When Jane asked me to write a blog for Soul Source I knew right away I had the perfect one for her subscribers. So many of you are having challenges due to treatment for breast cancer and have found that without estrogen, vaginal dryness and narrowing of the vagina is an all too familiar problem.
As a result of having virtually no estrogen, women with breast cancer often suffer from the symptoms of menopause and one of the worst is vaginal dryness, thinning of the vaginal and bladder tissues called atrophic vaginitis or more recently Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM). And that leads to painful sex and challenges in the relationship. I write about this in my new book, The Estrogen Window, because every woman has a window of opportunity in which taking estrogen can actually lower her risk of breast cancer, as well as heart disease and dementia.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women among all races. It's also the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanics. It's so common it affects one out of eight women in the United States and that is why there are over two million U. S. women who have been treated for breast cancer.
Many of the chemotherapies used to treat breast cancer work by eliminating or blocking the production of all estrogen. As a result, women in perimenopause who are still having menstrual cycles suddenly plunge into menopause and women in menopause who already have low levels of estrogen are suddenly taking medication that takes them from some to no estrogen.
Treating GSM is a fairly simple thing to do – just apply vaginal estrogen to the tissues and in a few weeks a seeming miracle occurs. Pain goes away and tissues begin to restore to normal; and so does intimacy. Only problem is that the prevailing medical opinion has been to avoid vaginal estrogen – until now.
A new Committee Opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Number 659, March 2016) that it is OK (with your oncologist's agreement) for women with estrogen-dependent cancer to take vaginal estrogen. although a little gets into the bloodstream, it doesn't seem to affect outcome. Whether you are currently being treated or have been treated in the past, and even if you are taking Tamoxifen, there is no difference in outcome from using vaginal estrogen. I talk about this and related essential information about estrogen in my new book, The Estrogen Window.
This is a major breakthrough for women with breast cancer. While I've selectively been offering this to patients for years, many have refused treatment because their oncologists have said not to take it and they have been understandably cautious. The disease alone is bad enough. And sometimes non-hormonal treatments are sufficient to treat the symptoms of GSM. But now estrogen, the most effective solution to preventing breast cancer treatment from causing an additional contribution to the suffering, will be an acceptable option for many of the women with breast cancer. You may still benefit from the use of dilators, but the improvement with estrogen will be significant.
Dr. Mache Seibel is an international health expert and leading authority on women's wellness and menopause. Ask him your most pressing question at his free monthly calls AskDrMache.com. To preorder his new book and get a bunch of great free bonuses, visit www.EstrogenWindowBook.com.