BY TONY NWANKWO
WHEN a 35-year old housewife walked into a clinic in Festac Town, Lagos recently, she was a bundle of worry. The mother of two beautiful daughters had a problem of secondary infertility. She and her spouse had been through thick and thin to resolve the problem without success. Apart from painful menstruation, she had symptoms of pregnancy – missed periods, swollen breasts and protruding stomach. The trip to yet another clinic was part of her search for succour. Following physical examination, the doctor recommended an abdominal scan. Only then was the cause of her woes unveiled. She had uterine fibroid. Her case was not unusual because fibroid is quite common. It is a condition that is bringing sorrow into the lives of many women and wrecking marriages. Even when surgery is recommended, pregnancy may not be guaranteed. Experts say surgery for fibroid could involve the removal of the patient’s womb. So, it was a call to arms when, in response to complaints from its independent distributors on the prevalence of this condition, that Forever Living Products (Nigeria) Limited, engaged an expert in the field of herbal medicine and clinical sexology, Dr. Taiwo Fadeyi, Medical Director, F&G Clinic & Laboratory Services, Lekki, Lagos. Fadeyi, who is also a marriage counselor, told a large audience in Lagos all they needed to know about the condition. He began by describing fibroid as a non-cancerous tissue found in the womb. “It is a mass which creates a lot of problems for women in terms of fertility, menstrual problems and frequent abdominal pains”. According to him, fibroid has become rampant in Nigeria due to modern lifestyle. “The causes of fibroid can be traced to lifestyle our people now adopt. Such lifestyles cannot be compared with the natural lifestyles of the people of old.” He added: “There are so many things bringing in a lot of estrogen into the body systems now, such as plastics, pesticides and even the foods and the processes under which we breed animals for consumption. “Most of these things, including fishes, are bred artificially. So they store those hormones that we are imbibing and that are what is causing some of these problems. What to do? You need supplements; they do help and they will continue to help”, Fadeyi assured. He said herbal herbal supplements are holistic in that they go into the body and try to reverse whatever bad that had been done inside the body and they want to do that holistically. “That is the way they help”, he said, displaying to the audience, two specimens of fibroid extracted from patients at his clinic recently. Fadeyi said supplements were capable of not only managing the ailment, but capable of providing possible cure, recommending supplements like Aloe Vera Gel, Arctic Sea, Aloe Berry Nectar as foundation supplements that could take care of Fibroid condition and even help to restore and check re-growth for those who had undergone surgery. “Definitely, a surgery for fibroid is recommended for cases which cannot be managed. In cases of surgery, where you have a patient that is bleeding uncontrollably, or you have a patient who has a big fibroid mass, I will personally suggest surgery for such cases and thereafter they can go back and use these supplements to prevent reoccurrence”Fadeyi stressed that Forever supplements are natural products which have been accepted all over the world as a check against contamination modern living has brought. To those with fibroid, he advised, “For each particular case, I would just normally say, herbal supplements.”
Garlic and thyme, the two powerful antioxidants found in Forever Garlic-Thyme®, combine to create a great tool in maintaining good health. When garlic is cut or crushed, enzymes react to produce a powerful immune-enhancing agent. Studies have shown that garlic’s other ingredients help the metabolism convert fats to energy and protect the body against free radicals.
Thyme contains saponins and other beneficial antioxidant substances.
- Powerful antioxidant
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- Helps protect the body against free radicals
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The Critical Omega-3:Omega-6 Balance
There is an important balance that most people do not fully understand when it comes to Omegas. Historically, nutritionally balanced diets contained a healthy ratio of Omegas as 1:1 up to 1:4 DHA:EPA. Unfortunately, many diets include unhealthy levels of Omega-6’s which are traditionally derived from fried foods, vegetable oils, fake butter products, grain-fed animal fat and other modern convenience and processed foods. In addition, many diets are low in fish and Omega-3 consumption, which creates an unhealthy ratio of Omega-6: Omega-3 as high as 30:1! The key to getting back to a healthy ratio of DHA:EPA is increasing Omega-3 consumption and reducing Omega-6 intake.
Forever Arctic Sea® has been improved to not only increase the total amount of Omega-3’s you get per serving, but also has significantly increased the amount of DHA per dose. DHA Omega-3 is naturally found throughout the body and is most abundant in the brain, eyes and heart. Just as calcium is essential for building strong bones, DHA ensures that the cells in the brain, retina, heart and other parts of the nervous system develop and function properly through all stages of life. Additionally, DHA intake has been associated with a decreased risk of mental decline associated with aging. No other fatty acid demonstrates this relationship.
- Custom Omega-3 ratio to mimic a diet rich in seafood
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- Ocean friendly and responsibly sourced • Pure source of EPA and DHA
- It is a powerful antioxidant, forming part of the body’s defense system against the harmful effects of free radicals.
- It is a beneficial supplement for the skin, as it supports the formation of intercellular collagen
- It is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue.
Vitamin C is water soluble, and is secreted from the body. Since humans are among the few animals that are unable to make their own vitamin C, we must therefore get it from our food, drinks, and supplements, such as Forever Absorbent-C®.
The need for adequate levels of vitamin C is very evident. Science reports that one cigarette destroys 25mg of vitamin C. Stress, medication and environmental factors all heavily deplete the body of this vitamin. A deficiency can result in broken capillaries and bleeding gums.
Forever Absorbent-C® with Oat Bran is an outstanding nutritional supplement. It combines two vital nutrients into one convenient product. The bonded matrix composition, is a unique delivery system combining 500 mg of oat bran with the full 60 mg of Vitamin C in each tablet.
A daily intake of Forever® Absorbent-C® is highly recommended for good health.
- Oat bran aids absorption of vitamin C
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What you should know about fibroids
These uterine tumors, though usually benign, can cause heavy bleeding, cramps, and pregnancy complications. But there are several good options for treatment.
Fibroids—smooth muscle tumors of the uterus—are common, affecting as many as 75% of women. They are rarely cancerous, and they cause symptoms in only about 20% of the women who have them. However, if you're one of those with symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding, bad cramps, pelvic pressure, constipation, or frequent urination, you know how fibroids can disrupt your life. Even if they don't cause symptoms, they may grow into the uterine cavity, potentially complicating a pregnancy and raising the risk of miscarriage.
"Managing uterine fibroids depends on several factors, such as a woman's symptoms, whether or not she wants to have children, her age, and her personal preferences," says Dr. Hye-Chun Hur, director of the Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and associate medical editor of Harvard Women's Health Watch.
Treating fibroidsThese days, there's no reason to endure fibroid symptoms. There are several effective therapies that can be tailored to suit you, including the following:
Medical treatment. Traditional combined oral
contraceptives, which contain both estrogen and a progestin, can provide
effective treatment for fibroid-related symptoms. They can help
diminish extremely heavy bleeding and can help regulate menstrual
periods. Progestin-only therapies can stabilize the uterine lining to
reduce bleeding. Both combined oral contraceptives and progestins come
in a variety of forms, including pills, patch (Ortho Evra patch),
injections (Depo-Provera), implants (Implanon), vaginal ring (NuvaRing),
and a progestin-releasing inatrauterine device (Mirena IUD). Although
these treatments can be very effective, fibroid symptoms typically
return when women stop taking the medications.
Uterine artery embolization. A radiologist performs
this minor procedure to deposit small particles into the uterine
artery, blocking off the blood supply to the fibroids, which shrinks
them and reduces bleeding. This procedure is not advised for women who
want to have children in the future.
Endometrial ablation. This minor, same-day
procedure destroys the lining of the uterus and decreases the amount of
uterine bleeding. Although pregnancy is less likely after an endometrial
ablation, this procedure does not provide contraception, and those who
conceive after an ablation are at increased risk of pregnancy
complications. Women who choose ablation are advised to take
contraceptive measures, and the procedure is usually recommended only
for women who have completed childbearing.
Myomectomy. This term refers to a surgical
procedure to remove fibroids while leaving the uterus in place. This
treatment is often used in women who still want to have children.
Fibroids may be surgically removed through a variety of techniques; the
best approach depends on the fibroid's location. Fibroids in the uterine
cavity are best removed vaginally using a hysteroscope. This is an
incisionless approach, in which a miniature camera and surgical tools
are inserted through the cervix and into the uterine cavity. Fibroids
within the uterine walls or protruding outward are better removed
abdominally, either through a traditional open abdominal incision or
with a minimally invasive approach using a laparoscope (a device that
inserts a camera and tools through incisions no larger than a
Hysterectomy. The removal of the uterus along with
the attached fibroids provides a permanent solution for women who aren't
interested in having children.
When to get treatmentWomen typically are not complainers. Generally, they are the caretakers of the family and are not used to putting themselves first, so they may delay getting treatment until symptoms are intolerable.
"I often see women who are in the late stage of symptoms—either with severe pain or with low blood counts from anemia due to excessive bleeding," Dr. Hur says. "If women seek help when their condition is symptomatic but not so excessive, they may have more treatment options available to them, including the more conservative therapies. The sooner they can get relief, they can get on with their lives."
Symptoms alone are not always the deciding factor for treatment. Whether or not you want to have children is also important.
If you still plan to have children, fibroids that have grown into the uterine cavity should be removed before you conceive, since they can cause miscarriages and pregnancy complications. If you have fibroids that have increased significantly in number or size, they should also be removed because they may cause complications during pregnancy. Myomectomy is usually the best fibroid treatment for women who plan to conceive.
If you don't plan to have children, your symptoms, age, and health play a greater role in determining when to seek treatment. After menopause, fibroids often shrink and symptoms may resolve in women who don't use hormone therapy. If you are in your 40s and your symptoms are tolerable, you may choose to wait and see if they regress after menopause. However, if you have excessive bleeding that has caused anemia (abnormally low numbers of red blood cells) or symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life, it may be time to think about having your fibroids treated. Speak to your doctor about which treatment is best for you.
FibroidsFibroids are classified by their location in or on the uterus. A woman often has several, and may have more than one type.
A fibroid can grow on the outer surface of the uterus (A), within the uterine wall (B), or under the endometrium, or uterine lining, (C). Fibroids may also extend from the interior (D) or exterior (E) wall of the uterus on a stalk called a pedicle.
Is power morcellation safe for uterine surgery?Power morcellation—the use of a laparoscopic device to break up uterine tissue—has made it possible to perform hysterectomy and myomectomy through a small incision. In 2014, an FDA investigation raised concerns that the risk of morcellating an unsuspected fibroid cancer and dispersing malignant cells throughout a woman's abdominal cavity was higher than previously thought, which in turn could significantly reduce long-term survival in such women. The FDA recommended that power morcellators no longer be used for hysterectomy or myomectomy in most women with fibroids.
The FDA recommendation is just that—a guideline, not a law. Many gynecologists have countered that morcellation can be used safely for many women with fibroids.
In a commentary in the December 2015 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, a group of 49 physicians who reviewed extensive data challenged the FDA recommendation, contending that the benefits of a less invasive surgery far exceeded the risk of spreading a low-incidence cancer. The authors recommended minimizing risk by using ultrasound, MRI, and biopsies to look for cancer before using morcellation procedures in older women undergoing fibroid surgery who might have a higher risk for certain uterine cancers.
In another article, in the October 2015 European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Dr. Hur and colleagues highlighted the importance of informed consent and shared decision making for women with fibroids who are planning hysterectomy. They recommended that women discuss with their surgeons the pros and cons of open hysterectomy without morcellation versus laparoscopic hysterectomy with morcellation. The authors acknowledged that evidence is limited, but it does suggest that cancer outcomes are worse among patients who undergo morcellation. However, they also raised concerns that converting all laparoscopic hysterectomies to open abdominal hysterectomies to avoid inadvertent morcellation of hidden fibroid cancer would lead to other risks, such as increased adhesions, hernias, obstructions, blood clots, and infection.