I received a message last week on the Adenomyosis Fighter’s facebook page that was nothing short of amazing, and I wanted to share this information with all adenomyosis sufferers out there. Beth P., a nurse, shared some details of her struggle with this uterine disorder.
She read my book, Adenomyosis: A Significantly Neglected and Misunderstood Uterine Disorder, in one sitting. She told me that she cried when she read “For A Moment, Imagine The Pain” (see previous blog).
Beth struggled terribly while dealing with adenomyosis. She tells of her ordeal in her own words:
“I can remember fainting, hitting my head so hard on the elevator, my nursing school friend said it scared her. Or when at a winter retreat with my church youth group, freaking out because I had bright red blood and diarrhea with horrible pain, thinking I had bloody stools…Then there was the day, driving, I vomited out the window of my car, then stopped the car to lay down in the grass before I passed out. Another time, as I was laying in the grass outside my nursing class, a squirrel was staring me right in the face as I opened my eyes. I think it thought I was dead.”
Beth had her ovaries and tubes removed at the urging of her doctor because her CA125 level (a marker for ovarian cancer) was high, even though no abnormalities of her ovaries were identified through MRI. After learning about adenomyosis, she regrets this decision. She states:
“An NIH study revealed that in 55 women with adenomyosis diagnosed by hysterectomy, their CA125 was over 100 before their surgery.” Beth believes that her high CA125 was actually due to adenomyosis, not an abnormality of her ovaries.
The most interesting thing that Beth noted in her story is what happened during her last period after her surgery. This period was rough for her, so she decided to use a 25 mg progesterone suppository to help ease her symptoms. She was able to obtain this suppository because her husband is a physician. These suppositories are typically used on women who have threatened miscarriage. However, she tried this based on her research that adenomyosis is linked to estrogen dominance. About 15 minutes after inserting the suppository, her symptoms improved dramatically and the clotting stopped. The rest of her period was normal.
Estrogen dominance is discussed at length in my book, Adenomyosis: A Significantly Neglected and Misunderstood Uterine Disorder. In this condition, the ratio of progesterone to estrogen is low, meaning that there is not enough progesterone to counter the effects of estrogen. It is important to know that both estrogen and progesterone levels may be normal in this condition, but the ratio of progesterone to estrogen is abnormal. This ratio is the most telling number in this condition. The critical problem in hormone testing today is that this ratio is usually not calculated. Doctors typically only look at the estrogen and progesterone levels only. So, if you have a “normal” estrogen level and a “normal” progesterone level, they will tell you that you are fine. In reality, you may actually have estrogen dominance because the ratio is abnormal.
There is a very clear link between estrogen and the growth of adenomyotic tissue. Dr. John Lee is the pioneer in discovering estrogen dominance, and the fact that Beth had such a dramatic improvement in symptoms after using a progesterone suppository just emphasizes this important concept. When I first learned about estrogen dominance, I ordered hormone testing through Dr. Lee’s site, and I was shocked to learn that I was, in fact, estrogen dominant. The following were my levels (discussed at more length in my book):
Estrogen – 2.3 (normal is 1.3-3.3)
Progesterone – 154 (normal is 75-270)
Ratio of progesterone to estrogen – 67 (normal is 100-500)
As you can see, my estrogen and progesterone levels were in the normal range, but the ratio of progesterone to estrogen indicates that I do have estrogen dominance.
So what causes this imbalance of progesterone to estrogen? One big culprit is xenoestrogens. These are man-made chemicals that act as estrogen in the human body. Some examples include parabens and phthalates in cosmetics, pesticides, herbicides, petroleum products, some food dyes and preservatives, and plasticisers. Some of these products have actually been banned, but they don’t break down easily and are still present in the environment. It is impossible to completely avoid exposure to all xenoestrogens, but there are many ways to reduce your exposure.
For a much more detailed discussion on this topic, please check out my book, Adenomyosis: A Significantly Neglected and Misunderstood Uterine Disorder, by Maria Yeager – available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.
Thanks so much to Beth P. for sharing her story! We both agree that hormone testing for estrogen dominance is of utmost importance in the accurate detection of adenomyosis