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Uterine Fibroids
A Compilation of Information from the Writings of Dr. John R. Lee

You are not alone! The shocking statistic... 70% of American women will have a fibroid. Over the past 20 years, the number of women who have fibroids has increased dramatically and the age is getting younger.

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are non cancerous lumps that grow in the uterus made of
smooth muscle and fibrous tissue. They are round and firm and can be in any size from a pea or walnut to the size of an orange or grapefruit. They can be under the endometrium, within the uterine wall or on the outerwall of the uterus. They may be a result of the lack of progesterone causing the uterus to “overgrow”, but it is not really clear. Dr. Lee believed that they are a result of estrogen dominance. 

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.

Illustration by Nathalie Gallmeier

Symptoms of Fibroids Include:

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the abdomen
  • Backache
  • Urinary frequency
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Abdominal bloating or enlargement 

According to Dr. John R Lee, Uterine Fibroids: 

  • Are stimulated by estrogen
  • Can be the result of anovulatory cycles
  • Result from progesterone deficiency
  • Usually occur in the 8-10 years prior to menopause, but are now occuring in younger women as well

What causes Uterine Fibroids?

The cause of uterine fibroids are unknown, but estrogens, especially estradiol, promote their growth. 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.

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.

Treatment

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. 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.

Dr. Francisco Contreras stated that natural progesterone should be tried for 2-3 months and that a hysterectomy should only be performed for uncontrollable bleeding or pain. This would help countless women avoid surgery.

If you have very large fibroids, consult your doctor before using natural progesterone. Ask him to consider ging natural progesterone a try. I know that when you have heavy bleeding (especially if the fibroid is located in the wall of your uterus), it can make you nervous and fearful and the idea of taking out your uterus can almost sound good.  However, if you are estrogen dominant, removing the uterus will not solve the inherent problem or hormone imbalance, it will just alleviate the symptoms which are the fibroids.

If you are a woman who has had a hysterectomy due to fibroids, do not despair. In women over 60, 1/3 have had a hysterectomy. They were done routinely form fibroids, and still are in many cases. Just remember that your uterus was removed and not the underlying cause of the fibroids, so start today to balance yourself hormonally to avoid any other manifestations of estrogen dominance.

Anti-Fibroid Regimen

The good news is that studies have shown that when sufficient natural progesterone is replaced, fibroid tumors may no longer grow in size and often decrease. If you have a choice, trying natural progesterone prior to allowing a hysterectomy ca be an excellent option for you.
Dr. John R Lee advised that even a 10% shrinkage or no growth at all in 6 months was a success as eventually, with the onset of menopause, fibroids will disapear altogether.

  • Use Natural Progesterone Cream: The protocol for fibroid tumors is from day 10 through day 26 of the menstrual cycle, according to Dr. John R. Lee. Some women need an increased dose of progesterone beyond the usual 40 mg per day dose. Dr. Lee suggested between 60-80 mg daily
  • Avoid exposure to estrogens (Xenohormones): birth control pills, ERT/HRT, estrogen-mimicking residues from herbicides and pesticides used on food crops (eat organicaly-raised products). These substances can cause fibroids to grow.
  • Do not take any supplements that act as estrogens in the body, such as Donq Quai, Black Cohash, or Soy
  • Maintain a normal weight. Excess weight can cause the body to produce more estrogen
  • De-stress your life. Cortisol (stress hormone) can block the positive effects of progesterone
  • 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.
  • 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.