A non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor often used as a chemotherapy aid to treat breast cancer. In some patients with Endometriosis, it may help suppress their symptoms. It is not FDA-approved to treat Endometriosis, but is used as an off-label treatment. Manufactured by Novartis. Also known as Femara
Holly was clinically diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 15 years old,and received surgical confirmation two years later. Now 33 years old (and nine excision surgeries later), she shares her Endometriosis story with us today:
Holly’s Journey: Some would say I was lucky. I was 15 the first time I heard the word “endometriosis”. I had no idea what that meant for me or for my or exactly how unlucky I would be. I was a sophomore in high school and my mom had taken me to my pediatrician because I was missing time from school and complaining of pain and severe nausea surrounding my period. My pediatrician immediately said “That sounds like endometriosis.” and referred me to a gynecologist. I went to the gynecologist and he stated my symptoms were likely endometriosis and decided to put me on a birth control pill to try and help with my pain.
Diagnosed at 32 years old, Chenille shares her Endometriosis journey with us today, four years later. She’s had a total of seven surgeries for Endometriosis, including a hysterectomy and recurrent Endometriosis. And she has recently started seeing an immunologist. Hopefully this new course of treatment leads to long-lasting relief! Chenilles is sharing her story in the hopes that she can talk to others that have seen a similar journey of aggressive recurrent endometriosis.
I have had a long, long journey that seems like it will never come to an end. When I was first diagnosed with stage 4 endo I was experiencing very painful, heavy menstrual cycles. Within 2 years and after 2 surgeries I had a complete hysterectomy.
One of my readers, Erin, emailed me asking if I could look into taking Melatonin for Endometriosis pain and symptoms. She had heard that it may help reduce the symptoms, pain, and maybe even the lesions themselves.
So, on goes my Research Cap and it begins!
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body as the light fades. Many people take Melatonin to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s been coming out in studies over the past decade that Melatonin may play a role in helping reduce Endometriosis lesions and pain.
A newly published study about a 35-year-old woman with a case of crazy-insane-aggressive Endometriosis hit my inbox. I was going to fit it into a previously-written blog about hysterectomies and Endo or extra-pelvic Endo…but it was so fascinating that I decided to create today’s blog entry.
Initially, this young woman had abdominal surgery to remove her right ovary because of a ruptured ovarian cyst. She subsequently had three additional surgeries to excise Endometriomas (chocolate cysts) and adenomyosis via a total hysterectomy which also took both of her fallopian tubes and remaining ovary.
The Journal of Restorative Medicine has published an article by Dr. Edward Lichen in their December 2016 compilation about non-surgical treatment of Endometriosis. You can read the article, in it’s entirety, by clicking on the link under “Resources,” but I wanted to give a brief overview of my interpretation:
Causation continues to be a mystery. An overview of the nine theories of causation is given.
DNA research is ongoing.
Estrogen plays a role. Many women with Endometriosis cannot opt for estrogen replacement therapy (even if post-menopausal) due to high recurrence rates of estrogen stimulation.
Xenoestrogens, dioxins, and endocrine disruptors increase inflammation and can cause Endometriosis to develop/recur.
One of my local EndoWarriors has started a new medication to help with her Endometriosis pain and symptoms, based upon the recommendation of her new physician. It’s Letrozole, which I had never heard of. And she asked me if I had any info on it…so…now I’m inspired to do some research!
What is Letrozole?
Letrozole is the generic name for Femara, a drug classified as an aromatase inhibitor. What is aromatase? It’s an enzyme that is crucial in the creation of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors have been FDA approved for treating breast cancer in post-menopausal patients. However, it has piqued the interest of the medical community in controlling Endometriosis symptoms. It is not yet FDA approved for this treatment, but is used as an off-label, accepted treatment among the medical community. As of today’s research, there are no indications that drug manufacturers are going to seek FDA approval for aromatase inhibitors to treat Endometriosis.