At menopause women can have a thickened, retained, endometrial lining which has not been regularly shed every month. This can occur for a number of reasons, and is often seen if women are using the Pill or Coil to regulate their monthly bleed. If it is not shed it can build up, and this is a risk for endometrial cancer. When rebalancing oestrogen dominance with progesterone this helps shed this lining which can be mistaken for periods restarting, but is generally just the body ridding itself of the old blood. This shedding is usually dark and clotted, unlike a normal period flow.
What’s wrong with soft drinks?
Endometrial cancer is associated with obesity, and sweet drinks are major contributors to weight gain so it made sense to look at the link and how much it affected a woman’s risk factor. A study involving 23,000 postmenopausal women has shown that those who regularly drink carbonated and other soft drinks that contain sugar, but not fruit juice, may be at a higher risk for the most common type of endometrial cancer.
The study was published online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and found that the more sugary drinks women had, the more their cancer risk increased. Women who drank the most sugar-sweetened items were 72% more likely to get type I endometrial cancer, the type of uterine cancer caused by excess oestrogen, when compared with women who drank the least amount of such drinks.
What about sugar-free drinks?
There are so many health drawbacks to artificial sweeteners it comes as a surprise to realise they were not found to have the same increased risk as sugar, but please don’t switch over thinking that will help your health. Diet and sugar-free drinks containing aspartame, the most widely used artificial sweetener, is associated with side effects such as neurological disorders, seizures, temporary blindness and is widely believed to be associated with the development of brain cancer tumours.
The good news is that as consumers look for more natural sweeteners because of these side effects that major manufacturers such Coca Cola and Pepsi are replacing aspartame with sucralose – hence ‘green’ Coke cans appearing in your supermarket. According to Seth Kaufman, vice president of Pepsi, “Aspartame is the No. 1 reason consumers are dropping diet soda.”
Tacking oestrogen dominance and balancing excess oestrogen with progesterone is the best place to start reducing your risk for cancers like endometrial and breast cancer. Staying a healthy weight and reducing your sugar intake will also make a major difference so if you love a fizz use carbonated water half and half with apple juice or a tip Leslie Kenton passed on to me was to just add some vanilla essence to the water – as I love vanilla it worked for me and just gave it that extra taste – try it and see!