Vaginal Dryness and Atrophy
After menopause and leading up to menopause, typically women have vaginal dryness and sometimes vaginal atrophy. Vaginal dryness, the absence of vaginal lubrication, can lead to vaginal soreness, itchiness, and inflammation. 40% of postmenopausal women suffer from vaginal dryness. Simple activities such as walking and sexual intercourse become painful.
Vaginal atrophy, otherwise known as atrophic vaginitis, is characterized by thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls. Vaginal atrophy occurs after menopause, but also is known to develop during lactation. Sexual intercourse is made painful by vaginal atrophy. You may have bleeding upon sexual intercourse. Burning or urgency with urination is common. You may have increased urinary tract infections as well as urinary incontinence. There may be shortening in tightening of the vaginal canal as well. 50% of postmenopausal women experience vaginal atrophy.
Topical natural progesterone will increase vaginal lubrication. Topical natural estriol will decrease vaginal atrophy and allow the body to repair the vaginal walls. During pregnancy, natural progesterone and natural estriol increase to very high levels. Estriol levels go up hundred times compared to normal estriol levels. Natural progesterone levels during the third trimester go up 20 times compared to normal progesterone levels. Estriol increases the thickness of the skin in the vagina and the birth canal in preparation for the baby to go through the birth canal. Progesterone is needed in sufficient quantity to maintain the pregnancy. As you recall, during the second and third trimesters, sex drive or libido goes very high.
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Estriol is the "good" Estrogen because it thickens vaginal skin, but doesn't cause breast cancer. Your body produces three kinds of estrogen. These three kinds of estrogen that are naturally occurring are estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Your body produces one kind of progesterone called natural progesterone. A hormone is a chemical messenger. Estradiol signals the body to produce breasts and hips. Estradiol produces the feminine characteristics found in a woman. Estradiol is a "strong" estrogen. Estrone and estriol are "weak" estrogens. They go into the estrogen receptor and do not stimulate the estrogen receptor as strongly as estradiol. Estrone and estriol fit into the estrogen receptor and block all the other estrogens including xenoestrogens. Women taking natural estrogen replacement have the choice of taking one or all of the three different estrogens. Estradiol will increase breast cancer risk. Estrone theoretically will go into the estrogen receptor and block xenoestrogens and prevent breast cancer. However, some breast cancer patients seem to have high estrone, and some healthcare practitioners have been backing away from estrone.
Estriol, the estrogen that goes high during the second and third trimester pregnancy, known as E3, is the estrogen of choice to use for vaginal atrophy. During pregnancy, during the second and third trimester, estriol thickens the skin of the birth canal and the vagina so that the baby can pass out through it without ripping the skin too badly. Estriol thickens the vaginal walls just before delivery. Leading to and after menopause, you can also supplement with topical natural estriol. Estriol will also thicken of the vaginal walls leading up to and after menopause. Taking estriol means that you can have sexual intercourse without bleeding leading to and after menopause. Estriol is the safe natural estrogen to take. Estriol is thought to discourage the risk of breast cancer. Women who are pregnant and give birth multiple times have a smaller chance of endometrial cancer and breast cancer. This is thought to be due to the high levels of progesterone and estriol.
Women, M.D. reported in 1996 Journal of American Medical Association, JAMA, that women with breast cancer excreted 30 to 60% less estriol then noncancer controls. Remission of breast cancer in patients receiving endocrine therapy happens in patients where their estriol ratio rose. In other words, low levels of estriol relative to estradiol estrone correlated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Higher levels of estriol from hormone treatment correlated with a remission of cancer. Rodent studies show estrone and estradiol are encouraging of breast cancer in males or castrated females. Estriol does not encourage breast cancer . A more in-depth discussion about estriol can be found at David Zava, PhD's website, here.
Dr. Jonathan Wright M.D. of the Tahoma clinic has found that iodide and iodine reliably increases the estrone and estradiol conversion to estriol. He could not find any official studies on this. However, he has observed increased conversion to estriol in several hundred patients given supersaturated potassium iodide. Dr. Jonathan Wright M.D. believes that the ratio of estriol to the sum of estrone and estradiol should be 1.0 or more above.
I recommend taking either Iodoral or Lugol's iodine. Both Iodroal and Lugol's iodine contained both iodide, I-, and atomic iodine, I2. According to Abraham M.D., your body needs both types of iodine. Some body tissues take up atomic iodine, I2, and some body tissues take up iodide, I-. Probably, the most common side effedt of taking iodine is bromine toxicity. Iodine forces out bromine and people get sick from bromine toxicity. Bromine toxicity symptoms include hair loss, brain fog, legs and hips ache, rash, metallic taste, cherry angiomas, runny nose, headache, sedation, lethargy, frequent urination, diarrhea, constipation, dream changes, and insomnia. The most worrisome side effect is if your thyroid gets sore. This means that so much bromine is coming out of your thyroid's tissues that the thyroid cells are actually breaking up and your thyroid is getting sore. The thyroid cells are breaking up and thyroid cell insides are going throughout your whole body, it may be possible that you can develop a Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This is because your body's will generate antibodies to the thyroid cell insides. It is important to remember that the side effects are not from iodine but from bromine being forced out of the tissues by iodine. Please blame bromine. Don't blame iodine.
Bromine is found in brominated vegetable oil. Brominated vegetable oil is added to soft drinks and sports drinks so that citrus oils and water can be dissolved together. Brominated vegetable oil is banned in drinks in the European Union. PepsiCo quietly took them out of the drinks in 2012. Brominated flour is found in commercial bakery products to speed leavening. Brominated swimming pools can also be found instead of chlorinated summing pools. Bromine is also used in asthma inhalers.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals and herbs that pretend to be estrogen. Xenoestrogens have stange estrogen effects and they are strange estrogens. Xeno simply means foreign. So xenoestrogens just means foreign estrogens. A woman's makes three kinds of natural estrogen called estradiol, estrone, and estradiol. A woman makes one kind of progesterone called natural progesterone. Xenoestrogens in contrast, can stimulate the estrogen receptor weirdly. Xenoestrogens can cause cancer such as breast cancer and endometrial cancer. Xenoestrogens can fit into the estrogen receptor and cause a partial response or a strange response.
Prescription brand name birth control pills are synthetically chemically modified estrogens and progesterone. They are chemically modified so as to be patentable. If they are patented then you have the right to sell it for 17 years exclusively. Thus, extreme profits can be made, advertising budgets can be filled, physicians can be given perks, and marketers can be hired. Because they are chemically modified, they have different side effects. For instance, natural progesterone does not cause birth defects. However, a synthetically made brand-name progestin will cause birth defects according to the physicians desk reference.
John Lee M.D. claimed that vaginitis occurs more often among women taking contraceptive pills. It may be that taking contraceptive pills means more frequent sexual activity and exposure to more infectious organisms. John Lee M.D. concedes that this may be true. However, John Lee M.D. argues that contraceptive pills prevent the normal hormone generated mucus that protects against such organisms. He states that birth control pills work by suppressing normal hormones .
In my experience, in addition, many of the xenoestrogens come from things that are put on the skin. Anything put on the skin is 10 times the oral dose in potency because anything put on the skin directly goes into the body and bypasses the liver. Therefore, laundry detergent, soap, lotion, shampoo, skin creams, cosmetics, and deodorant contain chemicals or natural herbs that are xenoestrogens and may be affecting vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy.
For instance, Clifford Bloch M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist found several young boys with gynecomastia otherwise known as "man boobs." He measured their young boy's own endogenous hormones and found them to be normal. He found that the young boys parents were giving the boys tea tree oil and lavender. He told the parents to stop giving them tea tree oil and lavender oil. The "man boobs" disappeared in 3 to 4 months. He took the lavender and tea tree oil separately and put them in breast cancer cells sensitive to estrogen. He found that it made the breast cancer cells proliferate meaning the tea tree oil and lavender acted like estrogen. Furthermore, he put the tea tree oil and lavender oil in a cell culture containing breast cancer cells sensitive to testosterone. He found that the tea tree oil and lavender oil blocked the effect and expression of testosterone. Thus, the boys were getting to effects estrogen stimulation and testosterone blockage. This is an example of a natural organic herb that has hormonal effects.
It is important to remove xenoestrogens from your environment because xenoestrogens are causing your disease. Secondly, it is important to remove xenoestrogens from your environment because xenoestrogens will compete with estriol for the estrogen receptor. The xenoestrogens can block the action of estriol.
John Lee M.D. believes that after menopause, vaginal dryness and decreased vaginal mucous set up the women to have vaginal, urethral, and urinary bladder infections. Treating these urinary tract infections with antibiotics is only temporarily successful and sometimes not at all successful because the the real problem is that the urinary tract cannot resist infection. Because of the hormonal imbalance, the urinary tract is more susceptible to infection. To reduce the hormonal imbalance, the vaginal application of estriol often works extremely well. A recent controlled study of intravaginal estriol in postmenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infection showed reduced incidence of urinary tract infections compared to placebo. The placebo group had 5.9 episodes of urinary tract infection per year. The estriol supplemented group had 0.5 episodes of urinary tract infection per year. When estriol is given, friendly lactobacilli bacteria was found in the vagina with the near extermination of colon bacteria. Normal vaginal mucosa was restored as well as the normal low pH. Normal low pH discourages harmful bacteria growth.
John Lee M.D. believes that natural estriol is the most beneficial to vaginal and cervical tissue. Normal vaginal and cervical tissue is the first line of defense against infection. Contraceptive brand-name synthetic estrogen stop the production of natural hormones. These brand-name synthetic estrogens do not contain estriol. Neither are these brand-name synthetics metabolized estriol. John Lee M.D. points out that brand-name synthetic progestins are not natural progesterone. Progestins also inhibit the function of natural progesterone since they compete for the same receptor site.
After the age of 35, progesterone levels fall to zero for most cycles but not all cycles. Post menopause, progesterone levels fall to near zero and estrone levels are also very low. Thus, taking estriol and progesterone can offer protection against infection.
Allergy Can Cause Vaginal Dryness as Well
Allergy can cause vaginal dryness as well. Are the palms of your hands dry? If the palms of your hands are dry, your vagina is most likely to be dry as well. The solution is to remove the cause of the allergy. The first thing I usually do is to get the patient to use hypo allergic chemicals and herbs on the skin. Buy any product from us and get a list of "safe" cosmetics and toiletries to use on your body. If this does not fix the problem, a more in depth testing of allergic foods can be done with an allergist or ELISA allergy testing for Type II, Type III, and Type IV immune reactions. The ELISA test may be found here.
John Lee M.D. in his care of postmenopausal patients for those without a history or breast cancer uterine cancer use progesterone and estriol for patients that had recurrent urinary tract and vaginal infections. He was surprised to find out that patients that opted for natural progesterone therapy had been free of vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy. He noted that vaginal dryness with reduced mucus production ended after natural progesterone use for 3 to 4 months. He notes also that progesterone may re-sensitize estrogen receptors to lower levels of estrogen still occurring in postmenopausal women .
Here is a summary for John Lee M.D.'s suggestions:
1. Xenoestrogens are strange estrogens that make the body do strange things.
2. Xenoestrogen birth control pills cause suppression of natural hormones.
3. Xenoestrogens cause abnormal vaginal tissue and vaginitis.
4. The abnormal vaginal tissue and vaginitis causes repeat urinary tract infections.
5. Quit xenoestrogens and quit birth control pills. Take topical natural progesterone and natural estriol.
6. Taking iodine increases "good" estriol relative to estrone and estradiol.
7. Post menopause vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy.
8. Progesterone levels drop to near zero.
9. Over-the-counter topical natural progesterone increases vaginal lubrication and counters vaginal dryness.
10. Over-the-counter topical natural estriol thickens of vaginal skin and tissues.
11. Taking iodine increases "good" estriol relative to estrone and estradiol.
If you buy any product from us you will give you a list of common xenoestrogens to avoid. Also included is a list of recommended "safe" products to use. There is also a protocol on how to take iodine and what kind of iodine to take.
1. John Lee M.D., What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. (Time Warner book group, New York New York May 2004), pages 234.
2.John Lee M.D., What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. (Time Warner book group, New York New York May 2004), pages 256-258.