Estrogen: Fuel for the Endometriosis Bonfire

bonfire

Excess estrogen is literally the fuel that lights the endometriosis fire, and makes new implants grow. This is why so many women who undergo a hysterectomy – in the belief that their pain will be abated – suddenly find themselves in agony again shortly after beginning hormone replacement therapy.  With hysterectomies, even with excisions of endometriosis on organs not being removed, there inevitably will be left behind some remnants of endometrial tissue or implants on organs where excisions are not possible. If estrogen therapy is begun too soon post-surgery, this will feed those implants. At least this seems to be the leading medical theory.

How then can we suppress estrogen? Progesterone. The goal of progesterone- only treatment is to lessen or eliminate the monthly period. We know estrogen stimulates the growth of endometriosis, even if you have had a hysterectomy.  But estrogen isn’t just found in a pill! It’s everywhere! In the bio-enhanced meat we consume, the plastics we use…. it’s everywhere.  If you give an endometriosis woman progesterone, it will shed the lining of her uterus without some of the side effects of estrogen.

Besides being a wonderful birth control alternatives for those who are estrogen sensitive, progesterone-only treatments starve the endometrial implants over time. As your uterine lining — or endometrium starves off — the endometrial implants will recede, as well.  This is how progesterone only endometriosis treatments like the Mirena IUC and medroxyprogesterone  (Depo-Provera) work.

If BCP pills are working for your endometriosis, great! But if they fail to starve off the growths, perhaps it’s time to look into progesterone only options. Why do I use the Mirena? Migraines! My migraines are estrogen sensitive – foods and meds! The Mirena has made my life livable again. If you are estrogen dominant, the Birth Control Pill is not a good option for you.  But you may say it’s even harder to avoid estrogen out in the world. After all estrogen derivatives proliferate our daily lives more than you might think. They are in:

  • Meat products
  • Dairy
  • Pesticide sprays that are sprayed on the produce we consume
  • Plastic products
  • Spermicidal condoms
  • Sunscreen

The list is really endless! There are two types of estrogen found in the environment – xenoestrogen and phytoestrogen. Xenoestrogen is man-made estrogen and this can cause havoc on the female and male reproductive system. The effects of xenoestrogen’s on reproduction gained notoriety in 1980 when there was a large chemical spill of DDT in Lake Apopka in Lake Apopka, Florida. See the page Xenoestrogen’s Cause Endometriosis by Dr. Elizabeth Smith for another example and more information.

Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, or DDT for short, is synthetic pesticide that was used during the World War II to control disease spreading lice and mosquitoes. Then in 1962, Biologist Rachel Carson published the famous book Silent Spring stating that DDT may cause cancer. As a result of the publication, in 1972, DDT was banned from the United States but is still in use as a pesticide in countries WE in-port fruit from! That’s right, you may be eating fruit laced with DDT on it unless you buy from an American producer. LOOK AT THOSE STICKERS!!!

But back to the xenoestrogens… scientists found that the alligator population was declining. There were not as many baby gators being born in the spring post-DDT spill. After studying this, they concluded that the xenoestrogens in the DDT had resulted in some of the gators being infertile.

Xenoestrogens are also found in the Bisphenol-A that had so much hype in the news recently. Not only is there cause for cancer, but the link to xenoestrogens and endometriosis makes me not want to nuke plastic! How about you?

Then we come to phytoestrogen – the plant estrogen. You may think if it comes from Mother Nature then it can’t be bad for me, right? Wrong. With endometriosis, it’s about picking the right phytoestrogen’s to feed out bodies and our wombs. Here are some you should avoid:

  • Coffee. Coffee is a phytoestrogen – and even decaf is out.
  • Red Clover Tea
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pomegranates
  • Fennel
  • Licorice
  • Beer
  • Oregano
  • Verbena
  • Nutmeg
  • Turmeric
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Chamomile
  • Cloves
  • Excess Soy

Now what do I mean by excess soy? Please see Dr.Weil’s article on this topic. He suggests that consuming soy products will help women with endometriosis, but that we shouldn’t consume over 40 mg. of soy isoflavones daily.

I, like others, have found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats has helped my endometriosis. I eat organic as much as possible to avoid things like DDT, and because I know those things were grown or bred in the best possible conditions for my optimal health and the environments. And in the case of animals, they were treated fairly, were not given growth hormones, or fed animal by-products.

Also, the above list of food consumed in small amounts is not likely to have a huge impact on your endometriosis. But if you are a chronic coffee or beer drinker, eat alfalfa sprouts or pomegranates frequently, you may want to consider not doing so and seeing if your endometriosis pain improves. Like everything in life, moderation is key.

****MARCH BLOGGING MADNESS FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS AWARENESS****

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10 responses to “Estrogen: Fuel for the Endometriosis Bonfire

  1. Estrogen is EVERYWHERE!!!! AHHHHHH!!!

  2. Ellen I believe Hitler also murdered the homosexuals of that time period as well (along with Catholics, Gypsies, etc.), so they all should have been included in this original writing. Anyone who is different will always find resistance

  3. Hi,
    I just found out about this website yesterday. My daughter has endo and it makes her quality of life like hell. She has been hospitalized twice for pain control and regulating the blood flow. Progersterone seems to be a viable alternative along with eating the right foods. Yesterday I read a blog that mentioned “clean eating” do you know anything about that?

    • Mary Lou,
      “Clean Eating” refers to the endo diet — preferably organic, estrogen free foods, limit or eliminate red meat and Puerto, and eliminate dairy products. It’s hard to adhere to at first, but if you notice a deep in pain levels due to a reduction in inflammation, it’s worth it. Search “endo diet” and you’ll find some good sources or there. Just one warning: don’t buy into the herbal cures. No magical vitamin or supplement will cure endo. Not will it help the endo diet work more efficiently.if during your search you come across a web site selling supplements, back space your browser and click the next link.

  4. I had endo , Now Im on progesterone but I wanted to take it before my op but DOCTORS WOULDNT PRESCRIBE IT!!! WHAT DO THEY KNOW!

    • Elaine,

      Thanks for reading and sorry it’s taking me this long to respond to your comment. You write that you had endo, and I just want to clarify — in case your doctor has lead you to believe otherwise — that endometriosis is a chronic condition. That means that it will be there for until menopause. Once menopause occurs, the ovaries no longer make estrogen to feed the endometrial implants. If you wait long enough before using hormone replacement therapy the implants will die off. Progesterone only treatments keep the endometriosis at bay. It shrinks implants, halts ovulation (which stops your period) and reduces your estrogen levels; however, it’s only a bandaid. Stopping treatment will naturally increase estrogen levels and with the return of endometrial implants. Please speak with doctor, Elaine, if he told you the treatment would cure your endo.

  5. How long post surgery should endometriosis be starved from estrogen before beginning HRT. I used no HRT at all until 8-9 months after a complete hysterectomy and colon resection due to endometriosis.

    • The general consensus is six months, but of course it would depend on severity. Each case is surgery. As My doctor once out it: this need A at LEAST six mo this. Personally, if you’re finding life without HRT bearable, I would go as long as possible. HRT has been linked to negative side effects.

  6. I just read an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that said moderate coffee consumption (2 cups a day) LOWERED estrogen levels in white women, while RAISING them in Asian and black women. I have endometriosis of the lung and went through recurrent hospitalizations with collapsed lungs. At first they put me on BCPs, but then I found a doctor who realized that estrogen was the enemy. I had my ovaries removed (as a last resort) and have not had another pneumothorax since. I do, however, still have symptoms. I did take Femara (breast cancer chemotherapy) for 5 months to counter whatever estrogen was left in my body, but I gained so much weight I stopped taking it; during that time, though, I had absolutely no symptoms (or side effects). I am now trying to find natural progesterone through supplements or foods.

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