If estrogen is not balanced by progesterone, it can stimulate the uterus tissue to grow abnormally, leading to fibroids and endometriosis. Clinical data show that overweight women, typically with high estrogen, tend to develop fibroids, indicating that an estrogen dominance condition can be related to fibroids.
When menstrual blood flows backward from the uterus into the fallopian tubes and spreads into pelvic tissues, part of the uterus lining can also travel with the blood and implant outside the uterus, causing endometriosis. Then why don’t all women who have menstrual back-flow develop endometriosis? The following factors may contribute to endometriosis:
1. Imbalance between estrogen and progesterone: Khaleque Newaz Khan et al. in Japan published an article about how estrogen-progesterone imbalance can be associated with endometriosis in Human Reproduction, 2005. They measured one of the growth factors called hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a chemical stimulating tissue growth, in one type of immune cells, called macrophages, under different conditions. Women with endometriosis tend to have higher than normal levels of HGF. Furthermore, when macrophages are exposed to a higher level of estrogen without progesterone, the level of HGF increases, and its gene expression is also enhanced. When the estrogen level is dampened with another chemical or the progesterone level increased, the growth rate is much lower. Higher growth factor level may facilitate the endometrium tissue growing outside the uterus when there is back-flow of the menses.
2. Genetic make-up: Some women have higher base levels of estrogen; they tend to have a very thick endometrium build-up before their period and have a very heavy blood flow and menstrual pain. If they have poor nutrition, they could have more opportunities to develop endometriosis when menstrual blood flows backward.
If you have fibroids or an endometriosis condition, what can you do to improve your fertility?
1. Surgery can quickly remove the fibroids or scrape off the endometriosis in the uterus or outside the uterus. But if after surgery, you use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to balance your hormone and immune systems, you definitely can get pregnant faster and also prevent fibroids or endometriosis from growing back again. In my practice, I keep following up on those ladies who currently have fibroids or endometriosis, or had surgery for this condition. I have found that if hormone balance cannot be restored after surgery, fibroids and endometriosis will grow back very soon.
2. In Chinese Medicine, fibroid and endometriosis are associated with blood stasis and phlegm condition. You may try to eat food to release blood stasis: kelp, lemons, limes, onions, Irish moss, bladder wrack, and linseed oil, which has omega-3, a natural blood thinner.
3. Fresh ginger not only helps to strengthen our digestive system, but also is another natural blood thinner to reduce inflammation and facilitate the blood circulation.
4. Another natural blood thinner is methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM), a special biological sulfur found in fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. If you eat as much fresh fruits and vegetables as recommended, your blood circulation will improve.
5. Common Herbs used for fibroids: Tao Hong Si Wu Tang, + Xiang Fu, Lu Lu Tong, Shi Chang Pu, Yi Yi Ren.
6. Micro-electrical current therapy: Cooking the herbs Tao Ren, Zao Jiao Ci, Bai Jiang Cao, Hong Teng to make a concentrated solution; soaking gauze with the decoction, then applying electrodes on gauze attached to uterus and ovarian areas. The micro-current will help infiltrate the active ingredient of herbal decoction to the uterus and ovarian areas. This is a very common treatment in China.
7. Enema with herbal decoction twice to three times a week is a very effective method to treat tube blockage, fibroids and endometriosis. It is a routine treatment for infertility in the hospital where I was trained in Beijing.
8. Do not use tampons because back flow of blood is one of the factors causing endometriosis.
9. Do not eat too much spicy food to facilitate the internal heat.
10. Get rid of all the simple sugars to help restore estrogen and progesterone balance.
11. Try to avoid alcohol after ovulation, you tend to have more internal heat and phlegm after progesterone goes up.
12. Drink more water, especially during your period; this will help reduce inflammation.