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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index

Hi TEdds,

Be very careful with that hormone crap. Here is what happened to me:

Before my ovarian cyst was discovered, I had been on the birth control pill for about 20 years non stop. After my 40th birthday, I started to have extremely heavy mid cycle bleeding. Since my cycle was controlled by the BCP and nothing anywhere similar had ever happened, I was extremely worried and went to my doctor.

My doctor was positive that it was the birth control pill that was causing the irregular heavy bleeding and he said that they see this "all the time" (wish someone had thought to put this on the pamphlet ... risk of irregular heavy bleeding with prolonged use). He gave me an endometrial biopsy just to be sure that there was nothing more sinister going on and the test came out semi inconclusive because there was so much blood and not enough endometrial tissue. The tissue that was there was normal. My doctor wanted to put me on a pill with more estrogen as he said that the progesterone in the pill is sometimes so strong that it is hard on the endometrial lining. Progesterone thins out the endometrial lining, so much so sometimes, that excessive thinning makes the lining begin to bleed on its own. In the meantime I also went to see a gynecologist who wanted to ADD progesterone. You see, excessive bleeding can also mean that you have a thickened lining so the progesterone would thin out the lining and stop the bleeding. When I heard this I said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ! I went completely OFF the pill and my cycle returned to normal almost IMMEDIATELY.

Unfortunately, my poor ovaries had not ovulated for about 20 years so my first ovulation after going off the pill was incredibly painful. I thought I was dying so off to the doctor's again I went. My doctor was on vacation so his partner ordered an ultrasound and this is were my large ovarian cyst was found. It was a simple cyst but at around 8 cms, this was no normal cyst (ovarian cysts normally max out at around 5 cms). My GP still thought this was normal and it would go away in 1-3 cycles (so did the radiologist who did the ultrasound). Low and behold the cyst was still there four months later and it had grown a bit too. Both the radiologist and the G.P. were puzzled so I went back to the gynecologist who knew that this was an abnormal cyst (most likely benign since simple cysts almost always are). By the way, they also found a small fibroid (1.3 cms) which remained the same throughout my watchful waiting period. I just named it "Fred" and forgot about it (get it, Fred the Fibroid).

My ovulations continued to be extremely painful and it is only now, over three years after going off the pill, that they are started to even out to just a little pain for about an hour or so. As I mentioned in my previous post, I eventually had to have the cyst removed, along with my ovary, as it was getting bigger and bigger.

I now think that a) it was the progesterone in the pill that caused my irregular bleeding as it always happened in mid cycle, when the progesterone levels in the pill started to be increased (I was on a triphasic formulation: heavy estrogen at the start with increasing progesterone as the cycle progessed ... this is meant to mimic a natural cycle) and b) being on the pill for so many years caused my ovaries to atrophy .. one of them managed to pick up the pace and progress normally even after so many years of being muzzled but the other one did not and had to be removed.

When my doctor mentioned that when I go into menopause he will start me on hormone replacement therapy, I almost kicked him in the stomach. Instead, I very politely told him that it will be a cold day in hell before anyone puts me on hormones ever again. My mother told hormone replacement at menopause and it cause horrible bleeding issues. In her case, the bleeding did not go away when she stopped the hormone therapy and she had to have a D & C to clean out her lining and stop the bleeding. She ended up having to go through a hospital procedure with anaesthesia in order to fix something caused by a drug that was given for no good reason (my mother did not have horrible menopausal symptoms or anything .. hormones were simply given to everyone in those days ... and still are by some physicians).

Unless I am experiencing horrible symptoms which I cannot live with, I will definitely look for other more benign means of taking care of my health during menopause (I am 44 years old so I have yet to face this ... we shall see).

You may want to pick up a copy of Dr. Christiane Northrup's book entitled, The Wisdom of Menopause. It is EXCELLENT for women our age and explains MANY things. For example, hormones are funny in that if you have too much of one and not enough of the other, the body can turn one hormone into the other. In other words, if you have too much progesterone and not enough estrogen, the body is capable of using the excess progesterone and turn it into estrogen (within reason, of course, if you have way too much progesterone in your system, the body can only do so much). In addition, as we age and our ovaries produce less estrogen, the fat cells in our body become a more important source of estrogen replacement (again, within reason .. some women have too much and are therefore exposed to too much estrogen like effects which causes problems).

All this to say, be careful with hormones as they may not be doing what you think they are doing and may actually be doing the opposite of what you think they are doing. Go slowly and in small doses until you find the right formula. Each woman is completely different from another so what works for one may not work for another. This is partially why blanket doses of hormone replacement for everyone do not work for everyone. Anyway, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book as it explains a lot.

Your cysts will indeed most likely disappear in a few menstrual cycles as they are probably normal follicular cysts. Your fibroids are not large, however, depending upon their location, they may indeed be causing your bleeding issues. Provided you are not already progesterone dominant, the progesterone may help to shrink the fibroids. There are also other ways to handle fibroids if they cause horrible bleeding. In the meantime, use ibuprofen (if you can take this without any health issues) to help reduce the pain AND bleeding. Ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin will help to reduce bleeding and pain by reducing prostaglandins in your blood during this time. Just be careful to use it sparingly due to stomach issues (I noticed you have acid reflux issues) ... only when necessary and check with your doc first to be sure you are not helping one problem and making another worse.

Sorry this is so long but I always hope that my experience can be useful to others. My experience is not your experience, of course, but it may help to keep things in perspective.

Take care and all the best.


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