Endometriosis & Fibroids, A True Curse.
Doctors spend a great deal of time agonizing with their patients over endometriosis, fibroids and cysts. These are the most common female issues that occur in seemingly normal, healthy women. In fact, there can be long-standing unresolved imbalances that will lead to these reactions by the body and by working on the underlying issues in addition to addressing the excessive growth of tissue, great progess can be made. Let’s start with fibroids. Uterine fibroids are benign, slow-growing smooth muscle tumors. The traditional herbs used to control fibroid growth are Thuja, Greater Celandine, Cleavers and Echinacea Angustifolia to both improve lymphatic drainage of the uterine area and to modulate immunity. Ginkgo Biloba helps to relieve the pain associated with fibroids while many traditionalists use raw Marshmallow root and cottonwood root bark that have proven to control many fibrocystic concerns. Pain inevitably indicates prostaglandin issues, so I like to use a combination of Feberfew, Ginger and essential fatty acids to turn things around. At the same time, liver insuffiency is generally an underlying issue, so beginning a regimen of liver support with Schisandra, Rosemary, Bupleurum, Fringe Tree, Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle will not only do this, but will also help the breakdown of excess estrogen which definately can be a contributing factor.
If, however, pain is not just persistent but severe, then this can be a sign of an underlying issue such as an unresolved infection or STD, even candida albicans which definitely should be tested and treated. But often pain is simply a standard until the issue is resolved, so I blend a strong herbal formula that has both anti-inflammative effects as well as reducing pain and congestion. I choose the formula based on the individual, but my master list includes Cramp Bark, White Peony, Calendula, Rosemary, Corydalis, Blue Cohosh, Dong Quai, Raspberry Leaf, Pasque Flower, Black Haw, Feverfew, Bupleurum, Boswellia, Wild Yam, Licorice, Rehmannia and Ginger. And it tastes pretty awful...
If any unresolved infection is the issue, then I strongly recommend discontinuing the use of tampons completely and also synthetic pads. In fact, if you realize that they contain dioxin, chlorine and other irritating synthetic substances which may alter the delicate mucosal lining of the vagina, then you may may decide that everyone should switch. The body’s immune system may react to this particularly during the pH shift that occurs with menstruation. It is amazing how many women will only buy cotton underwear, but think nothing of using synthetic tampons.
The most common problem associated with fibroids is menorrhagia or excessive bleeding. My friend Dr. Angela Hywood of Sydney has a tried and true formula for this that includes Cranesbill, Ladies Mantle, White Peony, Shepherd’s Purse, Horsetail, Tienchi Ginseng and False Unicorn. Another important consideration is the spleen, as fibroids seem to be common when the spleen becomes inactive. Standard Process has some wonderful formulas to choose from in order to address weakness in the spleen, such as vitamin complexes for G, E and an AC combination. They also produce two spleen formulas that when combined with Thymus PMG can really help to rebalance the entire immune system.
Endometriosis on the other hand is essentially endometrial tissue (the developed lining of the uterus) that has gone out of control and has moved into abnormal locations with each menstrual cycle of development. This may occur between the muscle fibers of the uterus or in various locations in the pelvic cavity such as around the fallopian tubes, the ovaries or lining the pelvis. The process of endometriosis may begin with trapped blood that can lead to the growth of cysts. Reducing chronic blood congestion is therefore essential. The best combination I have found is Dong Quai, Rosemary, Yarrow, Ginger and Ginkgo.
The cysts that form as a result of the blood congestion will often rupture, resulting in inflammation and the formation of multiple adhesions and scar tissue. The endometrial phase can be harrowing for women, with endometrial tissue often backflowing into the fallopian tubes which can clog the tubes and create scar tissue. The best herbal choices are Dan Shen and Gotu Kola which act to reduce the incidence of adhesions. But once again addressing estrogen dominance is the key with higher doses of Chaste Tree at 5ml trice a day, White Peony and high doses of vitamin B6.
If unresolved, this chronic tissue congestion can lead to infertility. It is therefore essential to tonify and cleanse the uterus. For this I use a combination of Dong Quai, False Unicorn, Raspberry, Black Cohosh, Ginger and Blue Cohosh. This I will do for six weeks, followed by a formula to heal the lining of the uterus made of Ladies mantle, Beth Root, Shepherd’s Purse, Cranesbill Root, Raspberry leaf, Calendula and Golden Seal. Throughout the process, I suggest Standard Process Utrophin PMG which is an amazing formula for both balancing the immune system as well as healing the lining of the uterus.
The truth is that endometriosis and fibroids are similar problems with similar underlying issues. I’ve mentioned the estrogen dominance and unresolved infection, but diet, thyroid function and chronic emotional stress are also commonalities. First essential fatty acids are just that... essential. High doses of Evening Primrose Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Borage Oil and Black Currant Seed oil can really turn around these issues and reduce pain almost instantly. Also getting sufficient levels of minerals is key. Nettle Leaf is the mineral matriarch of the herb kingdom with more minerals than you can shake a stick at. If you are uncertain what your mineral levels are, try getting a Trace Mineral Hair Analysis which can really show you what your tissues contain.
Probably the strongest issue that I see in these cases is thyroid hypofunction that is unresolved and untreated. Often a woman can go for years with low normal blood tests of thyroid function and be untreated. Many times doctors only test Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and not the actual levels of thyroid hormones, due to insurance restrictions or lack of presenting history and symptoms.
Thyroid function is strongly interrelated with the female cycle and there is clinical research to indicate that low iodine concentrations may have something to do with all of it. I generally look for a woman that has chronic bouts of insomnia, hair loss, fatigue later in the day, low body temperature and heart palpitations. These are ideal for organic iodine supplementation to not only address the thyroid but to also restore balance to the female cycle. Bladderwrack seaweed is an excellent source of organic iodine.
The point is to not allow these conditions to go unchecked and untreated. Prescription options rarely provide relief and resolution, instead subjecting women to pain and seclusion every month. Reach into the natural world and you will find many more options than you thought existed.