hormones in cows' milk

mumbletOctober 12, 2001

Okay, this is my first time with this, and my posting got away before I was done. Periods stopped over a year ago, had it checked, blood test confirmed menopause, doc put me on fmhrt. Blood pressure went up, gained 40 lbs., bad periods started, and sun sensitivity! Told the doc I didn't need or want any of that, I'm old enough to start getting old. He wanted me to stay on the fmhrt for the bp and bone thinning, but I wasn't going to come out only at night and I couldn't carry the weight. I stopped the fmhrt, but started wanting tuna and gallons of milk. I go through a gallon of milk in two days or less. My sex drive started perking up (I had dryness and chapped "lips") and what had been really dry suddenly was like it was before the periods got erratic. Basically, everything has returned to what is was, I just don't have periods anymore (and I don't miss them). I realized I was drinking an awful lot of milk, and then I came across two articles that mentioned the cows are given hormones to increase milk production. Commercial milk is mixed, so there really is no telling where the cow was that gave the milk in your fridge. I went back to the doc, told him my theory that I was getting hormones from the milk and maybe the tuna, and asked for a blood test the check the hormone levels. I've gone from none to low normal. I've also gone from menopausal to perimenopause. --And the blood pressure is down to 120/83 from 180/90. Now, if only the 40 lbs. would go.

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Your story merely highlights the unreliability of "hormone blood tests." If you had not had a period in more than a year and there was no other reason for the amenorrhea such as pregnancy then you are post menopausal. This is a permanent state - women don't move back and forth between being perimenopausal and post menopausal. It's possible that the increased fat of those 40 lbs increased your body's production of estrogen from your adrenal glands. There is a factoid around that heavier women have fewer menopausal signs because they have higher hormone levels. There are no studies confirming any of this though.

About those 40 lbs - if you're drinking 8 glasses of milk a day, even if it's skim milk - you are getting an extra 640 calories a day. Unless you cut those calories from somewhere else, you're not only not going to lose weight you are going to continue gaining it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2001 at 9:39AM
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Leigh--I had the first blood test after missing 3 or 4 periods. I wanted to be sure that I was "done" and didn't have a pregnancy or some other something. That was when the doc gave me fmhrt, and then I gained the 40 lbs. and my blood pressure climbed. I had gone through mood swings, vaginal dryness, gone libido, and some flashing for about 5 years prior to stopping the periods, and I wanted some sort of confirmation of what was what. The weight was there in about a month, and with it came two and three day periods (I was used to 7 days) every other week. Then the sun sensitivity kicked in and I said "Forget it!" I quit the hrt, told the doc I wasn't happy with the whole concept of essence of overbred pregnant mare pee and that I didn't see any benefit to watching my weight go up and bleeding. I continued with vag. dryness and usually one morning flash (That, I can live with), and went on with dealing with ageing/dying parents, adult children, life; and then I realized that I was downing a lot of fat-free milk and tuna. The vag. dryness was not only gone, I was lubricating again, and making my husband happier than he had been for a while. Another joy with the hrt was an awful burst of rosacia. I went to a dermatologist who said to stay away from chicken and non-organic milk because they all had hormones in them. I bought the local organic cream on the top milk; libido dropped, started getting dry. A couple of magazine articles mentioned the milk hormones in passing, and a light went on. I went back on the commercial milk, went back to the doc to discuss my idea that I was getting hrt from the milk, and to see what another blood test would show. The first test, done a year ago after three months without a period, said no hormones. The second test, a year later (two weeks ago) showed low normal range of hormones. I suggested that I was perhaps a better cow than horse, and I did question whether the fat (mine) could be producing the estrogen, but I doubt it. I was also not buying going from menopause to peri. --But, if the horse hrt can re-start periods that have stopped, why can't something else go not quite as far? Anyway, the doc defined peri as meaning being around menopause, and menopause as being there and beyond. Whatever. Anyway, the doc's idea is that the fmhrt was too much and sent my system into a sort of overdrive producing the crazy side effects. Whatever I'm doing now must be supplying the right level to return to where I was before the periods stopped, before the mood swings, but without periods. Eating wise, my food appetite has been weird for way over a year (I did a bout with prevacid and a drug company trying to induce me to keep taking that stuff with rebate coupons) and some days I don't eat much more than the milk and a can or so of tuna and whole grain bread. Some days I actually eat a balanced meal or two. I just don't want (and sometimes don't remember) to eat much. I'll get that weirdness figured out eventually. So, like I said before, this IS where I am right now, even if it does sound off the wall. The esophageal inflamation is gone, and all I'm taking is Alegra-D, allergy desensitizing shots, occasional aspirin.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2001 at 8:42PM
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Femhrt is ethinyl estradial and norethindrone acetate. It is derived from vegetable sources, as are all other commercial hrts except for Premarin. It is not even a vegetable analog of animal estrogens.

This is in no way meant to be any sort of comment on your problems with it, other than to clarify the situation for other women who may be taking it successfully but concerned about its origins.

Many of your symptoms, mumblet, are consistent with problems women who are intolerant of synthetic hormones experience. If you have forged a solution that works for your body now, great. Hang onto it. It would be a good idea to continue to monitor your bone density to make sure you're covering your needs adequately, though.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2001 at 6:15PM
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Framboise--Thank you for clarifying what the Femhrt is. Now, Mom Nature is throwing me interesting curve balls again. Last month, a week before going for the annual Pap and exam, I had a day and a half honest to goodness period. Not something I wanted to see again after a year without. Doc said it happens, and so did an older lady friend. I was back at the dr. a week later with what seemed like an infection. Test results said not. Two weeks and a few days later (about a lunar month), I've got a PERIOD?????? I feel more confused than when I was 12! I got tired of the tuna and slacked off; I've been alternating "regular" and organic milk, and I've gone to Benedryl instead of Tavist-D. Okay, so it's only happened twice (but a month apart), and I really am logical enough to wait and see, but...it doesn't feel like a sun spot sort of occurance on a gut level. The Pap was fine. If this happens again, I will go screaming to a GYN. In the meantime, does anyone have any experiences, factual ideas, anything?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2002 at 11:44PM
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I'm 49 and going through menopause. I started peri-menopause 2-3 years ago. The hormones in cow's milk will make my now dormant breast cysts start bothering me again. I think it's the hormones in the milk for sure. I switch to soy milk if my hot flashes get to acting up. I read recently that boron in vitamins will aggravate hot flashes. As far as the sporadic periods, that is part of perimenopause usually. Mine were sporadic the last few years, one month I would have a regular period, and then a few months would pass and I would have another. Or, sometimes I had a period every 3 weeks! Again, we're talking erratic. I've read several books on menopause and the two best I could recommend are "This Is Not Your Mother's Menopause" by Trisha Posner and Dr. Lee's book of which the title escapes me now. It's a matter of finding out from all the advice out there what's best for you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 6:21AM
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How do you know it's the "hormones in cow's milk" that cause your problems? Many women find that calcium rich foods cause hot flashes, and milk certainly qualifies. Soy can also cause an increase in hot flashes.

The best book on menopause I've run across is Dr Susan Love's Hormone Book by Dr. Susan Love, a breast cancer expert and a perimenopausal woman herself. A new edition is due out soon. Lee's commercially oriented venture is easily the worst book out there being nothing more than a book long ad for the yam scam.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 9:48AM
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Hi mumblet, I am also in perimenopause, and find life very challenging, as I also have "Fibromyalgia".....whatever that ends up really being. I had to give up milk because of G/I problems. Just be careful not to make cause and effect connections that are not true. I do this all the time, and I'm finding that I'm quite possibly making wrong connections. I think the hallmark of perimenopause is that NOTHING ever is consistent! But I think it makes us feel like we have some control, in trying to figure things out. My G/I tract is going crazy.......I have to sleep in a chair! I'm blaming this on lower estrogen, since I'm having alot more headaches, nausea, some face flushing, etc. sorry to ramble.........I'm just discovering that doctors aren't much help making sense of things. I think it's perfectly "normal" in "perimenopause" to have heavy periods, and then no periods. I'm surprised your doc said periods shouldn't start up after not having some. I have always heard that if you go for a year without periods, then start having, that you should definitely be checked out for problems.
I would also make sure the rest of my body was being checked out for possible problems too, and not assuming it is all from menopause.
Checking hormone levels can drive you crazy. One week my estradiol was 23, the next week it was 400. The same thing happens to my OB/GYN, so she doesn't even draw them any more. I would just stick to what makes you feel the best, and make sure your inconsistent periods aren't from some other problem (i.e. thyroid, etc.). Good luck mumblet.........this time of life for some of us is just absolute CRAZINESS!!!! :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2002 at 11:25AM
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I had read an article years ago about harmones in cows milk. They claim thats why young girls breasts seem to be larger now than from years ago. Because they give harmones to make udders larger to hold more milk then the young girls drink the milk.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2002 at 9:31AM
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When in doubt - drink soy milk. Silk Brand in the regular dairy section (the Milk board has trying suing to keep them off their shelves) is very good tasting and if you need to wean yourself on to it - try the vanilla or chocolate. My gyn pushes soy in lieu of hrt for those who aren't suffering too badly. Most women I know who go the soy route (including soy yogurt, tofu, soy milk smoothies) find it controls hot flashes. Anecdoctal evidence at best but it sure can't hurt. And the phytoestrogens are reportedly great for men's prostate as well.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2002 at 10:04AM
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About 2 years ago I watched a report on ABC Evening news about bovine hormone. The report stated that since the hormone was introduced there have been increased cases of cervical, uterine and prostate cancers in the U.S. Young girls are starting their periods and growing breasts at an earlier age. Hormones are also given to laying hens to produce more eggs. According to the report the use of the hormone is banned in Canada based on this research.

It would certainly make sense that if a nursing mother is advised not to take any type of hormone because it can be passed to her child how could it not be passed by milk and egg consumption.

Barb D.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2002 at 9:59PM
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I went through menopause 17 years ago. I stopped hormone therapy 15 years ago. Recently I had some eratic periods and spotting. A couple of doctors and many tests later, including a D&C showed that there was nothing amiss. I asked the doctor to check my hormones because I was having night sweats, hot flashes, and acne, too! Sure enough, my hormone level showed that I was borderline menopausal. The doctors have no explanation, but I am going to give up milk and milk products to see if that helps.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:59AM
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My grandmother was many years postmenopausal when she had a fairly heavy period. As best I remember, my mother and aunts couldn't convince her to ask the doctor about it. I was only about 12 years old, and not exactly privy to the details. She did live to be 90 years old. I really hope to inherit her longevity!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:53AM
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I realize these are older posts, but I believe that milk content has an effect. During peri-menopause I started experiencing very long periods, lasting almost a month at a time. I drink a lot of tea with milk, on a daily basis and still do. I went to visit my son & his wife at the start of one of these long lasting periods. My tea with milk continued, but they only buy the organic milk variety. After being there 3-4 days using the organic milk, the flow stopped. I didn't think much of it at the time. I was there for about a week, and when I got home I went back to "regular" milk in my tea. Within 4 days the flow began again! The only difference I could come up with was the regular vs organic milk. I switched to organic milk at home, and again the flow stopped. I stuck with the organic milk for about 11 months, and never had a month long period during that time. Since it was roughly a year, I figured, good, that's over with, and began using regular milk again. My emotions were all over the board, found myself weepy or irritated, and after 9 days, flow returned. That's it - I will now only use organic milk. Despite what they tell us, I know my body does react to the hormones in regular milk.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 12:51AM
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