Fibroids Q&A with Dr. John Lee

FIBROIDS and ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

Q: I am 50 years old, 30 to 40 pounds overweight, my uterus is enlarged (thickened), and I have had a fibroid for several years that’s causing problems. I’ve never had a successful pregnancy, and have had many of the symptoms on your estrogen dominance list since my late thirties. Should I try progesterone or just have a hysterectomy?

A: You’re nearing menopause, and after menopause, most fibroids shrink and disappear. The problem is, how to get through the next few years? Your history of never having a successful pregnancy suggests that you have been estrogen dominant (from progesterone deficiency) for many years. This means your fat tissues are loaded with extra estrogen. When that is the case, I have found that normal progesterone doses can trigger breast swelling, water retention, and swelling of pelvic tissues inside you.

For women like yourself, it seems that smaller doses of progesterone work better. You might try 10 to 11 mg a day, divided into two daily doses. Your periods are likely to be irregular. If bleeding starts while you are on progesterone, just stop the progesterone, wait 12 days and start over again for another two weeks. It may take 3 to 4 cycles to get everything in synchrony.

The potential bad news is that a study in England found that the interior cells of fibroids sometimes undergo degeneration due to lack of blood supply in the center of the fibroid. When that happens, the area becomes inflamed and attracts white blood cells. The white blood cells try to clean up the mess but, in the process, release a cytokine (chemical) that stimulates the production of more estrogen from the fibrous cells right in the middle of the fibroid! In those cases, progesterone cannot help, and surgery becomes necessary if you have too much pain, bladder problems, or excessive bleeding.

If the periods do not come into synchrony, and fibroid symptoms continue, it is time to seriously consider hysterectomy. Sorry about that. But please carefully research your options, and make the surgeon promise to leave the ovaries alone if there is nothing wrong with them.

You’re nearing menopause, and after menopause, most fibroids shrink and disappear. The problem is, how to get through the next few years? Your history of never having a successful pregnancy suggests that you have been estrogen dominant (from progesterone deficiency) for many years. This means your fat tissues are loaded with extra estrogen. When that is the case, I have found that normal progesterone doses can trigger breast swelling, water retention, and swelling of pelvic tissues inside you. For women like yourself, it seems that smaller doses of progesterone work better. You might try 10 to 11 mg a day, divided into two daily doses. Your periods are likely to be irregular. If bleeding starts while you are on progesterone, just stop the progesterone, wait 12 days and start over again for another two weeks. It may take 3 to 4 cycles to get everything in synchrony.

The potential bad news is that a study in England found that the interior cells of fibroids sometimes undergo degeneration due to lack of blood supply in the center of the fibroid. When that happens, the area becomes inflamed and attracts white blood cells. The white blood cells try to clean up the mess but, in the process, release a cytokine (chemical) that stimulates the production of more estrogen from the fibrous cells right in the middle of the fibroid! In those cases, progesterone cannot help, and surgery becomes necessary if you have too much pain, bladder problems, or excessive bleeding.

If the periods do not come into synchrony, and fibroid symptoms continue, it is time to seriously consider hysterectomy. Sorry about that. But please carefully research your options, and make the surgeon promise to leave the ovaries alone if there is nothing wrong with them.

Note to Reader from Virginia Hopkins
Dr. John Lee was my great friend, mentor, co-author and business partner. This website is dedicated to continuing the work that Dr. Lee and I did together to educate and inform women and men about natural hormones, hormone balance and achieving optimal health. Dr. John Lee was a courageous pioneer who changed the face of medicine by introducing the concepts of natural progesterone, estrogen dominance and hormone balance to a large audience of women and men seeking answers to their hormone questions. Dr. Lee has left us a wonderful collection of writings from his newsletters that are, in large part, freely shared on this website. Enjoy!