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Hello J,

interesting observation about the possible influence of hormones on MS symtoms. I have researched a litte and found something interesting:

on http://www.thisisms.com/ftopict-5058.html

"I’m an avid supporter of normal, balanced bio-identical hormone levels for people with MS, men and women, of all ages. I do take bio-identical hormones (and will continue to do so as long as the FDA allows it).

I had my hormone levels tested and subsequently spent time reading about possible relationships between hormones and MS.

From my perspective the point in the article about paying attention to hormone levels in your 30s and 40s really needs to be emphasized, especially for people with MS. From the reading I’ve done I think it’s entirely possible that a factor in the transition from RRMS to SPMS could be related to a decline in hormone levels. Hormones seem to offer a lot of neuroprotection and it at least makes sense on the surface that as our hormone levels and hence neuroprotection decline the disease progresses. As one of the progesterone abstracts I’ve read noted, it’s produced in the brain, by the brain and for the brain and it starts declining before estrogen.

... I found out I didn’t have any progesterone, among other things, when I had my levels tested.

The interest in MS and hormones seems to be maintaining some steam. I saw two new abstracts on the topic this week.

Hormonal influences in multiple sclerosis
Quote:
The function of hormones has expanded to include immunomodulation and neuroprotection in addition to their classic roles. The story of how hormones influence inflammation and neuron and glial function is being slowly unraveled. There is increasing evidence that estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone contain immune responses and influence damage repair in the nervous system."

Now, what’s striking about that abstract, at least from my perspective, is that it’s actually coming out of the Mayo Clinic. I think it was just last year Mayo published results of a small trial that involved treating women with MS who regularly experienced a worsening of their MS symptoms during their menstrual cycle with aspirin. They found it didn’t work and postulated there might be something more to it. At the time I couldn’t even fathom that they hadn’t considered the possible influence of fluctuating hormone levels as a factor in the worsening of MS symptoms in that scenario. Looks like now they are at least considering a possible relationship between hormones and MS. It’s great news as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s the second abstract. There’s really no new information in it but I thought I’d post it anyway.

A rational approach on the use of sex steroids in multiple sclerosis
Quote:
Integrated therapies appear to be effective in both male and female MS patients.

.... When I was diagnosed about 4 1/2 years ago one perspective was that MS treatment would need to focus on immune modulation, remyelinization and neuroprotection. I soon discovered bioidentical hormones do all three—at least in animals. Now it looks like there's a possibility hormones might help with damage repair as well. "

__________________________________________

I am female and 48 years old. I got the feeling that my MS (diagnosed at the age of 26) had started to get worse when I entered the so called perimenopause. As normal for this stage before the actual menopause,many woman have too much oestrogene and too litte progesterone.
Since than (age 45), I have been taking bioidentical progesterone which helps a lot (mood, energy, pain, sleep, bleeding)
Maybe you want to inform yurself.A good start would in my opinion be

http://www.npis.info/

So I would recommend to you to have your hormone levels checked an go on from there. How old are you?

There is also one thread here in this forum. But unfortunately no real exchange has taken place so far...

All the best to you and good luck with your hand!

Ruth from Jena in Germany
The hormone issue is very interesting, I remember reading somewhere that woman seem to have a greatly reduced relapse rate during pregnancy which has suggested the idea that increased estrogen some how protects the body from relapse.

I am not on the pill myself but I wonder if anyone here is and how is their MS fairing?

Regarding the steroid treatment, I find that it mainly helps with balance, vertigo, optic neuritis type relapses and any numbness just seems to heal slowly on its own. My last numbness flare up took around 6 months to start feeling close to normal so don't worry I'm sure you'll start to see some improvements soon :).
Ruby Star wrote: The hormone issue is very interesting, I remember reading somewhere that woman seem to have a greatly reduced relapse rate during pregnancy which has suggested the idea that increased estrogen some how protects the body from relapse.

I am not on the pill myself but I wonder if anyone here is and how is their MS fairing?

Regarding the steroid treatment, I find that it mainly helps with balance, vertigo, optic neuritis type relapses and any numbness just seems to heal slowly on its own. My last numbness flare up took around 6 months to start feeling close to normal so don't worry I'm sure you'll start to see some improvements soon :).


Hi everybody, hi especially to all women, hi Lisa,

Lisa, maybe we should open up an new thread 'The role of hormones in MS' and transfer the latest post to the new thread. What do you think?

During pregnacy also the progesterone is very increased. And progestone is reported to have neuroprotective qualities ... See below

Researchers at the National Institute of Health have a reason to celebrate. Dr. Donald G. Stein and his colleagues confirmed that progesterone protects brain cells and reduces death after brain injury.
The Effect of Progesterone on the Injured Human Brain: The ProTECT 11 Trial

In a study called ProTECT 11, 100 patients with moderate to severe brain injuries were randomly assigned to receive : a) standard treatment for head injury or b) identical standard treatment and three days of intravenous progesterone.The amount of progesterone given was three times the natural levels seen at the end of pregnancy. (Progesterone levels are low in children, men, and menopausal women). Results: The mortality rate of the group treated with progesterone was only 13% compared to the 30-33% death rate among those who were treated conventionally.

Read more at Suite101: Progesterone: A Neuroprotective Sex Hormone: How This Natural Compound Heals Brain Injuries and Strokes http://neurologicalillness.suite101.com ... z0vHzP2M6n

source: http://neurologicalillness.suite101.com ... ex_hormone

___________________________________________________________________________________

I think it's the right balance beween oestrogene, progesterone and testosterone that matters. The balance has to be right in order to be in good health

Best wishes

Ruth
I too am interested in the role of hormones in MS. I had my testosterone levels tested and they are at the very low end of what is considered normal.

I asked my neuro and GP but both were reluctant to prescribe.

Personally I think it could assist, but I'm not going to boost my testosterone levels if the jury is still out as to whether it is helpful.

James
Hi James,

since I am woman I'm not that familiar with testosterone levels and their role in MS although we have some testosterone in our bodies too ;) .

Maybe you'll find some answers here:

http://www.healthcentral.com/multiple-s ... 2583/women
MS in Men and Women: The Role of Testosterone in Men

Take care
Ruth
Ah hah! Found that article I was reading :).

It was on the UK MS Resource Center website (http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm/fuseaction/show/pageid/708)

But Voskuhl's laboratory in the department of neurology at University of California, Los Angeles has taken on the task with vigor. She has received the attention of seven major universities around the country and acquired $5 million in grant money from the National Institute of Health and National Multiple Sclerosis Society to further her research and clinical trials on hormone-related therapy � specifically, therapy using sex hormones.


For the Men:

One of the lab's recent exploratory studies showed that testosterone treatment for men afflicted with MS enhanced cognitive abilities. The therapy also stabilized brain shrinkage commonly associated with the disease. The study investigated the effect of testosterone on 10 men with MS. At the outset, the men showed testosterone levels in the low/normal range. For men, diagnosis of MS tends to coincide with age (occurring between 30 and 40 � a time when available testosterone levels gradually drop). With treatment, the levels rose but not above high/normal quantities.

The mechanism for the testosterone results may be due to testosterone's ability to bind brain receptors directly. Alternatively, the brain protection might arise from testosterone conversion to estrogen, a hormone that is routinely generated from testosterone by the enzyme aromatase. Either way, it seems that testosterone (as with estrogen) is neuroprotective.


For the Women:

"We've already done a pilot study with estriol," Voskuhl commented. Estriol, a naturally occurring estrogen produced during pregnancy, doesn't have the side effects associated with estrogens traditionally used for hormone therapy. Similar to the testosterone study in men, the pilot trial using estriol in women showed decreases in MS severity. In fact, "the lesions in the brain were reduced by 80 percent," Voskuhl reported.

A larger trial using estriol to treat women with MS is under way. Given as a pill, estriol will provide patients with hormone levels equivalent to six months of pregnancy, since the last trimester of pregnancy is often a time at which MS symptoms improve and relapse rates decrease. The study, currently recruiting participants, will be a two-year placebo-controlled study and will treat patients concurrently with a standard treatment.


I just find it astounding that lesions were reduced up to 80%! That's huge, better than any of the current medical treatments so far. Still I wonder what side effects would be for simulated 6 month pregnancy hormones :(. Still in the recruitment stage it seems but I will be interested to see the results for sure.

Ruby
I am so excited that this thread has started, I am without a doubt convinced that my hormones and the hormone level instability has caused this MS (with an obvious genetic predisposition).

A bit of background and interesting timeframes: I have always been affected badly by hormones, as well vitamin D. I had been on the pill from the age of 18 until one year before MS diagnosis (diagnosed at age 27 in 2010). Upon ceasing the contraceptive pill, symptoms and irregularities began. Hormone imbalances, menstrual irregularity which in the end (one month before MS diagnosis) lead to a gyn telling me I had very strange hormone levels. Low estrogen, and an imbalance between estrogen and testosteron. At the time we were trying for children.

The day of my first real period for 6 months, my first MS episode began (march 2010). My MRIs showed that I had very few lesions, but my spinal tap showed a very high number of bands. It appeared that the MS had just started. Recovery went very well until two weeks ago, when I realised that I had ovulated (second time since diagnosis, the first period after diagnosis I lost feeling in my hand), two days before my period started I noticed the numbness, dizziness and double vision. I knew what was happening immediately.

I have now started the pill again, and guess what three days after startig it, the feeling in my arm starting coming back.

Hormones have a lot to say for themselves.

Other strange connections I have read:
1. Pregnancy improves symptoms
2. Post partum (after the drop in hormones) women are at a high risk of MS relapse
3. Most MS in women is diagnosed when women start considering children/ stopping the pill or going into menopause (major changes in hormone levels)
4. The blog world shows that many women suffer relapses/syptoms during a certain time of their cycle
5. New studies show that IVF treatment increases MS activity (influencing hormones)

There is no way that these connections are coincidental.

This is a thread I will keep checking and updating, and is even making me consider going back to my biomedical background! New master degree/ pHD might be in the midst!!!!!!
Hi all,

Have to agree as well. I'm not exactly sure when my MS started. Could have been twenty years ago or more. One thing I can definitely say though is for as long as I can remember I have been clumsy and prone to dropping and breaking things whenever my period is due. In fact I know it's coming when I get the dropsies as it's affectionately called by my family.

My first problems with vision/optic neuritis were during a time when I had high iron levels and was told I was in early menopause in my early thirties. Lucky for me it reversed once my iron returned to normal. Perhaps that is what triggered my MS.

I also had symptoms suggestive of relapse after the birth of my second and third children. Now I wonder what I should do when I reach the dreaded 'Mentalpause'. Can only speculate as to how I'll be with that. Had previously thought I would tough it out but now wondering whether HRT will be the way to go.

Still with this diet I get plenty of phytoestrogens so maybe it will be a breeze?

Cheers,
Vicki
Hi everybody,

I have found a short interesting summary of the orle of hormones in MS ...

http://www.lef.org/protocols/neurologic ... sis_01.htm

Hormone Imbalances and MS

In recent years, researchers have made great progress understanding how hormone status affects autoimmune disorders, including MS. Numerous studies have observed that MS is more common in women, and that the disease course is affected by the normal ebb and flow of steroid hormones during a woman's monthly menstrual cycle (Pozzilli C et al 1999). Interestingly, it is also well known that pregnancy tends to neutralize the disease course, or even positively affect it, enabling women who have MS to bear children safely (Hughes MD 2004).

These findings point to the important role of steroid hormones in influencing the course of the disease. This theory makes even more sense considering that sex steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are known to have immunomodulatory effects. Hoping to better understand the role of hormones in MS, a number of researchers have conducted studies. Their findings include:

* In a study on rats, researchers found that animals given progesterone alone experienced greater motor defects and inflammation than rats treated with estrogen. The negative effects of progesterone were negated when estrogen was added (Hoffman GE et al 2001).
* Administering estrogen (including estriol and beta-estriol) along with progesterone was shown to inhibit production of nitric oxide in central nervous system cells. This effect was enhanced when the levels of estrogen and progesterone were maintained at levels found during late pregnancy (Drew PD et al 2000).
* Estriol treatment significantly reduced disease severity in animals with MS, while treatment with progesterone had no effect. Administering estriol until treatment levels reached levels consistent with those in late pregnancy completely ameliorated the disease (Kim S et al 1999).
* During a human study that examined the presence of MS lesions by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), patients with high estradiol and low progesterone levels had more lesions that those who had low levels of both hormones, while patients with a high estrogen to progesterone ratio had a significantly greater number of active lesions than patients who had a low ratio (Bansil S et al 1999).

Obviously, these studies point to a conflict in our understanding of the role hormones play in MS. Animal studies have tended to show progesterone as neutral, while estrogen seems to have a protective effect. In people, however, a high ratio of estrogen to progesterone was associated with more MS lesions. Accordingly, there is a great deal of debate among researchers about the possible role of hormones in MS therapy. Some studies (aimed at maintaining levels of estrogen to progesterone that are consistent with late pregnancy) have argued in favor of treating women with MS with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Other studies note that pregnant women who have MS tend to experience a rebound of their disease the first 3 months after delivery (El-Etr M et al 2005). According to a recent review, more studies are needed to determine the exact relationship between MS and hormonal imbalances (Trenova AG et al 2004).

DHEA also deserves attention in people of both sexes who have MS. DHEA is a steroid hormone. Altered levels of DHEA have been associated with various autoimmune diseases and their symptoms, including MS (Calabrese VP et al 1990). One study found that people with MS have relatively lower DHEA levels compared to healthy control subjects and that, at least in animals, DHEA therapy reduces T-cell proliferation, secretion of pro-inflammatory chemicals, and nitric oxide synthesis (Du C et al 2001; Offner H et al 2002; Ramsaransing GS et al 2005). Similarly, researchers have found that people with MS have a higher ratio of cortisol (the body's main stress hormone) to DHEA than do healthy control subjects, although this is probably a symptom of the disease rather than a causal factor (Kumpfel T et al 1999).

*****************************************************************************

Best wishes from grey and rainy Germany :?

Ruth
hi all,

this discussing was very illuminating for me, even if most of it was about women issues...

I do not know much about hormones, but understand from this that there are interesting correlations both regarfing sex and stress hormones.... I guess this opens up possibilities not only with hormone treatments, but also with various other approaches to regulate stress and learn to cut the adrenaline loop before it really gets going, through awarness and bhavioral and mental strategies (this is one point for applying the so called "lightning process" viewtopic.php?f=8&t=544)... at least this should hold for everything that regards cortisol. as goes for the sex hormones, I wonder if anyone has other ideas, on how to influence them without taking hormones directly as treatment?


best,

b
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