It’s that time of the month again (!) and I’m beginning to feel like I keep repeating myself here but I think it’s important to talk about the female cycle and its impact on mast cell disease.
I chose the week when I’m ovulating to address this topic because it isn’t just my period itself that is triggering me, it’s the entire cycle.
My ovulation time is from around day 9-12 (i.e. right now) because my cycle is 23 days long (short?). After careful tracking it’s obvious that twice a month I’m finding myself swimming in mast cell degranulation symptoms all thanks to the fluctuation of hormones driving my female cycle.
Why is this happening, though? Why does ovulation (or rather female hormone fluctuations) negatively affect MCAD? I found a very thorough explanation from the experts here:
Female sex hormones have long been suspected to have an effect on mast cell (MC) behavior. This assumption is based on the expression of hormone receptors in MCs as well as on the fact that many MC-related pathophysiological alterations have a different prevalence in females than in males. Further, serum IgE levels are much higher in allergic female mice compared to male mice.
They specifically address how mast cell degranulation is triggered by the female hormone estradiol:
Beyond the well-documented effects of estradiol and progesterone on MC function in MC-associated diseases, these hormones were further implicated in controlling different MC process under physiological conditions. For instance, estradiol was showed to be a potent inducer of ovarian MC degranulation, which seems to be a necessary factor during the process of oocyte ovulation.
I have a lot of stabbing pain in my left ovary going on today and a dozen or more symptoms including bone pain, brain inflammation, chronic fatigue, mucus overload, sinus & respiratory inflammation, dizziness & vertigo, bleeding gums, intestinal swelling, esophageal swelling, hives, pins & needles, etc.
It’s crazy. And what’s crazier is how quickly it can start up and then turn back off when it’s all over and my hormones calm down again for a few days. It seems like an impossible undertaking to try to stabilize my hormones, especially at 45 with menopause in my near future.
Women without mast cell disease sometimes have a hard time with this:
“Women can be, and many are, greatly affected by hormone fluctuations. Sometimes it gets to the point of feeling totally overwhelmed – as if for a time they have lost control of their life,” – Christiane Northrup, MD, The Wisdom of Menopause
Women, like myself, with mast cell disease are on an entirely different plane of struggling.
I am going to talk to my gynecologist about all of this when I see her in a couple of weeks and hopefully she can help me work out a plan. I’m afraid my only option is some form of a hysterectomy though, so it’s a bit distressing to think of that since I don’t handle surgery or anesthesia well.
Lately I don’t handle much of anything well, to be honest, but that’s a different post for a different day…