Information quoted below is from the book endometriosis – A KEY TO HEALING THROUGH NUTRITION – Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon.

I have highlighted the areas that I am most interested in from the information presented below. I have intentionally omitted some text from the book if it did not suit my needs here, but I did not in any way manipulate information found in the book to suit my needs. That is to say, I did not take sentences or paragraphs apart and reconstruct them for my own evil ends.

HYPOTHALAMUS AND PITUITARY GLAND
The control centre for the reproductive cycle is the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain. The hypothalamus secretes hormones (chemical messengers) which control their timing and the amount of hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland can be viewed as the ‘master gland’ of the endocrine system, since its hormones orchestrate the activity of most of the other endocrine glands of the body, including the ovaries in women and testes in men.
The pea-sized pituitary gland nestles in a bony cavity at the base of the skull. It has a rich blood supply that allows it to distribute its hormones rapidly throughout the body. The pituitary gland is divided into two parts: the anterior and posterior pituitary.

1. The anterior pituitary secrets several protein hormones which affect a variety of glands and tissues in the body. However,
the two major hormones of the anterior pituitary that affect the reproductive system are follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These two hormones control the activity of the ovaries, and are very important controls for fertility.
2. The posterior pituitary also secretes several protein hormones.
Oxytocin is the hormone that most directly affects the reproductive system. Oxytocin causes the smooth muscle of the uterus to contract during the birthing process. Oxytocin production is dependent on sufficient levels of the mineral manganese. It is thought to be important for bonding at birth and oxytocin levelse are known to be increased in the brain when we fall in love.

THE THYROID GLAND

The thyroid gland can have an effect upon fertility; and lower than normal thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroid) cause infertility in both men and women. Indeed, auto-antibodies to the thyroid are used to predict which women are at risk from miscarriage.
Estrogen acutely inhibits the rate of thyroid hormone release in adults.
Women with mild hypothyroidism have prolonged and heavy menstrual bleeding with a shorter menstrual cycle.

THE OVARIES
At any given time, two major structures, each about 1cm in diameter, can be seen within the ovary – the follicle and the corpus luteum.
Each follicle contains an egg surrounded by granulosa cells or ‘nurse cells’. During the menstrual cycle the follicle becomes filled with follicular fluid and looks like a small cyst, about one centimetre in diameter. The granulosa cells of the follicle secrete the steroid hormone estrogen; the corpus luteum produces the hormone progesterone.

Estrogen has several roles:

1. It stimulates the endometrium to grow from day 1 to 14 of the cycle and replace the endometrial cells that were shed during menstruation. It is produced in the follicle of the ovary and in fat cells, and by the adrenal glands.
2. It enhances the contractions of the uterus and is required during the birthing process.
3. Too much estrogen acts as an abortant. Too much produced very early in the pregnancy and not balanced by sufficient progesterone from the corpus lutem could trigger the loss of the pregnancy, as it is an abortive in high doses.
4. It increases the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, improving mood and memory. If estrogen is out of balance, it can trigger mood swings.
5. It is synthesized in the ovary from cholesterol, and secreted from the granulosa cells inside the follicles, the corpus lutem and the placenta.
6. It causes the liver to produce hormones.
7. It increases cholesterol production, produces weight gain and determines fat distribution.
8. It causes cell proliferation.
9. It deposits calcium into bones.
10. When its levels are high, women show greater verbal fluency.
11. When its levels are low, women use their hands more skillfully, and spatial ability is stronger.
12. Excess estrogen may increase the level of antithrombin III, which increases the risk of blood clots.
13. Normal levels in the follicular phase are 30-150ng/ml. In menopause, levels are 40-200ng/ml.

Progesterone, on the other hand, has different roles from estrogen:

1. Stimulate the endometrium to become nutrient-rich in preparation for a pregnancy, from day 14 to 28 of the cycle.
2. Enhance relaxation of the uterus and prevent contractions of the uterine smooth muscle to prevent miscarriages.
3. Inhibit estrogen from stimulating contraction of the uterus, maintain a pregnancy and prevent further ovulation.
4. Reduce the effect of the immune system to prevent the body from rejecting the embryo.
5. Raise the basal metabolic rate.
6. As a thermogenic, adjust body temperature, which rises from 97.8 degrees C to 98.3 degrees C just before ovulation.
7. It is synthesized from cholesterol in the corpus luteum and in the placenta from months three to nine during pregnancy.
The follicle granulosa cells produce estrogen from day 1 to day 14 of the cycle; then the corpus luteum produces progesterone from day 15 to day 28 of the cycle. As these steroid hormones are both oil-based, the health of these hormones depends upon the quality of oils you eat. Both are synthesized from cholesterol.

Androgens play a role in fertility:

1. They are precursors to estrogen and come from the ovary and adrenal glands.
2. Testosterone is the male hormone produced in the testes, ovaries and adrenals. In women, excess may be produced if insulin levels are too high.
3. In women, testosterone levels are normally 35-50ng/ml. It is felt that there is a slight urge at the time of ovulation that increases the sex drive.

THE UTERUS
The uterus or womb is a little smaller than a woman’s clenched fist, but during pregnancy, it can expand to over 45cm (18in) in length.
It consists of a well-developed muscular wall (the myometrium) and an inner mucus-like membrane (the endometrium). The smooth muscle wall of the myometrium expel the baby during the birthing process, and it is the contractions of these muscles that also cause menstrual cramps. These muscles require a balance of calcium and magnesium to help them function correctly. Calcium tenses muscles while magnesium allows them to relax. Magnesium-rich foods should be eaten when muscular cramps are a problem.
The uterus retains its full capacity to sustain implantation for up to 60 years of age.
It clearly does not age in the same way as the ovary, as post-
menopausal women can maintain a pregnancy after egg donation. “The uterus is the main site for the production of the hormone prostacycin, which protects women from heart disease and unwanted blood clotting.
Since prostacyclin cannot be synthetically made in a laboratory, the removal of the uterus will ensure its production will cease forever.”
(Dr. Susan Love’s Hormone Book, p 173).

THE ENDOMETRIUM
The endometrium is…an important endocrine gland and secretes a family of hormones called prostaglandins (PG). Prostaglandin F (PGF) can stimulate strong uterine contractions (cramps) and prostaglandin E (PGE) can cause pain. These prostaglandins are the hormones directly
responsible for most of the cramps and pain associated with endometriosis and menstruation.
PGF also inhibits the development of the corpus lutem in the ovary and therefore reduces progesterone production. Therefore PGF has been used clinically to initiate abortions. If higher levels than normal of PGF are produced, miscarriages may occur.
As an endocrine gland, the endometrium is very responsive to the levels of hormones circulating in the blood. The balance of estrogen and progesterone greatly affects the growth and activity of the endometrium.

ENDOCRINE COMMUNICATION
The pituitary and ovaries communicate with each other by sending ‘chemical messengers’ (hormones) through the blood system to tell each other what to do and when. Light hitting the retina of the eye stimulates
the pituitary and hypothalamus, which releases GnRH, a hormone that triggers the release of LH from the pituitary. The LH surge causes the follicle membrane to rupture, releasing the egg.
Ovulation occurs if the ovum meets a sperm in the Fallopian tube, and the follicle seals up to form a corpus luteum. This begins to produce progesterone to make the endometrium ready for implantation of the fertilized egg. Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum until the third month of pregnancy; when the placenta is sufficiently mature to take over. If no fertilized embryo is implanted, the corpus luteum is reabsorbed into the ovary and the whole process begins all over again.
Establishing the correct levels of these hormones is the key to getting the right message to the right place at the right time. When we say that the hormones are ‘out of balance’, the wrong messages are being sent and received, and things can begin to go awry.

FOLLICLE-STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH)
1. FSH is responsible for maturation of the ova in the follicle.
2. FSH production is inhibited by excess estrogen and inhibin.

LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH)
1. LH secretion precedes ovulation and completes the maturation of the ovarian follicle.
2. LH stimulates androgen (testosterone) production.
3. LH is inhibited by estrogen except just before ovulation, when it surges.
4. Progesterone may block LH secretion as it decreases the rate at which LH is pulsed from the pituitary gland.
5. LH receptors inside the granulosa cells develop as a result of FSH and estrogen build up.
6. When LH surges, the dominant follicle grows between 1.4 – 2.2mm per day, reaching a maximum diameter of 18 – 22cm, and is ready for ovulation. It should be fully mature on day 14 – 16 of the menstrual cycle.
7. The interval between the LH surge and ovulation is 37 – 38 hours. Ovulation occurs randomly from left to right ovaries during natural cycles.
8. The Fallopian tubes enlarge at ovulation and secrete fluids as they respond to estrogen and the LH surge.

PROLACTIN
1. This hormone inhibits ovulation.
2. Elevated prolactin can also be caused by high melatonin levels, resulting in decreased fertility (melatonin from the pineal gland increases when the eye registers darkness).
3. Excess prolactin can be caused by drugs such as tranquilizers, anti-ulcer drugs, high-dose estrogen oral contraceptive pills, alcohol and street drugs.
4. Hypothyroidism and breast stimulation may also increase prolactin levels.
5. When prolactin is high, GnRH and LH are lowered. This can cause menstruation and ovulation to stop.

Other notes:

Studies show that Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine 5 phosphate) is necessary for the formation of the hormone progesterone and the same source indicates that vitamin B6 is also required after ovulation when the body has a high level of estrogen. B6 acts as a natural diuretic and helps alleviate some of the bloating associated with PMS. It is a precursor to progesterone.
Moreover, the action of the steroid hormones is balanced by B6 – it has an effect on endocrine diseases.

Women often accept a very heavy menstrual flow as the norm because that is what they have come to expect. Dr Casmir Funk, the man who isolated vitamin B1 in 1912, described the effect of vitamin B-complex in reducing a woman’s menstrual flow from five or six days to three or four days.

Large blood clots may be prevented when vitamins C and E are used together with evening primrose and fish oils as these all have estrogenic properties, and certain estrogens produce changes in blood clotting.

The amount of blood lost is usually about 60ml (2 fl oz). At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, rich red blood should be the norm, whereas brown granular blood with chopped-liver-like clots implies poor nutrient uptake.
The nutrients used to improve periods include iron EAP2, vitamin B6, B-complex vitamins, magnesium, chromium, vitamins C and E, and evening primrose and fish oils. If blood loss is excessive to the point of flooding, then a well-absorbed iron supplement such as EAP2 or citrate may be used
for 1-2 months to normalize the flow.

After reading all that stuff, I don’t feel so depressed anymore.
I will try to maintain a better vitamin regimen again, but due to my natural depressive nature, I’m still terrified to take estrogen pills to try to fix the endometriosis, as a side effect to the pills for me is severe depression and flaring temper the likes few have seen in me.
I was fascinated reading all about the LH hormone, and I wish I could only make that hormone instead of estrogen. ;)

I have learned to hate progesterone already, and it’s also not fair that I can’t get rid of my uterus completely without having to go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Lastly, I find it truly funny that a hormone is called PGE and that it causes lots of pain. I know of a corporate entity by the same name which has caused lots of people great pain.

That’s all for now.

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