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Topic: Gallstones and estrogen?

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After — Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications.

Posted on: Mar 7, 2011 12:40AM

sgreenarch wrote:

Hi, All:

I've just been diagnosed with gallstones and in the scheme of things, it's hard to get too excited. I've been having slightly elevated liver function tests for a few years, (even before BC dx) and yellowish tinge on my eyelids. Never had any symptoms and never paid much attention. Now, onc said to look into it and my family doc ordered a liver/abdominal ultrasound. Of course, it was good to hear that my liver looked normal (love that word, 'normal') but he did see quite a few gallstones. Wouldn't you know, a few minutes as an amateur doc on google showed that higher estrogen levels can contribute to the formation of gallstones. (Three years ago I had a hysterectomy due to a huge fibroid, most likely estrogen driven.) Am I missing something or are we producing an over abundance of estrogen? Or just more sensitive to it? I know it does some good, but it is also sometimes looking like the enemy. Then I have that irrational thought (and please feel free to dispense me of it) that if I take out body parts that harbor estrogen such as the uterus, the breast, now maybe the gallbladder, it could make worse trouble for me by lodging in my bones or lungs, etc.Or perhaps it's the other way around, and we should be removing these parts that harbor excess estrogen. Sorry to ramle and sound so, well, crazy. (BC has made me jumpy and prone to think too much.) Just wondered if there are others with similar experiences and if you know of any connection between gallstones and bc.

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Mar 7, 2011 08:40AM jdeking wrote:

Hmm... interesting topic.

I had my gallbladder out due to stones when I was about 24 years old. I often wondered how I could have developed stones so early... Also have had problems with fibroids, cysts, endometriosis from a young age, then dx'ed with BC at age 33. Maybe all of this is because of the way I metabolize estrogen. I can't wait to hear more women posting on this as now my interest is really piqued and I have some of the same concerns as you about removing these organs that harbor estrogen.

Dx 1/6/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 2/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 7, 2011 08:56AM SoCalLisa wrote:

I had gallbladder issues on tamoxifen and they took it out...surgeon said it was "ugly". I sure felt alot better after it was out

DX 2000-IDC-DCIS-LCIS- 2B..POS NODE--ER+. PR+, HER2 NEG

Dx 11/24/2000, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 7, 2011 09:26AM Ellie1959 wrote:

Interesting thought - I had my gallbladder removed when i was 35 - 10 years later Estrogen positive BC - and I had a 15cm cyst removed 3 years ago and a total hysterectomy. I had a little daughter who died at 2 from heart probems who had to have her gallbladder removed at 18 months - crazy stuff? 

Dx 12/27/2005, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 2/12 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Mar 7, 2011 09:34AM, edited Mar 7, 2011 09:35AM by Carmelle

found this interesting. I had gallstones at 25. removed at 33. quite young.

I had the highest levels of good cholesterol (in my 20's) my physician had ever seen. the good cholesterol level linked to higher estrogen.

when diagnosed at 38 I had stopped getting peioeds even though I was on highest dose estrogen birth control pill. they felt maybe my levels didn't dip enought to menstruate. 

during chemo I didn't cease to menstruate over 6 months.

massive fibroid during preganancy...warped my womb.

they removed my ovaries after chemo. i took arimidex for 5 years to block any other remaining estrogen.

Yesterday is History... Tomorrow is Mystery...Today is a gift.

Dx 3/7/2003, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 5/15 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 7, 2011 10:06AM sgreenarch wrote:

So maybe I'm not crazy! Or we're all crazy. I'm no scientist, but I wish there was some way to look into this. If it's true that some of us are more sensitive to the effects of estrogen, causing benign tumors (fibroids,) malignant tumors (breast cancer, maybe other cancers?,) gallstones, etc., then maybe we are the ones who should have oopherectomies early on? At the time of my hysterectomy, 3 years ago, I was strongly advised to keep my ovaries. They said that a 47 year old woman would reap benefits for years from them in cardiovascular and bone health. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, this summer at age 49, they also advised me to keep my ovaries for the same reason and since I'm so close to menopause. They said that despite bc, studies show less overall lifetime morbidity for women who have kept their ovaries. Still, I wonder. Maybe it's different for estrogen 'over-processors.' I'm still hanging on to these precious ovaries, trying to appreciate them!!! Interested to hear your thoughts.

Dx 7/20/2010, ILC, 2cm, Stage Ib, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 7, 2011 12:21PM, edited Mar 7, 2011 12:26PM by mcsushi

I just met with onco and surgeon and they both believe I have gallstones. I'm having CT scan on Wednesday to confirm. I'm on tamoxifen (since Nov) and thanks to Dr Google, I found there is definite link between Tamoxifen and gallstones (particularly for postmenopausal women). I am premenopausal but I'm convinced this is all thanks to my ol' pal Tamoxifen. Whoopee.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. ~Gandhi

Dx 2/8/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 8/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 7, 2011 05:40PM KittyDog wrote:

very intresting.  I had my gallbladder out in Jan. and was diganoised with breast cancer in Nov.  Here's another question what type of stones did you have?  I had black stones which are not the most common type. 

4 rounds of AC, 3 rounds of Taxol, UMX 3-29-10, 34 rounds of radiation.finished 7-2-10, ooph & hysterectomy 10-25-10, tamoxifen, femara now on to arimidex, Lymphedema arm, trunk, legs and now my neck...grrr

Dx 11/24/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIb, Grade 2, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 8, 2011 06:15AM rgiuff wrote:

If we start removing body parts, where do we stop?  Years ago, in treating BC patients, they used to remove ovaries, then when they realized that estrogen was still being produced, they started removing adrenal glands, which of course had terrible side effects.  I  agree with your doctors sgreenarche about keeping the ovaries.  I always compare it to men keeping their testicles.

I don't think the culprit is our own organs, but instead all the xenoestrogens in our environment, such as pesticide ridden produce and grains, meats and dairy products full of added hormones, estrogen like substances in our cosmetics and lotions and household cleaning products.  This is why I've started buying organic as much as I can afford, dairy products and meats without the growth hormones added,.and try to use vinegar and other natural remedies for housecleaning.

RoseG

Dx 4/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 05/20/2008 Lumpectomy (Left)Radiation Therapy 08/20/2008 ExternalHormonal Therapy 11/19/2008 Tamoxifen
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Mar 9, 2011 01:52AM Emme wrote:

I am finding this interesting...

I started chemo dec 09..jan 9th, 2010 I had my gallbladder removed...fever 102, and it was "diseased".  Three weeks later the duct work on the under the liver broke and flooded my  abdomen with bile.  I have now just scheduled a hysterectomy.  My ONC wants the ovaries out...and he is happy that I am losing weight too because fat produces estrogen too.

I also have very high good cholesterol #s.  It is like a giant puzzle that we have to fit together. I am so thankful that we have this group..the support is wonderful.  We have such a volume of knowledge collectively.

Taxol wkly x 5 & Lapatanib daily X 6 wks Jan 2010; Bilat mast. with TE 3/10; AC x4 DD; H X 7 months. 11/201 Exchange, 4/1/2011 hysterectomy, Arimidex daily x 5yrs.

Dx 11/18/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 9, 2011 06:40AM Member_of_the_Club wrote:

There is definitely a link between tamoxifen and gallstones.  But gallstones are also hugely common.  Many folks are walking around with them and don't even know it because they don't cause symptoms.

 The gallbladder won't harbor your estrogen, estrogen goes everywhere.  So removing your gallbladder won't send estrogen to another organ.  if you are jaundiced, as it sounds, you really need to have it out. 

Dx 9/30/2004, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 6, 2011 06:15PM changes wrote:

Interesting discussion - just had my gallbladder removed last Thursday, after developing very bad pain a couple weeks ago from gallstones. I've been on Tamoxifen for about 9 months. I don't know if these are related events or not.

IDC Stage 1, Grade 1

Dx 5/14/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Hormonal Therapy TamoxifenRadiation Therapy ExternalSurgery 05/27/2010 Lumpectomy (Left)