To find out about how to achieve hormonal balance before, during, and after Cervical Cancer, FoundHealth interviewed an esteemed advisor, Dr. Metzger.
Deborah A. Metzger, PhD, MD, FACOG is a gynecologist and reproductive
endocrinologist whose major interest is the integrated treatment of women with complex
medical problems. She has lectured extensively throughout the world, published widely
in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks, and is one of the editors of Chronic Pelvic Pain:
An Integrated Approach, the first book on the subject. She is also the Medical Advisor
for Stay Fertile Longer.d chemo.
Does hormonal birth control affect your risk of cervical cancer or pre-cancerous cells? Breast cancer? Fertility?
It turns out that birth control pills deplete B vitamins. Folic acid deficiency is one of the contributors to cervical cancer. If a woman takes a multivitamin, she’s going to be less likely to have cc as a result of birth control pills, because she’s getting enough folic acid.
Birth control pills appear to be relatively neutral in their relationship to breast cancer, with perhaps a slight increase in risk. We’re only now learning about progestin’s effect on breast cancer. Progestin has not been independently studied. The women’s health initiative found that when you added progestin the risk of breast cancer almost doubled, but the estrogen alone was protective. Estrogen has unfortunately been labeled the bad guy when it’s really the synthetic progestin that raises the risk of breast cancer.
There’s a lot that we don’t understand about hormones and cancer. In the history of the treatment of breast cancer, estrogen, progestins, testosterone have all been used in the treatment of breast cancer. High dose estrogen has been used successfully for the treatment of breast cancer. In one study, they looked at women who had failed all other treatments. They put them on high doses of estradiol versus chemotherapy. Estradiol was as effective as chemotherapy in resistant breast cancer.
Birth control pills have no relationship to infertility.
If you’re having treatment for pre-cancer should you stop taking birth control?
No. There’s no reason to stop birth control pills, but there is a good reason to start multivitamins. The risk of birth control has to be weighed with the many benefits. The risk of ovarian cancer is reduced 80% with hormonal birth control. It also decreases the risk of autoimmune diseases, benign breast issues, among others. If you’re concerned about cervical health, supplementing with B vitamins is key.
What dietary supplements can people take to help with early menopause?
The best one by far is actually the birth control pill. There is a birth control pill specifically designed for women in perimenopause, which controls bleeding and mood, and hot flashes. If a woman doesn’t want birth control, she can go on an over the counter progesterone cream. Over the counter progesterone creams are weaker, but they can help with symptoms like PMS and breast tenderness.
Diet can play a huge role in everything, including symptoms of menopause such as depression, mood changes, and low energy. My favorite diet to recommend is a low-glycemic diet. Staying away from the white foods – sugar, flour, rice, corn, bread. All of those things change very quickly in our body to sugar. I routinely hear “wow” all the time from my patients who try a low-glycemic diet. They’re sleeping better, have more energy…they’ll say, “I didn’t realize how fatigued I was.” It really does have a wow factor.
Are there any other dietary or lifestyle changes that can help balance women’s hormones?
There are some herbs. If a woman hasn’t gone through menopause, chasteberry can help make the periods regular. Black cohosh, red leaf clover…Soy can be very helpful with hot flashes. The problems with soy is that it’s a common allergen, and the other problem is that it’s in everything we eat, so usually it’s not necessary to supplement it.
Genistein is a plant estrogen which is a component of soy which can be very useful for bone density, and you can get that as a supplement. Other fundamental supplements that I always recommend for women are a multivitamin, probiotics, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D. Fish oil also helps so many things
You can maintain hormonal balance by keeping yourself healthy. Somebody can have great hormone levels but their health may be awful, then when they go through menopause their experience will be awful. There are other hormones that can be imbalanced other than the ones we normally think of: DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. There’s also cortisone, insulin, growth hormone, thyroid hormone…those are all hormones that usually are not discussed when a woman is going through menopause.
You can try manipulating estradiol and progesterone until the cows come home, but until you address the other ones, you are not going to feel hormonally balanced.
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