by John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins
The uterus is one of the first organs to manifest symptoms when a woman's hormones are out of balance. Two of the most common uterine symptoms of premenopause syndrome are an enlarged uterus, and uterine fibroids. Women with PMS often experience painful periods (dysmenorrhea) which are most often caused when the endometrial lining of the uterus extends into the muscular wall of the uterus (adenomyosis). When shedding of the endometrium occurs (menstruation), the blood is released into the muscular lining, causing severe pain. Conventional medicine treats this pain with NSAIDS (non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, but ignores the underlying metabolic hormonal imbalance that caused it. The problem can often be simply resolved by restoring proper progesterone levels, which restores normal growth and shedding of the endometrium.
Estrogen dominance causes the uterus to grow, and without the monthly balancing effect of progesterone, it doesn't have the proper signals to stop growing. In some women this results in an enlarged uterus that presses on other organs, such as the bladder, and often on the digestive system, and generally causes discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding. In other women estrogen dominance results in fibroids, which are tough, fibrous, non-cancerous lumps that grow in the uterus. Some fibroids can grow to the size of a grapefruit or cantaloupe, causing constant bleeding and such heavy menstrual periods that the blood loss is akin to hemorrhaging.
Fibroids always shrink at menopause, but the most common course of action a doctor takes when a patient comes in with a fibroid is to remove the uterus. The explanation given is that a fibroid is too difficult to remove without irreversibly damaging the uterus. But in most cases this is no longer true. If you do end up needing to have a fibroid surgically removed, find a doctor who can do it without removing your uterus with it. If you have many small fibroids, it may be more difficult to remove them. On the other hand, their smaller size may make it easier to treat them without surgery.
To read more about fibroids, please read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause by John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins.