My battle against hormonal imbalance

I have been diagnosed with PCOS and continue to hyperplasia complex with atypical cells. The last diagnose was given after a biopsy and it was a little bit shocking for me. The atypical cells have been known to carry cancer cells. My doctor warned me that it leads to cancer, and he usually would do a hysterectomy when a biopsy result came out like this. I was 37 at that time, because of my condition he suggested that I have a hormonal therapy. I undergo a hormonal therapy program, which is quite annoying due to the mood swing, and weight gain. All those steroid, and hormone replacement pills were quite expensive. Twice a month I will be waiting in front of the doctor’s office, hoping it will be my last. After one and a half year of long tiring therapy, it was time for another biopsy. It came out clean…

I thought the therapy works but then I was wrong. After a couple of months my symptoms of monthly period came back. Pain and blood came more than before and it made me running to the ER. They gave shots to stop the blood and ease the pain. Another doctor gave pills to balance my hormone. None of them work….

I do research after that; there must be something wrong with my metabolism. I started to look for answer and ask questions. If my doctors could not find out the root of the illness, I will do it on my own. I have no medical background; I only graduated from Biology major in High School. My bachelor degree is Archaeology and my master degree is more to education… far from competence.

I remember every word that my doctor said;  I remember nearly all that he explained. I suffered from low progesterone, my body does not produce enough progesterone and it causes high oestrogen level.

Estrogen dominance can start early in a woman’s menstrual history. Young women who suffer from this enter menarche with tremendously difficult periods, and doctors sometimes give these teenage girls birth control pills to help regulate the frequency and severity of their periods.

 Some women will develop the estrogen dominance syndrome much later in life, sometimes as a result of diet, liver impairment, or environmental factors or also as a result of anovulatory cycles before menopause — that is, menstrual cycles in which no ovulation has occurred. [Ovulation is necessary in order to produce the corpus luteum, (which means, “yellow body”) that is found on the surface of the ovary after ovulation. Surrounding the ripening egg, the corpus luteum remains after ovulation to produce progesterone for the last half of the menstrual cycle. Without ovulation, less progesterone is produced, which can cause estrogen imbalance in some women.]”

Diseases or problems that are thought to be related to or affected by excess estrogen and deficient progesterone in women are:

  • Weights gain secondary to insulin resistance.
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Certain types of PMS
  • Migraines
  • Menstrual disturbances–irregular and heavy bleeding.
  • Endometriosis, the uterine tissue disorder, which is helped by the use of estrogen blockers.
  • Fibroids, a sign of excess proliferative capacity of the uterus, which may not be balanced with sufficient progesterone.
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Breast Cancer

All those diseases that came out from single oestrogen dominance is quite a lot. It was mentioned that oestrogen might have cause a higher risk in cancer. How about progesterone?

“One of progesterone’s most important functions is to cause the endometrium to secrete special proteins during the second half of the menstrual cycle, preparing it to receive and nourish an implanted fertilized egg. If implantation does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, the endometrium breaks down and menstruation occurs.

If a pregnancy occurs, progesterone is produced in the placenta, and levels remain elevated throughout the pregnancy. The combination of high estrogen and progesterone levels suppress further ovulation during pregnancy. Progesterone also encourages the growth of milk-producing glands in the breast during pregnancy.”

 

There are other Roles of Progesterone:

  • Helps normalize blood sugar levels
  • Boosts thyroid function
  • Helps us use fat for energy
  • Has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects reduces swelling and inflammation

I see my blood test overtime. In several blood tests I suffered from low blood sugar, and low cholesterol. Meaning that I have no bad or good cholesterol. However, I gain weight a lot after the therapy. I can’t stop it even though I don’t eat much daily. I may not have physical exercise because I fainted most of the time. I like swimming, but how can I swim if my period is prolonged every month.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

Many of the symptoms of low progesterone also coincide with symptoms of other health issues, so be aware that just because you may have some of these, it doesn’t mean you’re low on progesterone, but of course it’s definitely worth looking into.

  • a luteal phase less than 12 days
  • sugar cravings
  • ovarian cysts
  • low basal body temperatures
  • irregular periods
  • allergy symptoms
  • arthritis
  • spotting in the days before your period begins
  • recurrent early miscarriage
  • blood clots during menstruation
  • cold hands and feet
  • brittle nails
  • cracked heels
  • decreased sex drive
  • menstrual cramps
  • depression or anxiety
  • acne
  • fatigue
  • fibrocystic breasts
  • PCOS
  • endometriosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • gallbladder issues
  • Foggy thinking
  • headaches and migraines
  • infertility
  • vaginal dryness
  • slow metabolism
  • mood swings
  • weight gain, especially around the middle

From a website a read the author summary of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause by Dr. John Lee and highly recommend it to anyone needing to know more about natural hormone balance. He discusses at length why we may be low in progesterone and how to use a natural progesterone cream to help rectify the issue. Below are the notes from the blog writer.

  • Xeno-estrogens/xeno-hormones make us estrogen dominant. They come from plastics, synthetic hormones, conventional meats and animal products, etc. This exposure can result in low progesterone. If our mothers were exposed to it, it can cause dysfunction in her daughters’ ovarian follicles.
  • The embryonic stage of life is when ovarian tissues are most sensitive to the toxicity of xeno-hormones
  • Xeno-hormones are fat soluble (meaning the body absorbs and holds on to them) and non-biodegradable
  • Stress increases levels of cortisol, which blocks progesterone from its receptors in the body. Too much stress and progesterone won’t get where it needs to go.
  • Using huge amounts of supplements over the long-term may result in another imbalance in the body.
  • Our bodies release mood and energy enhancing chemicals (like adrenaline) to fight allergic responses to food – we are hooked on what we’re allergic to!
  • Exercising to hard lowers antioxidant levels in the body. Moderate exercise raises levels.

This book also went into the explanation of natural progesterone creams, which aren’t truly natural; a better name is bio-identical. You see, the progesterone in our bodies is produced nowhere else in nature. Dioscorea Mexicana is a plant that is part of the yam family native to Mexico. It has a steroid called diosgenin that is taken from the plant and is converted into progesterone by changing the cellular structure.

I think stress will always causes progesterone level to go down. And for some women will cause the ultimate pain during a period. I do take supplements for increasing my progesterone and it causes a lot of imbalance in my metabolism. I suffer from other illnesses. Once my internist even suspected me having autoimmune disease. I do a lot of blood test but nothing was confirmed. He gave up at the end… similar to other doctors in my life. They gave up, and I become frustrated. My doctor even said he always got headache when he had to give me a diagnosis. It took him 9 days to find my illness once. I had to stay in the hospital for 9 days…. boring. But that time he was lucky, my illness that concealed itself appeared in the scan. He was quite all right compared to others that gave up after one or two months. So I stick with him. It is quite tiring changing doctors with a thick medical record like I do.

Well, after a while I seek other means to get well. And I start to do a little light reading. It was quite difficult to find one in Indonesian. Articles and Books are not abundance. I have to search, and luckily I can read well in English. Well let’s start the own observation of my body. All this time my symptoms and all my blood test came out not really supporting one and another. I gave up a lot of time, cried river of tears when pain struck. I could not even move because I was too tired fighting the pain. I take painkillers to ease the pain, but lately it does not work that well. I am searching for the root and open to suggestion. I gave up on a cure and cried for days. But I remember my father never let me gave up on anything. He told me that you can be sad and in great pain,  take a lot of rest as long as you want to recover and then you have to fight again.

Maybe I will do the hysterectomy and be well. Bu is it the right answer? What will be the effect? another imbalance? Mood swings? Is it an answer? Is it a way out? Or creating a new problem. I have no idea… I just have to find out.

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