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Monday, April 21, 2008

Or as some women refer to them...AARRUUGGHH!!

What are they?

A fibroid is a very common benign (noncancerous) growth that takes up residence in a woman's uterus. They may appear "solo" or bring a couple of friends along for the ride.

However they appear, they usually cause numerous problems for the woman afflicted with them. Among those problems are heavy periods, pain, infertility and frequent urination as the growths press on the bladder. offers this information:

"These growths occur in about 25% of all women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in the United States. Of every woman older than 35 years, 1 in 5 has a uterine fibroid. An estimated 600,000 hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) are performed in the US annually, and at least one-third are for fibroids. Medications and newer, less invasive surgery can control the growth of fibroids. Fibroids start in the muscle tissues of the uterus. They can grow into the uterine cavity, into the thickness of the uterine wall, or on the surface of the uterus into the abdominal cavity. Although these tumors are called fibroids, this term is misleading because they consist of muscle tissue, not fibrous tissue. "

Fibroids are stimulated by the hormone estrogen, but there are factors that increase a woman's chance of developing them. They include:


nulliparity (never having given birth to a child) Starting your menstrual cycle before the age of ten

Being of African descent

So how does a doctor treat them?
In most cases your doctor will only treat them if they are causing you problems. For instance if they are causing pain, an non steroidal anti-inflammatory like ADVIL will be given. But this seems the most simple of the treatments.

If you want to control a heavy flow, birth control pills may be prescribed. However, being that they contain estrogen, they may increase the size of the fibroid.

Your doctor may also opt to remove them surgically. If this is done, you will most often be given GnRH (Gonadotropin releasing hormone ) or RU-486. the purpose is to shrink the fibroid before surgery to restrict the amount of blood loss during.

The side effects are the same for any woman facing a decreased amount of estrogen (vaginal dryness, hot flashes, decreased bone density etc).

There is a newer procedure that is called Uterine artery embolization, and what happens is a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery which is housed in the leg, small spongy particles that are about the size of a grain of sand are inserted and this material helps to block the flow of blood to the fibroid which in turn shrinks it.

And of course there is also a hysterectomy which unfortunately is a common procedure in the treatment of fibroids. Any surgery is MAJOR surgery in my opinion.
Update: Thanks to an alert anon, there is also another procedure available called MRgfus (MR guided Focused Ultrasound ) . This basically works by the use of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to help find the area that needs to be treated, and then an ultrasound beam that guides heat to he fibroid to destory it. You can read more about it here and thanks to the anon that provided this info.

Is there any other way to help shrink fibroids?

Why yes, there is.

According to an article on the greatest herbs on earth vigorous exercise helps to bring on regular ovulation. This helps because irregular ovulation seems to make ovulation worse.
Or perhaps try eating more servings of whole grains or beans daily. If you do you will have the added benefit of possibly keeping breast and endometrial cancers at bey.

Are there some herbal medicines that might help?
Yes, dandelion , milk thistle or yellow dock help by strengthening the liver, and the liver helps to metabolize estrogen out of the body.
Feel free to share any additional information that you may have.


Anonymous at: 4/21/08, 10:33 AM said...

There is a better, newer treatment for uterine fibroids using a technology that is called MR guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), (the device is called "ExAblate 2000")which removes fibroids non-invasively !!!
Less side effects than any other treatment including UAE, no hospitalization, no medication and better chances of pregnancy...

Kasana at: 4/21/08, 3:40 PM said...

Wow anon, thank you so much for sharing :)

I'm going to look into that information now.

Anonymous at: 4/23/08, 7:31 PM said...

this is trina, i forgot my sis has these and her periods are bad because of the pain!!

Kasana at: 4/23/08, 7:36 PM said...

Hey Trina!!

Honey I know a few women who have had fibroids, and pain is ther biggest complaint.

Anonymous at: 4/23/08, 7:40 PM said...

i hate to be around her, because i don't even get cramps..........

Kasana at: 4/24/08, 3:00 AM said...