Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors made of muscle and fibrous tissue that grow in a woman’s uterus. They are mainly caused by copper toxicity and hormone imbalances due to adrenal and thyroid insufficiency.
Fibroids may be as small as a pea or as large as a watermelon. They don’t always cause problems, and many women aren’t even aware they have these growths. The symptoms they cause can depend on the number, size and location of the fibroid. In general, symptoms can include:
- Pelvic pain, discomfort, or pressure
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding between periods
- Excessive length of menstruation
- Increased urinary frequency
- Constipation, gas, or abdominal bloating
- Pain in the lower back or legs
- Painful intercourse
- Reproductive problems (such as infertility, multiple miscarriages, or early labor)
- Rarely, fibroids may grow so large that they cause acute pain and a fever.
Researchers show fibroid tumors are influenced by hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone appear to promote fibroid growth). Other hormones play a role in the growth of uterine fibroids as well, including prolactin, parathyroid hormone, insulin growth factor, and pituitary growth hormone. They develop when cells of the smooth muscular walls of the uterus proliferate, creating a mass. Fibroids can range in size from too tiny to be seen by the naked eye to several pounds in weight. Although some women may only develop one fibroid, there are usually multiple fibroids.
One of the main causes of fibroids is copper toxicity. Although there are numerous reasons for the prevalence of copper toxicity, the most important cause is adrenal gland insufficiency. Individuals with adrenal insufficiency are unable to utilize copper properly. The reason for this is that copper can only be utilized in the body if it is attached to a protein substance for transport and storage. The major protein that copper is attached to is called ceruloplasmin. Ceruloplasmin is a protein which binds copper so that it can be utilized in biochemical reactions. When the adrenal glands are underactive, they are unable to send out a message to the liver to release ceruloplasmin from the liver and, therefore, copper becomes bio-unavailable. As a result of excessive tissue storage (toxicity) of bio-unavailable or unbound copper, a deficiency of available copper occurs. The following factors are also major contributing factors to copper toxicity: use of birth control pills, copper intra-uterine devices (IUDs), antibiotic use, stress, strict vegetarian diets and processed food diets.
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Fibroids are the most common non-cancerous growth in the female reproductive tract. Fibroids typically occur in women of childbearing age and are rare in those who have passed menopause or who are younger than age 20. This is because fibroids seem to be affected by estrogen. For reasons that are unclear, fibroids that cause symptoms are about two to three times more common in African-American women than in Caucasian women. Women whose mothers or sisters have had fibroids are also at higher risk.
Physicians often diagnose fibroids based on a routine pelvic exam. To confirm the diagnosis, or in cases when a woman is too obese for a physician to locate fibroids through a pelvic exam, other tests may be used, such as:
- Ultrasound (uses sound waves to produce an image of the uterus).
- Hysterosonography (combines traditional ultrasound with saline injection to expand the uterus for better viewing).
- Hysterosalpingography (uses dye to highlight the uterus on x-ray images)
- Hysteroscopy (uses a small, lighted telescope to explore the uterus).
Conventional treatment of fibroids depends on whether the tumors are causing symptoms, a woman’s age, and whether she wants to have children. For most women with fibroids that aren’t being bothered by symptoms, no treatment is necessary. Options include:
- Watchful waiting. If fibroids aren’t causing symptoms, many doctors recommend that women do nothing. Fibroids often naturally shrink after menopause.
- Medications. Drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can ease the discomfort of fibroids, while those called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists can lower hormone levels, which helps shrink fibroids.
- Uterine embolization. This newer, noninvasive procedure relies on substances injected into the uterine arteries to cut off blood supply to fibroids, shrinking them.
- Myomectomy. This surgical procedure removes fibroids while leaving the uterus intact. New fibroids can form, however, and about a quarter of women undergoing myomectomy may choose to have a hysterectomy within 5-10 years.
- Hysterectomy. In this procedure, the uterus is surgically removed. This prevents recurrence of fibroids but also eliminates a woman’s ability to bear children. I believe this is barbaric today when there are so many effective treatments. Get a second opinion if your doctor recommends a hysterectomy. Many times doctors will recommend the treatments they know, which may not include all the current treatments available.
Wendy’s Recommendations for Natural Treatment
Be wary of a doctor that automatically wants to do surgery to remove your fibroids. Natural treatments can shrink or eliminate fibroid tumors by addressing their cause and utilizing remedies which create an environment in which fibroids are no longer welcome. Wendy recommends the following measures to reduce fibroids:
- Weight. Maintain a healthy weight, because high levels of body fat are associated with elevated estrogen.
- Exercise. Get plenty of aerobic exercise to help your body metabolize excess estrogen.
- Reduce estrogenic substances. Reduce all estrogenic substances in the body. A short list includes pesticides found in nonorganic food, plastics, phthalates found in common beauty products like shampoos and body wash, soy and beer. For a complete list of estrogenic substances, see my article Estrogen Dominance Syndrome.
- Use organic cotton tampons. Tampons and napkins bleached with chlorine or perfume can also mimic estrogen. Organic tampons will not be doused in pesticides, another estrogenic toxin.
- Cleanse the liver. Supplement with milk thistle (sylmarin) extract to cleanse the liver. It can be used indefinitely. Coffee enemas are very effective at reducing estrogen levels in the body by detoxing and healing the liver. The liver is responsible for removing excess estrogen from the body. If its function is impaired, you may not effectively rid your body of excess estrogen. For more information and instructions, see my article Coffee Enemas. You can find equipment to do coffee enemas in the Live to 110 Store.
- Check for low thyroid function. Parathyroid hormone can be out of balance, contributing to fibroids. Low thyroid function may not always show with standard tests. Tests done by your doctor are usually not comprehensive or sensitive enough. Treat your thyroid if you have thyroid symptoms. Mineral Power (formerly called Nutritional Balancing) with Hair Mineral Analysis, mentioned below, will completely heal your thyroid if it is sluggish or under autoimmune attack.
- Control high blood pressure. Women with elevated blood pressure are at increased risk of developing fibroids. Hypertensive women were 24 percent more likely to develop clinically symptomatic fibroids than non-hypertensive women, and the risk increased with duration of hypertension.
- Heal adrenal fatigue. Check your adrenal gland functioning and get them under control. They must be functioning properly to reduce copper toxicity, a common contributor to fibroids. For more information, see my article Epidemic Adrenal Fatigue.
- Castor oil packs. Warm castor oil packs placed on the stomach is another effective method of relieving pain. Castor oil packs are an ancient therapy that helps to cleanse and heal the body where they are placed. The castor oil has a drawing power the clears the body of excess tissues and toxins. Castor oil packs stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory system. The lymphatic system removes toxins and waste from the area stimulated by the castor oil pack. The promotion of circulation by the castor oil pack will also bring in fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich blood to the reproductive organs, including the uterus. Do not use during menstruation. Soak a cloth in castor oil, place over abdomen, and cover with a hot water bottle or heating pad.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption may be a contributing factor to fibroid growth because it is estrogenic. The least estrogenic alcoholic beverage is wine, while the most estrogenic beverage is beer (hops). Alcohol also prevents the liver from detoxing while it is dealing with the alcohol, which can indirectly lead to estrogen dominance.
- Fibrin Enzymes. FibroVera contains fibrin eating enzymes specifically selected to address excess fibrin buildup; the primary components of endometriosis or fibroids. FibroVera contains Serrapeptase, Protease, Bromelain, Papain and Nattokinase. FibroVera also provides fibronolytic (fibrin eating) enzymes and cofactors specifically selected to address excess fibrin buildup; the primary components of endometriosis or fibroids. Certain hormonal imbalances are linked to the activation of excess fibrin which may lead to abnormal cell formation in the breast and uterine tissue. FibroVera may be taken to safely regulate hormonal balance and modulate inflammation while promoting the reduction of fibrin.
- Enzymes. Proteolytic (aka systemic) enzymes have been known to break down all kinds of fibrous tissue including uterine fibroids. Protease, in a class of pancreatic enzymes, has shown to dissolve fibroid tumors. Pancreatic enzymes are in part of a larger group of enzymes called proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes may be helpful in reducing the size of uterine fibroids, healing and preventing scar tissue damage from existing uterine fibroids, promote healthy circulation and detoxification of tissues, while reducing pain and inflammation. Innate Response Proteolytic Enzymes is a recommended brand.
- Turmeric (Curcumin). Studies have shown an inhibitory effect of curcumin on uterine fibroid tumor cell proliferation. I really like Integrative Therapeutics Theracurmin. Standard curcumin is poorly absorbed. Theracurmin is a unique preparation of turmeric that enhances bioavailability and dramatically increase curcumin levels in the blood.
- Green tea. In an animal study published in 2010, scientists discovered that eight weeks of treatment with green tea extract led to a significant decrease in the volume and weight of uterine fibroids among a group of mice. EGCG found in green tea effectively inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis (cell death) of fibroid tumors. Drink green tea or supplement with DaVinci’s Green Tea Extract.
- Focused Ultrasound. This newer treatment seems the most hopeful to avoid surgery. It’s not necessarily ‘alternative’ but it’s something that many doctors may not know about or recommend because they’re not trained in the procedure. Noninvasive ultrasound waves blast the fibroid tumors without cutting. You simply lie down inside an MRI scanner, which generates images of the fibroid. Then a technician treats the fibroid with focused ultrasound. Side effects are very few and no hospital stay is required. You’ll normally feel warmth in your abdomen. After treatment, the fibroid shrinks and gradually disappears. Of course, the conditions that caused the fibroids will still remain so you are at risk for developing more. Mineral Power serves to balance your body’s biochemistry so fibroids do not return.
- Mineral Power with Hair Mineral Analysis. You may not need to have surgery to remove your fibroids. You can do it naturally by balancing your body chemistry and removing the underlying cause of your fibroids. I highly recommend a Mineral Power program using hair mineral analysis to determine if you have estrogen dominance, thyroid dysfunction of any kind, adrenal fatigue, or copper toxicity that could be contributing to your fibroids. I have had several client’s whose fibroids have disappeared on this program. However, if your fibroids are large you likely will need to have them removed and do this program to prevent more fibroids. Fibroids are mainly caused by estrogen dominance and copper toxicity, which is very common in women today. Your doctor will not have any methods to reduce these two subtle issues in your body. The only I way I have found to accomplish reducing estrogenic substances in the body and balancing copper properly is with a Mineral Power Program. This is the program I use to heal my health issues. It is an incredibly powerful tool in diagnosing causes of illness and will provide a comprehensive program to recover from fibroids. Based on your test results, you will be given supplements to balance your hormones, replenish mineral deficiencies, and detox heavy metals and copper and a healthy Modern Paleo diet. Once you know and provide the exact nutrients your body needs in the exact combinations to properly balance your body chemistry, your body starts to heal itself. When toxic metals and chemicals are removed naturally and safely, cells can make more energy and symptoms start disappearing. For more information, see Mineral Power with Hair Mineral Analysis.
- Increase progesterone to reduce unopposed estrogen. Natural progesterone cream may stop fibroid growth by balancing the excess estrogen (which makes the fibroids grow) with 25-40mg of natural progesterone treatment for 2-3 months on days 14 – 28 of the cycle (day 1 being the first day of your period). This can be a good start with at least helping to control fibroid growth until your Mineral Power program can begin to work. Natural progesterone has been shown safe to use and is the same molecule that your body produces. Many of the synthetic estrogens and progestin creams are chemically modified from the natural molecule and are dangerous to use. Natural progesterone supplementation may also help regulate menstrual cycles, which is necessary to reducing fibroid growth and preventing new fibroids from forming. I like Kanuka Pure Progesterone Cream. Please note this will only provide symptomatic relief and may only stop fibroid growth. Only a holistic complete program like Mineral Power will dissolve fibroids and heal the underlying causes.
- Eat a whole foods diet. The supplements and natural treatment suggested will not work unless your diet is healthy. For the best diet to follow, see The Modern Paleo Diet.
- Reduce carbs. High carbohydrate diets lead to higher insulin levels, which are linked to higher levels of other hormones thought to encourage fibroid growth. Yes, this means eliminating sugar and flour!
- Go organic. Minimize consumption of foods containing added growth hormones, such as nonorganic beef and dairy products, as these will increase estrogenic substances in the body. Organic veggies do not contain pesticides that are proven to have estrogenic effects in the body and encourage fibroid growth.
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1. Arltma.com. Copper Toxicity: http://www.arltma.com/Articles/CopperToxDoc.htm
2. Arltma.com. Introduction to Copper Toxicity:
3. Hofmekler, Ori. The Anti-Estrogenic Diet. North Atlantic Books, 2007.
4. Weil, Andrew, MD. Fibroids. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03122/Fibroids.html
This material is for educational purposes only. The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.