Dr. John Lee
exerpt from his book “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” :
“Otherwise known as myoma of the uterus, uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ) are the most common growth of the female genital tract. They are round, firm, benign (i.e. noncancerous) lumps of the muscular wall of the uterus, composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue, and are rarely solitary. Usually as small as a hen’s egg, they commonly grow gradually to the size of an orange or grapefruit. The largest uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) on record weighed over 100 pounds. They often cause or are coincidental with heavier periods, irregular bleeding, and/or painful periods.
Uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ) are also one of the most common reasons that women in their thirties and forties have a hysterectomy. Some particularly skillful surgeons are capable of removing only the uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ), leaving the uterus intact, but they are the exception.
Uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ), like breast fibrocysts, are a product of estrogen dominance (too much estrogen). Estrogen stimulates their growth, and lack of estrogen causes them to atrophy. Estrogen dominance is a much greater problem than recognized by contemporary medicine. Many women in their mid thirties begin to have anovulatory (nonovulating) cycles. As they approach the decade before menopause, they are producing much less progesterone than expected, but still producing normal (or more) estrogen. They retain water and salt, their breast swell and become fibrocystic, they gain weight (especially around the hips and torso), they become depressed and lose sex drive, their bone suffer mineral loss, and they develop fibroids. All are signs of estrogen dominance.
When sufficient hormone is replaced, uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ) no longer grow in size (they generally decrease in size) and can be kept from growing until menopause, after which they will atrophy. This is the effect of reversing estrogen dominance.”
“Fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus) are the most common reason that women visit a gynecologist in the ten or so years before menopause. Fibroids tend to grow during the years before menopause and then atrophy after menopause. This suggests that estrogen stimulates fibroid growth, but we also know that once they get larger, progesterone too can contribute to their growth. Many doctors prescribe Lupron injections to block all sex hormone production. This causes fibroids to shrink, but they regrow when the injections are stopped. The anti-progesterone drug RU-486 is also used to reduce the size of larger fibroids. Women with fibroids are often estrogen dominant and have low progesterone levels. In women with smaller fibroids (the size of a tangerine or smaller), when progesterone is restored to normal levels, the fibroids often stop growing and shrink a bit, which is likely due to progesterone’s ability to help speed up the clearance of estrogens from tissue. If this treatment can be continued through menopause, hysterectomy can be avoided.
However, some fibroids, when they reach a certain “critical mass,” are accompanied by degeneration or cell death in the interior part of the fibroid, and will have interaction with white blood cells that ends up with the creation of more estrogen within the fibroid itself. It also contains growth factors that are stimulated by progesterone. Under these circumstances, surgical removal of the fibroid (myomectomy) or the uterus (hysterectomy) may become necessary. When you think of treating smaller fibroids, your should be thinking in terms of keeping your estrogen milieu as low as possible; when treating large fibroids, all hormones should be kept as low as possible.
The last thing you want to do if you have fibroids is take estrogen, which will stimulate them to grow. If you’re estrogen dominant, then it’s important to use supplemental progesterone , usually in doses of 20 mg per day during the luteal phase of the cycle. Sometimes this approach works to slow or stop the fibroid growth, and sometimes it doesn’t. It is worth a try. Reducing stress, increasing exercise, and reducing calories are also good strategies for slowing fibroid growth.
There are a number of techniques for removing fibroids without removing the uterus. If your doctor doesn’t know about these, find another one who does! The difference in recovery time alone between laparoscopic removal of fibroids ( for example) and hysterectomy is three weeks versus three months.
Ultrasound tests can be obtained initially and after three months to check results. A good result would show that the fibroid size hadn’t increased, or had decreased by 10 to 15 percent. With post menopausal hormone levels, fibroids usually atrophy (and not taking prescription estrogen).”