Tag Archive | estrogen disruptors

My Seventeen Year Struggle With Adenomyosis

First of all, THANK YOU so much for the response to my previous blog post, “For a Moment, Imagine the Pain”. I was stunned when I learned that this post had gone viral! I can’t even tell you how much that means to me knowing that I have helped so many women in my own small way. Even though there is no cure for this disorder at the moment, we can all at least support each other mentally and emotionally. The fact that you know that you aren’t alone is HUGE in the battle against this monster of a disorder!

As I continue to push for more education and research for adenomyosis, I am so affected by all the stories that I read from women who are currently struggling with this uterine disorder. I read a lot of posts by women who just want basic information. These women are desperate to know that there are other women out there who are going through the same thing. Therefore, I have decided to write a blog post on my experience, hoping that this information will help others out there who are suffering currently. WARNING: Before reading any further, please know that this blog is graphic!

From the first day of my first menstrual period at the age of 14, I have had bad cramps and heavy bleeding. I remember coming home from high school because I was in so much pain and having to take Motrin to stop the cramps. I was told that this was all normal. All women have cramps and feel like hell during their periods. It was all just a part of being a woman.

When I went to college, I noticed that a lot of the girls in my dorm just seemed to breeze through that time of the month. Although it wasn’t a main topic of discussion, it seemed like some girls never slowed down…ever. They always felt pretty good and had so much more energy than I did. I really began to blame myself for not being a stronger woman. Why did I struggle so much during “that time of the month”? I was drained, moody, and had horrible headaches that didn’t seem to respond to ibuprofen, and I began to refer to them as “menstrual headaches”.

The real nightmare started in 1990. I woke up one morning to searing abdominal pain. Now, for comparison, I had a ruptured appendix in 1986, and obviously, I clearly remember that pain. The surgeon told me that I was very close to death after my appendectomy as my appendix was also gangrenous. I ended up with peritonitis (a very serious abdominal infection) and was on IV antibiotics for six days. My surgeon told me that if I ever felt pain like that again, I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I never forgot that.

Back to the morning in 1990 – this abdominal pain was even more severe than the pain I felt from the ruptured appendix! It came in waves every few minutes, and when the pain hit, I thought I was going to pass out. Sweat poured down my face, and my shirt was wet. I felt like I had to have a bowel movement, but I was unable to defecate. At the time, I had just finished my period, which was horribly heavy and long (about ten days), and I was still spotting. I was petrified! I called my mom, and she came to pick me up to go to the hospital. I told her that I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even walk to the car, but she helped  me, and somehow I made it. As I compared this to the experience with the ruptured appendix, I was sure that I was on my death-bed.

When I arrived at the hospital, I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement again. I raced to the bathroom and had a huge bout of diarrhea. I felt a little bit better, but those waves of pain kept coming. The ER doctor ran a bunch of tests, but they all came back normal. He gave me some narcotic pain meds through an IV and told me I probably had food poisoning. He sent me home. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. This pain was more severe than the pain I felt after my ruptured appendix. Was this really food poisoning, or did he miss something?

Other than painful menstrual cramps, lengthy periods, and spotting, nothing really happened for about a year. During that time, I married and continued to work as I just put up with these difficult menstrual cycles. Then, suddenly, I awoke one night to the exact same pain. I sweated profusely, had excruciating cramping pain that doubled me over every few minutes, felt like I was going to pass out from the pain, and became very nauseated. Again, I felt like I needed to defecate but was unable to do so. After about five hours and having yet another bout of diarrhea, things settled down. Interestingly enough, this attack also happened at the very end of my menstrual period, and I was spotting at the time. I called in sick the next day to work, and I went to the doctor.

After explaining that this exact same thing happened twice within the year, the doctor was concerned that I had irritable bowel syndrome. He ordered a colonoscopy. Well, the colonoscopy came back completely normal. In fact, the gastroenterologist said that my colon looked so good that I didn’t need to have another colonoscopy for twenty years! I was frustrated. What was causing this horrendous pain?

As the years went by, these attacks became more frequent. They mostly occurred at the end of my menstrual period which clued me into the fact that this could be a gynecological problem. However, when I went to my gynecologist, he assured me that everything was normal and just told me to take ibuprofen. I was told that this was all “normal”.

My co-workers began to doubt that I was sick. People began to talk behind my back. Since the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me, they assumed that I was a hypochondriac.

My worst year was 1996. I had these attacks AT LEAST once a month, and all of them occurred before, during, or at the end of  my menstrual period. I decided to change gynecologists and get a second opinion. I traveled to a teaching hospital in Georgia at the recommendation of a friend, and I was super optimistic that I would get an answer there. This gynecologist scheduled a laparoscopy to investigate the cause of the pain. This surgery identified some endometriosis which was ablated during the procedure, and I hoped that this would finally be the answer. However, it wasn’t. Two months after surgery, the pain returned full force.

I returned to this doctor several more times, but she was unable to get to the bottom of the issue. The attacks continued and even worsened. I remember several nights in particular. One night, the pain was so severe that I was having diarrhea while vomiting in the trash can at the same time. On another night, the most severe cramp that I had ever had came across my abdomen, and I literally thought my intestine was going to rupture. On yet another night, I saw stars when a cramp hit me, and I thought for sure I was going to faint. I just grabbed onto the sink and told myself to breathe as I positioned myself so I wouldn’t hit my head if I fell. I remember lying on the bathroom floor in the fetal position, crying out of extreme frustration, begging God to deliver me from this nightmare. With each attack, I always felt like I had to have a bowel movement, but I couldn’t go. Some nights, I would become so frustrated that I would push as hard as I could, desperately trying to defecate. This led to the development of hemorrhoids.

Over the years, I began to notice that I would become extremely bloated just prior to the attack. In fact, if people didn’t know any better, they would think I was pregnant. Once the bloating began, I knew I was in trouble and that I better get home as soon as possible. I also began to pass incredibly large blood clots, some as big as the palm of my hand. I KNEW that this had to be some kind of gynecological disorder.

I began to have panic attacks. If I started to bloat or started to feel any kind of pelvic pain and I wasn’t at home, my heart would race, and I would start to feel faint. I would begin to shake and feel panicky, especially if I wasn’t near a bathroom. I remember a trip that my husband and I took to Las Vegas, and when we were in the airport on our way to go home, I began to bloat up. I became shaky and nauseated, and I began to have pelvic pain as we waited in line for our tickets. I went to the bathroom since I felt like I needed to defecate, but I couldn’t. Panic overtook me, and we had to stay in Vegas an additional two days before I could travel home. The doctor who I saw in Vegas was convinced that I had gastroesophageal reflux which I knew at the time was a bunch of nonsense. Honestly, I felt like telling him off because he wasn’t listening to me, but I was just too sick. He did give me some medication that made me sleep, and this is really what it took to get me home. I don’t think I would have traveled had I not been sedated.

Eventually, we moved to Virginia. I searched for a well-respected gynecologist and again had some hope when I found one that was highly recommended. I told her all that had happened to me, and she ran all the tests that had already been run on me in Georgia. Of course, everything came back normal. She suggested that I try birth control pills. These helped a little bit, but I still was miserable and still had the occasional attacks of severe pain.

I went back to her repeatedly, and I could tell that she was becoming more and more impatient with each visit. One time, I went with a detailed list of my symptoms and when I experienced them. As I started to read the list to explain things to her, she grabbed it from me, glanced at it a few seconds, and then threw it on the chair. As she performed my exam, I tried to ask her more questions, but I could tell she wasn’t interested in helping me. She told me, “I have to go. I have other naked women waiting on me”.

Extremely frustrated, I went to yet another gynecologist that was recommended to me. This guy was worse than the other. He actually closed his eyes while I talked to him, and I could swear he was sleeping. He did all the routine tests, the same as the other doctors, and couldn’t find any problems.

I continued to try to live my life as normally as possible. I had been prescribed a slew of different medications over the years, and none of them worked. At one point, I was prescribed Bentyl for irritable bowel syndrome, and this medication was completely useless. When one of the attacks started, I took that medication immediately with high hopes of it at least lessening the pain. This medication did absolutely nothing…no pain relief at all, and it ended up being one of the most severe attacks I ever had. Most of the doctors wanted to jump to the conclusion that I had IBS since they couldn’t find anything else. It is important to note that IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that if all other tests are negative, they assign the label of “IBS”…which to me means that they don’t know the real cause of the problem.

Finally, out of desperation, I looked to natural alternatives. I read up on the benefits of flaxseed, and I was intrigued. I began to incorporate ground flaxseed (very high in omega-3 fatty acids) into my diet, and my symptoms reduced. I was absolutely amazed! This propelled me into alternative medicine, and I now have a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition.

Although dietary changes did bring some relief, I still struggled with prolonged menstrual bleeding that lasted up to fourteen days, spotting for several days after that, bad menstrual cramps, digestive problems during menstruation, passing extremely large blood clots, infertility (we tried for ten years with no luck), menstrual migraine headaches, and terrible PMS (mood swings in particular). I was eventually diagnosed with a uterine polyp via hysterosonogram. The actual procedure was not bad at all (I expected it to be painful). However, on our way home (about 15-20 minutes later), severe cramping started. We were stuck in horrible traffic, and I told my husband to pull over. The car next to us wouldn’t let us over which obviously made both of us mad. I thought I was going to vomit from the pain, but there was nothing my husband could do. Finally we were able to pull into a McDonald’s restaurant, and I had a huge bout of diarrhea which lessened the pain enough that I could get home. After this experience, I was convinced that my uterus was the problem. The polyp was removed through hysteroscopy, but even after this surgery, the symptoms continued.

Several years later, we moved to Texas. Finally, I came across a gynecologist who was empathetic to my situation. She suggested that I have an endometrial ablation to see if that would ease my symptoms, and I agreed to do so. This surgery is supposed to stop all bleeding as it burns the endometrial lining of the uterus. However, 24 hours after surgery, I began to bleed. Since this isn’t supposed to happen, I went to the hospital.

Emergency room physicians are sometimes not very good at performing gynecological exams as I found out later. During the exam, I was torn which caused me even more pain. I was fuming mad, and I can’t even describe the amount of stress and frustration that I felt at the time. Of course, the ER doctors couldn’t find any problem other than I was bleeding when I shouldn’t be bleeding. A lot of good that trip did for me!

The next day, I went back to see my gynecologist. When she examined me, she was very concerned. I remember her words: “Wow, this is way too much bleeding. This has never happened with any other ablation that I have done.” At that time, I asked for a hysterectomy, and she agreed.

I really was quite happy on the day of the hysterectomy in 2007. Finally, this uterus that has put me through hell is going to come out! The ovaries were left as I was still in my early forties, and my gynecologist didn’t want me to go into early menopause.

The follow-up visit with my gynecologist is one day I will never forget. She came into the room and FINALLY explained to me why I had so much pain over all those years. I had severe diffuse adenomyosis with fibroids. She went on to explain that this condition cannot be definitively diagnosed prior to hysterectomy and that it could explain all of my issues over the past seventeen years. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been happier. The next day, I sent her flowers, thanking her for finally finding the cause of my pain.

Since my hysterectomy, ALL of my symptoms have completely resolved. I have not had any attacks since that day.

If you would like to read more details of my adenomyosis journey, I have written a book called “My Hormones are Killing Me: My Struggle with Adenomyosis and Estrogen Dominance” by Maria Yeager. It is available for purchase on Amazon. I hope my story will help other women out there by letting them know that they are not alone. For more information on adenomyosis, please visit my website at http://www.adenomyosisfighters.com. Also, please feel free to contact me via my website if you have any questions. I am very passionate about this cause, and I will do my best to help you as much as I can 🙂

Hugs to all those adenomyosis and endometriosis fighters and survivors out there!

You are all heroes!

Endometriosis and the Bowel

This is a great article from the site, Bloomin’ Uterus. Great information!

As you may know, Endometriosis is not limited to just your reproductive bits & pieces.  It can implant, grow, and fester in many places; the bowel included.  But what does that mean? How do you…

Source: Endometriosis & The Bowel

Advice to Adenomyosis Sufferers: Try Chemical-Free Makekup

Did you know that adenomyosis has been linked to estrogen dominance? Estrogen dominance occurs when there is not enough progesterone in a woman’s body to counter the effects of estrogen. This is a fairly recent finding. In the past, doctors would do simple hormone testing and as long as the estrogen and progesterone levels fell into a specific range, the assumption is that everything was normal. However, research has shown that the ratio of progesterone to estrogen is vitally important. These two hormones can be in the “normal range” while the ratio between the two can actually be abnormal.

So, why do some women have estrogen dominance? Well, there can be many reasons, but one important one is the excessive exposure to dangerous chemicals in the environment that act like estrogen in the body. These chemicals are called xenoestrogens. They are referred to as endocrine disruptors as they can easily disrupt the delicate hormonal balance in a woman’s body.

There are many different xenoestrogens in the environment, and it is virtually impossible to avoid all of them. Some examples include petroleum products, pesticides, and herbicides. About a week ago, I walked into an office building and saw a sign in the grass which said that the lawn had been treated. So, we literally get bombarded with them the moment we walk out the front door.

However, we can reduce our exposure. Pthalates and parabens are commonly used in cosmetics, and these two chemicals are known xenoestrogens. Since I love makeup and wear it all the time, I decided to do some research on chemical-free makeup. I have found that Bare Minerals does not contain pthalates or parabens, so I ordered their foundation and lipstick. I absolutely love it! It covers my blemishes and sunspots so well, and I have actually had strangers comment on how good my face looks! The Moxie lipgloss is my absolute favorite – I can just feel the moisture soaking into my lips. So, I have thrown away all my Maybelline and CoverGirl cosmetics and have become a loyal customer of Bare Minerals.

I was super-excited when I saw a segment on Fox News several days ago in which a doctor urged women to explore using chemical-free makeup. He explained how these xenoestrogens were endocrine disruptors and how it would be in the best interest of our health to go chemical-free. I have a feeling that this line of thinking is going to become quite popular as people begin to realize the dangers of parabens and pthalates.

There are so many choices for makeup out there. If you suffer from adenomyosis, it would be a good idea to check out makeup that is pthalate- and paraben-free as this will reduce your exposure to the dangerous xenoestrogens. For an in-depth discussion about estrogen dominance, xenoestrogens, and adenomyosis, be sure to look for my upcoming book which will be out by the summer of 2016.

Big hugs to all my adenomyosis sisters and warriors out there!

I Hear You

I hear you.

I know what it is like to have abdominal pain that is so severe you can’t stand up straight…pain that feels like someone is reaching right into your abdomen and squeezing as hard as he/she can….pain that causes intense nausea and vomiting…relentless pain that doesn’t let up for hours. I feel your pain.

I know what it is like to bleed continuously for over two weeks…bleeding that is so heavy you soak a maxi pad in less than an hour….bleeding that causes you to become so weak that you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom….so much blood loss that you get migraine headaches and pass clots as big as the palm of your hand…bleeding that causes so much fatigue that you can barely make it through the day, many times skipping meals because all you want to do is sleep. I feel your weakness.

I know what it is like to go to a doctor and being told that it’s all “normal”….being told that you need to see a psychologist….being brushed aside because you’ve been to the doctor multiple times with the same complaint…having people think you are making it all up because the doctors can’t find a cause of your pain…hoping that the doctors find cancer – just so you can finally have a diagnosis…living without a diagnosis for over ten years or even longer…living with people around you that have no sympathy for your situation. I feel your frustration.

I know what it is like to never know when an attack will hit you….wondering if you will make it to your destination before the pain starts…waiting in an airport and looking around to see if a bathroom is nearby in case you need it…getting stuck in rush hour traffic and having a panic attack because you are afraid the pain might start while you are stuck…trying to “suck it up” so you can get through your day and not take more sick time. I feel your anxiety.

I know what it’s like to wait for yet more gynecological tests….waiting to see if they will find something life-threatening….waiting for hours for your surgery to begin…staring at the ceiling all night before the surgery, unable to sleep…the mild nausea and racing heart as you wait for the surgical techs to bring you back for yet another surgical procedure. I feel your fear.

I hear you. I hear you loud and clear because I’ve been through it. Women who suffer from adenomyosis and endometriosis are true warriors. They know real pain. They know real frustration. They know real anxiety. They know real fear. When you are in the presence of these amazing women, know that you stand among some of the strongest women alive. There is nothing or no one who will be able to take these women down after struggling with adenomyosis. We will defeat this disorder. It’s going to be a long and tough mountain to climb, but I am determined to climb it and won’t stop this fight against adenomyosis until my final breath. We will find a cure! Hang in there, warriors!

*Adenomyosis: A Significantly Neglected and Misunderstood Uterine Disorder is now available on Amazon. See my author website at http://www.mariayeager.com for more information.

Adenomyosis: A Significantly Neglected and Misunderstood Uterine Disorder

Do you have adenomyosis or endometriosis and are frustrated by the lack of knowledge on these uterine disorders? Are you constantly searching for information about adenomyosis or endometriosis? Are you looking for effective ways to diminish the symptoms of these disorders? Do you wonder what might be causing your painful and debilitating symptoms? Stop researching! This brand new book includes all of that information in one place! I have researched and compiled information on the most recent research on adenomyosis.

The cause is currently unknown, but adenomyosis has been linked to a condition called estrogen dominance, and this appears to be linked to excessive exposure to xenoestrogens (man-made substances that act like estrogen in the body). In the book, I list all the different types of xenoestrogens and give examples of ways to avoid some of them (total avoidance is impossible as explained in the book – reduction of exposure can be accomplished).

Did you know that you can help to balance your hormones through diet?  Fiber is known to bind to estrogen and removes it through urine and/or feces. There are many other foods that help to eliminate excess estrogen, and these are all listed and discussed in this book.

Did you know that liver health may have an impact on hormone levels? The liver is an amazing organ that helps your body to eliminate toxins, including estrogen. Liver health is of utmost importance in adenomyosis, and this is discussed at length in this book.

Are you facing a diagnostic procedure or future uterine surgery and don’t know what to expect? This book discusses in detail all of the possible procedures/surgeries along with stories of my own personal experience for each test/surgery. I also added the complications and dangers of each procedure.

Are you curious about medications for adenomyosis and endometriosis? I discuss current pharmacological treatments, including side effects of these medications.

This book was written for a person who is not necessarily in the medical field as I wanted women who are suffering to get the most reliable and up-to-date information in a format that they can understand. Many tips and hints to help control symptoms are given throughout the book. I wanted to share this information because I KNOW what it’s like to have adenomyosis and endometriosis. I KNOW the pain! I want to help out other women who are currently going through the pain, fatigue, and frustration that go along with these disorders. During the time that I dealt with adeno and endo, not much was known, and there were pretty much no support sites available. I’m so happy that there are now several excellent support sites out there, and I hope this book will add to the awareness of both endometriosis and adenomyosis.

This book can be found on Amazon or Barnes and Noble in the United States. It is also available through Amazon’s extended distribution channels which means that is should be available for purchase worldwide as a paperback or on Kindle. Click on the link below to purchase through Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Adenomyosis-Significantly-Neglected-Misunderstood-Disorder/dp/153306511X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464821114&sr=1-1&keywords=maria+yeager

I hope this book will bring at least some relief to so many women who are forced to live with these uterine disorders. I urge the medical profession to update their knowledge of adenomyosis and endometriosis, and I strongly encourage researchers to develop well-controlled trials to give us much more insight into the cause of these disorders as well as better ways to diagnose and treat them.

Questioning the Results of a Sonohysterogram

Due to many requests, I am currently working on publishing my book, “My Hormones Are Killing Me – My Struggle With Adenomyosis and Estrogen Dominance” as an e-book. I have to re-format the book for Kindle, so I am basically reading it as I re-format. It was originally published in 2012. This book is a re-cap of my seventeen year struggle with the disorder which finally ended in 2007 after my hysterectomy. Since writing this book, I have done a lot of research on the disorder and have recently published my second book which looks at all of the current knowledge and research. So, today I know much more about adenomyosis than I did back in 2012.

As I was re-formatting today, I read my ultrasound, sonohysterogram, and hysteroscopy notes that were done when I had a uterine polyp in the early 2000s. The ultrasound, which was done first, noted an endometrial thickness of 5 mm. Thickness of the endometrium varies throughout a woman’s cycle, but in general, this falls into the normal range. Please note, as I discuss in my current book, that it has now been found that it is of utmost importance to look at the thickness of the junctional zone, or JZ, in particular on MRI to identify adenomyosis. I’m quite sure that at that time, they didn’t look at the JZ.

My sonohysterogram report (done after the ultrasound) stated that my endometrium appeared normal with a thickness of 1-2 mm. A thickness of 1-2 mm usually is seen during menstruation, and I wasn’t menstruating – I was mid-cycle. That was a big red flag to me as I re-read the report. Other than the polyp, the report stated that everything appeared normal.

However, about a month after the sonohysterogram, I had a hysteroscopy to remove the polyp. The hysteroscopy report stated that I had a bicornuate uterus, and the surgeon was not able to accurately visualize the left horn of my uterus. The polyp was successfully removed but it begs the question: Why wasn’t the bicornuate uterus picked up by sonohysterogram? A sonohysterogram is touted for being about 90% accurate for picking up uterine abnormalities of all kinds, including a bicornuate uterus.

So….1-2 mm endometrial thickness and no mention of a bicornuate uterus? Hmmm. As you can see, I question everything. I have learned to do this not only because of my ordeal with adenomyosis, but also because I worked in the medical field for about twenty years. Although people in this field are quite diligent, we are all human. Mistakes are made in the medical field, and doctors and radiologists are not immune to this problem.

This also drives home the point that I have made in previous posts and on my website, Adenomyosis Fighters. The ability to be able to properly diagnose adenomyosis is entirely dependent on the skill of the doctor or radiologist. If the doctor who performed the sonohysterogram failed to pick up a bicornuate uterus, do you think he would be able to pick up adenomyosis? A bicornuate uterus is a rather large and  much more obvious abnormality compared to adenomyosis.

It is imperative that doctors and radiologists update their current knowledge on adenomyosis. Even though I’ve said this over and over again, to this day, I STILL hear patients tell me that their doctors don’t know much about adenomyosis. In my most current book, I point out the following statement made by researchers Owalbi and Strickler:

    “Adenomyosis is the addendum to textbook chapters on ectopic endometrium: it is a      forgotten process and neglected diagnosis.”ª

To learn more, please visit http://www.adenomyosisfighters.com.

ªOwalbi, T. O. & Strickler, R. C. (1977). Adenomyosis: A Neglected Diagnosis. Obstetrice and Gynecology, 50(4), 424-7. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/904805

Chemicals That Interfere With Hormones: Disturbing Findings

I have recently started to work on a new book on endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDC (also known as xenoestrogens). These chemicals have been implicated in the development of adenomyosis, but they have also been implicated in other reproductive disorders and cancers. I wanted to publish an in-depth review of these dangerous chemicals, but little did I know that I would be embarking on a huge project that is also quite disturbing.

I like to use PubMed through the NIH to get reliable information from actual clinical studies. The first study I read was “Mixtures of xenoestrogens disrupt estradiol-induced non-genomic signaling and downstream functions in pituitary cells” by Rene Viñas and Cheryl S. Watson at the University of Texas.¹

The first interesting thing I noted is that this group looked at the effect of mixtures of xenoestrogens, not just the effect of one xenoestrogen, on rat cells. This is particularly important since we are not exposed to one xenoestrogen at a time. In fact, we are exposed to hundreds of these dangerous chemicals each day. We are bombarded with them the minute we walk out our front door. This study showed that the cells responded differently when exposed to multiple xenoestrogens at the same time as opposed to a single xenoestrogen.

Although that fact is enlightening, the most disturbing thing I learned from this article is about bisphenol A, or BPA. This xenoestrogen is used to make plastics and epoxy resins, and it can be found in a slew of consumer products. Examples include water bottles, thermal paper (such as sales receipts, cinema tickets, airline tickets), CD’s, and DVDs. It is also used extensively to line the inside of food and beverage cans.  It is one of the highest volume chemicals made in the world today.

In the last ten years or so, the safety of BPA has come into question. Studies have shown that it is an endocrine-disruptor. In particular, it has been shown to interfere with estrogen receptors. Because of this concern, years of discussion ensued in governmental agencies worldwide leading to a ban of BPA use in the production of baby bottles and other products in children under the age of three. Today, some of these products are listed as “BPA-free”.

However, this study from the University of Texas pointed out that many “BPA-free” products now contain BPS, or bisphenol S. BPS is now being used as a substitute for BPA. Shockingly, this study shows that BPS is also an endocrine disruptor as it also interferes with estrogen receptors!! So, according to this study, “BPA-free” is NOT safe. As I continued to do my research, I noticed that a 2011 study stated “Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA [endocrine activity], including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA [endocrine activity] that BPA-containing products.” ²

I was stunned! Next, I read a very long and excellent article on Wikipedia about Bisphenol A. I came to the conclusion that this chemical hasn’t been banned altogether because of lobbyists/politics.  Here are some interesting (and infuriating) facts:

  1. The FDA considers BPA to be “safe at the current levels occurring in foods.” They base this statement on two studies funded by the chemical companies even though there are hundreds of other studies out there that show this chemical to be an endocrine disruptor.
  2. The FDA had previously stated that the benefits of good nutrition outweigh the risks of BPA exposure when it comes to infant formulas/food. Since that time, BPA has been banned in baby bottles in the U.S.
  3. In 2011, the governor of Maine, Paul LePage, actually made the following statement when discussing the issue of bisphenol A: “The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.” In April of that year, the Maine legislature passed a bill that banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and some reusable food containers. Governor LePage refused to sign it.
  4. In 2009, the EPA planned on labeling BPA as a “chemical of concern; however, after lobbyists for the chemical company met with members of the administration, this didn’t happen.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I will get into much more detail in my upcoming book, but I felt the need to write a short blog on this topic now as to alert the general public about safety issues regarding BPA and so-called “BPA-free” products. After reading these articles, I have learned that virtually no plastic product is safe, regardless of what the government tells you.

The best advice I can give is to get away from processed food and go as fresh as possible. Organic is best. Try to stay away from canned foods as much as possible. It is important to note that we cannot avoid all xenoestrogens, but it is vitally important to reduce exposure as much as possible. This is particularly important for women who already suffer from estrogen-dependent diseases such as adenomyosis, endometriosis, and reproductive cancers.

Want more information on adenomyosis, an overview of endocrine-disrupting hormones, and tips to reduce your exposure? Check out my book, Adenomyosis: A Significantly Neglected and Misunderstood Uterine Disorder. Available on Amazon (Kindle or paperback).

http://www.mariayeager.com

¹Viñas, R. & Watson, C. (2013). Mixtures of xenoestrogens disrupt estradiol-induced non-genomic signaling and downstream functions in pituitary cells. Environmental Health Perspective. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-12-26

²Walsh, B. (2011). “Study: Even ‘BPA-free’ plastics leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals”. Time. Retrieved 14 September 2016.

Beth’s Story

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