Endometriosis and Progesterone

progesteroneendometriosisHORMONE RESEARCH: Progesterone and Endometriosis

Monkeys in captivity get endometriosis too, and researchers used progesterone to give them some relief.

Maginnis G, Wilk J, “Assessment of progestin-only therapy for endometriosis in macaque,” J Med Primatol 2008 Feb;37 Suppl 1:52-5.

Comments: Much as I cringe over animal research, the Oregon National Primate Research Center has done some work over the years with progesterone that has helped women enormously.

In one of the first issues of the John R. Lee, M.D. Medical Letter we interviewed Dr. Kent Hermsmeyer, who did ground-breaking research at the Center showing the difference in effects on the heart between mexdroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) and natural progesterone. When given a drug that caused heart spasms, the monkeys on the Provera had unrelenting heart spasms that would have killed them without an antidote. The monkeys on the natural progesterone recovered quickly on their own. That was such a great issue of the Medical Letter (August 98) that I’ve posted it on the website so you can read Dr. John Lee’s take on women and heart disease, as well as the interview with Dr. Hermsmeyer (and more…!).

In the study above, the fact that female rhesus macaques monkeys at the Center were getting endometriosis inspired researchers to treat them with progesterone. Endometriosis can be a painful, debilitating condition where bits of tissue scattered around the pelvic cavity behave like uterine (endometrial) tissue, filling with blood and then releasing it. Conventional medicine hasn’t had much success treating endometriosis safely and effectively, but Dr. Lee, noting that women with endometriosis often get better when they are pregnant, recommended using high doses of natural progesterone—and indeed, many of his patients found relief, though not a cure, with his protocol.

In the Center’s study, seven monkeys with advanced endometriosis were injected with capsules that released progesterone continuously for up to 20 months. All of the monkeys showed significant benefit within the first two weeks. Two of the monkeys relapsed, but the other five continued to do well. Their conclusion, “…continuous P [progesterone] treatment of rhesus monkeys provides therapeutic benefit to reduce symptoms of endometriosis….”

And by the way…. wouldn't it be nice for females, monkeys and humans alike, if the researchers would look into why their monkeys are getting severe endometriosis? I'll bet monkeys don't get endometriosis in the wild.

Dr. Hermsmeyer just had an outstanding review paper, “Cardiovascular effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate and progesterone: a case of mistaken identity?” published in the prestigious journal Nature Clinical Practice (June 3, 2008 Online). In it he clearly, concisely and with many citations explains why progesterone is not the same as the synthetic progestins, and how vastly different they are in their effects on the cardiovascular system. Let’s hope this leads to some great new research.

For More Info About Endometriosis by Dr. John Lee ….
Consider reading What Your Dr. May Not Tell You about PREmenopause

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