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Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine Fibroids (also known as leiomyomas or myomas) are the most common benign solid pelvic tumors in women.

Fibroid picture Definition
Incidence
Cause
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Complications

Treatment (Conventional)
Surgery
Drugs


Naturopathic Treatments
Nutrition and Diet
Botanical Medicine
Acupuncture
Homeopathy

Massage, meditation, exercise

Prevention


Definition:

Uterine fibroids are benign growths that can form on the interior muscular wall or the exterior of the uterus.


Incidence:
Occur in 20 –25% of women by age 40, more than 50 % of women overall,
and are the most common indication for major surgery in women.
Fibroids can run in families.


Cause:
Remains poorly understood, although their growth is thought to be stimulated by estrogen.


Symptoms: 
The majority of fibroids (50-80%) don’t cause symptoms. 
Symptoms that do occur may include vague discomfort, pressure, bloating, heaviness, pain with vaginal sex, urinary frequency, backache, and abnormal bleeding (in 30% of women).
Menstrual flows longer than 7 days, more frequent than every 21 days or bleeding that exceeds saturation of a super tampon or heavy pad every hour for six (or more) hours requires immediate intervention.


Diagnosis:
Fibroids may be detected during routine pelvic exams, however, an ultrasound (pelvic or intravaginal) is required to confirm the diagnosis.


Complications:
Fibroids are almost never cancerous.
Pregnancy in women with uterine fibroids is often problem-free, but each situation is different. 
Fibroids are thought to be the cause of up to 10% of infertility cases as the tumors may interfere with implantation of the fertilized ovum, cause compression on the fallopian tubes (interfering with sperm and/or egg motility), or induce an early miscarriage (two to three times greater than normal risk).
Large fibroids may interfere with pregnancy by impeding growth of the fetus.


Treatment: 

Please be advised: This information is provided for personal interest. 
As every individual case is different, it is essential that a certified health professional be consulted before initiating any treatment regime.
Should you wish to discuss the specifics of your case you can contact Dr. Comas (416) 515-8493
or e-mail: Dr-Comas@NaturalMedicineSolutions.com


Conventional approaches:

Surgery:
The standard surgical treatments for uterine fibroids are either a hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus, the only approach that provides a permanent solution for fibroids) or a myomectomy where just the fibroids are removed but the uterus is spared.
However, myomectomies may be associated with more blood loss and more complications, and 15 – 30 % of women eventually require further surgery because the fibroids recur. 
It should also be noted that myomectomies to treat fibroid-related infertility have been reported to result in only a 16 % pregnancy rate. 

Drugs:
Although oral contraceptives should be used with caution by premenopausal women with fibroids, sometimes estrogens and progestogens are used to control heavy bleeding. 
Lupron (leuprolide acetate) and similar agents have been used to temporarily control bleeding and shink tumours by inhibiting ovarian estrogen secretion. 
One side effect is that this induces immediate menopause, with hot flashes being the main effect. 
While Lupron has been shown to shrink fibroids by 40-65%, it cannot be continued long-term, and fibroids return to 88% of their original size within 3 months after the treatment is discontinued.
In postmenopausal women with uterine fibroids, estrogen replacement therapy should be prescribed with care, with the lowest dose possible to control menopause symptoms.


Naturopathic approaches

As an alternative to drugs or surgery, natural therapies can help improve or eliminate most symptoms arising from fibroids.
It is possible to reduce uterine fibroids but large fibroids may still require some kind of conventional intervention. 
While the particular regimens will vary depending upon the specifics of each individual case, treatments often include one or more of the following:

Proper nutrition and dietary supplements: 
A customized diet can help decrease estrogen levels (which are known to stimulate the growth of fibroids),
and to support the liver’s function in removing fat, detoxifying the body, and excreting estrogens.

The following are estrogen inhibiting foods:
  •  Berries
  •  Broccoli 
  •  Buckwheat
  •  Cabbage
  •  Citrus Foods
  •  Corn
  •  Figs
  •  Fruits (except apples, cherries, dates, pomegranates)
  •  Grapes
  •  Green beans
  •  Melons
  •  Millet
  •  Onions
  •  Pears
  •  Pineapples
  •  Squashes
  •  Tapioca
  •  White rice
  •  White flour


Botanical medicine: 
Herbal formulations are used to try to shrink uterine fibroids.
Castor oil packs, this is a very effective way to help decrease the fibroids

Acupuncture: 
Small fibroids (up to ~2cm in diameter) may be dissolved with acupuncture (sometimes in conjunction with Chinese herbs).

Homeopathy:
Small amounts of homeopathic preparations are used to induce the self-healing response of the body.
The principle is to match the patient’s symptoms (physical, mental and emotional) with those produce by a particular remedy.
Homeopathic preparations are derived from natural sources (minerals or animals as well as plants), because they are highly dilute, they are generally regarded as very safe.
Side effects are extremely rare.

Massage, meditation, aerobic exercise:
These techniques help to reduce levels of stress and thereby reduce estrogen levels.


Prevention:
Avoid situations that promote lack of ovulation (such as stress). 
Avoid estrogen medications. 
Maintain a healthy weight, as obesity can lead to higher estrogen effects on uterus. 
Practice good nutritional habits (particularly a diet low in saturated fats and alcohol)

Remember, the mere presence of uterine fibroids does not require treatment, but prevention of enlargement and complications of the fibroids is required. 
If you have symptoms, they can most often be managed with alternative therapies (although excessive bleeding may still require drug and/or surgical intervention).
It is important to recognize when specific treatments are appropriate, and how to integrate both natural and conventional approaches for maximum benefit.



To discuss your situation in more detail:
Contact Dr. Comas
tel: (416) 515-8493
e-mail: Dr-Comas@NaturalMedicineSolutions.com

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