Lewis Mehl-Madrona MD at the Program in Integrative Medicine of the University of Arizona in Tucson, compared a combination of CAM therapies to conventional treatment for uterine fibroids. Thirty-seven menstruating women, aged 24 to 45 years, with palpable uterine fibroids were enrolled in the study. Half received weekly traditional Chinese medicine, body therapy (somatic therapy, bodywork), and guided imagery for up to 6 months. The other half, matched controls, received standard care. The women were checked for changes in fibroid size, changes in bothersome symptoms, and general level of patient satisfaction.
Fibroids shrank or stopped growing in 22 patients among the treatment group and in 3 among the comparison group (P <.01). Cost of care averaged $3800 per patient in the CAM treatment group and was significantly greater than costs for the comparison group for the study period. Bothersome symptoms of fibroids responded equally well to pharmacological or nonpharmacological therapies. Patient satisfaction was significantly higher on all measures among the treatment group, as compared to those receiving conventional care.
The study concludes that, as reported previously in the Chinese medical literature, alternatives exist to pharmacological and surgical methods for treating uterine fibroids, but they are not inexpensive.
Citation: Mehl-Madrona L. Complementary medicine treatment of uterine fibroids: a pilot study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 Mar-Apr;8(2):34-6, 38-40, 42, 44-6.