Friday, March 21, 2008

Hormone in Pregnant Women May Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis ( or maybe NOT!)

I came across this article today about Estriol, the hormone produced by pregnant women that is being investigated as a treatment for multiple sclerosis due to it's protective attributes toward myelin.

Dr. Barbara Giesser at UCLA Medical Center says, 'Women with M.S. tend to have less relapses and generally do well while they're pregnant.'

Color me skeptical, but my very first symptoms came on during the 5th month or so of my last pregnancy. My stomach itched and tingled with pins and needles from mid-line front to mid-line back on the right side only. This lasted several weeks with the itching going away, and being replaced by numbness.

My wonderful (said in a dripping, sarcastic tone) obstetrician's opinion was that I probably had shingles and he just shrugged it off and said nothing more. Come to find out, had it BEEN shingles, it could have been a very serious matter for the baby. It wasn't shingles as I never had any kind of a rash, just the sensory symptoms.

Nothing more was ever said or done about this mysterious bout of "shingles" and I went on to forget it ever even occurred until many months later...after my official MS diagnosis. And now, 9 years later, I can look back and say for certain that it was my very first relapse. It was a classic example of how all my relapses go. I start out with a deep, insatiable itching that can't be touched by scratching skin. I'm guessing this is because it's the nerve itself that is itching as it's being attacked. Then, the numbness and tingling comes, followed by either more numbness, or weakness, or a combination of both with a pinch of spasticity thrown in for good measure.

So, I could play the "what if" game all day when it comes to why my MS decided to descend upon me during my most difficult of pregnancies. Maybe it would never have MS would never have made itself known...if I hadn't gotten pregnant. Who knows? One thing is for certain -- I'd never trade my 9-year-old son for being MS free!

But I don't care what the new studies show, I'm not an Estriol fan. After all, it didn't seem to protect me during my pregnancy. But then maybe I'm just weird like that. Or maybe I don't really have MS...(yeah, that's a thought...) Well, gotta go, the Denial Express is about to leave the station and I'm hopping on for another round trip (I'll be back as soon as I give up thinking this might not be MS; short trip).


  1. wow...i don't know. these are good questions. shingles? your gyne was way off huh? i guess they figure the hormones which make our bodies not reject a fetus could help us not to start up our immune system attacking our myelin.

  2. Whew...I tried multiple times to load your page in the middle of the night (steroid mania!) and couldn't...finally rebooted this morning and now, YOU'RE showing up! But alas...I have since forgotten my witty comment. Sigh.. :-( Oh well...LOL

    Linda D. in Seattle


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