The True Power of Good Nutrition – Case Study October 2007

This month’s case study is ‘Clare’ – who came to the Clinic because of fibroids

Clare’s story:

I was first diagnosed with a fibroid in 2006 and although it wasn’t causing painful or heavy periods, it did cause general abdominal/pelvic tenderness. I also knew it wasn’t natural to have a large mass within the uterus and it could possibly interfere with my fertility.

My initial scan revealed that the fibroid was the size of a 16 week foetus which was quite shocking. I also had a small cyst on my right ovary. My consultant suggested that I should have a hysterectomy straight away but I felt very strongly that I didn’t want to go down this route, particularly because I hadn’t had children.

I researched Fibroids on the internet and came across The Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic and I downloaded a chapter on Fibroids. It was so useful because it the chapter was broken down into what fibroids are and the factors which cause the condition and what the medical and natural treatment options are. Rather than trying to follow the advice by myself I decided to book an appointment as I knew I would be better with professional guidance.

I phoned the Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic and booked an appointment with one of the practitioners. I had read about the Hair Mineral Analysis which I was keen to do before my fist consultation so I arranged for this to be done so the results would be back before my appointment. I had to complete a very comprehensive Nutrition Questionnaire which I sent back to the practitioner so she could look through it before meeting me. This enabled me to explain more about my condition and how it was effecting my health, plus I had to fill in a 2 day diet diary. It was really helpful doing this because I didn’t realise how much caffeine and sugar I was consuming!

During my first appointment the practitioner went through my questionnaire to glean as much information as possible. She also talked me through the results of the Hair Mineral Analysis which was fascinating. It showed that I was low in the minerals zinc and chromium. Zinc is needed for hormone balance and the production of progesterone which was very relevant to my condition. Chromium is related to blood sugar stability and indirectly keeping progesterone levels high which again was relevant because I do tend to suffer with sugar cravings through the day and that mid afternoon ‘slump’!

The practitioner explained more about the nature of fibroids and how important nutritional therapy is in balancing hormone levels. Because I didn’t suffer any day to day symptoms apart from pelvic tenderness, we were concentrating on trying to reduce the size of the fibroid through diet, vitamins and minerals and herbs. She recommended that I have another scan 6 months on with my gynaecologist to assess the effectiveness of the nutrition because without a physical examination it is hard to know.

I was put on a hormone-balancing diet, which involved avoiding meat and dairy because they may contain hormones which would create more imbalance in my system. The first month I also had to avoid caffeine from tea and coffee and sugar which can all suppress the immune system and deplete my body of vital nutrients. The caffeine and sugar was in fact the hardest thing to reduce but I was obviously addicted to them after years of consuming them! After this initial detoxification period, I continued to follow the same diet because I felt so well on it.

The practitioner explained that fibroids are stimulated by excess hormones, predominantly oestrogen, which can be exacerbated by poor liver function/detoxification.

She recommended I perform a ‘Detoxification Capacity Profile.’ This involved providing a saliva and urine sample which assessed the various different stages of liver detoxification. It is well known that people with hormone imbalance often have a reduced ability to clear then hormones from their liver. The test results showed that both phases of liver detoxification were sluggish which meant the hormones were more likely to get reabsorbed back into my blood stream, setting up further hormone dominance and imbalance, which in turn ‘feed’ the fibroid and stimulate its growth. This area was supported with specific herbs and vitamins and minerals and I was advised to really increase my intake of brassica vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage which help to clear oestrogen efficiently from the liver. This was an area I knew I had to improve because I struggled to get my greens everyday.

Although I couldn’t measure exactly how effective the nutrition was on dealing with my fibroid I generally felt so much healthier – I had more energy, less pelvic pain and my skin looked bright and clear. 6 months after seeing the practitioner and following her recommendations, I had a follow up scan and it showed that my fibroid had reduced in size! It had shrunk from 86 x 106 mm to 78 x 66 mm and the small cyst on my ovary had totally disappeared!

My gynaecologist was quite shocked and it was only then he believed that the nutritional protocol worked and he no longer kept trying to push me to have a hysterectomy. He recommended that I have another scan 6-12 months on to keep a check on the fibroid. I was so pleased with this outcome and it made me even more confident and inspired to continue eating so well.

Based on my experience of nutritional therapy, I would recommend to anyone reading this who suffers with fibroids or other hormone imbalance to seek advice from a practitioner.

It has changed my life in so many ways not only because it has helped to reduce the size of my fibroid but I feel more educated and informed on what foods I should and shouldn’t be putting into my body. I think Drs are all too keen to recommend hysterectomy as a ‘quick fix’ solution. Not only would it have been an invasive procedure with general anaesthetic and scarring after, but it would have meant I’d never be able to have children. My message to anyone is be open minded to other treatment options before making decisions.

Marilyn’s Comments:

Claire’s story is very inspiring and a good motivation for those with fibroids or indeed any hormonal imbalance. The medical profession recommend drug therapy and/or surgery which can sometimes feel like the easy option, but Claire has shown us how effective nutritional therapy can be.

Of course, there are times when surgery is needed and in fact is essential, but even if this is the case, good nutrition is still essential to reduce the risk of reoccurrence and to help the healing process.

It also shows how conditions can vary so much in regards to the symptoms. For example some women with fibroids have extremely heavy and debilitating periods which can lead to severe anaemia and some can suffer with constant pain, tenderness and a ‘dragging ‘sensation in their pelvic area.

Claire suffered with pelvic tenderness, but thankfully didn’t have the heavy periods. This is why it is so important to seek professional advice to get the correct treatment plan. My book, ‘The Nutritional Health Handbook for Women’ is a good starting point but if you would like to find out more about having a consultation and the tests that were mentioned, please do call The Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic on 0870 5329244. The functioning of the liver’s detoxification pathways is assessed from a saliva and urine sample.

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