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Using Progesterone with Birth Control Pills/Patches

An Interview with Dr. David Zava (by Virginia Hopkins – co-author with Dr. John R. Lee of the books What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause and What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause.)

Virginia Hopkins: “A common question that appears in my e-mails is whether it’s OK to use progesterone cream while taking contraceptive pills or patches. Dr. Lee’s response was always, “Probably, but we need more information to be sure.” I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Lee’s friend and colleague, Dr. David Zava, and asked him to give us an update on this topic.”

Dr. Zava: “Let’s answer this question by first looking at what the synthetic hormones in birth control pills and patches do in a woman’s body. Overall, they drop your estradiol [an estrogen], progesterone and testosterone levels, they interfere with cortisol levels and they increase the risk of insulin resistance. Women on birth control pills tend to gain wait around the waist, which is a hallmark of insulin resistance.

About 95 percent of the natural hormones found in the blood are inactivated by serum hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This is one of your body’s control mechanisms for maintaining hormone balance. Think of SHBG as a sponge that soaks up excess hormones. The synthetics found in birth control pills aren’t soaked up by SHBG so there’s no real regulation of them. Let’s take ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic estrogen, as an example. Unlike your natural hormones, it doesn’t bind to SHBG, so it remains available to the tissues. At the same time, it causes the liver to produce huge amounts of SHBG. That means ethinyl estradiol is freely available but the natural hormones, which do bind to SHBG, are very unavailable.

Contraceptive Chemicals Shut Down Your Own Hormones
In women, SHBG particularly soaks up testosterone, so women on birth control pills tend to have very low testosterone levels. Low testosterone can mean low libido, slow metabolism and weight gain, vaginal dryness and bone loss. If you’re taking birth control pills you’re probably missing out on the benefits of normal testosterone levels.

Synthetic hormones are also going to the brain and shutting down gonadotrophins, specifically the LH and FSH that regulate the menstrual cycle, so women taking birth control pills aren’t making their own estrogen, progesterone or testosterone, and they aren’t ovulating. If you suppress that part of the brain long enough it will shut down because you’re not asking it for anything. If you go off the birth control, it may take awhile to kick back in and in some women it never comes back. Meanwhile, your body is accustomed to making all this SHBG, so even if you do start making your own hormones the SHBG is soaking up every bit of them. Women who go off birth control pills can be extremely hormone deficient for weeks or months, sometimes years.

Synthetic Hormones have an Identity Crisis
A synthetic hormone is very schizophrenic. It doesn’t know which receptor it belongs to. Take medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) for example, a progestin [synthetic progesterone]. Yes it hits the progesterone receptors and acts something like progesterone, but it also hits glucocorticoid receptors and acts like a cortisol, which suppresses your adrenals. So I frequently see women on birth control with low cortisol. It has some cortisol activity but it’s not consistent. This is why women on birth control pills can get so tired and depressed. MPA also has some androgen [male hormone] activity as well as some anti-androgen activity. Pretty soon the body doesn’t know what it wants or needs because its hormone balancing systems aren’t working.

Your own natural hormones are very specific. Testosterone doesn’t see estrogen receptors or cortisol receptors, it only sees testosterone receptors. Estradiol doesn’t see progesterone or testosterone receptors. Mother nature made these hormones very unique for the receptors that they bind to and they don’t bother with much else—within physiologic ranges. If you start taking high doses of natural hormones it’s a different story, you’ll get side effects and hormone imbalance. MPA on the other hand will bind to all of them. It’s a mess and it’s why you get all the side effects. It’s just awful. It doesn’t happen to every woman, but when it happens it’s horrible.

Now we can get back to the question of whether you can use progesterone cream when you’re taking birth control pills. The progestin in the birth control pills goes to the brain and shuts down ovulation. No ovulation, no pregnancy. Meanwhile, the progesterone cream can help counter some of the side effects of the synthetic hormones. I’ve seen many women who are having side effects from birth control use progesterone cream and feel much better.”

Dr. David Zava is the CEO of ZRT Labs, and the co-author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer.

It’s All About Balancing

By Yew-Por Ng, M.D.

Our hormones are the most delicately balanced system of our bodies. The same hormones that keep us healthy and happy can cause emotional and physical distress if they are not in equilibrium. Women with a healthy hormone balance tend to enjoy long, healthy and productive lives. However, long-term hormonal imbalance can make life pretty miserable for women and their loved ones.

The common problems that are associated with hormonal imbalance are premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, breast cancer, tender or lumpy breasts, osteoporosis, heart disease, fibroids, endometriosis, mood disorders, fatigue, irritability and depression, foggy thinking, memory loss, bleeding between periods, ovarian cysts and hot flashes.

Hormonal treatment of all kinds is growing steadily more popular. The most common hormonal replacement treatment (HRT) is the use of Premarin,Provera, or Prempro. Premarin is an animal-derived form of estrogen. It contains equilin, or a conjugated estrogen derived from the urine of horses and is not human bio-identical. Provera is a synthetic progesterone called progestin or medroxyprogesterone. A large Women’s Health Initiative which studied the risks and benefits of the use of Prempro was closed recently because of the increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes and blood clots.

Why does it matter whether replacement hormones are an identical match (bio-identical) or just similar to your body’s hormones? It matters most when a hormone binds with its receptor.

Hormones are meant to fit perfectly with their receptors just like a “ lock and key.” When a molecule of bio-identical progesterone travels through your bloodstream and binds with a progesterone receptor, the fit is same as if the progesterone had been created in your own body.

On the contrary, a molecule of synthetic progestin such as Provera, which has a chemical structure only slightly different from that of progesterone, is in actuality a completely different molecule. The receptor can be fooled by it, but it does not fit quite right resulting in many side effects such as weight gain, swollen, tender breast, bloating, increased blood pressure, and feelings of anger and irritability, or depression.

After the hormone has completed its job at the receptor, it will be metabolized (broken down). The enzymes that metabolized hormones are very specific and discerning. This can create problems and manifest many adverse effects because the synthetic hormone sits on the receptor site longer than it should. The enzymes bypass the hormone without “recognizing” it .

Similar problems can occur with conjugated estrogen and Premarin. Because the hormones are not bio-identical to human hormones, they will exert an influence on the receptors and eventually on you.

For most women suffering from hormone imbalances, bio-identical progesterone and estrogen are far better choice than synthetic estrogens or progestins to establish the right biochemical communication between various organs.

The only way we can know for sure whether we need replacement hormones or not is to test our hormone levels.

Physicians who do hormone testing have traditionally used blood tests to determine hormone levels. But blood tests measure the total hormone content of our blood. That means they measure both the protein bound and bioavailable, or free, hormones. Bound hormones are ones that are a kind of circulating reservoir, being held in reserve. They are not biologically active. So a blood test that cannot differentiate between bound and free hormones gives us information that is not that useful.

Fortunately, there is a new method of hormone testing by measuring the free hormone levels in saliva. This is because bioavailable hormone molecules easily enter the saliva through the cells of the salivary glands, whereas the bound hormones do not. When we test for hormones in saliva, we get a precise level of the free hormones that are circulating through our bodies and interacting with the hormone receptors.

Four Most Common Hormone Disorders in Women

Reprinted with Permission from the SixWise.com Security & Wellness e-Newsletter

by www.SixWise.com

Hormones play a major role in how well your body functions and how you feel from day to day. If your hormones are in balance, you likely sleep well and have lots of energy, a strong sex drive, and well-functioning immune and digestive systems.

“The healthy body is equipped to produce all the hormones a woman needs throughout her life,” said Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of The Wisdom of Menopause. But those hormones can easily become pushed off kilter — even with too much stress or an unhealthy diet — leaving room for a wide array of hormonal disorders to surface.

Hormones are proteins or steroids that are secreted directly into your bloodstream. They are responsible for the body’s metabolism of minerals, regulation of fluids, reproduction, sexual function, and responses to stress.

The endocrine system, which includes glands such as the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal cortex and medulla, and ovaries, produce hormones in women.

Common Hormone Disorders: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

The most common hormonal disorder among women is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which affects an estimated 7 percent of women. However, many cases may go undiagnosed, so as many as one in 10 women may be affected.

“This is a syndrome, which means it is a collection of features,” said Dr. Ricardo Azziz, chair of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.

Two-thirds of women with PCOS are overweight and most are insulin resistant. Symptoms include:

·         Irregular or absent periods

·         Unusual body hair growth

·         Unusually severe acne

·         Darkened skin patches

·         Rapid weight gain

Although the cause of PCOS remains unknown, researchers are looking into its connection to obesity, genetics and insulin production.

Lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet and exercising, are often “prescribed” for patients with PCOS. This is because weight loss has been found to cause an improvement, or even a remission, of symptoms. Sometimes medications, including birth control pills and fertility drugs, are prescribed to help with symptoms.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Over 20 percent of menopausal women in the United States are diagnosed with thyroid dysfunction, according to Marcy Holmes, NP, Certified Menopause Clinician, and Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN N.P. However, studies suggest that millions more may be suffering from subclinical problems, but remain undiagnosed.

Most women are affected by hypothyroidism, a sluggish or “underactive” thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

·         Fatigue

·         Weight gain

·         Depression

·         High cholesterol

Other women may be affected by the opposite, hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid. A person with hyperthyroidism may:

·         Have trouble sleeping

·         Feel anxious

·         Be irritable

·         Feel overheated

·         Experience weight loss (with an increased appetite)

Hormonal imbalances, which could be caused by stress and nutritional deficiencies, trigger thyroid disease. Hypothydroidism may also occur at other times your body may be more prone to hormonal imbalance, such as during perimenopause, menopause and pregnancy.

Adrenal Fatigue

Your adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney) act as control centers for many hormones. One of their most important tasks is to get your body ready for the “fight or flight” stress response, which means increasing adrenaline and other hormones.

This response increases your heart rate and blood pressure, slows your digestion and basically gets your body ready to face a potential threat or challenge.

While this response is good when it’s needed, many of us are constantly faced with stressors (work, environmental toxins, not enough sleep, worry, etc.) and are in this “fight or flight” mode for far too long — much longer than was ever intended from an evolutionary standpoint.

The result? The adrenals become overworked and fatigued. Symptoms of adrenal dysfunction are varied, but include:

·         Fatigue and weakness

·         A suppressed immune system

·         Muscle and bone loss

·         Depression

·         Hormonal imbalance

·         Skin problems

·         Autoimmune disorders

You can support healthy adrenal function by:

·         Resting more

·         Reducing stress in your life

·         Eating a nutrient-dense diet

There are many other hormonal disorders among women as well, including menstrual and fertility problems. A lot is still being discovered, such as why some women appear to be more vulnerable to hormone problems than others. If you suspect you may have a hormone disorder, you should seek help from a health care practitioner. Holistic practitioners, in particular, may be able to help you get relief from your symptoms using herbal supplements and lifestyle modifications, rather than prescription drugs.


Stress May Induce Early Miscarriages

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study reveals women who exhibit signs of stress are three-times more likely to miscarry during the first three weeks of pregnancy.

For the study, University of Michigan researchers measured the stress-induced hormone cortisol in urine samples taken from 61 women three times a week for a year. Previous studies show between 31 percent and 89 percent of all conceptions result in miscarriage. Although most miscarriages happen during the first three weeks of pregnancy, a majority of the studies begin about six weeks after conception when women first notice they are pregnant.

“The only way to capture the first three weeks of pregnancy is to begin collecting their urine from before they become pregnant. That is extremely labor-intensive and expensive,” says Pablo Nepomnaschy, researcher and doctoral student at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

During the study, 22 pregnancies occurred in 16 women, and each woman’s cortisol levels were measured against her own baseline levels. Researchers found 90 percent of women with elevated levels of cortisol miscarried during the first three weeks of pregnancy compared to 33 percent of those with normal levels.

Researchers say it is unclear whether cortisol is directly involved with the miscarriages or not. Nepomnaschy says: “Maybe increased cortisol is understood by the body as a cue that the context is uncertain, changing, or the quality of the environment is deteriorating. The body’s response is to stop any extra activity and go back to its most basic functions.”

The study involved a small population of women, and Nepomnaschy says the next step is to attempt to replicate these results in a larger population.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, SOURCE: University of Michigan, published online Feb. 20, 2006.

Killing Her Softly

(Author Unknown)

When the alarm rings she slowly gets out of bed, turns on
the shower and under the steady stream of warm water, she
gently scrubs her body with Ammonia, Formaldehyde and

Next, she shampoos her tinted hair with DEA and Sodium
Lauryl Sulfate.

Rinsing the shampoo, she applies a good amount of mutagenic
DEA & Propylene Glycol and lets it penetrate while she pops
the top on the shaving cream and shaves her legs with

The shower finished, she towel dries and spreads on an even
coat of Contaminant, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PHAs)
and a dusting of an Asbestos Substance over her skin. She
sprays the scented Aluminum under her arms, brushes her
teeth with FD&C Blue#1 & Resorcinol, Saccharin, and
Fluoride. Then she rinses and gargles with Ethanol and
Phenol Alcohol. She combs setting gel through her hair then
blows it dry and sprays it with polyvinylpyrrolidine (PVP).

Sitting at her vanity, she carefully applies a thin film of
Phenol Carbolic Acid, Dioxin and Propylene Glycol, over her face to reduce the fine lines.

Today, she’ll wear foundation and a little FD&C Red #3.  And,
better add some eye-Iron Oxide for today is a special
meeting and a little Toxic and Mutagenic Ascorbyl Palmitate
to line her lids and a stroke of Bacteria &
Polyvinylpyrrolide (PVP) to her lashes.

A dab of Benzo-A-Pyrene and Benzo-B-Fluroanthene to color
her lips, a spritz of her favorite scent, Toluene and
Benzaldehyde, and a little Carcinogenic Nitrosamine, NMPABAO
on her face arms and legs to block the suns rays and she is
set for the day. She looks radiant and healthy.. but her
looks are killing her!

If you are wondering if these poisons are being absorbed
through her skin go cut open a clove of garlic and rub it on
the bottom of your foot and see how long it takes to taste
it in your mouth.. about 3 seconds!

What have these product brands exposed her to in a matter of
minutes? Read on to learn about what it is that we are
really putting on and in our bodies every day.

*Bar Soap has a pH of 9, which removes the protective acid
mantle of the skin making it more alkaline and therefore,
more vulnerable to penetration.

It also contains ammonia, formaldehyde and phenol, known
carcinogens and triclocarbans.

*Shampoo contains cocamide DEA, which is associated with
carcinogenic nitrosamines and sodium lauryl sulfate, a known

*Hair Tint contains quaternium-15, which releases
carcinogenic formaldehyde and the carcinogen,

*Conditioner contains DEA & Propylene Glycol both known
mutagenic carcinogens

*Shaving Cream contains a-pinene, a chemical that damages
the immune system.

*Body Lotion contains mineral oil, which, as a cosmetic
grade petroleum product, includes the contaminant polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAs) known as xenoestrogens that can
mimic estrogen in the body.

*Dusting Powder contains talc, a substance like asbestos.
When talc was combined with a common air pollutant,
benzo(a)pyrene, it induced tumors in 80% of the animals
tested. Many scientists believe talc should be placed on the
“known carcinogens” list.

*Deodorant has aluminum, which is being tested in connection
to Alzheimers.

*Toothpaste contains saccharin and FD&C Blue#1, which are
carcinogens. It also contains resorcinol, which can cause a
blood disorder (methemoglobinemia), convulsions and death.
Fluoride is also a known carcinogen.

*Mouthwash contains 27% ethanol, which is suspected of
causing esophageal cancer. It also contains phenol, which
can cause fatal poisonings through skin absorption.

*Hair Spray contains polyvinylpyrrolidine (PVP) and reports
show that it may cause harm if the particles are inhaled.
Modest intravenous doses fed to rats caused tumors.

*Skin Moisturizer contains phenol carbolic acid, which can
cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and
death as a result of respiratory failure. It also contains
PEG-40, which contains dangerous levels of dioxin and
propylene glycol, which studies show can negatively alter
brain waves and cause liver and kidney disorders.

*Blush contains FD&C Red #3, which caused human breast cells
to grow, mimics the effect of natural estrogen at the
molecular level and damages the genetic material of human
breast cells.

*Eye shadow contains iron oxide, which is a suspected
carcinogen, teratogen or toxin.

*Eyeliner, contains ascorbyl palmitate, and studies suggest
that the palmitates are to be considered carcinogenic,
mutagenic, or toxic.

*Mascara may be contaminated with bacteria.It also contains
polyvinylpyrrolide (PVP), a carcinogen.

*Lipstick contains paraffin, which is a mixture of
hydrocarbons and is derived from petroleum. It is known to
be contaminated with the carcinogens, benzo-a-pyrene and

*Perfume contains toluene, a suspected potent carcinogen
that was found in every fragrance tested, and benzaldehyde,
which is a central nervous system depressant that may cause
kidney damage.

*Sunscreen contains padimate O and the preservative, BNPD,
which together create the carcinogenic nitrosamine, NMPABAO.