hormones. Petrochemical compounds found in general consumer products such as creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfume, hair spray, and room deodorizers are omnipresent. Such compounds often have chemical structures similar to estrogen. Lastly, chronic stress experienced by the modern woman leads to adrenal exhaustion and a reduced output of progesterone. The end result is clear – We live in an estrogen dominant world. This is the estrogen dominance that is a strong causative factor. Learning to regulate the hormones can help shrink fibroids.
While a fibroid in itself does not usually lead to cancer or become cancerous, it clearly signals a serious underlying imbalance in the woman’s reproductive and hormonal system. Specifically, there is an estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency. Such imbalances do not only affect the uterus but affect other hormone-sensitive tissues such as breast, cervix, ovaries and the vagina as well. If measures are taken to shrink fibroids, the condition may be resolved. If not taken care of, the consequences can be devastating.
Typical Case History of Hormonal Imbalance
The typical story goes something like this:
Jane started experiencing symptoms of Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS) during her monthly menstrual cycle in her late twenties and thirties. She has some headaches, bloating, cramps, and feels irritable, but she can handle it. Sometimes she takes a painkiller to get rid of the symptoms and nothing more is done. Little did she know that PMS is a sign of estrogen dominance.
As the years go by, her period becomes heavier and cramps are more severe. A routine check-up indicates small fibroids present in her uterus. No action is needed, she was told by her doctor, as the tumor is benign and unless she is bleeding heavily, just leave it alone. Her doctor does not discuss how to treat or shrink fibroids. Little did she know that continued unopposed estrogen dominance is making the fibroid grow without her knowledge.
A few years later, when she is in her early forties, the fibroid is causing her to bleed heavily and pressing on her bladder. What is the standard medical treatment? Hysterectomy. She did not know better, and her uterus is removed, often times with the ovaries.
After the surgery, she is cycled on hormone replacement therapy. She may be given a combination pill of synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone. More likely than not, she is given estrogen only (such as Premarin), setting up an unopposed estrogen environment. Jane thinks that her problems are solved since her uterus is removed. She does not know that the story is far from over and in fact is getting worse.
When Jane goes through menopause, everything seems to be under control. Her symptoms are controlled with estrogen replacement therapy. Jane did not realize that the drop in estrogen is only 50% during this period, while the drop in progesterone during menopause is 99%. While the absolute level of estrogen is less in the body, her cells are exposed to excessive estrogen due to the severe deficiency of progesterone during menopause. Any estrogen she gets from her doctor will only stimulate her already estrogen-sensitive cells to grow out of control.
Little did she know that the worse was yet to come. Some years later, as early as 1-2 years, she felt a lump on her breast. Biopsy confirms it to be a malignant tumor. Now she needs radical surgery and possibly chemotherapy. Jane has set herself up for cancer from 20 years of neglect of the signals the body has been sending her to warn her of hormonal imbalance and estrogen overload. She is now at a loss on how she can develop breast cancer when her uterus has been removed and she is supposed to be “cancer free”.
What is the Lesson?
Estrogen dominance is the leading cause of fibroids and a precursor to a hormonally-sensitive tumor. This condition is an epidemic largely ignored by conventional medicine. For this reason, preventive steps and early intervention is highly advisable.
Fibroids are promoted by persistently high estrogen production. Without the monthly balancing effect of progesterone, the uterus continues to grow. Prevention and treatment to shrink fibroids from a non-surgical perspective should, therefore, focus on reducing the level of estrogen in the body as well as increasing the level of progesterone (the antagonist to estrogen) level within.
How do we Shrink Fibroids?
1. Natural Progesterone Cream:
What most doctors don’t know is that the application of natural progesterone cream is highly effective to shrink fibroids enough to minimize or eliminate symptoms long enough to get to menopause, or when it will normally shrink significantly enough to cease being a problem. The key is to apply natural, and not synthetic, progesterone. Let us take a look at the difference.
Natural vs. Synthetic Progesterone Cream
The natural form of progesterone, derived from wild yam, is very different from the synthetic unnatural form, made in a laboratory (the widely prescribed Provera). The synthetic version is a chemical compound called “progestin”. It is a prescription drug commonly used in small amounts to balance the estrogen effect in a hormone replacement program. Being a drug, progestin is far more powerful than a woman’s natural progesterone. It is metabolized in the liver into toxic metabolites which, if excessive, can severely interfere with the body’s own natural progesterone. This creates other hormone-related health problems and further exacerbates into estrogen dominance.
On the other hand, natural progesterone is obtained by extracting diosgenin from wild yams and then converting this component into natural progesterone in the laboratory. Natural progesterone is referred to as natural because it is the identical molecule to that which the human body manufactures. Such yam-derived natural progesterone should not be confused with “yam extracts” that are commonly sold in health food stores. Our body easily converts natural progesterone into the identical molecule made by the body. It cannot convert the “yam extracts” into progesterone. There is no evidence that such wild yam extract is converted into progesterone once it enters into the human body and unlike natural progesterone, no conclusive formal studies have ever been conducted that identifies any particular benefits from wild yam extracts.
How much progesterone cream to use?
The goal is to restore the normal physiological progesterone level in your body for two to three weeks out of a month the way it was designed by Mother Nature. An ovulating woman makes about 20 mg a day for about 12 days each month after ovulation. That works out to about 240 mg per month.
Locate a progesterone cream that supplies 480 mg per ounce (960 mg per 2 ounces). This means that each two-ounce jar or tube will contain 3 percent by volume or 1.6 percent by weight of USP progesterone. Using one ounce over two or three weeks will provide about 240 mg if the absorption is 50 percent. This is the ideal target dose to apply. This works out to 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of the cream per day, or three to 10 drops of it in oil form, or one pump full with the metered pump dispensing top.
The best way to tell if the cream is working is whether your symptoms are relieved. Click Here for More Read