I had my second surgery to have ovaries removed and pelvic lymph nodes removed in Aug.after cancer was found in my uterus after a hysterectomy in June. The cancer was not in my lymph nodes thang G-d. My doctor says I can not take estrogen, at least for a couple of years. I asked him about natural supplements and he said if they say estrogen I wouldn't take them. I read articles saying soy is a phytoestrogen that does not cause cancer and other articles that say phytoestrogens dont cause cancer, may even help. Is anyone taking black cohash or red glover after having cancer? If not, what do you take if you can not take estrogen? I did buy a progesterone cream which claims that is really all you need. I am confused on what supplements are o.k. besides vitamins. Thanks.
From what I've been reading, I wouldn't take soy or red clover if there was any question and especially with the doctor's warning. Red clover has more phytoestrogens than soy, and seems to trigger both estrogen and progesterone receptors.
I'd consider a phytoestrogen at a future time if hrt was still out. It is not clear at all what they're doing, but there are enough studies showing some kind of activation of cancer cells, I'd stay away from either of them for now, especially as concentrated supplements. There's a big study being done now at UIC so more will be known in a year or two.
Black cohosh though seems to act in a different way to help with menopause symptoms (again the research is sketchy but it's shown up in a number of studies). Someone else here had it prescribed by their oncologist, which is what got me researching it. There's an article up on http://www.hormonejungle.com now about what is known about it. It's definitely better than a placebo at treating a wide range of symptoms. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks to kick in.
I would also consider taking an SSRI. They help with two major aspects of menopause symptoms--hot flashes and depression. They're better than a placebo at taming hot flashes.
Another non-estrogen hot flash remedy recommended by Dr. Larrian Gillespie is l-arginine, an amino acid.
I would not take progesterone cream at all. It converts in unpredictable ways into other forms, including estrogen. And some cancers have progesterone receptors. So, I think that would be very risky right now.
Aside from that, you know, diet and exercise and calcium and magnesium for the heart and bone benefits. The other thing I'd track is thyroid levels. They often cause trouble at menopause because all the hormones are connected. And a lot of the symptoms are the same so you might dismiss them.
Vitamin E might help, but more from foods than supplements. Supplements are made from the wrong form--d-alpha I think and the one that works is gamma-alpha? Anyway, the supplements don't help, but eating foods with vitamin E apparently does.
Trish, thanks so much for all this information. There is so much conflicting information out there. I do have a black cohash supplement but it has soy in it too, as does Estroven. I will try your suggestions. I don't know what SSRI is. Is that antidepressants?
[Edited by cmoney on 09-08-2000]
Trish, I do take Wellbutrin. I have been on and off antidepressants trying to find one that didn't take away my sex drive, and now I worry about that with the menopause. I called the Revival dr's line and was told that their product is made from food, not plants, and is proven safe for cancer. I intend to ask my doctor about it, and the black cohash. I don't understand how Dr. Lee can say the natural progesterone cream helps prevent cancer, has no negative effects, if it isn't safe. I thought that was going to be my answer to no estrogen. Hopefully my doctor will know or have ideas of what I can take. The Revival people will actually recommend a dr. in your area familiar with their product. It is produced in connection with John Hopkins hospital. There is so much on breast cancer but not a lot on unterine cancer and what we can take. Thanks again for the information.
Wellbutrin is not really an SSRI so I don't know whether it helps with hot flashes, but it'll help with the mood swings so that's good! It affects norepinephrine and dopamine receptors. Norepinephrine is also affected by estrogen--but whether that's a good thing or not I have no idea.
Yeah, we went through the whole Dr. Lee gamut here. Glad to find some answers then realizing he couldn't be trusted for the whole picture. He's a true believer, so overstates his legitimate case that it helps many women. In part when he wrote his books there was NO research, and now it's trickling in.
I don't know about Revival. Do you have the website address? Sounds like a good thing to look into for women around here. What do they mean though that something is food not plants? It's from meat? Dairy? hmmmm. I'm curious. It sounds great if it's got the Johns Hopkins seal of approval.
Rivival has a web site with information plus you can ask for free samples and order on line--the only way to buy their product. They will mail you a whole packet of information. They make a powder and bars. Their product is from food--soybean--rather than plants is what I was told makes the difference. They do not make any pills. There web site is revivalsoy.com, email@example.com. Also, you can call them at 1-800-500-8053. If this is helpful for us in this hormone jungle, I am glad I could help with information. I did buy some pills with powdered isoflavones but am not sure if they are as safe. Do you know if testosterone and/or DHEA can be used if you can't use estrogen? Also, do you know if taking progresterone by perscription is safer than the creams? I do not what receptors my cancer had, would like to know about the progesterone ones cause I read that has an effect on recurrance of endometrial cancer. Wow, there is so much information out there, very confusing though. The message boards are so helpful. Allwise.com has an article Managing Menopause Without Hormons that is quite informative, and technicol. It is a couple of years old though. What are SSRI's? How are they different from Wellbutrin? Do they help depression? Thanks.
[Edited by cmoney on 09-11-2000]
I've looked quickly at their site. This is still a phytoestrogen. And they are very selective in what research they are presenting. They are not presenting the research that is showing an influence on cancer. I'm not saying they're not wrong, but they are stating as fact something that isn't proven. Their strongest claims are based on studies that have not been published in peer-reviewed journals (checked by other scientists), and of course the studies of populations that's being questioned. However, I think they're right that the whole protein is more effective against hot flashes than the isolated isoflavones.
I'd check with your doctor before you take a lot of it though. It is a phytoestrogen and if he has doubts about it, then he'll probably have doubts about this.
A tested over the counter progesterone cream is the same progesterone as prescription cream or Prometrium. There are related things by prescription called progestins (Provera, N.A.), just lower strength in the over the counter kind. I do know they don't convert the way the natural does, but I'm not sure they're an advantage. Some of icky side effects.
SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and they are antidepressants. Prozac, Paxil, and Celexa are the most prescribed of them. But if you like wellbutrin, I don't think I'd change. They work quite differently and you might find side effects from them, etc.
Sorry it's such a jungle! But you know, some people don't have a hard time. Their adrenal glands kick in and carry them through. Hope that happens for you.
I called my doctor yesterday and nurse is suppose to ask him about soy, black cohash, progesterone cream (she said one of the woman who work in the office uses a cream). I was drinking soy milk and now wonder if I should that! This is depressing. I hope the soy does help woman who can take it because it sounds great. Does Black Cohash help with heart protection do you know? I am interested in the testosterone and/or DHEA too. Though I can enjoy sex (it is not the same,but I won't complain) I really don't have the desire, get ***** as the old expression goes, ha ha. I asked dr's nurse if I should see an endocrinologist and she said Dr.Bunn would be in charge of what I take. Thanks for all the info.
I can't take estrogen either - had TAH/BSO with omentectomy for stage IIIa endometrial adenocarcinoma last August.
I had read about the possible benefits of soy products for menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats) and soon after my surgery - probably about six weeks - asked my oncologist and my onology surgeon if it would be okay to take a product called Soycare, which is a capsule that provides 25 mg of soy isoflavones each - recommended dosage 2 caps per day. Both docs said no problem. Then when I saw my GYN, she said I should add calcium to my daily regimen - Caltrate + soy provides the same amount of soy isoflavones per dose, plus vitamin D. I now take one Caltrate + soy in the morning and one in the evening. I also drink soy milk. I noticed almost immediate relief from night sweats - haven't had one of those since probably November. My hot flashes are another story, however. I find they tend to be triggered by stress - when I'm rushing around in the morning trying to get out the door, when things get crazy at work. I increase my intake of soy milk on days when I've had a couple of "power surges" and that seems to calm things down. All this could be just in my head, but I figure if it works, why not?
I am also on Megace, a tumor inhibitor, which I take in pill form - 40 mg. twice a day - prescribed by my oncologist. It's my understanding that Megace is a form of progesterone. I am about to start taking a compounded form of testosterone - methyl-testosterone - 1.5 mg per day. My GYN consulted with my oncologist and they agreed this might help with libido issues and perhaps the hot flashes.
I'm also taking 400 IU of vitamin E per day, and a multivitamin.
Sorry this is so long - hope it helps in some way...
Molly, thanks for the information. It is good to hear from someone with the pretty much the same condtion. I have soy capsules but didn't know if they were ok to take or not, or the soy milk even though I had been drinking that for weeks. Did you ever try the over counter progesterone cream or were you told not to use it? I think it was helping me cause I have been feeling more depressed since i stopped because I didn't know if it was safe. I have mild hot flashes and night sweats at least so far. It has only been 3 months so I don't know if symptoms get worse over time. I wrote Pete Hueseman at College Pharmacy and he recommended a combination of biest,progesterone, and testosterone. He said over counter cream relatively ineffective and that soy was not strong enough to protect heart and bones. So I am getting lots of ideas to ask my oncologist about. I don't see him for a couple of more weeks and am anxious to get answers. You have helped me very much. Hope you are feeling great. I hope next year I will be feeling great too.