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Friday, July 25, 2014

Birth Control, Estrogens and Hormones

Some men do carry the biological burden, but in most cases it's the women that carry it. Since the introduction of the pill in the 60s there are been quite a few variations and changes. This article is about that.

Some of the newest on the market have also proven the most harmful. Take YAZ for instance. It has been proven to cause serious heart and health problems. In the last year the company that produced YAZ has been sued several times. It continues to affect your health long after you've stopped taking it.

It's true that women on the average live longer than men, but I'm not sure if that will continue. I'm also not sure if we have the best quality of life. Most women my age have taken birth control for most of their lives. My mother took them. I took them. My children will take them. But how much SHOULD we take them?

Birth control chemicals present SO many issues. Today I will present just a few concerns. You, my peers have been fooled by this illusion that chemicals are safe for us. At this day and age there are some who have issues with the pills, but for the general public and for our generation it is accepted. When teenage girls begin puberty, they are just put on it. For me, they reduced my cramps, so they were a God send.  They do have benefits, but they also alter our chemistry in more ways than we suspect. I mean in both our body and brain.
Birth control methods can:
Decrease the production of DHEA
Decrease the production of Estrogens
Decrease the production of Melatonin
Decrease the production of Testosterones
Decrease the production of Androgens

Here is the issue. There is more than one type of estrogen. More than one type of testosterone exists. Of course we also have progesterone. All of these things have to be in balance and each one affects the other. These are all incredibly important.

In rare case, such as mine I underwent IVF. I have had over 22 weeks of intensive estrogen and progesterone treatment during the surrogacy attempts that I did in 2007-2008. This really screwed me over. I now believe the effect was catastrophic to my brain and body. I am left with an underproduction of both progesterone and estrogen. After I had that baby in 4/2008 my brain simply stopped working normally. I had no progesterone and the female brain requires it in order to function. I thought that it would return to normal, but it never did.

I had really horrible depression. I was not functioning mentally. I would lose things constantly. I left the keys in the refrigerator. I don't know how.  I was told my thinking was faulty. I was told I was depressed and crying because I was "over-tired". I contemplated suicide, but I had small children and to me that wasn't an option. I felt very alone. I thought that my unsatisfying relationship, and my stay-at-home life with my kids were to blame. I had never been depressed in my life. Honestly I did not know what to think.  I have now come to the conclusion that:
*  I needed more support than I was getting.
*  I was hormonally depressed and very seriously.   Crying in the shower at 3 am was not normal.
* I needed to have someone take me to a doctor. I was literally unable to help myself. 

No one examined my hormone levels after the surrogacy in 2008. I had a check up at my local OB, not the fertility center, but they should have tested me after pumping my system with hormones.   I was so caught up in the drama of my depression and then a separation, and then custody battles and such . . that I wasn't really thinking about myself, or what might have actually caused the overall problem. I had no idea how serious my memory loss and cognitive functioning had become, because I was the only one suffering it. None of my loved ones noticed and when they did would tell me something like: "You just have selective memory. You choose what you want to remember". To someone who has real memory problems, this was really painful for me. I had no idea how bad my brain had deteriorated. I was also proud, so I kept trying to hide my disability.

I realize now I should have told someone how bad it was. Instead I was trying to eat healthy and kind of avoid the pain of the thought that I had a medical issue. I have never been a person that forgot things before. I had never been uncoordinated before in my entire life. I had never been the person who walks along a hallway and just bumps into the wall. I was dropping things all the time. They call this "butterfingers". I obviously didn't look these things up on the internet because it was new at the time, but I was too busy raising my small toddlers to think about it anyway. My life was consumed with diapers and feedings. My self esteem had taken very big hits from having children and being so far away from the support of my family. I didn't have a lot of friends. I wasn't interacting with anyone on a daily basis. I was completely alienated. I am a giver, so I am not a person who goes to the doctor to complain.

The problem was major and it should have been addressed. I would like all of you to remember this. Share it with people. It can help other people with depression and cognitive problems.

There are multiple types of steroids, hormones and substances that your body makes. So, how do we know which to replace after life has toyed with your body? Answer: We do not know. We have to investigate. There are a lot of holistic doctors that have emerged to deal with estrogen dominance. You can also get a referral to an endocrinologist to test your hormones.

You may never be able to increase these hormones in the right ways, but you can attempt it and come as close to you can. I have and it has helped me tons!

First, please read about Melatonin. Most people do not get enough. It is incredibly beneficial for your skin and your brain. You can also read this article I have written on estrogen dominance: 

If you have been on pills or IUDs for most of your life, you are probably low on something. The MAIN effect of having no progesterone is a foggy brain. However, you could also other problems.  You don't remember why you walked into the kitchen?  Mine was so bad that I literally couldn't remember something that happened 5 minutes ago. I functioned or appeared to function normally because I was smart enough to systematize my life. 

I would talk to myself mentally every time I did something. I would make lists everywhere. I was extremely paranoid of forgetting things. "Milk, must get milk. Milk in the bottle. Oh, babies are dirty. First diapers. Diapers and milk, diapers and milk, diapers and milk. Diapers and then milk. " I would do this mentally while the babies were crying, but I would say, "It's ok babies, just need diapers and milk." There is no way I could talk to another person if I had something to do. My significant other at the time probably thought I was crazy and ignoring him, but I honestly could not focus on his words because I was too busy saying, "diapers and milk" over and over again in my head. I lived this way for a VERY long time. I imagine that some of the functional ability I have now is from these habits that I have trained myself into. I still constantly make lists and constantly repeat things to myself on a regular basis. I went to the store yesterday and bought some things. I did NOT buy the one thing I was supposed to buy, which was a 9 volt battery. So, It is now normal for me to function this way and if I do not make a list I can not be at full efficiency. Another reason I seemed so "normal" was that I could remember a lot of old information. I could tell you that brown eyes are dominant and that blue eyes are recessive. I could even draw you a chart for Recessive/Dominant, based on the Genetics 101 class I took in 1995, but I could not remember my own cousin's name for over 5 minutes. To clarify, if I stopped saying "diapers and milk" in my head and then walked into the nursery, there was about a 75% chance that I would completely forget why I went in there.

So, in "fog brain" only your short-term memory is affected. Fog brain can also fog up things like names, words or processes. Some smells may repulse you. I couldn't stand the smell of any type of seafood. Ick! You may drop things, be klutzy . . . basically anything that you have seen happen to a pregnant woman, are symptoms that you may have. 

Let me tell you why. Estrogen levels have to be higher than progesterone, but not by too much. If they are not then the body suffers horribly from all kinds of weird symptoms. Pregnant women fluctuate between overproduction of estrogen and overproduction of progesterone. That is normal for them because they need to do that in order to make the changes in their body in order to make babies. For example the spine actually straightens! Weird. 

To get your life back you can do several things. First off, talk to your doctor about how much production of what hormones you think you produce. Use this to measure them: 

I suggest you look more at the symptoms than at any actual test measuring hormones. Everyone's body works differently, and what your symptoms are reflects your needs. For me, I still under produce progesterone AND estrogen . . and if I don't take my progesterone religiously, I will get an estrogen migraine. If I take no pills my estrogen and progesterone fall, and then I am fog brained again (which I hate more than the migraines). My doctor helped me by putting me on a single-phasic pill that is high in progesterone, but still has some estrogen. In order for me to function I need to have a good source of estrogen and progesterone.

What was happening with a triple phasic pill was that by the time I got to pill set #2 my estrogen and progesterone had adjusted to pill set (week #1).  This was making it impossible for my body to be normal but it was also making it impossible for me to diagnose my symptoms, since they were all over the place. With this pill I have the same dose every day for three weeks. It helps my body to regulate itself for me. As I write this I correct numerous typos, spelling errors and grammar. I'm still not normal. I don't believe I ever will be until I decide to get a full hormone replacement therapy, maybe in fifteen years or so. We'll see.

You can also have estrogen dominance or overproduction in different amounts, but most pill-users are under producing. Talk to your NP or Dr. about balancing with different types of pills, like a pill that only contains progesterone and no estrogen. If you have questions feel free to ask me. I just hope I shed some light on this subject.

For more information just click on this image below. It will lead you to another blog for a holistic medical nurse. Thank you for reading.

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I am a bit funny, crazy, sometimes serious and usually wise. I'm very creative and artistic. However my greatest gift in life is common sense.