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Dayton Daily News – JournalNews By Christie Schmidt – Contributing Writer January 28, 2014

Posted by Lyn in : Case Studies In Natural Compounded Hormone Therapy, Hormone Therapy Joy, Hot BHRT Topics, Menopause , add a comment

Dayton Daily News
JournalNews

By Christie Schmidt – Contributing Writer

Lyn and Lacy 2 (2)

Lyn Hogrefe (left), CEO of Happy Hormone Cottage in Mason, counsels a client. The company has helped 4,000 women in the Midwest achieve hormone balance and better health through bioidentical hormones. CONTRIBUTED

In 2004, then 49-year-old Lyn Hogrefe found herself on the verge of plunging headfirst into menopause after undergoing an emergency radical hysterectomy. She was fearful of the physical and emotional changes that lay ahead as her body adjusted to functioning sans a uterus and ovaries.
Hogrefe’s husband, Jeff, was also concerned. A longtime pharmacist, he’d heard the stories of what women in similar situations as his wife experienced when they came in to pick up their prescription hormone products: significant weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety, low energy, brain fog and no libido. Determined to do all he could to prevent these things from happening to his wife, he became a compounding pharmacist and created a bioidentical hormone replacement cream specifically for her.

“Jeff went with me to my follow-up appointment and presented my doctor with the idea of trying the bioidentical hormone therapy,” Hogrefe said. “Thankfully, my doctor was very open-minded and supportive of me giving it a try.”
The result?
“I didn’t experience any of the issues that women with hormonal imbalances experience – especially those who have undergone a radical hysterectomy. I didn’t gain any weight and I didn’t experience any depression, anxiety, brain fog, lack of energy or low libido. It was then that we knew we were on to something.”
However, after speaking with many women in their 30s, 40s and beyond, she realized that many were not only still feeling lousy despite being on anti-depressants, sleeping aids and estrogen, but they also were not being educated on all of their options – including healthy, natural, compounded hormones. A lifelong educator herself, Hogrefe used her skills and expertise to get potentially life-changing information into the hands of those who needed it most.
And so, Hogrefe and her husband opened Happy Hormone Cottage in 2009 in the heart of Centerville, as a place for women meet and talk about their journey, obtain information on natural compounded hormones, get questions answered and help in finding a physician who supports this type of treatment. To date, they have helped some 4,000 women in the midwest achieve hormone balance and better health through the use of bioidentical hormones. These compounded, personalized prescriptions of hormone creams (biestrogren, progesterone and testosterone) are mixed at Piqua Consulting and Compounding Lab in Piqua.
“There is a huge disconnect between listening to our body, and the information we get from the medical community,” Hogrefe said. “At Happy Hormone Cottage, we’re into functional medicine, which is a very patient-centered approach. We believe in addressing the person as a whole and not just isolated symptoms.”
Unlike the blood tests most physicians’ offices use to test hormone levels, Happy Hormone Cottage uses urine to test hormone levels, all in the comfort of a patient’s own home. Hogrefe said insurance reimbursement has been high for the $350 test kit because urine testing is an accepted means of testing. They provide clients with the necessary forms to submit to their insurance provider. To make things even easier and convenient, HHC now has a nurse practitioner on staff who is able to write the prescriptions for patients.
Oakwood resident Linda Hart stumbled upon Happy Hormone Cottage three years ago, when she was researching her options for hormone replacement therapy after a sudden and severe onslaught of menopausal symptoms.
“My doctor told me at my annual appointment that since I was 50 years old, I shouldn’t be on birth control pills anymore,” Hart said. Once off of them, she immediately started with menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mental fogginess, extreme fatigue, and weight gain.
“I felt terrible,” Hart said. “My doctor’s solution was to put me on Prempro [a combination of conjugated estrogens and medroxyprogesterone] but I’d read about so many patients having negative reactions to it that I started to do some research on other options. That’s when I came across bioidentical hormone therapy and Happy Hormone Cottage.”
Hart scheduled an appointment and went in for a consultation, completed the testing kit and was eventually prescribed a bioidentical hormone cream made specifically for her.
“My OB/GYN at the time wouldn’t prescribe it so Happy Hormone Cottage helped me find a doctor that would,” Hart said. “Within weeks I felt 100 percent better. The hot flashes stopped, I could sleep at night again, I wasn’t tired all the time and I dropped 10 pounds. My doctor now refers women to the Happy Hormone Cottage all the time.”
Happy Hormone Cottage’s Centerville location was such a huge success, that the Hogrefes have opened four more local offices in Kettering, Vandalia, Mason and Crestview Hills, Ky. They also have offices in Bridgeton and Chesterfield, Missouri.
For more information on The Happy Hormone Cottage or to schedule a free consultation, visit the website: www.happyhormonecottage.com. Office locations, phone numbers and hours of operation can be found on the website.
Educating community on hormone balancing therapy
This past December, Happy Hormone Cottage chief executive officer Lyn Hogrefe created Happy Hormone Cottage Consulting (HHC Consulting) in an effort to educate the medical community on hormone balancing therapy. The service also aims to help doctors integrate bioidentical hormone therapy into patient treatment plans.
“Not much is taught in medical school about women’s hormones and the need to help each woman achieve hormonal balance for optimal health,” Hogrefe said. “We want to educate medical personnel so they can reach as many women as possible. We would like to mentor nurse practitioners, guide them on diagnostic testing and work with them and their local compounding pharmacies.”
HHC Consulting will provide hands-on training and materials to teach doctors and medical staff how to work with female patients so that programs are meaningful and successful. Curriculum includes clinical and staff training and marketing support.
“I’m really on a mission to help women and their doctors get educated, get treated and get better,” Hogrefe said. “Bioidentical hormone therapy is very affordable – about $1 per day. We are building relationships with women every day, who tell their friends and family so they can get better, too

The Importance of Educating Yourself/ aka “A Desperate Woman (pellets)!” January 12, 2014

Posted by Lyn in : Hot BHRT Topics , add a comment

This just in:
“Hi Lyn! I just stumbled across your website by accident and I’m hoping you can help me! I really think I’m going through peri menopause with extreme hot flashes, weight gain, loss of sex drive, extreme vaginal dryness, sugar cravings, headaches, fatigue, moody, constantly urinating….you name it! I just turned 41 years old and I don’t know what to do! I went and had blood work done and my doctor said everything was fine; my thyroid was perfect; everything looked good. But a few months went by and I still felt horrible, so he sent me for more blood work. All of a sudden, my thyroid was high, so he put me on thyroid medication. I still feel horrible and not myself. So I looked into pellet therapy and they sent me for blood work. I don’t have the results back yet, but I have an appointment scheduled for this Wednesday with the pellet doctor. But after reading your website, I am scared to death now to go get pellets! I’m looking for someone to be honest with me and will please help me in which direction to go! I feel hopeless! And I would love to get my life back! If you could kindly take a few moments to respond I would be truly grateful. I hope to hear from you soon.”
My response:
“I’m so glad you emailed me. Yes, I can help you. Your first step is to gather information to get educated in this area of women’s health. It is the one area where the waters are very muddy…..often perpetuated by 10 year old misinformation with the drug company agenda that just keeps circulating; and the fact that doctors aren’t taught a lot about hormones, or natural hormone balance, in medical school. So the latest cutting edge information isn’t a part of current standard of care.
First of all, we don’t use blood work to determine hormone needs. Why not? Because when one checks hormones in blood, the hormones have already been depleted by the heart and the ranges are so big that everyone is “in range.” (my line is, “one would have to be dead to be out of range!”) We like to use cutting edge technology in a urine strip testing kit that not only tells us about the hormone levels at the tissue level of cells, but also tells us how our hormones are methylating and metabolizing. This is extremely valuable information!
Secondly, pellet therapy, especially for women, doesn’t make sense to us and we see a lot of women suffering because of them. We just had another desperate woman call us yesterday, on pellets, now losing her hair, experiencing severe acne issues, and just miserable. At our facility, we believe in using hormone creams, vaginally, that are customized for each woman, based on her specific body’s needs.  We call this physiological dosing. And we customize this physiological dosing for each woman’s body’s needs for progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone as needed, based on our accurate testing. Pellets use supra-physiological dosing of mainly testosterone, but can also include estrogen, based on blood serum hormone values. This can be hugely problematic and knowing what we know, simply does not make sense to us.
My advice for you is to call us tomorrow morning (we open at 9:00) to set up a consultation. We can do these over the phone if you live out of our area. These consultations are always free and they are used to educate women. We are a women helping women facility. You can call us at 513-444-6343 if you are interested. Frankly, and especially because of your upcoming pellet appointment, I would most definitely get educated first, so you can take charge of your journey.
A final thought- Suzanne Somers just wrote a new book entitled, “I’m Too Young for This….the
Natural Hormone Solution to Peri Menopause.” Her other book, “Ageless”, is also very informative and a good place to get information. I also always suggest Dr Uzzi Reiss’s book, “Natural Hormone Balance”, as another valuable read to get educated. I just met him in Las Vegas at a Functional Medicine Convention and he is as delightful as his book!
The bottom line here is that in this area of women’s health, you need to get educated so you can become enlightened and empowered to take charge of your journey to your best health naturally. Our women who do this, and are assertive with their doctors, are the ones with the most success. Luckily for our women living in our area, we now have our own nurse practitioner working with us on our campus. But for our women who live out of our area, they need to search to find the best doctor for them. I urge them to keep looking until they find one who will listen to them, validate them, do what it takes to meet their needs, and be open to the possibilities. I think being open and willing to learn new information is key. Doctors can go to my website and click on “Recommended Readings and Resources/ Practitioner’s Resources” for information and clinical studies. They can also click on my “HHC Consulting/Consulting for Doctors” to learn how we can partner with them to get them up to speed in this area, while helping them build their business in BHRT. So the information IS out there and we are more than happy to help.
I hope you find this information valuable. I look forward to hearing from you. We are all about you, your journey and helping you navigate the waters in this incredibly dynamic field!”
Best,
Lyn

I Don’t Want to Live a Small Life December 6, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Hormone Therapy Joy, Hot BHRT Topics , add a comment

I was talking with someone the other day and she made the comment, “I wish I had your energy!” This was meant as a compliment, but the reality for me is that this really isn’t about energy. It is all about passion. It’s about choosing to not live a small life. Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” It doesn’t matter what the passion is. Passion is passion. Some days it is a blessing; some days it is a curse, and it can be exhausting! But make no mistake…it is never dull! When the intention of my passion is to clear up the confusion perpetuated by the media, (with 10 year old recycled bad information and with the intent to further the confusion and untruths with the big pharma agenda in the forefront,) and to help women learn of the truth about hormone balance and their options, it can be a very big deal.  The reality for me is that I don’t want to live a small life. So what DOES my heart most want? To show women they matter; to validate their story and their journey; but, most of all, to continue to be vulnerable with an open heart space.  Being vulnerable requires an open heart space. To be vulnerable requires courage. One can not be both vulnerable and comfortable. You have to choose. And, as Brene Brown says after studying vulnerability for 10 years, “Vulnerability means daring greatly.” To be vulnerable means having your hand on the arena door and being willing to step inside getting bullied and beaten up. It takes great courage to be open and vulnerable and willing to step into the arena and get beaten up every single day…..by pharmaceutical companies, current standard of care, and by people who disagree.
I recently had the honor of being selected as an Athena Award Finalist by Cincy Magazine.
The Athena Awards recognize women who have “achieved professional excellence, devoted time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and have assisted women in realizing their leadership potential.” Our Athena Awards event was held recently for all 11 finalists. In getting to know these other Athena Finalists, I realized that we all have several character traits in common, and one of the most important is that we all live with the intention to choose to not live small lives. We walk every day with the intention of being vulnerable, having an open heart space and putting all we have out there in the arena, with the willingness and the courage to get bullied and beaten up.
Make no mistake! You get from this life what you have the courage to ask for. I do not want to get to the end of my life, regretting that I never had the courage to be vulnerable and to dare greatly. For me, at the end of the day, it is the knowing that I have had the courage to take a risk making a change for the better, by being willing to risk being vulnerable,  to positively impact people’s lives, that makes this all worth it.

Senate Bill Largely Defeated November 22, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Hot BHRT Topics , add a comment

Earlier this week, Congress passed the Drug Quality and Security Act. The threat to BHRT therapies has been largely defeated.

Earlier this week, Congress passed the Drug Quality and Security Act, clarifying the role of the FDA in regulating drug compounding.  Thanks to the efforts of you and the tens of thousands of other patients and providers who use or prescribe bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), the threat to the availability of these important compounded medications has been largely defeated.

The legislation that passed does not contain the provisions that would have allowed the FDA and the drug companies to easily target BHRT therapies such as those that contain estriol, a widely used component in compounded medications. Other provisions that would have made a doctor or nurse practitioner document a patient’s need for compounded BHRT as opposed to drug company medications – an unprecedented intrusion by the FDA into the practice of medicine — were not included.

So despite all these threats to the medications you depend on, Congress did the sensible thing and said “no” to these extreme proposals.

But this positive outcome would not have happened without the emails and phone calls that you and others made to your Senators and Congressmen.  In our numerous visits to Capitol Hill offices, we kept hearing that Senators, Congressmen and their staffs heard from you.  You made a difference, you were listened to, and you should be proud of that fact.

Nevertheless, the fight to protect your access to compounded BHRT is not over.  FDA must still be watched, and the drug companies still want to eliminate competition for their one-size-fits-all hormone products.  So we must be ever vigilant.

So while we say “thank you” for helping defeat these proposals, it is likely that additional attempts to restrict your access to BHRT will happen in the future.  When and if that happens, we will count on you to help out once again.  You stood up for your rights and for the rights of others to get the medications they need, and we know you will be there if your assistance is needed in the future.

Warmly,
Lyn

WE DON’T DO COOKIE CUTTER MEDICINE! October 22, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Case Studies In Natural Compounded Hormone Therapy, Hot BHRT Topics , add a comment

I got an interesting question the other day that gave me pause for reflection.  A lady called our Happy Hormone Cottage and wanted to know if our nurse practitioner, Angela, was the BEST nurse practitioner in the city for BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy). I have never been asked this question before. In speaking with her, what we recognized was that here is a woman who has done her research. She is familiar with bhrt and customized bhrt, and she is familiar with her body and her body’s needs. In doing research, she saw a variety of information, often conflicting, and with several paths to choose. And she was confused as to which path to take. So asking for the BEST bhrt practitioner in the city was her way of guaranteeing that her needs would be met. I get it. Isn’t this what we all want in everything we choose? We want the BEST direction, the BEST practitioner, the BEST service repairman, the BEST house we can afford, etc. So IS Angela the BEST bhrt practitioner in the city? My answer is, “I don’t know. I would like to think so, but, I think you are asking the wrong question.” And here’s why:  what I understand is that one’s credentials are not the most important part of the equation in dealing with hormone imbalance issues. Everyone engaged in any medical area has credentials. But the most important aspect in dealing in this arena of women’s health is HOW one applies their knowledge of bhrt that is important. See, here’s the thing. What we do is NOT cookie cutter medicine. We don’t bring women in, glance at them, study their labs and then prescribe a drug. What we have to do is to think outside the box to problem solve hormone imbalance issues, and we do this within the science of functional medicine, which is holistic health. Because we are not conventionally trained specialists with an area of focus on one body system, we CAN think outside the box. Our goal is find the CAUSE of the hormone imbalance in several key areas and fix these. Let me tell you that this is simply not taught in medical school. So we have to research and get the information on our own. Luckily, because we are constantly going to school to take classes on the latest research in functional medicine and anti-aging, we are up to date with the latest information, so we CAN help our women find and treat the cause of their hormone imbalance issues.
What I also know is that women LIKE and appreciate being treated as individuals. We have most of our women come in where nobody has ever measured their hormone levels. This isn’t typically done in current standard of care, and when it is, blood serum is used to measure these levels. What we understand is that using blood serum to measure hormone levels simply is not accurate, nor does it give us enough information. So when our clients come to us, they appreciate the fact that we DO have the latest technology in checking hormone levels, and they WANT to know what their hormone levels are. And they are happy to pay for the latest technology with which to find out. Once we know their existing hormones at the tissue level of cells, we can then use all of our knowledge and training to problem-solve to fix the cause of the issues. In other words, we apply our knowledge to provide the best treatment we can for each individual who comes in. We customize and personalize therapy in several key areas:  sex hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid as the first step to wellness, for each client. There is nothing “cookie cutter” about this approach. It is difficult, time consuming, and requires follow up and monitoring for the long haul. But the results are extremely rewarding because we have women who have finally had their needs met. These are happy women and these happy women make Angela happy. You see, it isn’t about being the BEST in the city. The better question is, “How successful are you?” To me, it is all about being successful. And how do we measure success? By the number of clients we have who are happy, healthy and hormonally balanced.

WE MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT! September 30, 2013

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I heard someone say the other day, “You know are doing something right when you find you have enemies!”  This really resonates with me. Everywhere I turn there is more bad information after more bad information in the media about hormone replacement therapy. I have yet to read even one media “report” that doesn’t have drug companies agenda all over it. Each piece I read spews untruth after untruth. Why? To me the answer is obvious. It is all about money. If women and their doctors can be scared into believing that their one-size-fits-most hormone drug is the way to go, then women will be afraid to think for themselves and pursue other options for their best health naturally.  It does makes sense to me that when it comes to our health, the most obvious person to discuss concerns with is our doctor. But in this arena of women’s health, hormone balance, current standard of care is most definitely not behind the eight ball. Natural hormone balance is not taught in medical school, so most doctors simply aren’t in the know when it comes to personalized hormone therapy. I am not being critical of doctors. They know what they know.  It just doesn’t happen to be everything….and especially in this area of women’s health, when doctors are visited by drug rep after drug rep selling their latest hormone product, this continues to muddy the waters and perpetuate the misinformation and untruths. We DO have studies for our practitioners. Go to my website at www.happyhormonecottage.com and click on Recommended Reading and Resources. There is a Practitioner’s Resources section that is chock full of studies and information.  Our doctors need to be encouraged to read this latest information so their clients can feel validated and heard.
I read a comment on our Happy Hormone Facebook page this morning where a reader posted that she mentioned our Happy Hormone Cottage to her doctor and her doctor “went spastic.” Why is this? I responded to the reader that my experience has been that “Condemnation Without Investigation is the Height of Arrogance.”  I don’t know about anyone else, but if I broached a subject to my healthcare practitioner and s/he “went spastic,” I would look for another healthcare practitioner who is more open to hearing what I have to say and investigating that WITH me, instead of having a strong negative reaction. If we continue to do what we do, we will continue to get what we get. If women felt better by the “strategies” of their doctors, they wouldn’t be coming in droves to see me and my Happy Hormone Cottage. I get emails from women all over the country who can’t find a doctor to work with them in natural hormone balance. I guess if I kept reading and believing all of the misinformation and untruths being perpetuated in the media, I would probably be resistant as well. So it really is up to us to do the research and become educated, enlightened and empowered for our best health naturally.
Here is a study written by two doctors that is one of the best I have read. This would be one to share with your doctor. You can find it on my website’s Readings/Resources section. It is called “Hormone Therapy in the Geriatric Patient” by Dr Erika Schwartz and Dr Kent Holtorf. It talks about the tasks of hormones and why it is necessary to replace our hormone levels as they deplete with age. Two of the most important points of this study are:
1) “The scientific literature suggests that natural hormone supplementation with estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and thyroid hormone has the potential to improve the quality of life and to prevent, or reverse, the many symptoms and conditions associated with aging including: fatigue, depression, weight gain, frailty, osteoporosis, loss of libido and heart disease.”
2) “By the year 2025, there will be 1.1 billion women older than 50 in the world. Women should no longer accept a pat on the back and an antidepressant as a best therapy for hormone imbalance symptoms, often caused by aging and its attendant loss of hormones. Physicians must expand their knowledge and expertise to be able to provide aging women with safe and effective approaches to aging–and provide them with sound information to help them with sound information to help them make the best decisions for their individual situation.”
This is my truth. We can’t believe the media articles by so-called experts. One recently came out that was so blatantly obviously written with the pharmaceutical industry’s agenda, we actually wrote a letter to the editor. These lies and untruths do so much damage to unsuspecting readers. You know, I began my Happy Hormone Cottage educational facility 4 years ago to listen to women, validate them, and educate them on their bodies. I have had to become a women’s healthcare advocate. It was never my intention. But someone has to do it. So now the question I ask is, “Why not me?”  Someone has to have women’s backs in this area of women’s health. Women have got to take their power back and fight for the truth for their bodies. We have to do the work, get the research, and think for ourselves. Our very lives depend on it.

And the Saga Continues……My Most Popular Blog Ever September 15, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Case Studies In Natural Compounded Hormone Therapy, Hormone Therapy Joy, Hot BHRT Topics , 5comments

I wrote a blog on January 8, 2012 that was so popular, I updated it on June 17, 2013 and I am still getting comments and questions on it. Just today I received 2 more emails from concerned users of the popular pellet strategy for hormone replacement. My heart goes out to these women. Read on:
Dear Lyn,
I saw your website and the comments made from others about their experiences using the pellets. I’ve been on bhrt for a year using the Soto Pellets for estradiol and testosterone, along with oral progesterone. Since beginning with these pellets, I have been having periods every two weeks, along with hair loss, facial hair growth, and a lack of energy. My doctor suggested that I cut back about half on the progesterone, which did not solve the problems.  Do you think I should cut back on the testosterone instead and if so, what dose would you suggest?
Your reply is appreciated. Thank you.

My response:
As you know from my blog and the resulting comments from other pellet-users, you understand that our truth is one replaces depleted hormone levels with bhrt that is customized for each individual and in physiological doses only. (the exact amount each body needs, based on accurate hormone levels that are checked in urine strip testing or saliva….not blood serum).
Pellets are supra physiological doses of testosterone (and sometimes estradiol) that are implanted about every 3 months underneath the skin of the hip or buttocks area. Obviously your body isn’t doing well with this strategy. (oral progesterone converts to allapregnenelone and not progesterone, so you aren’t really getting progesterone….but your doctors don’t know this? Why not? No one has ever told them this. But those of us who compound progesterone and recommend using progesterone as a topical cream or for vaginal use, know this fact).
I guess my question for you is this: “Your body obviously isn’t doing well with these pellet implantations, so why do you continue on?” Since you asked, my strong suggestion for you is that you let the last pellet implantation run its course and then do not get any more pellets. We just do not believe in using pellets for women. (to find out more, reread my blogs on pellets and side effects) We have had much success with checking hormone levels in urine strip testing or saliva, and then customizing dosing for each individual using topical or vaginal application of hormone creams; then continuing to listen to the body’s biofeedback to adjust dosing as needed. Check out my website’s testimonial section for confidence in our strategy. For further information, go to my website’s “Begin Your Journey” and/or call us at 513-444-6343.

Dear Lyn,
I just found your blog and have a question regarding the pellet. I just had my first testosterone pellet put in 2 months ago and am having severe hair loss. When I retested the testosterone level a month after having it inserted the level was 225. I am also on progesterone 2 weeks of the month.
I am not going to do anymore pellets. I am so worried and depressed over my hair loss.  Will it ever grow back? I am worried that my hair follicles have died and the hair won’t grow back. What can I do right away to help it?
Thanks so much for your help. I feel sick about this.

My response:
If I had a dollar for every email I get on pellets. You are my second one today alone.
I am so sorry for your experience and your resultant hair loss. I do have to ask you a question about your hair loss before I can help you. Is your hair loss all over your head, or is it more like male pattern baldness? The more information I have, the more I can guide you.
I would spread the word to your friends about your experience with pellets so this doesn’t happen to them. You can also file a complaint with the medical board in your state. If they get enough complaints, they most likely will investigate.  Certainly telling clients of potential side effects from pellet use would be considered, in my book, important information to share with prospective pellet users.
Looking forward to more details on your specific hair loss so I can help you.

Continuing to stay informed and educated on your best health naturally is critical. My biggest mission in life is to continue to educate women on optimal hormone balance using topical hormone creams in physiological dosing, AND to continue to clear up the confusion about bhrt. There is so much misinformation in the media, at our doctors’ offices, with current standard of care. The truth is, personalized (customized) bhrt has been done in Europe for 30 years and we have many studies on their importance and significance. I urge you to continue to question your beliefs so you can get to the truth.  Please go to my website’s Recommended Readings and Resources section to read more.

FOUR YEAR ANNIVERSARY REFLECTION August 21, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Hormone Therapy Joy, Hot BHRT Topics, Menopause , add a comment

Four years ago today, I opened my tiny little cottage in the Heart of Centerville. My intention was simply to talk with women. Through my own journey with hormone imbalance issues, and in my ongoing conversations with women of all ages, I recognized the desperate need for a safe place for women to come, tell their story, be heard, understood and validated and most importantly, to be educated on their bodies and hormone imbalance symptoms. I knew that I was one of the lucky few. I had a husband who became a compounding pharmacist because of my emergency radical hysterectomy and potential hormone issues. He was not about to let happen to me, what he saw happening to his clients on a daily basis when they would come to his pharmacy to pick up their prescription hormone products. He saw women in my situation with 40 pound weight gain, irritability, depression, anxiety, no energy, brain fog and no libido. He made the decision that this was not going to happen on his watch. So he went to Houston, Texas to be trained as a compounding pharmacist. When I returned to my ob gyn for my 10 follow up appointment after surgery, Jeff went with me and was able to talk my open-minded doctor into allowing me to be open to the possibilities of compounded, personalized bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The result? I didn’t gain 40 pounds (or any weight). I didn’t experience any of the issues typical of women with hormone imbalance; especially those women having a radical hysterectomy (ovaries removed). I didn’t have brain fog, fatigue, sleeplessness or low libido. Obviously we were on to something! But in speaking with women, what I found their reality to be left much to be desired. Most of the women I met in their mid 30′s and 40′s (and beyond) were on an antidepressant, a sleeping aid or an estrogen-of-the-month club product. None had had their hormone levels checked, none were feeling better, all had fatigue, low libido and had lost their joy of life. I knew I had to get the word out about their options for a more natural approach to their best health naturally.  So I hung a sign at the rustic little cottage behind the Joli Boutique in Centerville and the rest is history! Women showed up! They were validated, educated, offered hope and empowered to have a dialogue with their doctor that leveled the playing field in hopes they would have an easier time getting their needs met. These women talked to their inner circle, and the word spread. Today, we have Happy Hormone Cottages in Kettering, Vandalia, Mason, Northern Kentucky and two in St. Louis, Missouri.
The most exciting part for me is that women who want the help, who own their journey, who have what it takes to get their needs met (assertiveness, patience, determination and a sense of humor) are feeling better! What I have learned is my truth–that what we place our attention on determines the quality of our lives. I have learned that when we know better, we do better and that it IS necessary to question our beliefs. I have also learned that I can’t please everyone and I most certainly can’t own anyone else’s journey, no matter how badly I want to. Each woman is in charge of her own health and I can only help the ones who want to be helped and are willing to put in the time, effort and resources necessary to fix her hormone imbalance. What we offer, a strategy for getting tested, treated and better does cost money….but I think it is a reasonable cost. How much is one’s best health worth? My answer is “priceless,” but every woman needs to decide that for herself. I have learned that if we, as women, do nothing to own our own journey to our best health naturally, TODAY is the best day we will have. I have learned that we ARE worth it to be put back on our own list and take care of ourselves so we CAN take care of our family. I have learned that women have to be patient with our therapy so they CAN feel better. My question is always, “How long have you not felt well? We do need some time (typically 3 weeks to 3 months) to refill hormone receptors so we CAN feel better.” I also know that we can’t isolate body systems to fix them. We have to look at the body holistically and impact adrenal and thyroid health as well as the sex hormones, and that this is just the FIRST step to wellness.
I was listening to a CD by Tara Brach the other day and she asked the question, “What does your heart most want?” After giving this deep thought, I decided that what my heart wants the most is for the women I come into contact with every single day, to feel heard, understood, valued and most of all to know that they matter. Oprah once said, “Everyone just wants to know they matter to someone.” This is my truth. I want to continue to positively impact women’s lives every day so that they know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that more than anything, they DO matter to someone. They matter to me.

EXCITING VALIDATION FOR NATURAL HORMONE THERAPY! August 5, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Hormone Therapy Joy, Hot BHRT Topics , 2comments

A recent study by 2 well respected doctors in our field, Erika Schwartz, MD and Kent Holtorf, MD, is really exciting for me to read because it validates what I have know for a long time- that replacing depleted hormone levels, that deplete naturally through the aging process, is the key to living a longer, higher quality life! This study, also on my website under Recommended  Resources and Readings, “Hormone Replacement Therapy in the Geriatric Patient: Current State of the Evidence” clears up misconceptions and confusion in this area of synthetic hormones vs bioidentical hormones that is prevalent in current standard of care. Check out this next information:
“By the year 2025, there will be 1.1 billion women older than the age of 50 in the world. The magnitude and significance of this number must be addressed from the perspective of the primary care practitioner who is now faced with an exploding number of aging women seeking to maintain, and even improve, their health. In these authors’ opinions, women who are menopausal and postmenopausal should no longer accept a pat on the back and an antidepressant as a best therapy for postmenopausal symptoms often caused by aging and its attendant loss of hormones. We as physicians need to expand our knowledge and expertise to be able to provide aging women with safe and effective approaches to aging-to provide then with sound information to help them make the best decisions for their individual situation.” Yes! This is what I have been preaching for the past 4 years and exactly WHY I opened my Happy Hormone Cottage in the first place. What we do at our HHC, natural hormone replacement therapy, IS science-based medicine. Just because it is not yet a part of current standard of care does not mean it is not valid or backed up by study after study. What we do is personalized care, meaning we compound individual therapies from a doctor’s prescription for each individual, based on his or her body’s needs. This is as opposed to taking a drug for the masses with a one-size-fits-most dosing, made by a pharmaceutical company. Our studies and science-based information IS out there. It needs to be studied and understood by our physicians for our best over-all health.
The study continues with the following perspective: “With the transition of the baby boomers into the geriatric population, a significant movement away from the disease-centric model and toward PREVENTION AND WELLNESS maintenance and enhancement is taking place. The scientific literature suggests that hormone supplementation with estrogen, progesterone testosterone, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone has the potential to improve the quality of life and to prevent, or reverse, the many symptoms and conditions associated with aging, including fatigue, depression, weight gain, frailty, osteoporosis, loss of libido and heart disease. When attempting to find the ideal balance for the individual patient, physicians should be concerned not only with improving their patients’ life spans, but also their HEALTH SPANS-the duration of time a person experiences a high-quality, vigorous, and enjoyable life.” Yes, yes, yes! This is why my Happy Hormone Cottage is a Wellness Facility. We understand that optimal hormone balance (this means measuring hormone levels and replacing depleted levels with physiological dosing in the exact amounts the body needs….and maintaining these optimal levels for life) is just the FIRST step to wellness. From here we can move on to cardiovascular health and addressing metabolic syndrome (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain).
The study concludes with, “In summary, based on the literature reviewed and the state of the evidence in our clinical experiences that span decades and includes tens of thousands of women the authors believe that aging women should not be deprived of hormone therapies. Many studies and practical clinical experience demonstrate on an ongoing basis the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormones (the HHC believes these should be personalized and customized physiological dosings based on the individual needs of each woman) for improved well-being, elimination of symptoms of menopause, and even prevention of chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, hyperlipidemia, clotting disorders and atherosclerosis. We also recommend the individual physician become well versed in the scientific literature presented in this article and work with each patient individually to provide her with the best possible care.”  Amen! I couldn’t have said this better myself!
For more information or to make an appointment for your first step on your journey to wellness, email us at info@happyhormonecottage.com or call us at 513-444-6343. Kentucky women, email kentuckyinfo@happyhormonecottage.com and call 859-360-6696. We are women helping women and we look forward to serving you!

MY MOST POPULAR BLOG EVER! June 17, 2013

Posted by Lyn in : Hot BHRT Topics , 2comments

My January 8, 2012 blog “I Get Asked This Question A Lot” has generated much discussion that is still on-going today. What’s all the fuss about? The use of pellets as a hormone replacement option and why we at our HHC simply don’t believe in them as a viable hormone balance strategy for women. A client of mine told me she was at her young son’s baseball game recently and overheard a woman behind her saying how she had just gotten her first pellet implantation. She turned around and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry! You need to go to the Happy Hormone Cottage!” I think our nurse practitioner says it best when she says, “Topical hormone creams are better!” So what is all the fuss about? Let me explain!
Pellets are small implantable fused hormones that are typically testosterone and maybe estradiol, that are inserted under the skin of the hip with local anesthesia. Usually pellets are reinserted every 3 months. Clinical studies were done in men to determine dosing and men were given dosing every 4-5 months. The dose for women was extrapolated from the doses for men, and herein lies the problem:  women tend to need more insertions (about every 3 months) and there is an unpredictable conversion to dht (dihydrotestosterone) and/or estradiol. Some women do fine on pellets, while others, if they convert mostly to estradiol, will gain weight. If these women convert these pellet implants mainly to dht, they will start showing masculinizing symptoms such as:  male pattern baldness, facial and body hair, acne and voice deepening, among other serious health issues. And once these issues develop, it is too late. The damage has already been done. Symptoms often materialize after the 3rd and 4th pellet insertion (i.e. about a year). Another concern is that these pellets often lead to extremely elevated levels of testosterone that is much higher than normal female physiology.
For me personally, pellets for women simply don’t make sense. All that testosterone being implanted continuously has to go somewhere. Women simply aren’t meant to metabolize all that testosterone. And when it converts to estrogen it is problematic. Women over the age of 35 are already estrogen dominant. This is the weight gain piece. Remember these 5 words:
“ESTROGEN IS A FAT STORER!” So why would I want to put even more estrogen into my already estrogen dominant body? Even more importantly is the fact that estrogen dominance can lead to a heightened risk of breast cancer. So for me to put anything in my body with this risk just doesn’t make sense.
What we do at our HHC that sets us apart is that we DOSE OUR TOPICAL HORMONE CREAMS PHYSIOLOGICALLY for our bodies. When considering hormone balance, it is important to balance the 3 major sex hormones of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. In fact, our first line of defense at our HHC is always progesterone. What we know is that women who are still having their monthly cycles don’t need estrogen. So we never give estrogen to women who are still having regular periods. We check your hormone levels first (using cutting edge urine analysis from Precision Analytical Lab) and then we customize your hormone replacement therapy for you and each individual client. It is this physiological dosing that achieves hormone balance. When we give each woman the hormone dose SHE needs with a daily application of her topical cream and we adjust this dosing slightly over time, based on the biofeedback from HER body, AND we recheck these levels annually to maintain this hormone balance, we have happy women who are issue-free. And isn’t this the point of hormone replacement therapy? To restore hormone balance as an anti-aging strategy AND to prevent disease? And for how long do we recommend we use this natural hormone replacement therapy? My response is a frank, “Until we are dead!” Why wouldn’t we do this? As we age and our bodies lose their ability to make their own hormones so the risk of disease increases, and we have found a reliable, safe and responsible way to restore this balance with physiological dosing of topical hormone creams, why in heaven’s name would we ever stop?