Who has heard this? "I have fibroid, and my doctor put me on estrogen (or birth control) and he also suggested a hysterectomy"
What should I do??? GET A NEW DOCTOR!!!
Fibroids are estrogen dependent benign tumors that need estrogen to grow. If estrogen is added they get bigger, if estrogen is removed they shrink....plain and simple. This is nothing but a money making trick to stear these women toward the surgery.
Around 650,000 unnecessary hysterectomies are performed each year in the U.S. Most of which are done for the quick way out or for the paycheck.
ARTICLE #1 Fibroid Supplements
ARTICLE #2 A True Help for the Uterine Fibroid Tumor
ARTICLE #3 Uterine Leiomyomas (Fibroids)
ARTICLE #4 Read (Prementrual Syndrome: A Natural Approach to Management) under the PMS section
ARTICLE #5 Hormone Heresy
Fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus. They can be found on the uterus, in its muscular wall or within the uterine cavity. 20-50% of women can have fibroids, often very small, although they can grow as large as a grapefruit. There may be multiple fibroids of different sizes. Most women don't have any symptoms from fibroids, but if they get large they can cause pressure on the bladder or rectum or if located in the uterine cavity may cause severe bleeding and pain. A pelvic exam and ultrasound can diagnosis fibroids and be used to monitor them over time. They usually shrink with menopause indicating their growth is influenced by hormones. If they are not causing symptoms they can just be observed over time. Conventional treatment includes surgery, either hysterectomy or just the removal of the fibroid, progesterone treatment, or medication to decrease pituitary hormones.
Hormonal imbalance, poor circulation and poor elimination are related to the development of fibroids.
Natural treatment includes a whole foods diet with the elimination of estrogen containing meat and dairy products, plenty of phytoestrogen foods including soy, flax, and other beans and grains, vitamin and mineral supplementation including plenty of Vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamin E, B vitamins, and magnesium.
Pelvic circulation and energy can be increased with kegal exercises and alternating sitz baths. Acupuncture and massage can also increase circulation and energy. Emotional work should focus on expressing creativity.
Herbal treatment for fibroids involves balancing hormones, increasing circulation and elimination, reducing bleeding and managing pain.
To correct hormonal imbalance-
Vitex- helps to normalize hormonal production and ovulation through its effects on the pituitary gland
Dosage- Liquid extract- 1/2 teaspoon each morning
Dry herb in capsules- 500 mg each morning
Standardized extract-225 milligrams of an extract standardized for 0.5 percent agnusides
To improve elimination-
Dandelion-a very good nutritive herb with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Dandelion improves liver function, helping to metabolize hormones.
Dosage-Liquid extract- 1 teaspoon three times a day
Dry herb in capsules- 1000 mg three times a day
Other herbs- Milk Thistle, Burdock, Artichoke, Yellow Dock, Goldenseal
To improve circulation and decrease bleeding-
Witch hazel- a good astringent herb to help with excessive uterine bleeding
Liquid extract- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon three times a day
Dry herb in capsules-250-500 mg three times a day
Caution- only use witch hazel intended for internal use, witch hazel preparations intended for topical application should not be taken internally
Other herbs- Geranium, Goldenseal
Relief of pain-
Wild Yam-a good antispasmodic
Liquid extract- 1/2-1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours as needed for pain
Dry herb in capsules- 500- 1000 mg every 2-3 hours as needed for pain
Other herbs- Cramp Bark, Black Haw, California Poppy, kava kava, Jamaican Dogwood
Coenzyme Q10 -30 mg daily Promotes immune function and tissue oxygenation
Garlic -To supply iron in easily assimilated natural formula. Women with heavy menstrual flow as a result of fibroids are often anemic.
L-Arginine -500 mg daily on empty stomach. Do not take with milk Enhances immune function and may retard tumor growth
L-lysine -500 mg daily on empty stomach Needed to balance arginine
Maitake and/or Shiitake -To strengthen the body and improve overall health and have potent immunostimulant properties that inhibit tumor growth
Multivitamins - Take a good multivitamin. (no Centrum or any of the popularized and commercialized multivitamins. They contain too many byproduct and most contents are not in a form that you can absorb. Get one from a health food store)
A good protein powder (soy-spirulina) will take care of many of these nutrients rather than buying and taking multiple supplements.
********************************BONUS************************************************** I have used only the following treatments and seen fibroids disappear in many women simply by using the following: 1. The homeopathic remedy Sepia (at least 12C or above) and 2. Removing all meats and dairy products until undetectable. ********************************BONUS**************************************************
There are some Naturopaths that recommend indole-3-carbonol (I3C) 200 mg twice a day for women under 150 lbs. Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a phytochemical produced in the stomach with gastric acid from the indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Diindolylmethane (DIM) 600-1200 mg per day may be a better choice since it does not require converson in the stomach like I3C (Tagamet and Zantac will block the action of I3C, but not DIM). DIM is also not toxic. But dizzines, nausea and vomiting is present with high amounts of I3C ingested. I3C has some toxic metabolites. DIM seems to be a better choice. DIM must also be in an easily absorbed pill form. A good choice might be DIM Enhanced Delivery System from Allergy Research Group. These compounds that are found in the health food store under nutritional supplements give your body the raw material to breakdown estradiol and excrete it from the body faster. In other words, I3C and DIM can help lower your estradiol levels and get rid of your fibroid.
Absorbable diindolylmethane has been associated with improvement in premenstrual breast pain and the resolution of breast cysts. In addition, supplementation with absorbable diindolylmethane is also associated with improved symptoms of PMS, improved cervical health as documented by normalized Pap Smears, and reduced menstrual pain.
by Elizabeth Smith, M.D.
I am a medical doctor, and my mother was 68 and had just been to her Gynecologist who happened to be my class mate from medical school 10 years earlier. She had been diagnosed with a uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) also known as a uterine fibroma or myoma the size of a softball by ultrasound. I had just been reading a book by J. Lee, M.D., a Norwegian physician in Sevastapol, California. Lee, M.D. had been treating uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ) also know as uterine fibromas with great success for several decades with a simple over the counter hormone that could be bought at the health food store. I was very skeptical. My experience in medical school taught me that a uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) was treated by a hysterectomy. However, Lee, M.D. was saying something very different! He was claiming that too much estrogen could cause a uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma )! For the first time in my medical career this cause of a uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) made sense! Mainstream medicine readily acknowledged that women that had uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ) and not on HRT (hormone replacement therapy - conjugated estrogen/progestin) after menopause would have their uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ) shrivel up and disappear. Lee, M.D. advised to treat a woman with a uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) by taking her off HRT and then giving her a simple over the counter hormone cream/oil.
So that is what I advised my mother with some trepidation. The first hormone cream that I gave my mother actually caused her uterus to get BIGGER. With horror, I checked the ingredients and found that the manufacturer had actually included some herbs that had a strong estrogen effect. The herbs that had been put into the cream were known phytoestrogens.
I switched hormone creams to a different manufacturer and apologized to my mother. She used the hormone cream diligently. Three months later, a repeat ultrasound showed that the uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) had disappeared! However, my medical school classmate, a board certified Gynecologist still wanted to do a hysterectomy to remove her uterus for future potential uterine fibroid tumors ( myomas ). My mother refused and 4 years later she still has her uterus. The uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) has not returned. In retrospect, I found that almost always uterine fibroids disappear after menopause if the woman is NOT taking prescription estrogen from her doctor. So it is likely that stopping prescription estrogen alone after menopause would have gotten rid of the uterine fibroid. The Natural Progesterone just hurried getting rid of the fibroid along.
Later I researched the new cream that I had given my mother and found with dismay that the hormone cream contained an emulsifier that was very toxic. Three cc's of the emulsifer used in the cream when taken by mouth by an adult resulted in fatal convulsions! So if she ate one third of the bottle of the hormone cream she would die of fatal convulsions - not from the hormone but from the toxic emulsifier! So again I apologized to my mother and gave her a new hormone cream.
For premenopausal women with fibroids and Natural Progesterone use, the fibroids disappear, remain the same size, or rarely get bigger. The fibroids that rarely get bigger do so because of xenoestrogens (foreign chemical estrogens). This is usually accompanied by an increased of soreness of breasts. Chronic exposure to xenoestrogens desensitizes the body to estrogen. In other words, the body tries to get used to too much estrogen, by becoming less sensitive to estrogen. When Natural Progesterone is taken, the body resensitizes the estrogen sensitivty back to normal, and it appears as though the patient is getting more estrogen even though estrogen exposure is NOT increased. The solution is to STOP Natural Progesterone, STOP xeonestrogen exposure for 1-2 months, and then start the Natural Progesterone again in 1-2 months.
In some cases of increased fibroid size, patients may have difficulty excreting all chemicals including xenoestrogens. This is usually marked by a hypersensitivity to smell and a sensitivity to small amounts of drugs like coffee and/or alcohol. Low level anxiety and fear creates this difficulty in excreting chemicals. The low level anxiety or fear may be due to past sexual abuse, physical abuse, jumping through hoops to perform to be loved and accepted, perfectionism, control, or fighting constantly with parents. A woman that competes in a man's world that strives to be equal to men also seems to be a common theme. This constant emotional stress changes appears to increase cell membrane rigidity and impairs excretion of xenoestrogens.
Get Rid of Uterine Fibroid Tumors( Myomas )!
Dr. Lee Treats Uterine Fibroid Tumors Successfully
Dr. Lee further writes in his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause" :
"Otherwise known as myoma of the uterus, uterine fibroid tumors are the most common growth of the female genital tract. They are round, firm, benign (i.e. noncancerous) lumps of the muscular wall of the uterus, composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue, and are rarely solitary. Usually as small as a hen's egg, they commonly grow gradually to the size of an orange or grapefruit. The largest uterine fibroid tumor ( myoma ) on record weighed over 100 pounds. They often cause or are coincidental with heavier periods, irregular bleeding, and/or painful periods.
Uterine fibroid tumors are also one of the most common reasons that women in their thirties and forties have a hysterectomy. Some particularly skillful surgeons are capable of removing only the uterine fibroid tumor, leaving the uterus intact, but they are the exception.
Uterine fibroid tumors, like breast fibrocysts, are a product of estrogen dominance (too much estrogen). Estrogen stimulates their growth, and lack of estrogen causes them to atrophy. Estrogen dominance is a much greater problem than recognized by contemporary medicine. Many women in their mid thirties begin to have anovulatory (nonovulating) cycles. As they approach the decade before menopause, they are producing much less progesterone than expected, but still producing normal (or more) estrogen. They retain water and salt, their breast swell and become fibrocystic, they gain weight (especially around the hips and torso), they become depressed and lose sex drive, their bone suffer mineral loss, and they develop fibroids. All are signs of estrogen dominance.
When sufficient hormone is replaced, uterine fibroid tumors no longer grow in size (they generally decrease in size) and can be kept from growing until menopause, after which they will atrophy. This is the effect of reversing estrogen dominance."
"Uterine fibroid tumors, like breast fibrocysts, are a product of estrogen dominance (too much estrogen). Estrogen stimulates their growth, and lack of estrogen causes them to atrophy."
Dr. Lee further writes in his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer" :
"Fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus) are the most common reason that women visit a gynecologist in the ten or so years before menopause. Fibroids tend to grow during the years before menopause and then atrophy after menopause. This suggests that estrogen stimulates fibroid growth, but we also know that once they get larger, progesterone too can contribute to their growth. Many doctors prescribe Lupron injections to block all sex hormone production. This causes fibroids to shrink, but they regrow when the injections are stopped. The anti-progesterone drug RU-486 is also used to reduce the size of larger fibroids. Women with fibroids are often estrogen dominant and have low progesterone levels. In women with smaller fibroids (the size of a tangerine or smaller), when progesterone is restored to normal levels, the fibroids often stop growing and shrink a bit, which is likely due to progesterone's ability to help speed up the clearance of estrogens from tissue. If this treatment can be continued through menopause, hysterectomy can be avoided.
However, some fibroids, when they reach a certain "critical mass," are accompanied by degeneration or cell death in the interior part of the fibroid, and will have interaction with white blood cells that ends up with the creation of more estrogen within the fibroid itself. It also contains growth factors that are stimulated by progesterone. Under these circumstances, surgical removal of the fibroid (myomectomy) or the uterus (hysterectomy) may become necessary. When you think of treating smaller fibroids, your should be thinking in terms of keeping your estrogen milieu as low as possible; when treating large fibroids, all hormones should be kept as low as possible.
The last thing you want to do if you have fibroids is take estrogen, which will stimulate them to grow. If you're estrogen dominant, then it's important to use supplemental progesterone , usually in doses of 20 mg per day during the luteal phase of the cycle. Sometimes this approach works to slow or stop the fibroid growth, and sometimes it doesn't. It is worth a try. Reducing stress, increasing exercise, and reducing calories are also good strategies for slowing fibroid growth.
There are a number of techniques for removing fibroids without removing the uterus. If your doctor doesn't know about these, find another one who does! The difference in recovery time alone between laparoscopic removal of fibroids ( for example) and hysterectomy is three weeks versus three months.
Ultrasound tests can be obtained initially and after three months to check results. A good result would show that the fibroid size hadn't increased, or had decreased by 10 to 15 percent. With post menopausal hormone levels, fibroids usually atrophy (and not taking prescription estrogen)."
"The over the counter hormone cream, saved my mother from the expense and pain of a surgical operation to remove her uterine fibroid!" says Elizabeth Smith, M.D.
"From my women patients, I learned that uterine fibroid tumors were most often a sign of estrogen dominance. I also recommend adding vitamin E in dosages of 600 IU at bedtime, supplemental magnesium (300 milligrams a day), and vitamin B6 (50 milligrams per day)***. This treatment is simple, safe, inexpensive, successful, and natural."
***Whole grains also regulate hormonal levels due to their high levels of vitamin B and vitamin E, which have a beneficial effect on both the liver and the ovaries. In 1942, a researcher named Biskind found that B vitamin deficiency hindered the liver's ability to metabolize estrogen levels in both animal and human test subjects. The addition of B vitamin supplementation to the diet of women suffering from PMS, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fibrocystic breast disease helped to decrease the severity of their symptoms. Studies conducted at UCLA Medical School during the 1980s found that taking a specific B vitamin, pyridoxine B6, helped to relieve symptoms of menstrual cramps and PMS.
Research also conducted during the 1980s at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center similarly found, in several placebo controlled studies, that vitamin E is useful in reducing many PMS symptoms, as well as fibrocystic breast discomfort. Other studies have found that vitamin E supplementation reduced menopause related hot flashes, fatigue, and mood swings in 66 to 85 percent of the women tested, depending on the study. One additional study noted a decrease in the symptoms of vaginal atrophy in 50 percent of the postmenopausal women volunteers.
by Frank E. Strehl, DC, DABCI
In the United States approximately 25% of reproductive-age women develop uterine leiomyomas. Ten hysterectomies are performed for every myomectomy in the surgical management of uterine leiomyomas. Almost one in every three women who undergoe hysterectomy has a diagnosis of uterine leiomyoma. In fact, uterine leiomyomas are the most frequently occuring uterine neoplasm and the most common indication for hysterectomy among the 650,000 women who this procedure each year in the U.S. Most hysterectomies for fibroids are performed for relief of symptoms; commonly, presenting with the complaints that include abnormal uterine bleeding and pelvic pain or pressure.
Uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) are benign neoplasms of the smooth muscle of the uterus. These neoplasms should be considered as estrogen-dependent as they atrophy, fibrose and even become calcified post-menopausally and raely arise following menopause. Also, oophorectomy results in atrophy of leiomyomas premenopausally while there is an increased incidence and growth during pregnancy when estrogen levels are quite high. We now know that fibroids usually occur in women with cytogenic abnormalities of chromosomes 1, 7, and 13.
Conservative allopathic management has focused on the use of oral contraceptives and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists such as leuprolide acetate (Lupron). This latter has found to be effective at decreasing the size of the fibroid as it inhibits estrogen production. The notable side effects of Lupron include severe hot flashes, persistant abdominal discomfort, premature menopause, and occasionally increased clitoral size and decreased breast size. Dicontinuation of Lupron resulted in a return to the original size of the fibroid. Medroxy progesterone acetate (Depo-provera), megestrol acetate (Megace) and norehtindrone (Micronor) also had notable adverse side effects without significant improvement.
There appears to be a genetic predisposition for developing uterine leiomyomas, but as is frequently the case many other factors are also involved. Some of these might include a diet low in fiber, the consumption of caffeine with its methylxanthines, estrogen from oral contraceptives, an excess consumption of red meat and its content of growth hormones, and possibly other xenobiotics.
1) The woman may present complaining of urinary urgency and frequency as well as nocturia.
2) She may complain of pelvic fulness or discomfort.
3) Lumbosacral back pain may be a presenting symptoms.
4) Menorrhagia is a frequent complaint and one of great concern due to the resulting anemia.
5) On speculum exam the uterus may be displaced.
6) The bimanual pelvic exam frequently reveals hard, nontender masses within the uterus.
7) Transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound images are consistant with uterine leiomyomas.
1) Eliminate: Caffeine, red meat, strong perfumes, dairy, alcohol, and aspartame (Nutrasweet)
Decrease: Sugar, saturated fats and oils
Increase: Dietary fiber and vegetables
2) Aerobic exercise
3) Omega-6 fatty acid (GLA) - 3,000 mg four times per day
4) Lipotropic factors if the woman has an underactive liver: Methionine (1,000mg four times per day), choline (2,000 mg four times per day), inositol (650mg four times per day)
5) Magnesium - 500 mg four times per day (to soften the cell walls of the tumors)
6) Vitamin E - begin at 400 IU four times per day and increase to 1,200 IU four times per day
7) Pyridoxine - 200 mg four times per day
8) Vitamin B complex - 100 mg four times per day
9) Proteolytic enzymes - one with each meal and two between meals
10) Vaginal depletion packs - *** these can only be given by a doctor that has been trained with them**
11) A bimanual exam should be repeated every 3 months to assess the effectiveness of the treatment
12) An ultrasound should be given each year to assess the effectiveness of the treatment
Vaginal Depletion Packs
Vaginal depletion packs have been used by natural physicians since the 1800's. Vaginal depletion packs work by improving the circulation of the pelvic organs by suspending the uterus high in the pelvis and by the action of the substances within the packs which draws fluid and infection out of the uterus. These therapeutic effects make vaginal depletion packs effective in the treatment of such conditions as cervical erosions, acute and chronic cervicitis, abnormal Pap smears, endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and any condition of pelvic congestion.
Vaginal depletion packs inhibit local bacterial growth, stimulate the body to slough off abnormal cervical cells and promote lymphatic drainage.
Although vaginal depletion packs are effective any time, they are most effective just prior to and immediately after the woman's menstrual period and during ovulation. Vaginal depletion packs are usually inserted once a week for six weeks and then every three weeks thereafter until the problem resolves, however every condition is unique and treatment may vary.
Ideally the pack should remain in place for 24 hours. The woman may experience increased vaginal discharge for 24 to 48 hours after insertion of the pack. This may be substantial and may require the wearing of a panty shield during this time. Should the woman experience any burning or discomfort, the packs can be removed early followed by douching with water to ease the symptoms.
Estrogen's Deadly Truth
Women are misinformed about their hormones, to the detriment of their health,
while drug companies reap huge profits at their expense.
For over 300 years, beginning in the 13th century and continuing well into the 16th century, the Inquisition was a reign of terror for the vast majority of people living throughout Europe and Scandinavia. The political, economic and religious forces of that time joined together to consolidate their power by eliminating those whom they perceived as impeding their ultimate objectives.
The unfortunate target of their efforts were the keepers of the healing arts and the ancient spiritual and cultural wisdoms. Historians debate the exact toll of such a hellish time - whether it was several hundreds of thousands or as many as nine million people - but what is undebatable is that the vast majority of the victims were women. In fact, the Inquisition is now regarded as a period of genocide against women, which successfully divested women of their power, self-respect, wealth, healing arts, and prominence and influence in their communities.
The Inquisition guaranteed that the Church fathers were the indisputable spiritual authorities. It was also successful in enshrining medical knowledge securely in the realm of men, since the Inquisition decreed that only trained medical doctors could now practice the healing arts and, needless to say, medical schools were barred to women (for that matter, so was any form of education).
What a relief that such a violent and misogynous era ended long ago. Or did it? Unfortunately, it appears that some traditions linger on. Women of today are still prey to vast political and economic interests, with dire consequences to their health, financial independence and personal power. Perhaps the Inquisition didn't end at all but just took on a more subtle and devious form.
Women are certainly big business to the medical and pharmaceutical interests. According to John Archer, author of Bad Medicine, about 600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year in the USA, and about 45,000 in Australia. (1) In 1994, it was estimated that 45,000 Australian women were taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). (2) Many women are presently encouraged to remain on HRT for the rest of their post-menopausal lives.
According to Dr. Stanley West, noted infertility specialist, chief of reproductive endocrinology at St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, and author of The Hysterectomy Hoax, about 90 per cent of all hysterectomies are unnecessary. Gynecological consultants to Ralph Nader's Public Health Research Group reached a similar conclusion in 1991 in their book, Women's Health Alert. According to Dr. West, the only 100 percent appropriate reason for performing an hysterectomy is for treating cancer of the reproductive organs. (3) However, hysterectomies are all too frequently offered as treatment for a variety of conditions including endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and uterine prolapse.
It is no accident that gynecologists happen to be the highest earners of all specialists. Throughout their lives, women are encouraged to be subjected continuously to various medical treatments and procedures. Natural female functions, from menstruation through childbirth and into menopause, are taken over by medical and pharmaceutical interventions. Barraged by misinformation, myths, propaganda and, in some cases, downright lies, it's no wonder that so many women are thoroughly confused about matters relating to their own bodies and their health.
The History of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Perhaps there's no topic of greater confusion to women than the highly publicized introduction of HRT for the menopausal woman. It is touted as the best thing for liberating women since the discovery of oral contraceptives - even though the statistics now show that the wide use of the Pill has given rise to health hazards such as breast cancer, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease on a scale previously unknown in medicine. (4)
Investigation into the theory of hormone replacement goes all the way back to the 1930s with the research of Dr. Serge Voronoff. His research involved implanting fresh monkey's testicles into men's scrotums, with limited effectiveness. Offshoots of his research led to the grafting of monkey ovaries in women, with rather dire consequences. After several fatalities (to both monkeys and women), the search was redirected to the use of synthetic estrogen. With the advent of World War II, research was put on hold.
Menopause didn't really come into vogue as a topic of concern for the medical profession until the 1960s. In 1966 a New York gynecologist, Dr. Robert Wilson, wrote a best seller called Feminine Forever, extolling the virtues of estrogen replacement to save women from the "tragedy of menopause which often destroys her character as well as her health." His book sold over 100,000 copies in the first year. Wilson energetically promoted menopause as a condition of "living decay." According to him, estrogen replacement was a kind of long sought after youth pill that would save poor, fading women from the horrors of age. He popularized the erroneous belief that menopause is a deficiency disease.
Women's magazines eagerly seized upon his ideas and extensively promoted his concepts. This pleased Wilson no end, since he had earlier set up The Wilson Foundation for the sole purpose of promoting the use of estrogen drugs. The pharmaceutical industry generously contributed over US$1.3 million to his Foundation. Each year he received funds from such companies as Searle, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories and Upjohn which made hormone products that Wilson claimed were effective in treating and preventing menopause. Pharmaceutical companies jumped on the bandwagon with aggressive promotions and advertising campaigns. His message hit a receptive chord: mid-life women need hormone drugs to be rescued from the inevitable horrors and decrepitude of this terrible deficiency disease called menopause.
Wilson pioneered the use of unopposed estrogen. However, there had been no formal assessment of the safety of estrogen therapy or its long term effects. Unopposed estrogen went out of vogue when it became obviously apparent that it shortened the lifetime of its users. In 1975, The New England Journal of Medicine examined the rates of endometrial cancer for estrogen consumers, concluding that the risk was seven and a half times greater for estrogen users. Women who had used estrogen for seven years or longer were 14 times more likely to develop cancer. (5)
As the popularity of unopposed estrogen therapy waned, new approaches were sought. The focus was also directed away from the false claims of preserving feminine beauty and youthfulness and towards more urgent health matters. The pharmaceutical industry resurrected estrogen replacement therapy with the new 'safe' hormone replacement therapy - a combination of synthetic progesterone and estrogen which would supposedly protect menopausal women not only from cardiovascular disease but also from the ravages of osteoporosis.
While the so-called 'experts' on women's health are reassuring women that there are no, or at least only very minor, unpleasant side effects, Dr. Lynette J. Dumble, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Department of Surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, believes that "the sole basis of HRT is to create a commercial market that is highly profitable for the pharmaceutical companies and doctors. The supposed benefits of HRT are totally unproven." She believes that HRT not only exacerbates the presenting health problems but also contributes to the acceleration of the aging process of women. It either hastens the onset of other medical conditions or worsens the existing ones.
This perspective seems to be validated by the recent findings from a landmark study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1995, involving 121,700 women, which revealed startling effects from HRT. It warned that women who used HRT to offset the symptoms of menopause also increased their chance of developing breast cancer by 30 to 40 per cent by taking the hormone for more than five years. In women aged between 60 and 64, the risk of breast cancer rose to 70 per cent after five years of HRT. Finally, the study concluded that women using HRT were 45 per cent more likely to die from breast cancer than those who chose not to use HRT or used it for less than five years. (6)
According to Leslie Kenton, author of Passage to Power, "everybody who is anybody will tell you that menopause is an estrogen-deficiency disease and that you will need to take more estrogen as you approach mid-life. What may surprise you is this: not only is most of such commonly given advice on menopause wrong, a great deal of it can be positively dangerous."
Fortunately there is another side to the hormone story - a perspective that not only can assist women of all ages to attain greater health but also to reclaim a greater sense of power, responsibility and dignity in their lives.
A Brief Gynecological Tour of a Woman's Body
In order to understand the HRT debate, it is important, first, to have a rudimentary knowledge of a woman's cyclic nature. Until recently, doctors thought that menopause began when all the eggs in the ovaries had been used up. However, recent work has shown that menopause is probably not triggered by the ovaries but by the brain. It seems that both puberty and menopause are brain-driven events.
Menstruation depends on a complex network of hormonal communications between the ovary, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) which triggers the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) by the pituitary gland. The FSH then stimulates the growth of the egg follicles (a small excretory sac or gland) in the ovaries to trigger ovulation. As the egg follicles grow, estrogen is manufactured and released into the blood.
This chain reaction is not just one way. Estradiol, one of the ovarian estrogens in the bloodstream, also acts on the hypothalamus, causing a change in GnRH. Next, this altered hormone stimulates the pituitary to produce luteinising hormone (LH) which causes the egg follicles to burst and the ovum to be released. After the egg is expelled, progesterone is also manufactured by the collapsed egg follicle which develops into the corpus luteum.
All the hormones released during the menstrual cycle are secreted not in a constant, steady way but at dramatically different rates during different parts of the 28 day cycle.
For the first eight to 11 days of the menstrual cycle, a woman's ovaries make lots of estrogen. Estrogen prepares the follicles for the release of one of the eggs. It is estrogen which proliferates the changes that take place at puberty: the growth of breasts, the development of the reproductive system and the shape of a woman's body.
The rate of estrogen secretion begins to fall off on about day 13, one day before ovulation occurs. As estrogen falls, progesterone begins to rise, stimulating very rapid growth of the follicle. Beginning with this secretion of progesterone, ovulation occurs too. After the egg has been released from the follicle (known as the luteal stage of a woman's cycle), the follicle begins to change, enlarging and becoming a unique organ known as the corpus luteum. Progesterone is secreted from the corpus luteum, this tiny organ with a huge capacity for hormone production. The surge of progesterone at the time of ovulation is the source of libido - not estrogen, as is commonly believed.
After 10 or 12 days, if fertilization does not occur, ovarian production of progesterone falls dramatically. It is this sudden decline in progesterone levels that triggers the shedding of the secretory endometrium (the menses), leading to a renewal of the entire menstrual cycle.
Ovarian estrogen and progesterone stimulate the growth of the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, in preparation for fertilization. Estrogen proliferates the growth of endometrial tissue, and progesterone facilitates the secretory lining of the uterus so the fertilized egg can implant successfully. Adequate progesterone, therefore, is the hormone most essential to the survival of the fertilized egg and the fetus.
At around 40 years of age, the interaction between hormones alters, eventually leading to menopause. It is still not clear how. Menopause may start with changes in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland rather than in the ovaries. Scientists have conducted experiments where young mice have had their ovaries replaced with those from aged animals no longer capable of reproducing. The young mice can mate and give birth. This shows that old ovaries placed in a young environment are capable of responding. On the other hand, when young ovaries are put into old mice, these mice cannot reproduce. (7)
Whatever the mechanism triggering menopause, as fewer egg follicles are stimulated, the amount of estrogen and progesterone being produced by the ovaries declines although other hormones continue to be produced. By no means do the ovaries shrivel up and cease functioning, as is popularly believed. With the reduction of these hormones, menstruation becomes scantier and erratic and eventually ceases.
However, other body sites such as the adrenal glands, skin, muscle, brain, pineal gland, hair follicles and body fat are capable of making these same hormones, enabling the female body to make healthy adjustments in hormonal balance after menopause - provided a woman has taken good care of herself during the pre-menopausal years with proper lifestyle, diet and attention to mental and emotional health.
Menopausal women have the opportunity to enter this phase of life empowered in their wisdom and creativity as never before. They have access to profound inner knowing. The renowned sociologist Margaret Mead said, "There is nothing more powerful than a menopausal woman with zest!" In many cultures around the world, menopause is a transition and an initiation into the fulfillment of a woman's power, totally symptom-free. She is held in the highest regard in her community as a wise, respected elder.
The Myth of Estrogen and Synthetic Progestins
The earlier research that led to the synthesis of estrogen made possible the development of the oral contraceptive by 1960. With consent of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Pill was widely marketed as an effective, convenient method of birth control. True sexual liberation for women was at hand at last.
However, the entire basis for the FDA's consent was the result of clinical studies conducted on 132 Puerto Rican women who had taken the Pill for one year or longer. (8) (Never mind the fact that there were five women who died during the study without any investigation into the cause of their deaths.)
By the mid-1970s the death toll of women from heart attacks and strokes began to attract public notice. A newer, supposedly safer Pill was then created with a lower dose of estrogen. But, in fact, there has never been any valid scientific proof that the Pill is safe - nor, for that matter, that any of the other forms of contraception presently available are safe. Women are only now discovering the price they have been paying for their sexual freedom: by altering their hormonal balance, many varied and devastating emotional and physiological dysfunctions have been created.
It is now 35 years on from the introduction of oral contraception and there are presently about 60 million women worldwide who are, in effect, 'trial-ing' the Pill. Its safety and long term effects have still not been established conclusively. It is interesting to note, however, that it has produced a wide assortment of adverse effects and side effects and has a significant link to breast cancer, high blood pressure and, in particular, cardiovascular disease - the major cause of female deaths in Australia. In 1992, 27,833 women died from heart disease and strokes, compared to 2,438 from breast cancer. (9) Is this merely a coincidence, or do these statistics indicate, perhaps, the harmful side effects of tampering with hormones?
While proclaimed also as the primary missing ingredient for the menopausal woman, estrogen is strongly recommended by the medical and pharmaceutical industries for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Just about any doctor's surgery you walk into these days will warn women of the inherent risks of going through menopause and, for that matter, the post-menopausal years without the protection of estrogen. Women are further reminded, once again, that menopause is a deficiency disease, which supposedly means that they are lacking estrogen and therefore must have supplemental doses to maintain their health.
As Dr. Lynette Dumble has noted, "Broadly speaking, cardiovascular prevention in women has overwhelmingly focused on hormone replacement. Yet, as Elizabeth Barrett-Connor emphasizes, the Big Trial, the Coronary Drug Project of 1973 that included two estrogen regimens, was conducted in men. As part of the Big Trial design, estrogen doses extravagantly in excess of physiological levels were deliberately administered to men in order to induce gynaecomastia [enlargement of male breasts] as an indicator of successful feminisation. This resulted in thrombosis and impotence and ultimately led to research failure because of treatment discontinuations amongst the study's participants." (10)
According to medical practitioner, independent researcher and author Dr. John Lee, the one notable study (known as the Boston Health Study, conducted with a large sampling of nurses) which formed the entire basis of the positive estrogen-cardiovascular link, was radically flawed. Although there is ample evidence from numerous other studies showing that, indeed, the opposite is true - i.e., estrogen is a significant factor in creating heart disease - these findings have been virtually ignored in the frenzy for profits. He goes on to say that the pharmaceutical advertisements also neglected to mention the fact that stroke death incidence from that study was 50 per cent higher among the estrogen users.
Dr. Lee has compiled a list of side effects and physiological impairments which result from taking estrogen. They include increased risk of endometrial cancer, increased body fat, salt and fluid retention, depression and headaches, impaired blood sugar control (hypoglycemia), loss of zinc and retention of copper, reduced oxygen levels in all cells, thickened bile and promoted gall bladder disease, increased likelihood of breast fibrocysts and uterine fibroids, interference with thyroid activity, decreased sex drive, excessive blood-clotting, reduced vascular tone, endometriosis, uterine cramping, infertility, and restraint of osteoclast function.
With so many side effects and dangerous complications, a woman must think very carefully about the HRT decision. Unfortunately, most doctors will tell her that there is no other alternative. While certainly most doctors are well-meaning and sincerely concerned about their patients, their primary source of education and product information comes directly from the pharmaceutical companies. Since most women also lack essential education and understanding about their options, menopause can be perceived as a rather frightening and perilous time.
Enter Natural Progesterone
For the past 15 years, Dr. Lee has conducted independent research into a natural, plant derived form of progesterone. His non-pharmaceutically-funded research presents a much broader understanding of a woman's hormonal options and offers a totally safe, effective alternative that is free of all side effects. He has found that this natural hormone - used in conjunction with a good diet and lifestyle changes - is capable of eliminating much of the suffering associated both with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause. Thousands of women in the Western world now use natural progesterone - generally in the form of a non-prescription cream which is rubbed into the body. They claim that they not only have relief from female symptoms but experience increased vitality, better skin and renewed emotional balance.
Natural progesterone seems to have been totally overlooked by medical science while the erroneous focus has been on estrogen. Considering that it is non-patentable and inexpensive, it not surprising that this is so. It is important, however, to have a much greater understanding and appreciation for this remarkable hormone.
As was previously mentioned, it is progesterone that is responsible for maintaining the secretory endometrium which is necessary for the survival of the embryo as well as the developing fetus throughout gestation. It is little realized, however, that progesterone is the mother of all hormones. Progesterone is the important precursor in the biosynthesis of adrenal corticosteroids (hormones that protect against stress) and of all sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen). This means that progesterone has the capacity to be turned into other hormones further down the pathways as and when the body needs them. The point needs to be emphasized that estrogen and testosterone are end metabolic products made from progesterone. Without adequate progesterone, estrogen and testosterone will not be sufficiently available to the body. Besides being a precursor to sex hormones, progesterone also facilitates many other important, intrinsic physiological functions (which will be discussed later).
The Estrogen Dominance Effect
Female problems seem to be on the rise. Between 40 and 60 per cent of all women in the West suffer from PMS. In addition, women also suffer from a plethora of symptoms, some menopausal and others not. Something quite alarming certainly seems to be happening to women. There is indication that proper hormonal balance necessary for a woman's body to function healthily is being interfered with by a number of factors. Research has revealed that a good portion of women in their 30s (and some even younger), long before the onset of menopause, on occasion will not ovulate during their menstrual month. (11) Without ovulation, no corpus luteum results and no progesterone is made. A progesterone deficiency ensues.
Several problems can result from this deficiency. One is the month long presence of unopposed estrogen with all its attendant side effects, as already mentioned. Another is the generally unrecognized problem of progesterone's role in osteoporosis. Contemporary medicine is still unaware that progesterone stimulates osteoblast-mediated new bone formation. Actually, it is progesterone that stimulates new bone tissue and is capable of reversing osteoporosis at any age. Lack of progesterone means that new osteoblasts are not created and osteoporosis can arise. (12) A third major problem results from the interrelationship between progesterone loss and stress. Stress combined with a bad diet can induce anovulatory cycles. The consequent lack of progesterone interferes with the production of the stress-combating hormones, exacerbating stress conditions that give rise to further anovulatory cycles. And so the vicious cycle continues.
Another major factor contributing to this imbalance between estrogen and progesterone is environmental in nature. We in the industrialized world now live immersed in a rising sea of petrochemical derivatives. They are in our air, food and water. These chemicals include pesticides and herbicides (such as DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor, etc.) as well as various plastics (polycarbonated plastics found in babies bottles and water jugs) and PCBs. These estrogen-mimics are highly fat-soluble, not biodegradable or well excreted, and accumulate in fat tissue of animals and humans. These chemicals have an uncanny ability to mimic natural estrogen. They are given the name "xeno-estrogens" since, although they are foreign chemicals, they are taken up by the estrogen receptor sites in the body, seriously interfering with natural biochemical changes.
Mounting research is now revealing an alarming situation worldwide created by the inundation of these hormone-mimics. In a recently released book, Our Stolen Future, authors Theo Colburn of the World Wildlife Fund, Dianne Dumanoski of The Boston Globe and John Peterson Meyers, a zoologist, have identified 51 hormone mimics, each able to unleash a torrent of effects such as reduced sperm production, cell division and sculpting of the developing brain. These mimics are not only linked to the recent discovery that human sperm counts worldwide have plunged by 50 per cent between 1938 and 1990 but also to genital deformities, breast, prostate and testicular cancer, and neurological disorders. (10)
Dr. Lee has discovered a consistent theme running through women's complaints of the distressing and often debilitating symptoms of PMS, peri-menopause and menopause: too much estrogen, or, as he has termed it, "estrogen dominance".
Now, instead of estrogen playing its essential role within the well balanced symphony of steroid hormones in a woman's body, it has begun to overshadow the other players, creating biochemical dissonance. The last thing in the world a woman's body needs is more estrogen - either in the form of contraceptives or HRT. Then, when the estrogen-dominant symptoms appear, guess what is prescribed? More estrogen! The delicate natural estrogen/progesterone balance is radically altered due to too much estrogen. Progesterone deficiency is then exacerbated even more.
Dr. Lee has been able to balance the estrogen-dominance effect through the use of transdermal natural progesterone cream. Natural progesterone, a cholesterol derivative, is made from wild Mexican yams or soybeans whose active ingredients are an exact molecular match of the body's own progesterone. It is interesting to note that in countries in Asia and South America where women eat either the wild yams or soybeans, the term "hot flush" doesn't even exist in their languages. They also rarely suffer from the host of female problems presently plaguing Western women.
Supplementation with natural progesterone corrects the real problem: progesterone deficiency. Natural progesterone is not known to have any side effects; nor have any toxic levels been found to date. Natural progesterone increases libido, prevents cancer of the womb, protects against fibrocystic breast disease, helps protect against breast cancer, maintains the uterus lining, hydrates and oxygenates the skin, reverses facial hair growth and hair thinning, acts as a natural diuretic, helps eliminate depression and increase a sense of well being, encourages fat burning and the use of stored energy, normalizes blood clotting, and is a precursor to other important stress and sex hormones. Even the two most prevalent menopausal symptoms - hot flushes and vaginal dryness - quickly disappear with applications of natural progesterone.
There is one other very significant benefit of natural progesterone that deserves a bit more attention. While most people are under the assumption that estrogen protects against osteoporosis - one of the biggest selling points for which a woman is encouraged to take HRT - this is definitely not the case.
The early studies on which the estrogen protection assumption was based had gross scientific defects. Canadian researcher Jerilyn Prior, chief endocrinologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and her colleagues, reporting in The New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed that estrogen's role in osteoporosis is only a minor one. In their studies of female athletes, they found that osteoporosis occurs to the degree that they become progesterone-deficient, even though their estrogen levels seem to remain normal. Prior continued her research with non-athletic women. They showed the same results. While both these groups of women were menstruating, they had anovulatory cycles and, therefore, were progesterone-deficient.
Prior then went on to discover that anovulation and a short phase cycle now occur in up to 50 per cent of North American women's menstrual cycles during the final reproductive years. (14) Unfortunately, these major findings went relatively unnoticed in the medical community.
As a result of her extensive review of published scientific evidence in this area, Prior confirmed that it is not estrogen but progesterone which is the bone-trophic hormone; that is, the bone builder. She was even able to identify progesterone receptor sites on osteoblast cells (bone tissue building cells). Nobody has ever found osteoblast receptors for estrogen. The bottom line is that it is in women with progesterone deficiency that bone loss occurs. (15)
These results were verified by a three year study of 63 post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. Women using transdermal progesterone cream experienced an average 7 to 8 per cent bone mass density increase in the first year, 4 to 5 per cent the second year, and 3 to 4 per cent in the third year! Untreated women in this age category typically lose 1.5 per cent bone mass density per year! These results have not been found with any other form of hormone replacement therapy or dietary supplementation. (16)
Dr. Lee believes that the use of natural progesterone in conjunction with dietary and lifestyle change can not only stop osteoporosis but can actually reverse it - even in women aged 70 or more.
At this point, it is important to make the distinction between the natural progesterone that is produced by the body and the synthetic progesterone analogues classified as progestins, such as Provera, Duphaston and Primulut. As you will learn, there is a big difference between the two in their effect in the body, although doctors most often use their names interchangeably. Since natural progesterone is not a patentable product, the pharmaceutical companies have molecularly altered it to produce synthetic progestins commonly used in contraceptives and HRT.
Synthetic progestins, because they are not exact replicas of the body's natural progesterone, unfortunately create a long list of side effects, some of which are quite severe. A partial list includes headaches, depression, fluid retention, increased risk of birth defects and early abortion, liver dysfunction, breast tenderness, breakthrough bleeding, acne, hirsutism (hair growth), insomnia, edema, weight changes, pulmonary embolism and premenstrual-like syndrome. (17)
Most importantly, progestins lack the intrinsic physiological benefits of progesterone, thus they cannot function in the major biosynthetic pathways as progesterone does and they disrupt many fundamental processes in the body. Progesterone is an essential hormone that also plays a part in the development of healthy nerve cells and brain and thyroid function. Progestins tend to block the body's ability to produce and utilize natural progesterone to maintain these life promoting functions.
The hormone story is certainly a very complicated one. Up until now, only one version of the story has been available to the majority of Western women, especially Australian women. Serious doubt has been cast on the efficacy and appropriateness of estrogen and progestins in all the forms they take. Women are certainly suffering from a wide variety of female complaints.
What complicates the hormone story is that the prescribed treatments for these complaints are actually making the problem worse. Without understanding the far reaching side effects of estrogen dominance and progestin, doctors are misdiagnosing the cause of these aggravated conditions. Often, other drugs are then prescribed with disastrous side effects, as the spiral of unnecessary medication increases. What is the ultimate toll, not only on a woman's deteriorating health and emotional well being but also on her financial situation, her relationships and her career?
Without adequate knowledge, education and access to natural products, women have been easy prey to the powerful campaigns of the multinational drug companies that have convinced doctors as well as governments of their claims. It is becoming more evident that women's interests are not always best met through such a biased approach. It is also not unusual for profits to take precedence over health and well being. The last thing a woman needs is to have her natural bodily functions denigrated to deficiency diseases - thus necessitating ongoing medical attention.
It is indeed time for women to take even greater responsibility for their health, their choices and their lifestyles. The greatest weapon against compliance and ignorance is knowledge. It's time to ask poignant questions of your health provider, to demand answers and to be willing to investigate safe, alternative approaches. It is apparent that women will need to participate in educating their doctors about the other choices that exist as well as the ones that they prefer.
Certainly, women have it well within their own power not only to find safe, natural and effective ways to heal themselves but to live long, full lives, preserving their vitality, youthfulness and health. Women deserve the right to appreciate themselves and their bodies through all the stages of life. As women find the way to return to a greater balance within themselves, they will know profoundly the truth of what Dr. Deepak Chopra has said about women: "Feminine wisdom is the intelligence at the heart of creation."
Effects of Estrogen Dominance
When estrogen is not balanced by progesterone, it can produce weight gain, headaches, bad temper, chronic fatigue and loss of interest in sex - all of which are part of the clinically recognized premenstrual syndrome.
Not only has it been well established that estrogen dominance encourages the development of breast cancer thanks to estrogen's proliferative actions, it also stimulates breast tissue and can, in time, trigger fibrocystic breast disease - a condition which wanes when natural progesterone is introduced to balance the estrogen.
By definition, excess estrogen implies a progesterone deficiency. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in the rate of new bone formation in a woman's body by the osteoblasts - the cells responsible for doing this job. Although most doctors are not yet aware of it, this is the prime cause of osteoporosis.
Estrogen dominance increases the risk of fibroids. One of the interesting facts about fibroids - often remarked on by doctors - is that, regardless of the size, fibroids commonly atrophy once menopause arrives and a woman's ovaries are no longer making estrogen. Doctors who commonly use progesterone with their patients have discovered that giving a woman natural progesterone will also cause fibroids to atrophy.
In estrogen dominant menstruating women where progesterone is not peaking and falling in a normal way each month, the ordered shedding of the womb lining doesn't take place. Menstruation becomes irregular. This condition can usually be corrected by making lifestyle changes and using a natural progesterone product. It is easy to diagnose by having a doctor measure the level of progesterone in the blood at certain times of the month.
Endometrial cancer (cancer of the womb) develops only where there is estrogen dominance or unopposed estrogen. This, too, can be prevented by the use of natural progesterone. The use of the synthetic progestins may also help prevent it, which is why a growing number of doctors no longer give estrogen without combining it with a progesterone drug during HRT. However, all synthetic progestins have side effects.
Water logging of the cells and an increase in intercellular sodium, which predispose a woman to high blood pressure or hypertension, frequently occur with estrogen dominance. These can also be side effects of taking synthetic progestogen [progestins]. A natural progesterone cream usually clears it up.
The risk of stroke and heart disease is increased dramatically when a woman is estrogen-dominant.
(Source: Leslie Kenton, Passage to Power, Random House, UK, 1995)
Anti-aging Benefits of Natural Progesterone
Progesterone is a primary precursor in the biosynthesis of the adrenal corticosteroids. Without adequate progesterone, synthesis of the cortisones is impaired and the body turns to alternate pathways. These alternate pathways have masculine-producing side effects such as long facial hairs and thinning of scalp hair. Further impaired corticosteroid production results in a decrease in the ability to handle stress, e.g., surgery, trauma or emotional stress.
Many peri- or post-menopausal women with clinical signs of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, lack of energy, intolerance to cold, are actually suffering from unrecognized estrogen dominance and will benefit from supplementation with natural progesterone.
Estrogen and most of the synthetic progestins increase intracellular sodium and water uptake. The effect of this is hypertension. Natural progesterone is a natural diuretic and prevents the cell's uptake of sodium and water, thus preventing hypertension.
Whereas estrogen impairs homeostatic control of glucose levels, natural progesterone stabilizes them. Thus, natural progesterone can be beneficial to both those with diabetes and those with reactive hypoglycemia. Estrogen should be contraindicated in patients with diabetes.
Thinning and wrinkled skin is a sign of lack of hydration in the skin. It is common in peri- and post-menopausal women and is a sure sign of hormone depletion. Transdermal natural progesterone is a skin moisturizer which restores skin hydration.
Progesterone serves a role in keeping brain cells healthy. A disorder such as premature senility (Alzheimer's disease) may be, at least in part, another example of disease secondary to progesterone deficiency.
Progesterone is essential for the healthy development of the myelin sheath which protects the nerve cells. Low progesterone levels lead to recurring aches and pains.
Progesterone creates and promotes an enhanced sense of emotional well being and psychological self-sufficiency.
Progesterone is responsible for enhancing the libido.
(Source: John R. Lee, M.D., Slowing the Aging Process with Natural Progesterone, BLL Publishing, CA, USA, 1994, p. 14)
Archer, John, Bad Medicine, Simon & Schuster, Australia, 1995, p. 191.
Op. cit., p. 217.
Op. cit., p. 192.
Op. cit., p. 211.
Coney, Sandra, The Menopause Industry, Spinifex Press Pty Ltd., Australia, 1991, pp. 164-165.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 1995.
Coney, Sandra, op. cit., p. 584.
Archer, John, op. cit., p. 210.
Archer, John, op. cit., p. 211.
(a) Dumble, Lynette J., Ph.D., M.Sc., "Odds Against Women with Heart Disease", presented at Health Sharing Women's Forum, Royal College of Surgeons, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 14 September 1995. (b) Barrett-Connor, Elizabeth, "Heart Disease in Women", Fertility and Sterility (1994), 62(2):127S-132S.
Lee, John R., M.D., Natural Progesterone: The Multiple Role of a Remarkable Hormone, BLL Publishing, California, USA, 1993, p. 29.
Newsweek, 18 March 1996.
Kenton, Leslie, Passage to Power, Random House, UK, 1995, pp. 19-20.
Lee, John R., M.D., "Osteoporosis Reversal: The Role of Progesterone", International Clinical Nutrition Review (1990), 10:384-391.
Lee, John R., M.D., Slowing the Aging Process with Natural Progesterone, BLL Publishing, California, USA, 1994, p. 12.
How to avoid Xenoestrogens
Uterine Fibroid Tumors ( Myomas ) are provoked by Xenoestrogens are found in everyday synthetic materials. These materials were previously thought to be inert. Cut out the xenoestrogens from your life.
Xeno literally means foreign. So xenoestrogens means foreign estrogens. Some of the 100,000 registered chemicals for use in the world have hormonal effects in addition to toxic and carcinogenic effects. Also the synergistic effects are known to occur but also are largely exactly unknown. The field of xenohormones is new, and only been in existence since about 1991.
Critics have proclaimed that these chemicals are for the most part "weak". The body's hormones are at levels of parts per trillion. However, many of the chemicals that affect the hormone systems are routinely found in the serum after sauna at parts per billion. In other words, these chemicals that affect the hormone systems of the human body occur at 100 to 1000 times greater concentration than that of the normal human hormones. One researcher demonstrated that two "weak" estrogens may act synergistically to give a strong estrogen response. Some of these Xenoestrogens like DDE (a metabolite of DDT) may persist in the body fat for decades. Many of these mimicking hormones were previously thought to occur in pesticides. However, many of the newly discovered xenoestrogens are found in every day previously thought to be inert materials.
Some of the following is information taken from Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn:
A study published in the Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine in 1950 by two Syracuse University Zoologists Lindeman and Burlington described how doses of DDT prevented young roosters from developing normally. They injected DDT into roosters by injecting the pesticide into forty young roosters for a period of 2 to 3 months. The daily doses of DDT did not kill the roosters or even made them sick. It made them look weird; they looked like hens. The birds testicles were only 18% of normal size. Their combs and wattles remained stunted and pale. The roosters were chemically castrated.
Micheal Fry, a wild life toxicologist, at the University of California at Davis injected eggs from western and California gull colonies with DDT and a breakdown product of DDT, DDE, and methoxychlor (another synthetic pesticide known to bind to estrogen receptors). He found the feminization of the male's reproductive tracts. Typical female cells were found in the testicles, and in cases of higher doses, the presence of an oviduct, the egg-laying canal normally found only in females. Despite all this internal disruption, the chick looked completely normal.
"The roosters were chemically castrated by DDT."
DDT was found to bind to the estrogen receptor sites. It is now considered one of the classic xenoestrogens.
DDT was banned in the United States. However, world wide production of DDT has never been higher. In fact, DDT is manufactured in the United States and shipped to third world countries. DDT is metabolized to DDE in the human body within a few months. DDE then may last in the human body for several decades. However, some medical doctors occasionally find DDT in the serum routinely following intensive sauna. So where is this new exposure to DDT coming from? The United States ships DDT to third world countries that spray it on vegetables and fruits. This agricultural produce is shipped to United States supermarkets where Americans consume it. In 1991, the United States exported 96 tons of DDT.
Another source may come from your living area. If your house is near or built upon old agricultural land, DDT will persist in the soil for several centuries.
Plastics, Spermicide, Detergent, and Personal Care Products
At Tufts Medical School in Boston in 1987, Soto and Sonnenschein serendipitously discovered that plastic test tubes thought to be inert contained a chemical that stimulated breast cancer cells to grow and proliferate wildly. They were experimenting with malignant breast cancer cells that were sensitive to estrogen. When exposed to estrogen the cells would grow and multiply, and when isolated from estrogen, the cells would stop multiplying.
During the course of their experiments, they found that the test tube manufacturer changed the formulation of the plastic test tubes that they were using. The manufacturer had used p-nonylphenol one of the family of synthetic chemicals called alkylphenols to make these plastics more stable and less breakable. Manufacturers routinely add nonlyphenols to polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These new plastic test tubes caused their estrogen sensitive breast cancer cells to proliferate, multiply and grow. Thus, they concluded that p-nonylphenol acted like an estrogen.
"These new plastic test tubes caused their estrogen sensitive breast cancer cells to proliferate, multiply and grow"
One study showed that the food processing industry and packaging industry used PVC's that contained nonlyphenols. Another reported contamination of water that had passed through PVC tubing. Even a compound found in contraceptive creams nonoxynol-9 breaks down inside the animal's body to produce nonylphenol. Breakdown of chemicals such as those found in industrial detergents, pesticides, and personal care products give rise to nonylphenol. Global production of alkylphenols polyethoxylate was 600 million pounds in 1990. Although the products purchased by the consumer are not themselves estrogenic; studies have found that bacteria in the animal's bodies, in the environment, or in sewage treatment plants degrade these alkylphenol polyethoxylates, creating nonylphenol and other xenoestrogens.
Plastic Drinking Bottles and Plastics used with food
In 1993, at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dave Feldman, professor of medicine was experimenting with a yeast estrogen protein that binds to estrogen. They found that the polycarbonate bottles used to hold drinking water contained bisphenol-A. They used the polycarbonate lab flasks to sterilize the water used in their experiments. Bisphenol-A nicely bound to the estrogen protein found in the yeast. This polycarbonate plastic is routinely used for the giant jugs used in shipping water.
The manufacturer was aware that the bottles would leach particularly if exposed to high temperatures and caustic cleaners and so developed a washing regimen that they thought would solve the problem. However, the researchers discovered that the manufacturer could not detect samples sent from their lab, samples that were causing proliferation of estrogen responsive breast cancer cells. This proved to be a detection limit in the manufacturer's lab equipment. The Stanford team found that 2-5 parts per billion of bisphenol-A was enough to cause the breast cancer cells to proliferate.
Professor Feldman noted that though bisphenol-A is 2000X less potent than estrogen, "it still has activity in the parts per billion range."
One Dartmouth University Study showed that plastic wrap heated in a microwave oven with vegetable oil had 500,000 times the minimum amount of xenoestrogens needed to stimulate breast cancer cells to grow in the test tube.
Detergent Breakdown Products
John Sumpter a biologist from Brunel University in Uxbridge began to study sexually confused fish reported from anglers fishing in English rivers. Many fish caught in the lagoons and pools just below the discharge from sewage plants looked quite bizarre. Even experienced fisherman could not tell if a fish was male or female. The fish showed male and female characteristics at the same time. They were perfect examples of intersex where an individual is stranded between both sexes.
Sumpter used a marker that helped identify female fish. Normally in females a special egg protein is made called vitellogenin, in response to estrogen from the ovaries. On the estrogen signal from the ovaries, the liver produces vitellogenin and the protein is incorporated into the eggs. Since the response is dependent on estrogen, vitellogenin levels found in male fish would be a good indication of estrogen exposure.
Caged fish raised in captivity and then kept in the contaminated pools made 1000X to 100,000X more vitellogenin than control trout kept in clean water.
15 sites were sampled with soaring vitellogenin levels. It was a national problem. Alkylphenol levels from detergent breakdown products are high on the suspect list. However, Sumpter suspects that it is the synergistic qualities of several xenoestrogens acting together.
Two Spanish Scientists at the University of Granada decided to investigate the plastic coatings that manufacturers use to line the metal cans. The coating is added to avoid the metallic taste of metal in the food from the cans. These linings are present in about 85% of the cans. Fatima Olea and Nicolas Olea, an M.D., specializing in endocrine cancers worked with Soto and Sonnenschein. In a study analyzing twenty brands of canned foods purchased in the United States and in Spain, they discovered bisphenol-A, the same chemical that the Stanford researchers discovered, in about half of the canned food up to levels of 80 parts per billion. This is 27 times greater concentration of bisphenol-A needed to cause the breast cancer cells to proliferate in the Stanford Study.
Commercially raised Beef, Chicken and Pork
Commercially raised livestock are routinely given xenoestrogens to fatten them up, grow quickly, and cause them to retain water. This results in greater profits for the farmer. It is an effective, cheap, quick way to fatten them up. In the 1970's and 1980's there was an epidemic in Puerto Rico of early puberty in girls as young as a year old and even young boys who developed breasts caused by meat and dairy products containing high levels of estrogen. In the United States, the use of estrogen compounds is now slightly better regulated, but it is still very much used and abused.
"Young boys developed breasts."
John Lee, M.D.
DES (diethylstilbestrol), a type of synthetic estrogen, was the first hormone to be used by the meat industry to fatten up livestock until it was discovered that it causes cancer even in extremely minute amounts.
Birth Control Pills
Birth Control Pills contain a synthetic estrogen and a synthetic progestin to force the body to cycle in a normal manner even though conception may have occurred and different hormones levels are supposed to occur. Is it really nice to fool mother nature? Adding extra estrogen to a women's body exacerbates Uterine Fibroid Tumors ( Myomas ). Many times what we see clinically is that it takes one year or more for a woman's period to become normal after stopping birth control pills. This is because the synthetic estrogens and progestins in the birth control pills are oil soluble and difficult for the body to get rid of.
Why not use a simpler method of birth control such as condoms? Use one that does not use a spermicide such as nonoxynol-9. Researchers found that once nonoxynol-9 gets into a rats body it breaks down into nonylphenol - a known xenoestrogen.
Preservative Methyl Paraben in Skin Lotions and Gels
For many years, parabens were considered among those preservatives with low systemic toxicity, primarily causing allergic reactions. However, as we have become aware that some synthetic chemicals mimic the female hormone estrogen, our understanding of the toxic effects of both synthetic and natural substances has changed. Now, John Sumpter from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, have found that alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (namely methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butylparaben) are weakly estrogenic. In an estrogen receptor-binding assay, butylparaben was able to compete with the female hormone estradiol for binding to estrogen receptors with an affinity approximately 5 orders of magnitude lower than that of diethylstilbestrol (a highly carcinogenic synthetic estrogen), and between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude less than nonylphenol (an estrogenic synthetic industrial chemical).
Although it is reassuring to note that when administered orally, the parabens were inactive, subcutaneous administration of butylparaben produced a positive estrogenic response on uterine tissues. Although approximately 100,000 times less potent than17 beta-estradiol, greater exposure to the parabens may compensate for their lower potency. The researchers conclude that, "Given their use in a wide range of commercially available topical preparations, it is suggested that the safety in use of these chemicals should be reassessed . . ."
The European Union has asked the European Cosmetics and Toiletry industry about these new findings and the implication for breast cancer. These preservatives are found in the vast majority of skin an body lotions, even in natural progesterone creams. Generally, for the sterol hormones, taken orally the hormones are 90% first pass metabolized by the liver. Thus, taken orally only 10% reaches the body. In contrast, anything absorbed by the skin is directly absorbed. In other words, anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.
Unfortunately, some natural progesterone creams were found to contain methyl and propyl parabens as a preservative.
Shampoos that Purposely Contain Very High Amounts of Estrogen
African Americans favored shampoos with clinically active high doses of estrogen. They also used them on their children. In 1998 Tiwary, now retired, published a study of four girls - including a 14-month-old - who developed breasts or pubic hair months after beginning to use such products. The symptoms started to disappear when they stopped using them. The year before, he published a study showing that some of the products used by his patients contained up to one milligram (1 mg) of estradiol per one ounce of shampoo. By comparison a normal adult topical skin dose for estradiol is 0.02-0.05 mg/day. This means that one ounce of shampoo contains 50 times the daily ADULT dose of estradiol. A small handful of this shampoo on your child every day may give her OR HIM breasts! See the article here.
Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California at Berkeley found that atrazine, the most commonly used weed killer in North America, affected frogs at doses as small as 0.1 part per billion. As the amount of atrazine increased, as many as 20 percent of frogs exposed during their early development produced multiple sex organs or had both male and female organs. Many had small, feminized larynxes. See the article here.
Plastic IV Bags
The United States FDA warns that prolonged fluid exposure in IV bags may affect testicle development in young boys. The chemical, called DEHP, can leach from the plastic into certain liquids, especially fat-containing ones like blood. Studies of young animals show the chemical can affect testicle development and production of normal sperm. Some companies already label that their products contain phthalates (DHEP), and the FDA soon will issue a recommendation not a requirement that more companies do so.
"FDA's public health notification falls far short of what is needed to protect patients," said Charlotte Brody of Health Care Without Harm, a group working to reduce the amount of phthalates the family of chemicals that includes DEHP in a variety of products, from plastic toys to cosmetics.
See the article here.
5 Out of 6 Chemicals Used to block UV in Sunscreen are Estrogenic
Margaret Schlumpf and her colleagues (Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, Switzerland) have found that many widely-used sunscreen chemicals mimic the effects of estrogen and trigger developmental abnormalities in rats. (Schlumpf , Margaret; Beata Cotton, Marianne Conscience, Vreni Haller, Beate Steinmann, Walter Lichtensteiger. In vitro and in vivo estrogenicity of UV screens. Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 109 (March 2001) pp 239-244) Her group tested six common chemicals that are used in sunscreens, lipsticks and facial cosmetics. Five of the six tested chemicals (benzophenone-3, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC), octyl-methoxycinnamate and octyl-dimethyl-PABA) behaved like strong estrogen in lab tests and caused cancer cells to grow more rapidly. Only one chemical - a UVA protector called butyl-methoxydibenzoylmethane (B-MDM) - showed no activity. Uterine growth and endometriosis :One very common sunscreen chemical, 4-MBC, was mixed with olive oil and applied to rat skin. This caused a doubling of the rate of uterine growth well before puberty. "That was scary, because we used concentrations that are in the range allowed in sunscreens," said Schlumpf. Three of the six caused developmental abnormalities in animals. The major cause of sterility in women in the USA is endometriosis, a condition afflicting 5.5% of American women. Exposure to excessive estrogen, that may have come from such sunscreens, is felt to be the primary cause of endometriosis. Perhaps a sunscreen using zinc oxide is a better choice.
From a strictly research point of view there may not be enough evidence to create public outrage and shift public opinion. It is a known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer. However, it is disconcerting to note that the breast cancer rate is now 1 out of 8 women (in San Francisco, it is 1 out of 7 women) where before breast cancer in the 1950's was 1 out of 20. Dr. Lee believes that overdose of estrogen either by pill or by xenoestrogens is the cause of uterine fibroids. So what do we do?
Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food and water. Heat up your food using a glass or ceramic bowl covered with dish. When plastic is heated, it diffuses very rapidly into food.
Use a simple detergent with less chemicals; Nature Clean is a good choice for both laundry detergent and dish washing detergent.
Simple Soap is a safe choice for shampoo and a body soap.
Use natural pest control not pesticides.
Avoid Synthetic Chemicals - Healthy Living in a Toxic World by Cynthia Fincher PhD. is a good place to start.
Don't use herbicides; use a cup of salt in a gallon of vinegar.
Buy hormone free meats to eat.
Buy "Organic" produce, produce grown without pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer or hormones.
Use Condoms without spermicide for Birth control instead of Birth Control Pills. Use Natural Progesterone instead of HRT.
In general, the hormones taken orally are first pass metabolized by the liver 80%-90%. However, when these hormones are applied to the skin, the hormones are directly absorbed by the body. Thus, any skin dose is 10 times that of an oral dose. The vast majority of skin lotions and creams use the parabens as a preservative. Avoid them at all costs. Instead apply a vegetable oil right after a shower to hydrate the skin and lock in the moisture.
The very important changes to make are do NOT eat HOT plastic with food. Change your laundry detergent, no fabric softener, change your lotions, soaps, shampoos, and makeup. Avoid Coffee.