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    Amberen -- and Estring
    PurpleIris1951 posted:
    First, unless you are an expert in this area, please don't reply to me. I am 57 years old. I had breast cancer at the age of 40, followed by chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, and of course now I am post menopausal. I've been diagnosed with HPV and have had abnormal paps, which resulted in 2 LEEP procedures. My last exam showed normal. I also have multiple sclerosis (mild). I am on Copaxone injections and am pretty much in remission. I am now at the point where the vagina is very dry and sex is kind of painful (upon entry). On top of that, I really have no desire at all. Because I can't do hormone replacement therapy, at first my doctor suggested that I try the Estring because the estrogen would be localized. I became a little nervous about the estrogen issue so I quit using it after only a couple of months - so I don't know if that would have helped. Then the doctor suggested inserting a 400 unit Vitamin E gel cap into the vagina 3 days a week - of course it does nothing for desire, but might help with lubrication. Unfortunately, I'm not very consistent with this, so I don't know if it will work -- or how long it will take for it to work. What do you think about the Estring - should I give it another chance? Also, I've been seeing ads about Amberen and it looks interesting. What do you know about it? Is there any soy in it? I understand that soy might be a problem as far as risk of breast cancer. I just don't know what to believe anymore. Thank you.
    _swank_ responded:
    There are no experts on your condition on this board. If you want an expert you need to refer back to your doctor to ask your questions. If you're not satisfied with him then you should seek another opinion from another doctor.
    PurpleIris1951 responded:
    Thank you for your reply.

    Another question -- how can I change my profile name? Thanks.
    unknown responded:
    You would have to re-register to change your profile name. If I may, I strongly suggest you not rule out anyone from answering any questions that you may have. We have a lot of knowledgeable and helpful members throughout our community. If you get answers you feel aren't helpful, it's easy enough to ignore them, but to say you only want answers from certain kinds of people will only deprive you of opportunities in the long run. We have a Menopause Support Group message board where there are other members who may be of help to you. We also have HPV and Multiple Sclerosis support group boards as well a group of boards addressing Cancer. Feel free to visit any or all of them.Good luck to you. Dorothea
    PurpleIris1951 responded:
    Thank you for the information. Regarding my request for an expert to answer my questions, my concern was that, at one point, I received a reply from someone without "MD" or "WebMD" behind their name and it didn't sound professional. Thanks again.
    40Something1960 responded:
    I am not an "expert" just a woman going through perimenopause.

    I do not believe there is any soy in amberen, but you could always google it and read the ingredients for yourself. I do not know anyone who has had any results with it.

    There was a small clinical study done on arginmax that showed it did help some women with both desire and satisfaction.

    if your vaginal atrophy is severe, it can take a full year to restore the elasticity with vaginal estrogen, but you should notice some improvement within 3 months. yes there are still risks with vaginal estrogen and a small amount is absorbed into your blodstream whether your doctor wants to admit that to you or not. More is absorbed into the blood stream from vaginal estrogen creams than it is from the vagifem tablet.

    the is a new non hormonal treatment for atrophy on the horizon called ophena. it is still in the testing stages and not yet fda approved.

    some women have had some luck using vitamin e tablets or suppositories. some also take omega 7 and say it helps some.
    NicoleLA responded:
    Good morning! I hope if there are any cancer survivors out there reading this forum that you take this into consideration when looking for menopause solutions. Amberen is not a drug. It has no drugs, hormones, soy, cohosh, stimulants or herbs in it at all. It is an all natural supplement. Many cancer survivors do very well with Amberen. Amberen is safe to use with medications or supplements and has no interferences, side effects or cancer risks.

    Amberen is not a pharmaceutical product. The whole premise of the natural supplement is that it only contains the natural ingredients previously approved by FDA for human consumption and listed in FDA?s GRAS list (Generally Recognized As Safe).

    I understand your concerns provided that Amberen is very strong in its efficacy. As always, your doctor should be your ultimate advisor in such matters. Many people request published articles from medical journals from Amberen Customer Care Specialists and share it with their doctors for their approval.

    Many cancer survivors are cleared to take Amberen and are very successful with their course. Amberen restores the connection between the hypothalamus and the endocrine system, so the body is able to produce its own hormones naturally, the way it did prior to going through the change. (Note: it does not matter if these changes have occurred because of time, trauma, surgery or a hysterectomy).

    For this reason, Amberen is highly successful without side effects, cancer and other risks. For most, cancer risks are due to exogenous hormone sources, not endogenous ones. Again, Amberen does not have ANY hormones in it.

    ESTRING (estradiol vaginal ring) is a slightly opaque ring with a whitish core containing a drug reservoir of 2 mg estradiol. Estradiol, silicone polymers and barium sulfate are combined to form the ring. When placed in the vagina, ESTRING releases estradiol, approximately 7.5 mcg per 24 hours, in a consistent stable manner over 90 days.

    Unlike Cohosh, HRT?s, herbs etc, Amberen is not blood stream based. Amberen works on the hypothalamus. By doing so, the body creates all of it?s own natural processes and eliminates the cancer and other health risks associated with other types of treatments.

    As a result, you will not need to couple Amberen w/ hormones to regulate your balance.

    The best way to really know how Amberen is working for you is to take it by itself and complete the interactive chart so you can monitor your progress/symptoms. Amberen is effective as a monotherapy and usually needs no other supplementation to treat your menopausal symptoms. This can be difficult with the inserted ring, I am aware.

    Using HRT , BHRT and herbals, along with Amberen, can slow down your response time as your body tries to balance out the two. They are safe to use together, but your body will transition as it tries to find the right balance. HRT can make your system a little stubborn. So time and consistency will play vital roles. Please post back if you would like more information. Good luck!
    Fairy49 responded:
    I would LOVE to try Amberen, I am at my wits end with menopause symptoms which hit me like a mac truck a few weeks ago. My breast cancer was 100% estrogen and progesterone +++ , it seems that Amberen doesn't have hormones in it, however I just read somewhere online that it increases circulating estradiol by 350%, unless this is counteracted by increases in progesterone also, it sounds dangerous to me....please advise!! again I want to try this product but of course have to make sure I know what it actually does. thank you in advance of any help!
    J_Harrison_Hohner responded:
    Dear PurpleIris: Swank is correct, the best expert is your own GYN or oncologist, however I am a board certified Menopause Clinician so I can give you some additional information, OK? Let's start with the easy one first.

    The vitamin E is more for lubrication and sealing in whatever moisture you have. It does not increase the thickness and flexibility of vaginal tissues, nor return the pH to a more normal acidic range. The Estring gives a small dose of estrogen which does improve lubrication, thicken vaginal tissues, and improve pH. In a 20 year old the top vaginal tissues are about 20-30 cells thick. After menopause (or without estrogen) the tissues are 7-8 cells thick. I am assuming that you have tried all the topical, over the counter vaginal lubrication (eg Astroglide) and vaginal moisturizers (eg Replens) without success so you might be needing a prescriptive product.

    The question with breast cancer survivors is "How safe are low dose vaginal estrogen products?" One study (Dew, 2003) followed up 69 of 1472 breast cancer subjects using estrogen creams or tablets and compared them to women who used nothing. Risk factors for recurrence controlled for in analysis. The corrected hazard ration was 0.57 (0.20-1.58)---in other words no significant difference.

    Here is another oncology citation from the National Library of Medicine site: Ann Oncol. 2008 Oct;19(10):1669-80. Epub 2008 Jun 2. Practical clinical guidelines for assessing and managing menopausal symptoms after breast cancer.

    Hickey M, Saunders C, Partridge A, Santoro N, Joffe H, Stearns V.

    School of Women's and Infants Health, King Edward Memorial Hospital, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia.

    BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to provide practical, evidence-based guidelines for evaluating and treating common menopausal symptoms following breast cancer. METHODS: Literature review of the causes, assessment and management of menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients. RESULTS: A number of nonhormonal treatments are effective in treating hot flashes. Whether pharmacological treatment is given will depend on the severity of symptoms and on patient wishes. For severe and frequent hot flashes, the best data support the use of venlafaxine, paroxetine and gabapentin in women with breast cancer. Side-effects are relatively common with all these agents. For vaginal dryness, topical estrogen treatment is the most effective but the safety of estrogens following breast cancer is not established. There are limited data on effective treatments for sexual dysfunction during menopause. CONCLUSION: Menopausal symptoms after breast cancer should be evaluated and managed as warranted using a systematic approach and may benefit from multidisciplinary input.

    In terms of Amberen, it is very expensive and none of its ingredients (Ammonium Succinate Calcium Disuccinate, Monosodium L-Glutanate, Glysine, Magnesium Disuccinate Hydrate,Zinc Difumarate Hydrate, and Tocopherol Acetate) are among compounds usually used for vaginal dryness. If you go to the website it claims to cure every problem of menopause--moreover there are no published studies of this product at the National Library of Medicine site.

    Bottom line, I would go with what your GYN or oncologist suggests. If you do opt for the Estring you can always choose to wear it less than daily. Just keep in mind that the greatest exposure of estrogen into your blood stream comes when the vaginal tissues are the thinnest (things pass through the tissues easily). Less is absorbed systematically once the tissues are plumped up.

    Yours, Jane
    mamaerin62 replied to J_Harrison_Hohner's response:
    I'm really not an expert at all, but I can tell you that I suffered miserably with hot flashes and night sweats. A friend of mine told me she was using Amberen and having good results so I decided to try it. Within a week almost almost all of my hot flashes and night sweats were nearly gone. As to the vaginal dryness issue, that is also MUCH better. I have been using Amberen for almost 9 months now and I have been extremely pleased with the results.
    I have to admit that I agree with Jane that it is expensive. However, if one dose lasts 6 months, that's the best $100 I've spent for relief! (Amberen recommends taking the product for 90 days and then nothing for the next 90.) I wasn't able to last the full 90 days off the regimen and began my second course after 6 weeks off but bodies react differently.
    Again, I'm not an expert, but I am an extremely satisfied customer!!
    abcynth replied to Fairy49's response:
    Hi, I'm with you on the query about the circulating estrogen/estrodiol - through self study I have learned that there is 'good estrogen" and "bad estrogen" kind of like cholesterol (HDLs vs. LDLs); the bad estrogen reacts differently and can be a catalyst for breast CA from what I hear. There are lots of vitamins to take that are supposed to help stimulate the good estrogen -you can look up "vitamins for breast health" for more info (my mother died of Breast CA so I'm super skeptical). I also am not an "expert" but I do work in the drug research industry for new cancer drugs; so I kind of understand things on the metabolic level. Nonetheless, I prefer the all natural way if I can. Anyway, I feel comfortable taking the Amberen with the vitamins that help promote good estrogen and think that if the research and text about Amberen is true, then if you have good estrogen floating about, it should be a healthy situation. Our bodies do not respond to our hormones when we are older, as I understand it, hence the conundrum, so the 350% might be what it takes? - I will investigate further and discuss with my OB of course, as should all of us. I did take the Amberen before and then stopped to try Royal Maca. The Amberen began to work in a few weeks but I wanted to try the maca - unfortunately my vitamins are also "estrogenic" and you can't have estrogenic vit's with maca - just makes hot flashes worse. Sooo, I am going back to taking my favorite wild yam complex (by MediHerb) with the Amberen plus my vitamins for "breast health" (CoQ-10, E, primrose, folate, selenium, C etc.). BTW: my vitamins cost way more than the Amberen and many other remedies that I've dished out for so I guess the cost is all relative. Frequent exams and check ups are key to catching anything early and early diagnosis is the best cure no matter what. good luck and thanks for all the discussion - it has been very helpful with my comfort level!
    duckylucky replied to abcynth's response:
    My Naturopath told me she doesn't like anything that even mimics estrogens due to the cancer risk. NO wild yam, No black cohosh, NO SOY!! She DOES highly recommend (and SO DO I) using Chaste Tree Berry Extract capsule to say GOODBYE to HOT FLASHES. It works GREAT and there are NO side effects. It also works within 24 hours. I have discontinued it after 3 months and haven't had a flash since. BERRY BERRY HAPPY!!!

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