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Fibroid Research Update from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Conference

I recently gave two lectures (Recent Advances in Fibroid Surgery and Fibroids and Pregnancy Outcomes) at a fibroid postgraduate course given for the ASRM annual meeting in Atlanta.

Dr. Bill Catherino, head of a fibroid research group at the NIH, presented new findings about what causes fibroids to grow and what possible treatments, diets, environmental changes might be used to reduce the health impact of fibroids.  The less-than-good-news is that none of the following research was performed in humans, so the results are very preliminary.

Hormonal Influences

Women with fibroids have normal blood levels of estrogen and progesterone.  Estrogen dominance does not cause fibroids.

Fibroid cells can make their own estrogen, so the level of estrogen inside fibroids is higher than in blood or other tissues.

Estrogen and progesterone receptors, parts of the fibroid cells that cause them to respond to estrogen and progesterone, are more prevalent in fibroid cells than normal uterine muscle cells.

Fibroids have more collagen than normal uterine muscle cells and more glycosaminoglycans (GAG).  GAGs draw water into the cells and make them swell.  Lupron causes a decrease in GAGs, which dehydrates the fibroid cells and causes shrinking of the fibroids.  When Lupron is stopped, the cells take on water again and swell again.

Dietary Factors

Vitamin D – decreases fibroid cell size and disrupt the formation of fibroid muscle cells.

Resveratrol (found in grapes) – decreases growth and increases death of fibroid cells in a test tube.

Curcumin (spice) – decreases growth and increases death of fibroid cells in a test tube.

Licorice (isoliquiritigenin) – decreases growth and increases death of fibroid cells in a test tube.

Green Tea (epigallocatechin gallate) – decreases growth of fibroid cells in a test tube.

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Disclaimer: The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained on this web site are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision.

One Comment

  1. K
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I have at least two large fibroids, 6 & 8 cm each. My gynecologist has recommended abdominal myomectomy. They tried to recommend the laproscopic approach, but due to the size of the fibroids, and my refusal of blood transfusion, they felt that the laparotomy would be a quicker approach and recommended in my situation. Also with my stance on blood transfusion, the doctor has recommended I start Lupron therapy (for a duration of 3 months) to shrink the fibroids, and lessen blood loss during the surgery. There seem to be only nightmare stories posted online about Lupron. My refusal of blood is my highest priority, do you think Lupron will be an issue?
    Thank you.

Fibroid Doctor William H. Parker

Dr. William H. Parker is a board-certified Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Parker is an internationally recognized expert in fibroid surgery and research. Based in San Diego, California, he is considered one of the best fibroid surgeons for abdominal and laparoscopic myomectomy in the United States and abroad. He has been chosen for Best Doctors in America and Top Doctors every year beginning in the late 90's.

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