Holistic Clinical Protocols are sources of information on options only.
They are often based on observation and anectdotal evidence and do not
necessarily represent pure scientific evaluation since quite often the studies are not available around these issues.
They DO NOT define a treatment plan for any individual person.
No individual would use all these options, what is done should be determined
in clinical consultation with a knowledgable caregiver.
HOLISTIC PROTOCOL FOR UTERINE FIBROIDS
Richard J. Clofine, D.O. (2002)
Uterine Fibroids are tumors (i.e. swellings) of the uterine wall that are almost always benign. They are extremely common. Autopsy studies show them to be present in up to 40% of women at the time of death. Just being present does not mean they
cause any problems for the woman. The types of problems they can cause include:
- Bleeding problems
- Pain or pressure problems
- Problems from extremely large fibroids crowding other internal
- Infertility and Pregnancy problems.
Fibroids occur uterine wall muscle cells grow abnormally. Instead of the cells growing in a normal organized fashion, they grow out of control into a fibrous gristle like ball. Fibroids start with a single cell, and can grow to the size of a full term pregnancy.
There can be a single fibroid or multiple fibroids present. They can be located in different areas of the uterus, each with different significance to the patient. Fibroids contain cancer less than 1% of the time and often this is indicated by unusually rapid growth.
How fibroids impact a woman’s life depends on her individual combination of many factors including:
- Fibroid size
- Fibroid location
- Single or multiple
- Fertility desires
- Subjective symptoms
- Resources available (medical, social and financial)
The natural history (i.e. how they usually act) of fibroids helps us to understand our holistic treatment protocol. Fibroids feed off estrogen hormone and tend to grow very slowly over time. At menopause, when estrogen is very low, fibroid tumors stop
growing and sometimes reduce in size. They rarely, if ever, go away. Thus our holistic protocol includes many things to reducethis estrogen effect. Many of these options are based on good medical common sense, not medical studies. This is because mostof these therapies have not been formally studied relative to fibroid tumors.
Many tools are available in addressing fibroid tumors. I believe most women can reduce symptoms and slow fibroid growth through the use of a Holistic Support Protocol. In my twenty years of experience, I have found that fibroid tumors are very dense, physically and energetically. My patients and I have had good success reducing symptoms with natural therapies though I have NOT seen fibroids completely dissolving and going away. In my experience completely resolving fibroid tumors is extremely rare. I feel obligated to point this out to patients so they can have proper expectations about their circumstances and care.
To effectively institute a holistic protocol, you need to see a holistic caregiver who is expert in your area of concern. Exactly what is recommended to you depends on your specific individual situation (i.e. “YOUR story”). It depends on all the factors listed above, and more. Any treatment protocol should be tailored to the individual woman’s situation. The protocol list that appears below provides some options that are often used in treating these issues. How these options are specifically implemented should be decided in partnership with your caregiver. This is not a cookbook list of things that every patient should to do.
Any time a therapeutic protocol is started, it is very important to make it practical so you can follow it consistently. Always set an appropriate time period at which time you can frankly and honestly reevaluate your progress. If you are making good progress than the protocol can be followed indefinitely. If symptoms are not resolving, or the fibroids are growing, then it is important to face thatfact and layer on other options to address the issue. As a holistic physician, I know that all tools have risks, benefits and an appropriate time for their use. This is true for herbs and pharmacy medicines, as well as for bodywork and surgery. There is a time and place for everything.
There are circumstances in which surgeries, or other aggressive medical therapies, are indicated for fibroids. In general I feel this to be the case,when the care of the fibroid becomes a bigger energy drain on a women then surgical intervention would be. If severe bleeding, anemia, pelvic pain and inability to have sexual relations over many years plague a woman, and the issue is not resolving with appropriate holistic care, she should consider having surgery to resolve the situation. Surgery with a 4 to 6 week recuperation may be a better use of energy because the situation will then be resolved.
Surgery is usually removal of the fibroid (“myomectomy”) or removal of the uterus (“hysterectomy”). Other interventions include Uterine Artery Embolization (a medical procedure to destroy blood flow to the fibroid forcing it to shrink) or strong pharmacy medications (e.g. Lupron), which temporarily shrink fibroids by causing temporary menopause and low estrogen levels. As with all methods (conventional or alternative) there are pros and cons to each tool which need to be evaluated in the context of your specific situation.
Energetically Fibroids may be associated with feelings of abandonment. This is about a loss of nurturing energy for a woman. It may start as a loss of nurturing by others and results in the woman not nurturing herself. Often times retained anger is involved. Very often this is associated with first and second chakra issues. Many women I know have identified these type issues as what they believe initiated their fibroid growth. It is my firm belief that many of these women have completely resolved the emotional wounding that initiated fibroid formation. Even so, fibroids are such dense energy that while the initiating factors have been resolved, the woman is still left with this dense physical manifestation, a fibroid tumor.
ELEMENTS OF A HOLISTIC SUPPORT PROGRAM
- Confirm your diagnosis and document the size of your fibroids with Pelvic Ultrasound.
- This provides objective evidence to monitor your progress.
- Monitor your progress by charting symptoms associated with your fibroids relative to your menses and your therapeutic interventions.
- Generally a low fat, high fiber diet will help decrease estrogen levels
- Avoid dairy, red meat, refined sugar, fried foods, saturated/hydrogenated oils, trans-fatty acids (in margarine and hydrogenated oils)
- Increase the amount of unrefined low glycemic index foods, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Move toward an organic lifestyle and diet.
- Eat cold water fish regularly (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, tuna) and other foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eliminate caffeine, theophylline and theobromine found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and some medications.
- Hydrate you body well with daily consistency
- These are highly recommended by noted author and physician Christianne Northrup, M.D.
- Soak a clean cotton or wool cloth in warmed castor oil. Place the folded cloth over the fibroid and cover the cloth completely with plastic wrap.
This avoids staining your clothes and keeps it warm. Place a towel over the plastic and put a hot water bottle on it.
Leave it on overnight and repeat five nights in a row, then rest for two nights. Do this for three weeks at a time.
- Natural Progesterone Cream
- Use an over the counter product equivalent to “Progest” or “Restored Balance” (approximately 400 mg per ounce of cream).
- Use ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cream twice a day on days 12 to 26 (see FAQ sheet on natural progesterone cream).
- You will need advice of a physician if you are irregular or perimenopausal.
- Often times prescription strength creams are prescribed, which are much stronger than over the counter creams.
- No medical studies have been done on the use of Progesterone skin cream for fibroids.
- Take “Indolplex” (DIM = diindolylmethane = Indole-3-carbinol X 2)
- This is a natural substance from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts). Composed of two molecules of indole-3-carbinol, DIM is much more absorbable. It helps shift the end products of estrogen metabolism to a more beneficial pathway(2-hydroxy-estrogens as opposed to the more problem causing 16-hydroxy-estrogen metabolites).
- Take two “Indolplex” (DIM) tablets twice a day (240 mg)
- Eat more cruciferous vegetables (though you will need to take the Indolplex to get a high enough dose to shift your estrogen metabolism
- Add phytoestrogens (plant estrogens in soy and many beans and lentils) to you diet so you are getting 3 servings daily.
- This helps block the more potent estrogens your body makes by binding their receptor sights.
- Another option is to supplement with 50 to 100 mg’s of soy isoflavones daily.
- Red clover, soy, lentils, pinto and other beans are good dietary sources.
- Omega 3 and other Essential Fatty Acids:
- A well formulated multivitamin-mineral high in antioxidants
- Inositol (a B-complex vitamin) up to 4 grams / day
- Choline (a B-complex vitamin) one to two grams / day
- Quercetin– up to 400mg three times daily before meals
- Or take vitamin C (500mg twice a day) with Bioflavanoids (you will get lower doses this way)
- Methionine (an amino acid) one to two grams / day
- Take potent B-Complex vitamin – one “B-50” / day (50 mg’s of each major B-complex element)
- Magnesium 400-800 mg / day
- Vitamin E, 800 IU / day
- Ginger tea and other natural anti-inflammatory substances like Tumeric
- Daikon Radish
- Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry)
- Tincture, 25-30 drops two to four times daily, often shrinks small fibroids within two months. But results come from long-term use - up to two years.
- Wild Yam Root
- Tincture: ¼ teaspoonful twice a day in the two weeks before menses (after ovulation)
- Red Clover (with Red Raspberry leaf)
- Strengthening the liver with herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle, or yellow dock root helps it metabolize estrogen out of the body, thus reducing fibroids.
Energy Medicine, issues to address
- First and second chakra issues
- Pelvic wounding (sexual abuse, delivery trauma, etc)
- Many therapeutic approaches are available
- Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy for general wellness, better respiration and fluid flow including lymphatic drainage