As a fibroid treatment progesterone's effectiveness stems from its powerful counter-estrogenic properties. Hormone imbalances induced by environmental poisons, especially the 'xeno-estrogens', are considered by some authorities to be a likely cause of fibroids.
Fibroids are benign, usually painless tumours found in the uterus, made of muscle and connective tissue. The cause is unknown. Starting as microscopic bodies, they can grow to the size of a grapefruit or larger, sometimes filling the entire uterus.
Pregnancy reduces the risk of new ones forming.
Estrogen stimulates the growth of fibroids. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) are also implicated in their formation. Estrogen also maintains secretion of MMPs, so a vicious cycle is started.
Progesterone suppresses estrogen. The high level of progesterone in pregnancy is the probable reason pregnancy is protective.
Matrix metalloproteinases are enzymes that break down protein. They play a role in the breakdown of endometrial tissues at the end of the menstrual cycle. If they are over active, as would be the case with an excess of estrogen in the body, (estrogen stimulates its production), the result is a pathological reaction such as inflammation and excessive bleeding in the uterus. A high level of MMPs can lead to both rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, cirrhosis and cancer.
Progesterone suppresses matrix metalloproteinases.
From 15 to 20% of reproductive women develop fibroids. But they occur most frequently in women from the mid thirties on, affecting 30 to 40%. A time when oestrogen levels are high but progesterone levels are declining. They often cause heavy, irregular, sometimes painful periods. It is known that after menopause with the drop in the estrogen level they disappear.
Supplemental progesterone, by suppressing both oestrogen and MMPs, is often effective at reducing fibroids. If not too large, they are gradually absorbed back into the body, taking from three to twelve months to do so.
As a fibroid treatment progesterone therapy often helps to prevent the heavy bleeding and pain if present.
Current medical treatment is a hysterectomy, uterine artery embolisation (UAE) or laparoscopic myomectomy (LM) to remove them. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used for the pain and oral contraceptives to control the heavy bleeding.
Some symptoms are... fullness or pressure in the abdomen, pain with periods, gas, frequent urination, heavy bleeding, often with clots.
Additional information and references.
To find out more about progesterone therapy in general and how it benefits health issues other than as a fibroid treatment, please click here.