BONUS 194: Estrogen 101

February 15, 2019

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Today’s bonus episode guest is Dr. Allison Rodgers. She is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and has been practicing medicine since 2004. Dr. Rodgers currently practices at the Fertility Centers of Illinois. Her personal experiences with both secondary infertility and pregnancy loss have given her a unique insight into reproductive medicine in order to help you beat infertility.

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Dr. Rodgers begins by answering six listener questions. The full questions are read on the air, but here are brief summaries:

  • Alicia has one child via IUI but has been unsuccessful in trying for baby #2, despite several IUI attempts. She asks whether IUI or IVF is the next best step, and whether having to move to IVF for a second child is common.
  • Sekeyia asks what causes prolactin levels to be high, possible remedies, and whether high prolactin affects the ability to get or stay pregnant.
  • Neha has had one IUI and two IVF cycles but has been told she has poor egg quality. She asks about the next steps to improve her egg quality and have a successful cycle.
  • Dee continues to have extremely irregular cycles and has been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for 16 months. She asks about treatment for “lean PCOS without evident metabolic cause.”
  • Abby has been trying for 2 years and has had surgery to correct a uterine septum. After 2 miscarriages, her doctor recommends a DuoStim cycle, so she asks about the benefits and drawbacks of this protocol.
  • Katie has had a miscarriage and a chemical pregnancy. She asks about how specific the window of implantation is for hatched vs. unhatched embryos.

Dr. Rodgers and Heather continue the episode by discussing everything you need to know about the hormone estrogen:

  • Let’s start with a foundation. What is estrogen and where and how is it produced?
  • Broadly speaking, how does estrogen impact you throughout your life?
    • Sexual development
    • Your menstrual cycle
    • Pregnancy
    • Bone development and health
    • Heart health
    • Mood management
  • What are the different types of estrogen, and how does the amount of each change throughout your lifetime?
    • Estradiol (E2)
    • Estrone (E1)
    • Estriol (E3)
  • Tell us about estrogen dominance.
    • What is it?
    • What are the symptoms?
    • What are the causes?
    • How do food and other environmental factors impact your estrogen levels?
    • What are the risk factors?
    • How is it diagnosed?
    • How is it treated (including any supplements)?
    • Does it only impact women?
  • Tell us about low estrogen.
    • What is it?
    • What are the symptoms?
    • What are the causes (including environmental)?
    • What are the risk factors?
    • How is it diagnosed?
    • How is it treated (including any supplements)?
    • Does it only impact women?
  • Tell us more about hormone replacement therapy.
    • Why would someone replace their hormones?
    • When is estrogen therapy alone appropriate vs. estrogen and progesterone therapy?
    • What types of infertility patients should consider it?
    • What types of infertility patients should NOT consider it?
    • When should infertility patients begin treatment, and how long will it last?
    • How is it given?
    • What are the risks and possible side effects?
  • Tell us about the use of estrogen during an IVF cycle.
    • Why do doctors prescribe estrogen during fresh and frozen embryo transfer cycles, and at what point during the cycles?
    • What are the different types of estrogen an infertility patient might be prescribed, and at what doses? Please explain.
    • What are the possible side effects of prescription estrogen? How long do these side effects last?
    • At what estrogen level do doctors typically switch from a hCG trigger to a Lupron or combination Lupron/hCG trigger, and why?
    • Is there an ideal estrogen range for an embryo transfer? If so, why?
  • Is there any new, exciting research in the area of estrogen and fertility?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?
  • What words of hope would you offer to listeners who’ve been worried about their estrogen levels?

Have a question you want Dr. Rodgers to answer next time she’s on? Click here.

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