There are estimates that up to 80% of women will have to deal with fibroids at some point in their lifetime.
In this article, Dr. Leia answers readers questions and addresses concerns regarding uterine fibroids and Bartholin’s cysts, including hormone-based and natural remedies for treatment of symptoms.
Question for Dr. Leia: I was looking at the HealthyNewAge.com website and because you are a featured natural health doctor I was wondering if you might have some insight on a health issue I have. I am aware that you can not diagnosis over the internet but would appreciate your insight.
I have tremendous pain within my abdomen and the doctors I have seen have taken tests, and then responded by telling me I should stay on a high fiber diet which I do. I also have uterine fibroids and a bladder infection. I am 53 and think that uterine fibroids may be the cause of the pain, but not really sure.
Dr. Leia’s Answer: I’m sorry to hear that you are having tremendous pain in your abdomen.
Abdominal pain can be very complicated and difficult to diagnose, and it sounds as if you have several different problems occurring at the same time. Uterine fibroids are chronic and they usually develop and grow slowly, and most of the time do not cause extreme pain, but more of an uncomfortable full feeling, and feelings of bloating and pressure.
If the pain is extreme, then this could mean that the uterine fibroids are large and maybe even pressing on other organs in the abdomen and pelvic area, including the bladder.
Uterine fibroids usually grow with increased estrogen. In older women after the age of menopause, the fibroids tend to shrink because the estrogen production decreases. If you are taking estrogen supplementation in any form, you might want to stop taking it because it will feed the fibroids and make them grow larger.
If you were told that you have an active bladder infection, hopefully you are under the doctor’s care and are taking medications or antibiotics to get rid of the bacterial infection. There are many other causes for abdominal and pelvic pain, including gall stones and endometriosis which can be extremely painful.
If you are dissatisfied with your doctor’s diagnosis, then maybe you might want to get a second or third opinion. In depth testing including a pelvic and abdominal ultrasound, blood testing, a urine microscopic exam, and a urine culture may be necessary to rule out any other problems. Good luck in your search for the cause of your pain.
Question for Dr. Leia: I want to know what I can do to naturally heal a Bartholin’s cyst?
Dr. Leia’s Answer: A Bartholin cyst is a fluid-filled cyst caused by the obstruction of the Bartholin’s glands.
Bartholin’s glands lie on either side of the vaginal opening or orifice. A simple uninfected Bartholin cyst is usually non-tender, but when it becomes infected with bacteria, it can become filled with pus or a purulent fluid, and can be tender and even painful, sometimes causing a systemic fever, pain during intercourse, and pain when sitting or walking. The cyst can grow and even become quite large.
Hopefully, you have been examined by your doctor and he or she has ruled out an infected Bartholin cyst. If the cyst is infected, it is important that your doctor take a culture of the fluid inside the cyst in order to rule out a sexually transmitted bacterial cause such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia.
If you are over 40 years of age, cancer needs to be ruled out because a cyst can mimic a more serious tumor, in which case a biopsy is necessary. If the cyst is large, the doctor may need to drain it surgically.
Bartholin Cyst Treatment
A simple Bartholin cyst may be treated with a daily sitz bath or a soaking in warm water. The object of the sitz bath is to allow the cyst to drain, and to keep clean.
You may want to steep some herbs such as calendula, chamomile, or comfrey to the warm, not hot, sitz bath or a few drops of grapefruit seed extract liquid to the water. However, if you do use the liquid grapefruit seed extract, only add a 3-5 drops because if you add too much, it can be irritating to the delicate tissue around the labial area.
You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the sitz bath. Chamomile, lavender, oregano, and thyme are good oils to use. Some common spices you could also add to your sitz baths include turmeric and echinacea.
Warm castor oil compresses also have a “drawing out” effect on cysts. Some already made baby diaper rash cremes such as Weleda brand are gentler to the area and may be helpful to leave on overnight. And there are even homeopathic creams readily available at health food stores such as Rescue Remedy Cream and Arnica creams. I hope that this information will be helpful in understanding the nature of a Bartholin cyst.
Treatments for Uterine Fibroids
Question for Dr. Leia: I have 3 large uterine fibroids (6+cm, 6+cm, 5+cm,) and an ovarian cyst. My doctor has recommended Lupron shots for me and surgery to remove the fibroids.
I am also being treated for primary thrombocytosis – elevated platelet counts with Hydroxurea and Agrylin.
My question is: Is there a natural way that I can shrink the fibroids without surgery? I found Fibroid Fighter in the health food store but I am not sure how it would interact with the Hydroxurea and Agrylin.
Dr. Leia’s Answer: Uterine fibroids, also called leiomyomata, can occur in different areas of the uterus: submucosal, located in the inner part where the lining of the uterus is located; intramural, located in the myometrium or muscle wall of the uterus, or subserosal, located on the outer side of the uterus.
And it appears that all three of your uterine fibroids are about the size of a golf ball. Depending upon the location of your fibroids, and also your age and hormonal estrogen levels, it may be possible to shrink them naturally.
Lupron is an injectible hormone drug called gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH. It helps to reduce the amount of estrogen or testosterone present in the body. It is used to shrink uterine fibroids, because over time, the fibroids will decrease in size due to the lack of estrogen, which feeds the growth of fibroids.
Agrylin, Hydroxurea & Lupron Side Effects
Side effects of Lupron may include more serious symptoms such as an allergic reaction, bone pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the arms and legs, and urinary difficulties. Less serious side effects include: hot flashes and menopausal symptoms due to the decreased estrogen level in the body, fatigue, decreased libido, nausea and vomitting, headaches, dizziness, and constipation.
Hydroxurea has a lot of side effects and needs to be carefully monitored by your doctor. So if you are having any side effects now from this drug, you should discuss them with your doctor.
It seems to me that adding Lupron to this mix might give you even more side effects and it could become confusing to know which drug is causing which side effects. Here are some of the side-efects of Hydroxurea: constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomitting, drowsiness. More serious side-effects include: mouth sores, skin discoloration, rashes, skin oozing, and swelling of hands, feet, or legs.
Agrylin, also called Anagrelide, may have the serious side-effects of shortness of breath, rashes, itching, swelling or edema, irregular heart rate, chest or stomach pain, bleeding, pink urine, black stools, visual problems, and weakness in the arms and legs.
If you lived in my area I would be happy to discuss natural remedies or solutions suitable for your situation. I am not familiar with the product “Fibroid Fighter,” which you found in the health food store, but please respond and let me know the ingredients. I hope that the above information helps you.
Natural Treatments for Healing Fibroids
Natural approaches for healing fibroids is not a new topic since many believe up to 80 percent of woman will deal with fibroids within their lifetime.
Education is a form of self empowerment so we have provided a list of books that discuss natural treatments for fibroids as well as causes and diet changes that might help reduce symptoms and fibroid conditions.
To learn more, visit Amazon > Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure
Find a complete list of > Books on Fibroids