Laura (not her real name) is an Indonesian lady. At the age of 38 she felt uncomfortable during her menses. She discharged excessive amount of blood which contained blood clots. One feng shui practitioner told her to see a doctor and check if there was anything in her uterus.
Laura did an ultrasound on 31 August 2019 and the doctor told her she had endometriosis.
The doctor then suggested that Laura undergo an operation which she refused. Why? Laura’s aunty was also diagnosed with endometriosis some years earlier and was operated on. The problem recurred and she had to undergo a second operation to remove the whole uterus.
The doctor then asked Laura to take Provera 100 mg.
Laura did not get better after taking this hormone pill. She then went to Singapore for further treatment. This time, the Singapore gynaecologist did not ask her to go for surgery. The doctor said, It is okay. No need to worry. When you grow old and have your menopause, this problem will go away. Laura was prescribed two types of drugs (both are hormones!):
- SunoLut (Norethisterone 5 mg). She had to take this for 3 months.
- After finishing SunoLut she was asked to take Yasmin (Drospirone 3 mg and ethinylestradioal 0.03 mg). This is a combined contraceptive pill. She is supposed to take this until she has menopause (i.e. at least 10 years from now).
Laura was on Yasmin for about a year. She was not happy with the result. Her problems got worse instead of getting better! It was at this junction that Laura sent me an email with this message:
Actually I don’t like (the medication prescribed by the doctor which I am still taking up to this day). I feel I am not getting well after the hormone medication. Honestly, I prefer herbal medications from Prof Chris Teo. Thanks for your kind attention. Hopefully I can hear from you soon.
A few years ago, Laura and her aunty came to our Centre. Laura knows that we are involved with only cancer. So this email was a long shot, hoping that we also have herbs for her problems! Yes, we do.
The following are Laura’s problems:
1. In September 2021, she did another ultrasound. The endometriosis was still there (see picture above). In fact her condition had deteriorated after taking the doctors’ medication.
2. She had twisting pain on the right, lower abdomen and right lower back during her menses (3 days) and this dragged on for another 7 days after her periods.
3. The pain usually occurred from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. On certain days the pain started from evening and lasted the whole night until the next morning. She had to take Panadol before going to bed otherwise she would not be able to sleep well for the whole night (during these 10 days).
The pain in the day time was not intense. She just felt uncomfortable like she was having menses.
4. Laura had a Sinovac vaccination and she said she had “double pain” after that, i.e.the pain became twice more intense after the injection. The nature of the pain was the same.
5. Laura felt tired.
6. During her periods, she had bad colic problem. She felt too much “wind” in her stomach.
7. When she was in pain, she felt her breathing was faster.
8. Before her periods, Laura felt tightness in her breast. She craved for chocolate and had mood swings. These are symptoms of PMS – premenstrual syndrome. Or these could be the side-effects of the contraceptive pills that she is taking.
Based on the above information, I prescribed Laura the following herbs:
- PMS pills
- Pain Tea
- Stomach function tea
- Utero-ovary tea
- GY6 – tea for her endometriosis
In addition to the herbs, I also suggested that Laura stop taking her contraceptive pills.
ONE WEEK AFTER TAKING THE ABOVE HERBS, Laura reported great improvements. She was happy!
1. Pain almost gone after taking the Pain Tea.
Laura took the Pain Tea at about 10 p.m. She was able to have a good night sleep without pain and woke up at 7 a.m.
She needed to take Pain Tea once a day at night. The pain generally went away about 30 minutes after taking the Pain Tea.
Laura tried taking the Pain Tea three times a day. There was no benefit with such extra dosage.
2. After taking the herbs, the problem of “rapid” breathing also disappeared.
3. The problem of stomach wind improved. Before taking the Stomach Function tea, Laura used to have bloated stomach in the evening, after dinner at about 7 p.m. This bloating lasted the whole night. After taking the Stomach Function tea her condition improved by about 50 percent. She felt much better.
4. After taking the herbs, she felt she had more energy and felt healthier.
5. Her PMS problems seemed to improve after taking the PMS pills for 4 days!
ONE MONTH AFTER TAKING THE HERBS.
1. Lara had stopped taking the Pain Tea because she did not have any more pain. In total she took 14 times of pain tea – i.e. for two weeks, once a day in the evening.
2. The problem of stomach “wind” had reduced tremendously.
3. Her mood swing still persist but had improved tremendously and her craving for chocolate had also reduced!
4. Laura confirmed that since starting on the herbs, she had stopped taking her doctor’s hormone medication.
The common ways of solving gynaecological problems in women are: surgery, hormone and pain killer. Yes, these modalities may be able to treat the symptoms but sometimes they come with a host of side effects often not made known to the patients beforehand.
Study Laura’s case critically. After declining surgery, she was prescribed one hormone pills after another – Provera, Sunolut (norethisterone) and Yasmin (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol). Laura’s condition did not improve, in fact her condition deteriorated. If she was to continue with these hormone pills, we would never know what she would end up with in years ahead – but certainly Laura knew that she was not getting better!
After being on hormone pills for about 3 years (from August 2019 to September 2021) Laura suffered severe stomach pain or discomfort, bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings and PMS.
The question to critically asked is: Why?
Are these symptoms due to the side effects of the hormone pills? Read for yourself the information obtained from the internet.
1. Provera is a form of progesterone (hormone).
This hormone is taken at a high dose to treat the symptoms of recurrent or metastatic cancer – breast cancer, kidney cancer and endometrial cancer. However, Provera is also prescribed for absent or irregular menstrual periods, or abnormal uterine bleeding and endometriosis.
Like other medicines, PROVERA can cause some side effects such as:
- Swollen or tender veins
- Difficulty breathing
- Nervousness, confusion, loss of concentration
- Trouble sleeping
- Fatigue, drowsiness or sleepiness
- Skin conditions such as hives, itching, rash, acne
- Excessive hairiness
- Unusual hair loss or thinning
- Irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Lack of menstrual periods
- Nausea, vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Breast tenderness
- Unusual secretion of breast milk
- Unusual changes in vaginal secretions
- Changes in sexual drive
- High fever
- Weight change
- Fluid retention and an increase in blood pressure
2. SunoLut (norethisterone).
This is a synthetic and potent progestogen hormone which stops uterine bleeding. Norethisterone 5mg tablets are prescribed to treat various menstrual problems, including painful, heavy or irregular periods, endometriosis and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Side-effects of SunoLut:
- Abdominal cramps
- Breast pain
- Hair loss
- Irregular vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Menstrual irregularity
Rare side-effects include:
- Extra hair growth on the face and body
- Tender breast
- Weight gain
Severe side-effects may also occur:
- Eye abnormalities: double vision, blurred vision, headache with extreme pain (migraine), sudden onset of bulging eyes sudden partial or complete loss of vision
- Blocked blood vessels in the lungs due to abnormal blood clotting (possibly) fatal and serious long-term disabilities)
- Stroke due to abnormal blood clotting.
- Heart attack due to abnormal blood clotting.
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- High blood sugar (diabetes)
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Liver problems such as jaundice and poor liver function
- Enlargement of benign tumors of the uterus (fibroids)
- Mental depression
- Ovarian Cyst – Women who are using oral contraceptives are at increased risk of formation of an ovarian cyst/enlarged follicles associated with mild abdominal pain in patients using this medicine.
- Breast Cancer – Women using combined oral contraceptives (example progestin with estrogen) are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have breast cancer should not use this medicine.
- Genital Bleeding: An irregular menstrual pattern including genital bleeding, is common among patients using this medicine.
- Heart Diseases: Patients who have diseases such as increased blood pressure, raised blood sugar level (diabetes mellitus), high blood cholesterol level, obesity, autoimmune diseases, an existing blood clot in the vein or a history of blood clots in the veins are at an increased risk when using this medicine. Vision or Visual Abnormalities: Women who are using oral contraceptives are at an increased risk of sudden loss of vision, displacement of the eye, double vision, migraine, and other issues related to the eyes
- Combined Oral Contraceptives Use: Women using combined oral contraceptives (progestin with estrogen) are at risk of developing liver tumors. The rupture of the tumor maybe possibly fatal due to bleeding.
- Ectopic Pregnancy: Women who are using progestin-only oral contraceptives are at increased risk of pregnancy that grows outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
3. Yasmin (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol).
This is a combined contraceptive pills and is used to prevent pregnancy.
Warnings of Yasmin
Women with a past medical history of breast cancer, high blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol should know that taking combined oral contraceptives may worsen these problems or increase the risk of serious side effects.
You should not take Yasmin if you have: undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, liver disease or liver cancer, severe migraine headaches.
Taking Yasmin can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.
Yasmin contain drospirenone, which can increase the potassium levels in the body. This pills can increase the risk of hyperkalemia, or higher than normal potassium.
Common Yasmin side effects may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breast tenderness
- Mood changes
- Feeling tired or irritable
- Weight gain
- Changes in your menstrual periods
- Decreased sex drive
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Stomach pain or discomfort.
There is one more important question – Does the contraceptive pill increase cancer risk?
The website of the Cancer Research UK (https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/hormones-and-cancer/does-the-contraceptive-pill-increase-cancer-risk) said:
- Yes, the contraceptive pill (birth control) can slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. But it can decrease the risk of ovarian and womb cancer. Overall, the protective effects outweigh the risks, but each person’s risk will be different.
The website of the National Cancer Institute, USA provided this answer (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/oral-contraceptives-fact-sheet):
- Breast cancer: Overall, women who had used oral contraceptives had a slight (7%) increase in the relative risk of breast cancer compared with women who had never used oral contraceptives. Risk declined after use of oral contraceptives stopped.
In 2017, a large prospective Danish study reported breast cancer risks associated with more recent formulations of oral contraceptives. Overall, women who were using or had recently stopped using oral combined hormone contraceptives had a modest (about 20%) increase in the relative risk of breast cancer compared with women who had never used oral contraceptives.
- Cervical cancer: Women who have used oral contraceptives for 5 or more years have a higher risk of cervical cancer than women who have never used oral contraceptives. The longer a woman uses oral contraceptives, the greater the increase in her risk of cervical cancer. One study found a 10% increased risk for less than 5 years of use, a 60% increased risk with 5 to 9 years of use, and a doubling of the risk with 10 or more years of use.
- Endometrial cancer: Women who have used oral contraceptives have a lower risk of endometrial cancer than women who have never used oral contraceptives. The protective effect persists for many years after a woman stops using oral contraceptives.
- Ovarian cancer: Women who have used oral contraceptives have a 30% to 50% lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have never used oral contraceptives. This protection has been found to increase with the length of time oral contraceptives are used.