Fibroids 24 August 2009
Fibroids are benign tumours of the uterus which usually cause heavy, painful periods. They are usually due to exposure to oestrogen unbalanced by adequate progesterone levels (oestrogen dominance). Medical treatment is usually with the oral contraceptive pill to control bleeding. When this is no longer effective, hysterectomy is usually offered. The problem with a hysterectomy is that even if the ovaries are left, they usually stop functioning within 2 years because of disruption to their blood supply from the operation. Alternatives to a full hysterectomy include:
- Fibroidectomy- in suitable cases, just the fibroid can be excised.
- Embolisation- a radiological procedure where the artery to the fibroid is identified and then blocked. This causes the fibroid to die due to a loss of blood supply.
Alternatives to surgical treatment or pharmaceutical hormones include:
- If started early enough, natural progesterone can rectify the oestrogen dominance and stop the growth of the fibroid. Smaller fibroids frequently regress in size. However once fibroids reach greater than 6cm in size it is usually too late for progesterone. In fact progesterone may actually make them worse. The inner part of the fibroid can die but then can produce oestrogen which accelerates the growth of the fibroid.
- Super saturated potassium iodide (SSKI) has been used successfully to shrink fibroids. It works by changing the oestrogen balance in the body, reducing the stimulus for fibroid growth. SSKI can occasionally reduce thyroid function so its use should be monitored by a physician experienced in thyroid management. Stopping the SSKI in these circumstances almost always returns the thyroid to normal functioning.
- Modification of oestrogen metabolites can also help. This can be ascertained by checking the levels of the 2,4,16OH and methoxy oestrone metabolites in a urine sample. For more information, see Breast Cancer.
- Reduce oestrogenic domiance by adressing any chronic undiagnosed fungal infections. Zearalenone is a mycotoxin (fungal poison) produced by the Fusarium fungus. Fusarium is a common contaminant of grains. Zearalenone is highly oestrogenic- it can mimic oestrogen and stimulate oestrogen receptors. Foods are not screened for Zearalenone.