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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
May 2003
Healing Fibroids: A Doctor's Guide to A Natural Cure
by Allan Warshowsky, MD and Elena Oumano, PhD

review by Irene Alleger
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Healing Fibroids: A Doctor's Guide to A Natural Cure
by Allan Warshowsky, MD and Elena Oumano, PhD
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Rockefeller Center
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020 USA
Paperback, 2002, $14 US ($21.50 CAN) 281 pp.

One of the most intractable of all women's health complaints, fibroid tumors, is routinely "treated" by surgical removal of the tumor, and more often, hysterectomy is recommended. Among women of childbearing age, the incidence of fibroids is 25 to 40%, presenting women with hard choices — one of which is the possibility of being unable to have children. Some women with fibroids have no symptoms, while others suffer from a myriad of complaints, including lower abdominal pain and pressure, heavy menstrual bleeding, infertility, miscarriages, anemia, and bladder irritation and infections. Fibroids can grow in many different locations around and in the uterus, and range in size from barely perceptible to the size of a grapefruit. Fibroid tumors can be an endless source of pain, bleeding, and frustration.

In Part 1, "The Basics," the authors explain what is known about this difficult health problem. No one really knows what causes fibroids but it is suspected that long-standing disturbances that create hormonal imbalances may be at the root of this condition. It is known that estrogen stimulates fibroid growth, opening the door to speculation about environmental sources.
After a review of the many negative effects of hysterectomy, some of the new "more limited surgical procedures" are looked at including one in which I took a personal interest. Myomectomy: "This procedure is viewed by many in the medical field as heroic because it involves removing the fibroid only and therefore should not interfere with the woman's ability to have children. Yet this surgically conservative operation is more difficult than a hysterectomy so it must be performed by a highly skilled surgeon." There were some drawbacks listed like not preventing fibroids from growing back. What was so interesting to me is that 40 years ago, I was diagnosed with a large fibroid growing through the wall of the uterus. My Ob/Gyn was a well-known doctor in the Seattle area, and without discussing it with me in advance, spent considerable time in the operating room removing the tumor and repairing the wall of the uterus. He was certainly a man ahead of his time, and one of the best doctors I have ever known.

Using patient reports, the authors illustrate their successful holistic program, using diet, supplements, herbs, exercise, and mind/spirit work. Also recommended for some patients are acupuncture, homeopathy, and other herbal traditions like Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. In following chapters the reader is helped to evaluate her unique situation and guide her through key components of the fibroid-healing program.

The primary component that builds health is, naturally, the diet, and this chapter discusses the SAD diet of Americans and explains the importance of avoiding simple sugars and refined starches, our main sources of unhealthy foods. The "good" fats are covered, stressing the importance of the omega-3 and omega-6 "essential fatty acids." It is emphasized that balance between the two is important just as the balance between estrogen and progesterone is important to achieve. This is a comprehensive chapter, listing hormone-balancing foods with excellent descriptions of their benefits. (One of the satisfying things in Healing Fibroids is the inclusion of enough clear information on why a certain food is important).

In the Chapter on Supplements, it's argued that because conventional medicine does not provide any kind of prevention, nutritional supplements are the obvious choice. This is a good general overview of vitamins, minerals, and other supplements helpful in healing fibroids. A patient's case illustrates the protocol. A substantial amount of good basic information here.

There follows a comparable chapter on Herbals and another on Exercises and Bodywork. Balance is evident throughout this book, by the way, providing enough basic and relevant information for the average lay person, and at the same time, not leaving out anything of importance. The information is current and comprehensive. Overall, this book provides enough sound medical advice that I would recommend it highly to any woman who has been diagnosed with fibroid tumors. No more surgery!

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