Healing Fibroids: A Doctor's Guide to A Natural
by Allan Warshowsky, MD and Elena Oumano, PhD
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the
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!