Hello Reader! Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! I just wanted to begin by stating that this is a personal testimony and experience that I wish to share with you strictly for the sake of passing along knowledge that might be helpful to you or someone you know. I am in no way promoting or condemning any particular type of medical treatment or product. I am just passing along information that might be good to know for your present or future days to come. I warn you now, in order for me to share this information properly, I have to get pretty personal, so if you are shy, embarrassed easily—or frightened… ye have been warned, matey! 😊 For the sake of knowledge, I hope you will be brave and press on!
Today is Tuesday, October 29, 2019, a day that I am celebrating. I had asked God for a blessing of healing and protection upon my body and although in my heart I knew I had already received it, today I got the confirmation!
In order to explain, I must go back about five years ago.
When I turned forty-three, I began having some confusing weight gain. I had, at the same time, begun a battle with arthritis and made some good improvements to my already healthy diet by taking out the majority of gluten products. Since I rarely eat sugary desserts and like to drink water and homemade juice, I couldn’t find a place where I was adding extra calories or fats to myself. I also love to exercise and am extremely active all day long, so those extra pounds that were appearing out of nowhere were very confusing.
I went to the doctor and learned that I was entering perimenopause. I also learned that the PCOS (Poly-Cystic-Ovarian-Syndrome) condition I had was contributing to the weight gain (that story can be found in my blog “Twenty Pounds for Twenty Years”).
One of the treatments recommended to me by a primary care physician was to begin taking an over the counter, non-synthetic, “natural” estrogen supplement called Estroven. This was to help me with hot flashes (which to me were no big deal, after all, I live in Phoenix) mood swings, and weight gain. I was told that it was safe and that I could buy it at any drug store. So, I did.
I began taking the Estroven daily but I admit, I didn’t take it constantly. There was a period of time during one of my husband’s layoffs where I did not buy it because it was not something we could afford. After that time, I started doing much better, lost the weight and wasn’t really struggling so I stopped taking it altogether.
Right before I turned forty-seven, I began struggling with urinary tract infections or having symptoms that felt like them, constantly. I had one now and then throughout the years, but not like this. I was getting them almost monthly and knew that there was something wrong. (Here’s where I get open, honest and personal!) Again, I went to my doctor who told me that I was now in full-fledged menopause, which I knew, and two parts of menopause were vaginal dryness and atrophy.
My doctor explained that oftentimes the dryness and tightness can cause tissues to break or tear and then become agitated or infected or cause other irritations which can turn into something that feels like or is a full-blown urinary tract infection. Although I wasn’t thrilled to hear it, at least I was getting answers.
Again, the mention of taking Estroven as a natural aid to help remedy some of my dryness and other symptoms was recommended. I went out, got some, and started taking it daily. That was in May 2019.
In the month of August 2019, I began bleeding, something that I had not done for over a year and something that puzzled me. I had already scheduled an appointment with a urologist/gynecologist and when I went to the appointment, I told this new doctor everything that was going on including the strange bleeding that started up out of nowhere. That is what concerned her the most.
After answering a lot of questions so she could get a handle on my history and my present, she told me that I should stop taking the Estroven immediately. She ordered an ultra-sound of my bladder and uterus, labs, and gave me a prescription for a vaginal cream called Estradiol .01mg that was to be used daily for two weeks on the skin around the vulva and then it would decrease to three times a week. Just a tiny pea-sized application of the cream was to be used. She said this would restore the tissues, resolve the dryness, and hopefully take away the urinary tract infections.
I got the cream and stopped the Estroven. I did my ultra-sound and labs, but when I went into the office to discuss all the results, the doctor still had a concern: the bleeding that came out of nowhere. She explained that when a woman has been in menopause for a year and has not had any bleeding at all during that time, they are always concerned when bleeding suddenly occurs, which is why she had ordered the ultra-sound.
The labs all came back great, but the ultrasound revealed that my uterus lining was too thick. It is supposed to measure no bigger than a 5 on their system and mine was at a 15.
Let me also give some important information about my body’s female organs… they have never known what they are doing. It came as a surprise to my former doctor that I was starting menopause at forty-three, but it didn’t me, I said, “I think my female organs all just agreed since they don’t know how to function, it would be better to just give up.”
I had trouble all throughout my teen years until the age of thirty with inconsistent periods, often skipping months entirely, and then I went through five years of infertility treatments (which isn’t that long compared to some) to be able to have my first baby. I learned I had many things wrong with me and so when all these new troubles began, it didn’t surprise or scare me in the least. I just took it as being part of the dysfunctional female organed person that I am.
The doctor explained that she was concerned about how long I had taken Estroven without also taking progesterone with it. What? Taking progesterone with it? This information did surprise me. I know my body doesn’t produce progesterone. It was one of my complications with infertility and I when I was pregnant with each child, I took progesterone tablets daily for the entire first trimester.
I was told by the first doctor that Estroven would help my menopause symptoms and I had taken it without reservations because it was supposed to be more natural, but I was never told anything about adding progesterone or the complications that could arise by taking a natural estrogen supplement without progesterone.
The doctor explained that although Estroven is considered a natural product, extracted from a grown plant and is not like taking synthetic hormones, there still are elements of the supplement that can affect the body, not always, but it can happen. Taking the Estroven without progesterone could bring complications like the ones I was experiencing. Some of the complication possibilities she described were thickening of the uterus, bleeding, endometriosis, fibroids, and yes, cancer.
My doctor was not alarmed nor was I concerned that I had cancer. Outside of the bleeding and the urinary tract infections, which had already subsided due to the application of the cream, I felt just like I always did. My blood work had come back great. My ultrasound revealed the same old cysts on my ovary that I have had for years, but no tumors or fibroids in the uterus. I had no other symptoms, outside of the thick uterus lining that would be thought to be cancerous. Most importantly, I had perfect faith in my precious Jesus that He was already in the process of healing me. There were no doubts about that at all. I was so confident about it I didn’t even talk about this. I had prayed, asking for Jesus to heal me and I knew He heard my prayer and was working for my good. I didn’t even really think about it much either. My confidence in Christ was enough.
The doctor explained to me that taking the Estroven without progesterone could cause exactly what I was experiencing and allow my uterus lining to grow to the thickness that it was. It is important to state again that this is how I reacted to the Estroven, not all women are the same and therefore not all women will experience this. My doctor then gave me the game plan. First, we would do a biopsy of the uterus. Once the results from that came back, we would know for sure if it was anything serious like cancer, or if not cancer, perhaps it was because I had taken the Estroven without progesterone daily for so long and it was just a build-up of blood. If that was the case, she said they would give me a dose of progesterone to force me to bleed and then all should be well. As long as I only used the Estradiol cream, everything should go back to normal menopause, which now I would be happy to do.
I scheduled the ultrasound for the next Tuesday as my doctor’s office was almost in East L.A. and I could only make the trip once a week. However, the day before I was to have the biopsy, I began bleeding again. I didn’t panic. I wasn’t upset. In my heart, I believed that Jesus was giving me the last bit of healing that I needed to shed the excess blood in my uterus so the lining would go back to normal. I told my husband, Josh, that very thing. After all, wasn’t that part of the plan? If the biopsy came back normal, then all that was left to do was give me progesterone to force a bleed so that my lining would go back to normal. In my mind, Jesus was healing me and that was being done without the dose of progesterone.
I wondered, though, if a biopsy would be possible during a time of bleeding and so I called the office to find out. They said it could not be done and set it up for the next week. Finally, I went in and had it done. It wasn’t fun, but still not as bad as a hysterosalpingogram (that’s infertility talk for painful and humiliating!). I then met my family for dinner and had a lovely, relaxing evening, not worrying one bit. I had perfect faith that Jesus had healed me, that all was well, and I would be getting the confirmation of it in the next two to three weeks.
That call came two to three weeks early! It hadn’t even been a week! I learned today that all is well with my tests and since the bleeding already took place, all I needed to do was set up an appointment next year to have an ultra-sound on my ovary and keep an eye on those cysts. They have been with me for years, and although I wish they would disappear, we’ve learned to get along. I’m praying I don’t have any trouble out of them in the days to come.
My faith in God is strong. My faith in the healing power of Jesus Christ is solid. This is not the first time He has healed me; it will not be the last. But I wanted to write this blog to put this information out there. I thought I knew a lot about hormones and female organs with all that I had experienced from my infertility days, but now I have learned something new from my menopause days and I wanted to share it with you. I am not telling anyone not to take or to take Estroven. I am just recommending that if your doctor tells you to take it because it is “natural” and safer than synthetic hormones, you still need to double-check that with your gynecologist and find out if you also need to take progesterone with it.
The bottom line is to just be careful when putting anything into your body outside of food and beverages that you know to be healthy. Get all of the information you can so that you don’t have to go down this road and learn the hard– and the costly way, as most insurance companies aren’t givers but takers in the world… but I already posted a blog about that!
I wish you health! I wish you safety! I wish you many happy days with joy and blessings and I hope that perhaps I have passed along some new knowledge for you from my experience.
God bless you and thank you for reading!