I'm a female, 34.
I've always had problems with my weight. Mainly fat, sometimes almost obese, and only rarely thin (with a lot of effort).
I got my first period when I was 11 and around then my breasts started to grow a lot, eventually reaching almost the size of a melon each (which would perhaps have been considered sexy if I had been born a decade later...). They were heavy for my back and I had them reduced (860g from the right breast, and 745g from the left one) in a surgery when I was almost 16.
The doctor said that type of surgery could be done from the 3rd year of menstruation on, and I understood that he meant my breasts had stopped growing. They kept growing a little more though. I chose to reduce them again when I was 24, although that wasn't really needed.
Now about food: I grew up having meat everyday, but also lots and lots of carbs, mainly white rice, but also wheat from bread, pizza, etc. I had nice skin, didn't have a single pimple during my teens. Then when I was 17 (and between the 2 surgeries) I had the stupidest idea of my life, that of becoming vegetarian (and later vegan). And even though I had phases eating little meat and dairies, I ran from those as if they were evil. Worse, I substituted everything for soy and whole grains! Needless to say, I developed all sorts of health problems: skin problems (pimples and HS - hidradenitis s. or acne inversa - which is actually a gland problem too, and often linked to chron's), hirsutism, alopecia, anxiety, depression, and gained weight. On top of that, doctors gave me all sorts of antibiotics to treat my skin, which only worsened the problem. I also had complications right after my second surgery (my hemoglobin went as low as 5.5), almost died, and ended up at the hospital for days. The pain from hidradenitis is something I can't describe (I read somewhere that it is considered the most disabling skin condition, and still it is very little known and gets very little attention from doctors). It kept me in bed so many times, for many years (from ages 19-31). Another thing that almost killed me a few times was myself - severely depressed.
Somehow (4 years ago) I could still put myself together and not believe that there wasn't a cure for HS (as doctors insist to say), and thought that food could be the source of all my problems. Unfortunately, I still avoided animal food, but I did manage to practically heal just by eliminating gluten/wheat, soy, etc (my first attempt was to eliminate all common allergens). When I told an endocrinologist that I was trying to heal by cutting on gluten and grains, she laughed at me and said that it wasn't going to work. But although my skin healed, and I lost some excess weight (not all), my mood swings, depression, etc were still all present and stronger than ever. Plus, I was under unbelievable stress, so it all resulted in panic syndrome, fobias, etc. I had to take Zoloft for almost a year - horrible experience. I was still vegan (a lot of rice, some legumes, fruits, vegetables) and basically only supplemented with B12 and regular multi-vitamins.
I went back on grains (ugh!) for the B's but that of course didn't work - I only got weight back and more mood problems! I knew that the only thing left to try was to have animal food back into my diet, so I started having little of it and only embraced paleo more recently, after discovering Lierre Keith.
Now to the actual questions:
I was reading something today that mentioned iodine (I assume via hormones) being important for breast health, and suddenly I was sure of my gigantomastia being disease-related. I looked for more information and found out that it is suspected to be caused by "sensitivity to female hormones prolactin, estrogen and progesterone". I was always told that my large breasts were "just genetics", since I have a cousin who has that too, as if I was destined to have grown large breasts. Now I think that if I had been on a paleo diet since little, that perhaps wouldn't have happened. Am I wrong to think that?
I also think now that perhaps gigantomastia was a big sign of some thyroid problems, and that it can help me figure out how my body works. I had blood tests done since little and they came out as "normal", so I never thought that was a problem. Paleo is helping me, but I would really like to go straight to the root of the problem, instead of waiting many years to go back to good health. I feel lost since I had already one big problem (tendency to gain weight, gigantomastia) - although I still had perfect skin and perfect mood, period, etc - but later added more serious trouble and ended up perhaps with an estrogen dominance (all that soy...). I mean, I think my hormones were fine before grains and veg*nism messed with them, but this sensitivity to hormones has puzzled me (so if I supplement with progesterone I will react?). Besides, I do somehow still get regular (every ~26 days) but very heavy periods. I'm not currently on any birth control methods (I lost my boyfriend to veganism!). Anyone who can help me with understanding what my hormone problems are? I know it's complex and I get the impression that only (good) doctors could help with this one. I should mention again that I also went through unbelievable stress for a long time (which now I see as having roots on my old bad food choices; also, put 2 vegans craving for meat living together and see what happens... sigh). What I would really, really like would be to get completely rid of depression and go back to having a peaceful and fearless mind.
Anyone else who has gigantomastia and would like to share their experience?
Anyone else who went through anything similar in the veg*n area?
Any HSers out there?
Forgive me if my english is confusing, it's not my mother tongue. And thanks in advance for any help!
asked byPedrita (467)
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on February 05, 2012
at 07:08 PM
Ok......here goes.....kinda a thyroid problem but not really. Estrogen dominance is your real issue. This equates to a high insulin state, a hypothyroid state, a low iodine and selenium state and lastly a very low progesterone state. Most women with this problem get diagnosed much later with PCOS. They also have gestational diabetes and often become type two diabetics later in life. The real cause for most cases but not all is excessive liver poroduction of E1, E2, or E3 or some combo there of. If your taking exogenous estrogen in BCP stop yesterday. the other big cause is processed foods, and dietary goiterogens tht change the processing of estrogens in the liver. A Liver estrogen test can show you the issue. The last person I saw with this......had one breast as an F cup and the other as an A cup.......she was 11 and the daughter of one of my patients. She was found to have BPA toxicity as the cause.
on April 18, 2012
at 09:56 PM
Hi, i do hope that you are well. I am a HS patient aswell. I live on anti-biotics and rely on pain relief to be able to walk at times. No-one can ever understand the reality of HS unless they have it. One thing that is known about it is that its hormone related. According to a family friend whos a nurse, people with HS make too much of a certain hormone... if this is the case it would be nice if they could find a way to correct the situation instead of surgery, anti-bioctics and pain relief. HS does need more publicity, maybe then we could get real answers and less invasive solutions. I hope your having some pain free days ((hugs))