Fibroids

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By: Dr. Steve Lawson

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Uterine fibroid (leiomyomas) are benign tumors of the uterus. These tumors result from abnormal growth of muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue in the endometrium, myometrium, and the ectometrium of the uterus. By the age of 50 years old the overall incidence of fibroids are 70-80% for women. Black women are four times more likely to develop fibroids than Caucasian women. They also have larger fibroids and develop fibroids at a younger age Fibroids can vary in size from being undetectable by human eyes to the size of a full term pregnancy.

The etiologies of fibroids are linked to hormonal imbalance, obesity,
xeno-estrrogen, heavy metal toxicity, infectious microorganisms, stress and high blood sugar level. Fibroids can cause complications such as menstrual problems, pelvic and lower back pain, constipation, urinary problems, hemorrhoids, infertility, ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages.

Signs and symptoms that presents with uterine fibroids include heavy
menstrual bleeding (menorrhagea), prolong menstrual bleeding
(metrorrhagea), bleeding between periods, period pain (dysmenorrhea),
urinary incontinence, urinary frequency, severe acute abdominal pain,
constipation, hemorrhoids, anemia, back pain and leg pain.

Fibroids can be categorized into three types which include submucosal, myometrial and subserosal. Submucosal fibroids are located in the lining of the uterine cavity. Myometrial fibroids are located in the muscular layers of the uterus. Subserosal fibroids are located on the outer surface of the uterus. Both the submucosal and the subserosal fibroids can form pedunculated (fibroids that hang from a stalk). Fibroids can be detected by using pelvic examination, ultrasound, hysterosonography, hysteroscopy, hysterosalpingography.

Women who have excessive amounts of estrogen and an insufficient amount of progesterone are more predisposed to developing uterine fibroids. Women with excessive body fat are in an estrogen dominant state because fat tissues act as an estrogen-producing organ similar to the ovaries and the adrenal gland.

Estrogen is a prolific hormone that stimulates DNA replication that in excess can stimulate the smooth muscle cells of the uterus to replicate excessively and cause the overgrowth of fibrous connective tissue resulting in fibroids. Insulin-like growth factor is an anabolic hormone that is implicated in the abnormal growth of the uterine muscles that form fibroids. Xeno-estrogens are pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that act similar to estrogen causing DNA dysfunction resulting in abnormal replication that causes fibroids.

The excessive growth of these fibroids can cause submucosal irregularity resulting in dysmenorrhea and miscarriages. Fibroids in the subserosal layer of the uterus can cause obstruction of the colon resulting in constipation and the formation of hemorrhoids (dilated veins located in the region of the anus). Pedunculated fibroids in the submucosal and subserosal layers can twist on themselves cutting off their blood supply and causing severe abdominal pain that may require surgery. Excessive menstrual bleeding due to fibroids can result in anemia and its associated complications.

Treatment includes hysterectomy, myomectomy, Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), gonadatropin releasing hormones (GnRH) antagonists, androgens (danazol), and focused ultrasound surgery (FUS), and essential oils.

Hysterectomy is the most commonly used method of treating fibroids. Six hundred thousand hysterectomies are performed each year in the USA. Hysterectomy can be performed vaginally or abdominally. The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecology suggest that vaginal hysterectomy is the most appropriate for women with benign diseases and mobile uteri that are less than 12 weeks gestation in size.

Myomectomy is the surgical removal of the actual fibrotic tissue without removing the uterus. Myomectomy can be approached by open abdominal surgery or laproscopically (small incision in the abdomen to insert remote control camera and miniature surgical devices are used to excise the fibroid) or by vaginally removing the fibrotic tissue.

Another method is the Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE). UAE is a procedure where a catheter is used to deliver small particles that block the blood supply to the fibroids. GnRH is a peptide hormone that is used to down regulate the production of FSH and LH which results in the reduction of estrogen. Two examples of GnRH are lupron and synarel.

Danazol, a synthetic androgen can be used to shrink fibroids, reduce
anemia, and stop menstruation.

Another treatment is the focused ultrasound surgery that was approved by the FDA in 2004. It is a non-invasive procedure that preserves the uterus where the patient is placed in a MRI scanner and is subject to focused high frequency, high energy ablation of the fibroid. However, the long term adverse effects of this high frequency, high energy waves are not known.

Essential oils have been used by clinicians to shrink the fibroids. These oils can be applied topically, vaginally, and taken orally for optimal results. Weight reduction, by reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity, will reduce the amount of estrogen available for the stimulation of fibrotic tissue.

Avoiding commercially prepared foods that are polluted with xeno-estrogens i.e. Fast food, heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides will reduce the formation of fibroids. Keeping the body in the alkaline ph range is crucial in preventing the development of fibroids. Enzymes work best at an alkaline ph. Enzymes are critical in maintaining the biochemical homeostasis (balance) so that the DNA can function normally. Most women are anemic therefore tissues get less oxygen, making intracellular fluid more acidic. Also, most people are dehydrated making the body fluid more acidic. Acidity disturbs the function of enzyme at the DNA level. When DNA replication is disturbed the body’s protective mechanism malfunctions; this predisposes women to pathologies such as fibroid, cancers, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Mercury and aluminum, its cofactor, are 2 of the heavy metals that cause DNA dysfunction. Taking an uncontaminated brand of fish oil is an excellent way to protect the cell of the uterus from inflammation and migration of any malignant uterine tissues. Fish oils contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are essential fatty acids. EPA blocks the pathway that causes inflammation. Inflammation is the starting point of most disease states. Most of the time there is an infectious component that complicates the existence of fibroids. For example, Subclinical mixed infections containing viruses and bacteria.

Antioxidants can protect the DNA from free radical damage of the uterine muscles. The electro therapeutic energies that circulate through our body’s meridian also can energize the innate healing mechanism that would allow shrinking of fibroids. If one has fibroids it is very likely that other dysfunctions in other organ systems are occurring at the same time. Having a fibroid means that other biochemical processes have been out of balance for an extended period of time. Any attempt to treat oneself for fibroids must be supervised by an experienced medical practitioner because even natural substances can produce adverse effects.

 

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