By Steven Hefferon, CMT, PTA, CPRS
There’s nothing quite like sitting down on a crisp fall Sunday morning to write about my wife’s uterus. I suppose I could have written something generic about the topic of uterine fibroids, but I prefer to write personal stories about true-life experiences that have the potential to inspire and motivate readers.
It all started about a year after we got married. During our first year of marriage, like most couples, our focus was on starting a family, which meant we did our best to make that happen. So far, so good.
But after almost a year of trying without success, we began to wonder if something might be wrong. Off we went to see the fertility specialist, who first asked how old my wife was, then took a blood sample to measure her level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is the main hormone involved in producing mature eggs. Then he did an ultrasound test to check out her uterus.
When they gave us the results, it would have felt better if they had used a shotgun. At age 39, my wife had an FSH score of 12 (the odds of conception at anything over 10 is virtually zero). Not only that, but they also found three uterine fibroids in three different areas, or levels, in the lining of her uterus.
How bad news spurred us into action
I’ll spare you the grief and heartache we went through that day – the day we were told we would never have a child. I can tell you that when I get bad news, I feel the same emotions of hopelessness, grief, and frustration as anyone else would in the same circumstances. I also have to admit that I expressed my rage in a torrent of choice words (mostly R-rated). For me, it was the release I needed, and it was the first step on our road to recovery.
For as quickly as the bad news had created a sense of hopelessness, my wife and I were somehow able to put aside the negative and begin to focus on what we could do rather than what we couldn’t. Within 12 months of that terrible day, we finalized the adoption of our daughter, Jessica Taylor.
In fact, from the first day we signed any paperwork to the time we were standing in front of a judge, it took only 10 months – a land speed record in the world of domestic infant adoption. Jessica will be 5 next month, and if my wife and I had simply sat by and gotten negative and depressed, she surely would not be in our lives today. (That’s Jessica in the picture sitting with her favorite singer, Carrie Underwood.)
What you need to know
While not truly understanding what a uterine fibroid tumor was at the time and only hearing the word “tumor,” I immediately went to work to learn everything I could about them. And, like anything else, the answer is out there – you just have to ask the right questions, find the right people, and knock on the right doors.
Of course, the doctor we had only wanted to sell us a $20,000 Egg donor fertility package. He could not have cared one bit about the fibroids and the emotions my wife was experiencing when she learned she had them – let alone offer us a solution.
The first bit of good news I found was that fibroids are rarely cancerous. In fact, some are even asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have any symptoms. Many women, however, will experience symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, bowel and bladder irregularity, and painful or uncomfortable intercourse. In some case, fibroids can cause a distended abdomen.
What exactly are fibroids?
Uterine fibroid tumors are small, solid collections of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that can develop in various parts of the uterus.
What causes them?
No one really knows why they develop, but there is a well-established correlation between fibroids and hormonal imbalances – specifically, higher estrogen levels and lower progesterone levels.
Being in an estrogen-dominant state should not come as a surprise to women these days – even up to premenopausal ages – because of the widespread use of birth control pills and even the large amounts of soy we all eat. Yes, I said soy. The best way to overcome a challenge is to overwhelm it
If you suspect (or know) that you have a uterine fibroid, please seek proper medical attention. In our case, we were not offered any treatment, which is common. The typical recommendation is to do nothing but wait and see what happens.
Well, we weren’t going to wait until these fibroids got to be the size of bowling balls before we took any action. (Personal observation: sometimes when we are faced with a medical situation that is not life-threatening, we tend sit back and hope that things will get better on their own. Seldom do we decide to attack the problem from as many different angles as possible – all at once, in an effort to overwhelm it, stop it, or at least control it as quickly as possible.)
My wife found her solution in enzymes
My wife had been off any birth control for a while before she found out she had fibroids. But the hormonal imbalances were already evident. We did look into hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but this was right around the time when this approach was getting bad press and some of these products were even being pulled from the market. She did try some natural progesterone cream for a while, until she discovered something called “proteolytic enzymes.”
Proteolytic enzymes reverse fibroids
Proteolytic enzymes are a remarkable substance, and they are responsible for a host of bodily functions. When it comes to uterine fibroids, proteolytic enzymes help break down and remove excess fibrous tissue, which is what fibroids are mostly made of. That’s why these enzymes work so well.
Let me tell you what happened in our case. We both started to take them. Why both of us? Well, for one thing, my wife had never heard of these enzymes, and she felt that it was something we should do together. In less than a week, we both started to feel better – and I’m talking all over. Simple aches and pains began to disappear, and we found we had greater flexibility in our hands (We were both massage therapists at the time and our hands are everything to us).
By week two, my wife started to have what the scientists and the developers of the enzymes call a “side activity.” Why they can’t just call it a side benefit is beyond me. Anyway, she started to get this vaginal discharge that she called “the goo.” I called it “money” because it was a signal that remnants of the fibroids were passing through her.
This continued over the next four to six weeks. My wife did not complain of any vaginal pain during this period. She simply said, “Things just worked better if you now what I mean.”
The one interesting thing about enzymes is that they work at several different dosing levels, in the beginning there is an Activation dose, the Activation dose is different for everyone so you will need to experiment with your dose by incrementally adding one or two capsule per day.
The Activation dose can be continued as long as your are experiencing the side activity, once the side activity starts to subside you can start on a what is called a maintenance dose. For Lifezyme the Activation dose is between 6 and 9 capsule and the maintenance dose is between 2 and 3.
That was five years ago. Today, we still take the enzymes for the numerous health benefits they provide, one of which is to keep our enzymes in balance. It goes without saying that when your enzyme levels drop or stay too low for too long, you will eventually find yourself planted on the other side of the grass.
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Written By: Updated: August 25,2013