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  • The Estrogen Dilemma

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/ma...me&ref=general

    Interesting article on the effects of estrogen on perimenopausal depression, breast cancer, stroke, Alzheimer and other stuff...

    The writer has been on an estrogen patch for 5+ years and seems to be advocating use of estrogen replacement therapy despite a litany of research to the contrary. But she also talks about how the patch has lifted her from severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

    Admittedly, I tend to be of the "suck it up" camp and, over the years, I've learned that I don't know everything about everything and that it's generally better to keep my yap shut when it comes to other people's chemical imbalances and mood swings. I also realize that I'm talking out of my tuckus because I'm only 30 and I have no idea how menopause (peri and post) will affect me. But is it responsible to advocate filling hormonal gaps with plant-based estrogen?

  • #2
    Yeah... having had to take a drug once that created a temporary meno... OMG... I'm not sure sucking it up is ideal... seriously, I've never had such VIOLENT mood swings in my life... You suck up little things... you don't suck up, a crappy existence... you do SOMETHING to change it...

    But I'm also in agreement... we've got to figure out a way to create a balance without a bunch of wacked out drugs... Hoping a diet primal style will keep that horror story far, far away... Not sure, I've read much about any primal women that were in full meno. IF so... at what age did they hit it? You read of women in more recent history that are at least peri meno around age 30... as they discuss the constant battle to get PG at the OLD age of 25.

    Women have managed, over time, to slow down that creep towards meno pause. That can't be just due to fake hormones???

    Can the older wome who are in full swing discuss the natural things they are doing to stay sane, feel good, and such... that doesn't require a trade off for risking other MAJOR illness??

    Comment


    • #3
      OK, I'm in the midst of menopause. I'm 51, and my periods have been very irregular the past couple of years. I'll go a few months in between, then I'll have a gusher that lasts for two weeks. I'm never quite sure how much is related to my weight; I do seem to have my period when my weight is up a few pounds, but I don't know if it's cause or effect.

      I think that at this time of life, anything that goes screwy in a woman's body or mind tends to get blamed on menopause, when really it's just the culmination of years and years of crappy living. Generally speaking, the women I know with the bad mood swings, hot flashes, etc, have totally crappy diets and don't exercise. Conversely, I women I know who eat real food and work out at the Y are breezing through it.

      I myself am having an easy time of it, and I wouldn't dream of second-guessing my body's chemistry by taking hormones.

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      • #4
        I started having periods early (when I was 12), so it sorta made sense when I started going peri about five years ago. Stopped having periods about four years ago...yay!!!

        I had a few night sweats, but never anything like some ladies report. Since I never really wanted kids (had tubal a LONG time ago)...I just figured too much estrogen was not really my friend anyway. Never thought about HRT, cause I'm doing just peachy without it. If anything, my sex drive has gone up...and I am not missing having to purchase all the fem hygiene supplies.

        ETA, I'm 51 also.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dragonmamma View Post
          OK, I'm in the midst of menopause. I'm 51, and my periods have been very irregular the past couple of years. I'll go a few months in between, then I'll have a gusher that lasts for two weeks. I'm never quite sure how much is related to my weight; I do seem to have my period when my weight is up a few pounds, but I don't know if it's cause or effect.

          I think that at this time of life, anything that goes screwy in a woman's body or mind tends to get blamed on menopause, when really it's just the culmination of years and years of crappy living. Generally speaking, the women I know with the bad mood swings, hot flashes, etc, have totally crappy diets and don't exercise. Conversely, I women I know who eat real food and work out at the Y are breezing through it.

          I myself am having an easy time of it, and I wouldn't dream of second-guessing my body's chemistry by taking hormones.
          Woohoo! Very good to hear this!

          My mom went through menopause around 50 and I didn't even know. I know she was happy to never have to buy tampons again! She did gain a few pounds after "the change" but I got her on a low-carb mostly primal diet and she's been cruising along ever since.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kuno1chi View Post
            I started having periods early (when I was 12), so it sorta made sense when I started going peri about five years ago. Stopped having periods about four years ago...yay!!!

            I had a few night sweats, but never anything like some ladies report. Since I never really wanted kids (had tubal a LONG time ago)...I just figured too much estrogen was not really my friend anyway. Never thought about HRT, cause I'm doing just peachy without it. If anything, my sex drive has gone up...and I am not missing having to purchase all the fem hygiene supplies.

            ETA, I'm 51 also.
            My mother ALSO saw a spike in her sex drive. She's in her early 60s now and STILL probably gets more action than I do! Damn birth control...

            Comment


            • #7
              Suki,
              For REALZZZZZ.
              My BF is quite a bit younger than I am, and he affectionately refers to me as, "She-Devil"
              :-D

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi all, I am a 53 yo woman in the full swing of hot flashes, headaches, mood swings, and bouts of fatigue - along with random bleeding, but nothing like real periods. I experienced some definite improvement in the fatigue since going primal 3 months ago, but the night sweats have gotten worse, and I still have some very dark days despite my improved diet. I am not overweight, perhaps a bit underweight. I am very in tune with my body and can feel the hormone rollercoaster as it takes me on this ride. The article in the NYT was of great interest to me because I am considering what to do if my symptoms become intolerable despite my best, most natural efforts to ameliorate them. I certainly don't rule out trying low dose, bioidentical hormone replacement if things get any worse.

                I used to feel the way others do when I was pre-menopausal - that we should just suck it up and get through it without the pharmaceutical companies pushing their products on us. But now that I am in the throes of it and primal living is NOT taking this all away, I feel quite different! The NYT article pointed out some facets of the original research that may have skewed the results - especially loading up the study with many participants who were long past menopause (in their late 60's and 70's) to try to demonstrate potential health benefits for warding off heart disease, Alzheimers, and osteoporosis. This is very different from selectively treating women in their 50's who are in the midst of intolerable symptoms and titrating doses to the amelioration of those symptoms and then gradually weaning off as the body's natural hormone levels have restabilized to their new, post-menopausal levels. The HRT study also used Premarin and synthetic progesterone, which may not have the same effects in the body as bioidentical hormones.

                It may be that I am having a hard time of it after 50+ years of eating the SAD, and that can't be corrected in a few months time of primal eating. I hope you all who are younger arrive at this stage of life and don't have to have these symptoms. Time will tell! But for me, I am gratefu to think that if it gets to be too much, there is the possibility that hormones may not be as dangerous as we were recently led to believe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kuno1chi View Post
                  Suki,
                  For REALZZZZZ.
                  My BF is quite a bit younger than I am, and he affectionately refers to me as, "She-Devil"
                  :-D
                  Hahaha! Love it!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I really think a lot of how you experience menopause has a lot to do with the condition your adrenals and liver are in. Most of the non-western world doesn't suffer like we do!

                    I've been studying Chinese medicine for a little while and hot flashes, memory loss, hair loss, etc. mostly have to to with the health of the kidney/adrenal meridian. This meridian controls hormone production and if it's compromised, hormones drop off.

                    Ideally, once the ovaries stop doing their job, the adrenals take over the production of estrogen and progesterone, so you can see how they wouldn't be able to do their job if they're already worn out when someone hits perimenopause.

                    A friend of mine went into early menopause and was able to regain her periods through acupuncture and herbs. I think we sometimes expect the Primal diet to cover all our bases, but when you look around the world at indigenous people, they all have their own systems of herbal medicine, so they're taking advantage of their herbal allies:-)
                    http://www.prettyinprimal.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And some women must have come down on a rainbow or something, like my mother--no problems with menopause, never had a yeast or bladder infection--EVER. Not active, typical SAD, smoked for 60+ years and still fine (and just quit again with patches and gum)--some people are bomb-proof. I'm crossing my fingers that I sail through menopause as easily as she did, even though I've had my share of yeast infections, so she didn't pass that magical immunity on to me. Actually, she'd been in perimenopause for 2-3 years when she was my age (47), but she had kids in her mid 30s, while I haven't released an egg for the past 30 years due to hormonal birth control.

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                      • #12
                        I had a hysterectomy at 38 yrs old due to something wrong w/all 3 parts: ovaries, uterus and cervix. I had a brief conversation with my doc about HRT and I chose against it. I had an 'estrogen crash' about a week after the surgery in which I went into an insane rage that last about a day. Fortunately, I have a loving significant other who dealt with that. Since then, a few night sweats when the temp gets over 80ish. Otherwise, fine.

                        While I was forced into menopause, I don't regret it. I don't miss the periods and the mood swings.

                        I am finding it a bit difficult to lose weight. But, is that really hormone related or the fact that I am very liberal with the 20%? Who knows.

                        When you get there, don't fear it. Just look at it as a new adventure for you but one that women have been dealing with since before Grok's time. (And before HRT was even thought of!)
                        Even if you fall flat on your face, at least you're moving forward!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hazyjane View Post
                          I really think a lot of how you experience menopause has a lot to do with the condition your adrenals and liver are in.

                          ...

                          Ideally, once the ovaries stop doing their job, the adrenals take over the production of estrogen and progesterone, so you can see how they wouldn't be able to do their job if they're already worn out when someone hits perimenopause.
                          I was going to say something similar to this. Being 27 and having no personal experience of menopause, I can't speak from experience, however being 27 and suffering with endometriosis since a teenager I can say that I will not be one to start supplementing with estrogen. (I've read way too much about the negative effects.) We're supposed to have a drop in estrogen production when we hit menopause; the difference (as far as I've been educated) has to do with how well your adrenals are able to pick up the slack. I can't imagine what a horrible menopause feels like, but I'll do what I can to put myself in a good place to deal with whatever life has in store for me at that stage sans medical intervention or estrogen supplementation.

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                          • #14
                            HAD NO IDEA about the adrenals... will do lots of research...

                            I've had night sweats since I was a teen... but they've been crazy lately... I'm thinking my hormones are def. changing with this diet... (my period was not a crime scene this month.... WOW! First time in years... can't hardly wait 'till next month...)

                            Keep the info flowing ladies... thanks...

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                            • #15
                              I'm 51 (a popular age!) and have been menopausal for 1 yr. Peri-menopause was where I had difficulty, starting at around age 43. But once the periods ended, all the bloating and extreme mood swings ended. Menopause has been an absolute breeze. The one thing I was hoping would end that didn't end, was my migraines. To get those to stop, I had to give up gluten which I did at Christmas this year. Now the migraines are mostly gone and when I do get one it is way more mild than the nasty ones I used to get.

                              I tried bioidentical hormones for a while during perimenopause, then stopped (I don't remember why).

                              Here's one thing I've been told about estrogen: not only do the adrenals pick up where the ovaries leave off, but estrogen is also stored in the fat cells (My naturopath told me this so I hope it is right.) People in perimenopause will often put on 10-15 lbs, and this is the body's way of storing up some extra estrogen. Then, when you burn off fat, you will release that stored estrogen into the boodstream. I have been looking for signs that this is happening...I think it is but I'm not certain based on estrogen side-effects.
                              I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.

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