Hi....I am new here. I am scheduled to have a hysterectomy on May 13th, 2011 (including my ovaries). I've been dealing with severe bleeding issues for over a year now and have tried a few different things before deciding to go with a hysterectomy. My maternal grandmother had ovarian uterine cancer and died when she was 39. My mom had a complete hysterectomy in her early 30's (she passed away 7 years ago from bone cancer). There is also heart disease on both sides of my family. I have some concerns about using HRT for all the typical reasons. Not to mention, I'm not big on taking any kind of medication unless its absolutely necessary. I realize it has its benefits and risks and I want to consider all of that when I make my decision. I've noticed on this forum that some people are taking the patch that contains estradiol. I've been doing some research and have also read some very good things about the estrogen hormone (E3) called estriol. Does anyone have any experience with that hormone. Any help and advice I can get will be much appreciated!! Thanks!
It's been awhile since I've written anything about Estriol. It was touted as the next great thing about 10 years ago. It was used (and probably still is) in Bi-est, which is an estrogen combination of Estradiol and Estriol that you can usually only pick up from a Compounding pharmacy.
It was big in Europe (as I recall...) but it was because it was tougher to get it here in the US and the push to use mostly or only Estradiol was not as prevalent at that time. It was also supposed to be the next big thing regarding protection against breast cancer. The research I've read on the hormone over the past few years has pretty much debunked all of the praise it got years ago.
Estriol is the hormone that is in abundance during pregnancy and that is the only time in a woman's life there is a need for it (hope I said that right).
When I was using it back in the years from 2003-2006 the estriol portion of my script for bi-est was small (I think it was 80% Estradiol and 20% Estriol. I switched to another hormone provider and unbeknownst to me the provider switched the script on me to a 50-50 blend. I could not figure out why I was feeling poorly. I also had an immediate weight gain (bad enough that I have to constantly watch my weight... this was not pleasant). I was bloated and uncomfortable. I called the pharmacist after about the fifth day I was on that regimen and he explained the difference in prescriptions and stated that there are many women who do not tolerate a high amount of Estriol. I switched back immediately to the other dosage. But eventually I left the Bi-est to go back to the Patch of Estradiol that I'd been on from 2000 - 2003. And, I'm glad I switched back. I currently use the "Vivelle" patch. I may some day have to switch to a sublingual tablet of bioidentical Estrace which would bypass the liver and has been well-tolerated by some women I know. The only reason I would switch to that form of Estradiol is because my new health insurance is charging so much for the Vivelle and will only cover the generic form of the Climara patch (also a bioidentical estradiol and not a bad choice, but I have heard that women are not liking the generic version. Maybe it will get better sooooon... I hope!) I also take testosterone along with that hormone. Testosterone helps not only with libido, but with mental clarity, bone health, bladder issues, stamina, chemical sensitivites, etc. You only need a small amount but you would need to make sure your level of estradiol is optimal for your well-being as well as your heart and bone health.
Estriol is a weaker hormone, and because of that it's been linked with being "safer." However, Estradiol beats the other hormones hands down when it comes to safety and efficacy according to the research that is out there. I would not be without it and I've been on this journey for 11 years now after a radical hysterectomy in 2000 at age 47. Estrogen alone affects over 400 bodily functions and I know there are women who don't take it (I also understand that some women simply cannot take it if there is a cancer that is estrogen dependent, but Estradiol alone won't cause cancer according the research studies) but I would not be able to string a sentence together... I would not be able to sleep, feel motivated, energized, maintain good bone health and strength, etc., without it.
Take a look at my profile if you would like to do that. Click on my name and it should take you there. I wrote a journal entry on the basic protocol I use and I mention the book that has given me the answers I'd been looking for over the years. I understand that everyone is different, but the prevailing attitude is that our bodies (for women) were made to crave estrogen. And, Estradiol is the estrogen that is produced when we are at our most vital ... produced in the ovaries from puberty to menopause and even after that... they say our ovaries drip estradiol for years after menopause (although many women choose to supplement anyway so that there is an optimal amount of estradiol for optimal health.
The fat cells and adrenals take over during menopause if you're not supplementing with Estradiol and it makes a byproduct called Estrone (E3) which is considered the menopausal estrogen. It is considered a bit harsh and in some studies has been implicated in breast cancer ("Screaming to be Heard" by Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet's reports of various studies amongst others). It also produces the middle fat that so many women struggle with, but that fat is easily accessible and again, the body wants estrogen and will try to get it no matter! I prefer to get mine from the patch so that I'm getting estradiol. OK... I'll stop. Yes, I get pretty passionate about this topic.
I used to use Estriol supplements for vaginal dryness and bladder integrity (2 other menopausal symptoms) but switched to a vaginal Estradiol called "Estrace" to help with that occasional problem.
Thanks so much Mary. I appreciate all the information! I will definitely check out your profile and look at the book you're mentioning as I really want to gain as much information as I can. I have to say that I'm concerned about the possible weight gain that can happen. I've been struggling with my weight the last couple of years (I never had a problem...well not more than 5-10 lbs) with my weight before. And now I'm about 30 lbs overweight. Its been such a struggle to lose weight. I certainly don't want to add to that problem after the surgery!
sorry to hear of how bad your feeling..couldnt you do a partial hysterectomy and just leave your ovaries? your ovaries are important..and maybe you will require less estrogen..your ovaries feed your hair you know..try to ask your doctor if those are some good options for you...I had that surgery...
My original intention was to leave the ovaries. But I decided to check into my Grandmother's cause of depth a little more closely. We always thought she just had uterine cancer. I got a copy of her death certificate from my Aunt and she actually had ovarian cancer first, then uterine cancer. She died when she was 39 (my mom was only 10 at the time). Given that new information, I'm now considering taking the ovaries too. I have discovered all of this after my initial conversation with my OB/GYN. I haven't been able to talk to her (only her nurse) since I found out but I have an appointment on Tuesday. I plan to come armed with questions galore!!! Thank you so much for your help!
I keep forgetting to mention where to find the book I talk about in my journal (I just updated the big "Update" entry). The doctor whose books I have had the most success with sells her books mainly on Amazon. Even though her work is about ten years old, she updates periodically and it seems her work has stood the test of time. I've read books by at least eight other authors regarding hormones and, to date, Dr. Vliet's work has been the most helpful for me.
If you google her name (Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet) or the names of some of her books, you should be able to find her website ( which is quite extensive and includes many radio archives).
I have purchased most of her work through the "Used" section and have always had good results (I order for my friends, so I've had some experience here:)
"Women, Weight, and Hormones" is the last book of Vliet's that I've purchased. Excellent book, in my opinion.
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