Archive for the ‘Fibroids’ Category

The True Power of Good Nutrition – Case Study October 2007

Monday, October 1st, 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.

The true power of good nutrition – case study May 2007

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

True powe of good nutritionThis month’s case study is ‘Karen’ – who came to the Clinic because of fibroids and heavy bleeding

Karen’s Story:

I had been diagnosed with fibroids about 10 years ago which actually didn’t cause too many problems for me. However, about a year ago I started to experience extremely heavy periods which would last for 2 weeks.

For the first 2 days I was pretty much confined to the house because of such heavy blood loss. I had to change my sanitary towels every half an hour to cope with the bleeding. I also had to have two blood transfusions during this time. More recently I was bleeding continuously in between my periods which were very draining physically and emotionally. I was experiencing some pelvic cramps and a general ‘heavy’ feeling in my womb.

My gynaecologist just said that it was due to the fibroids and it would be easier to have a hysterectomy. However, at the age of 42 I knew that I really didn’t want to go down this route – not yet anyway until I had explored all other avenues.

I was given ‘The Nutritional Health Handbook’ by Dr Marilyn Glenville, by a friend, which gave me hope that there was help for my condition. The great thing about this book is how it explains all the different treatments available, e.g. medical protocols and the natural treatment. The case studies in the book were particularly inspiring which encouraged me to call the clinic and make an appointment.

I phoned the Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic and booked my first appointment which was so motivating as I had finally made one step in the right direction in helping myself to better health. The receptionist explained that I would have to complete a comprehensive Nutrition Questionnaire prior to coming for my first consultation. This was really helpful as it made me think about my health and how I was feeling and also what I was eating.

I sent this back in so the practitioner had time to look through it before I came in. I also decided to perform a Mineral Deficiency Test to check my levels of essential minerals. This was a very simple, non invasive test which involved me taking a sample of my hair which was then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results were back in time for my first appointment.

Dr Glenville’s practitioner took a very comprehensive medical history and explained to me all about fibroids and heavy bleeding and the links with female hormone imbalance and nutrient deficiencies. She told me that fibroids are stimulated by excess oestrogen, so my diet would be focusing on clearing oestrogen efficiently from my body and following a ‘hormone friendly’ diet. This involved avoiding meat because of the saturated fats that can cause inflammation and add to my heavy periods and ‘clots’.

Caffeine had to come out also which surprised me, but the practitioner explained that it increases blood flow so not great for my heavy bleeding. It was also recommended that I only drink bottled water because the oestrogens within the water supply could create more imbalance. I was shocked to learn just how exposed we are to these hormones and toxins through our diet and environment without really knowing.

The practitioner explained the importance of having a healthy liver and bowel when there is hormone dominance in the body because if they are sluggish due to too much caffeine, environmental toxins and poor diet, oestrogen may not be cleared from the body adequately. Good liver and bowel function is dependant on plenty of fibre (oats, flaxseeds, fresh fruit and vegetables) which I must admit my diet was lacking in. The herb Milk Thistle was also used for a short term liver support due to its ability to help with liver detoxification.

Because of my heavy bleeding, I was low in the mineral iron. Iron deficiency is a bit of a double-edged sword I learned because if you bleed heavily throughout your periods you are more likely to be iron deficient. However one of the symptoms of iron deficiency is also heavy periods. I was taking iron ferrous sulphate which the practitioner explained was a poorly absorbed form of iron and recommended an alternative to consider. Apart from the iron ferrous sulphate not being particularly well absorbed, it was also giving me black stools and was adding to my sluggish bowel. I also had to eat more iron-rich foods as it’s important not to rely on a supplement.

It was recommended that I eat more dark green leafy vegetables like watercress, tofu, dried apricots, millet, parsley and beans and pulses. Nettle tea was also recommended for its natural ability to absorb iron and other essential minerals.

Alongside the iron, I was prescribed a good quality multi vitamin and mineral to give me a good base every day, together with essential fatty acids to promote hormone balance and vitamin C which helps iron absorption. Because I was low in magnesium which was picked up from the Mineral Analysis, I was prescribed additional magnesium for 12 weeks until I repeated the test. This extra magnesium really helped with the pelvic cramps I was experiencing because magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. For more specific hormone balance, I was prescribed several herbs, including agnus castus and black cohosh which were working on regulating my cycle and helping to reduce the blood flow.

The practitioner gave me a really helpful menu planner to give me some more ideas and asked me to complete a diet and symptom diary until my next appointment in 6 weeks. Keeping such a detailed diary was really inspiring for me and made me focus on what I was putting into my body and how it was affecting my periods.

Within a month of following the recommendations my periods were considerably lighter, lasting only 9 days instead of 12 and the blood was flowing better without the clots I had been experiencing. The herbs had made an immediate difference to the amount of blood I was losing which was astounding. As a result of this, I also had more energy and less bloating and ‘pelvic congestion’ (heavy/bulky feeling in my womb which I had always experienced). For the first time in I don’t know how long, I could plan social events without having to worry about when my period was due!

Because I had been prescribed herbs, the practitioner recommended another consultation 6 weeks on to keep me monitored and then make changes to my programme as necessary. It was a nice feeling to think that I was being supported and observed rather than just being sent away feeling left alone to ‘get on with it’.

My Comments:

Karen’s story is a real inspiration for those who want to take control of their health and look at all the options available. Not only have her periods regulated and become lighter – she has got her life back and now doesn’t have to plan her life around her periods.

We have just seen how effective good nutrition can be in treating hormone imbalance, but it is best done under supervision from a qualified nutritionist, particularly when using supplements. For people who are combining the medical approach with complementary it is even more important to seek help because of possible drug – nutrient interactions.

Of course there are times when the medical approach is the only way, but the more you can do to support your body naturally the better. This is highlighted in my book ‘The Nutritional Health Handbook’ where it does go through the medical approach and complementary approach, giving you the choice and to ultimately be empowered to form your own opinion and take control.

If you are interested in having the Mineral Analysis test done please click here.