WHAT I’VE LEARNED

Over the past 3 years of helping women, since our Happy Hormone Cottage opened its doors in August of 2009, I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing that my passion of educating women really IS what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I spent 30 years in the classroom teaching middle school children, and I’ve simply transferred that passion to educating women about natural hormone balance and their bodies. I found a niche in inner city, just loving children right where they were and coaxing them along to where they needed to be, and somewhere along the way, hopefully instilling in them the belief that I believed in them, so they could learn to believe in themselves. Working with middle years women (age 35 and over) isn’t all that different, except in this case I have to coax them along into believing in themselves when nobody else does; when their family tells them they are crazy; their mothers and grandmothers tell them “this is just the way it is; and even their health care providers aren’t all that validating much of the time.

I have learned that in no other demograhic in our society, does a group of individuals have to fight so hard to be heard, as women ages 35-death, with a hormone imbalance!  I have learned that once we get women ON customized and compounded hormone therapy so they have the opportunity to actually feel better, the challenges don’t stop there. We really never know how the doctors who give their clients permission to work with us will respond when we have to do what we do. The dilemma seems to be that the mind set in current standard of care is so used to the one-size-fits-all routine, that what WE do by listening to our body’s biofeedback to adjust dosing, can be problematic to some doctors who aren’t expecting this. Is it because what we do is different? Is it because some doctors have egos, so don’t like being given suggestions on how to adjust dosing (it is not intuitive!)? Is it because some health care practitioners resent being offered direction on what to do by a compounding pharmacist? I mean, really, what IS the problem? Why can’t we just all work together with our mutual clients’ optimal health in mind, for the ultimate benefit of the client? Is it possible that this cooperative effort might be a win-win for all? We think so! And the doctors we work with who DO get what we do, and see how much better their patients finally feel, are embracing this journey with us and are a joy to work with! We need more of these health care practitioners!

I have learned that no matter how badly a client feels, and women who have been hormonally imbalanced and miserable for years, can feel pretty badly…this is NO excuse for being mean to my staff OR their doctor. We have had women call and yell at us because what we tell them may not be what they want to hear. We are a free resource center with a love for women helping women. Our goal is to listen, respect and validate our women, so to have that unhappy woman treat us meanly by yelling at us or hanging up on us is simply unacceptable. And we just got a call from a family practice doctor asking us to not send him any more clients because one of them yelled at his receptionist when she got lost and couldn’t find their office. Instead of this doctor refusing to work with just her, she has ruined it for the rest of the women who would have benefited from this doctor. I find this incredibly sad on many levels! There is just no reason to be mean and out of control—-especially when we are just trying to help (and we are a free resource center for education in this area of hormone imbalance.) And most people would be surprised to learn how very hard we have to work to find doctors who are willing to think outside the box and work with us at all, because what we do is different from traditional standard of care that is one-size-fits-all.

I have learned that just because we aren’t out to make a lot of money, this isn’t always the case. Other hormone centers cost A LOT of money and even some doctors are expensive. We have one doctor who has now stopped working with us because she can’t make enough money from our clients. Doctors make money on running expensive lab tests and selling expensive supplements. We don’t believe it is necessary to run expensive lab work monthly. We can listen to our clients’ biofeedback to work with their doctor to adjust dosing; and then have them check their hormone levels annually with an inexpensive and quick blood spot kit that checks hormone levels at the tissue level of cells. So I feel some clients are being taken advantage of because they are on a customized therapy that involves topical creams. These are the health care practitioners we weed out and no longer recommend because we do have our women’s backs. We have done this for a long time and are pretty good at what we do. So why not listen to us and be willing to learn? Being on customized bhrt does not have to be expensive. Certainly, the monthly cost of our topical creams isn’t!

I have learned that I have had to work incredibly hard to be able to help women finally feel better. I mean, if women over the age of 35 felt better, I wouldn’t be so busy. But women aren’t better. Estrogen products and antidepressants aren’t working, and haven’t ever worked for a hormone imbalance. But I have to fight conventional standard of care, big pharmaceutical companies and even the mind set of women who believe their doctor is a god, so everything she says must be correct. Really? Then why don’t we feel better as a demographic? I’m just asking this question because it needs to be asked. But make no mistake. The personal cost for this passion has come with a price.    So if I knew then what I know now, would I do it all over again? I don’t know. I’d like to think so. I do know that my heart is educating women and having their backs. It is all this other “stuff” that comes with this grass roots movement that can be frustrating and painful. It is always gratifying to help women (and men) feel better and to positively impact their lives. So at the end of the day, this is all that really matters.

warmly,

Lyn

SOUND FAMILIAR??

This email just in:

“Hi Lyn. Well, I don’t know what I am going to do because my doctor completely disagreed with the hormone testing that was done through you and wouldn’t even consider the results. He is our family doctor, so he doesn’t know hormone therapy, but he disagrees with the validity of a test that is not requested by a doctor. I am not sure what to believe. He is recommending anti depressants as needed for my symptoms, but I am still not sure what is the right decision. I have always felt like my issues have been with hormones. He did suggest going to a hormone doctor, but I feel like that is more out-of-pocket money I will have to spend that still may not give me any solutions. Any suggestions? Susan”

My response:

“Hi Susan. I just received your email and I have to tell you that I feel your pain! I get emails like yours often. I think it would be beneficial for you to go to my website or download my free mobile app (www.happyhormonecottage.com) and read my blogs. My latest blog(s) discuss this very issue. What WE know is that you DO have a hormone imbalance issue, (we have your results to prove it) so we want to replace your depleted hormone levels with customized hormone therapy to fix the cause of your issues.  Many conventionally trained doctors just don’t understand this. The only tools in their toolbox are anti depressants, sleeping aids and estrogen products that are one-size-fits-most. And because most have egos, I have found their attitude to reflect the same attitude as your doctor:  CONDEMNATION WITHOUT INVESTIGATION IS THE HEIGHT OF ARROGANCE. And in NO sector of our society’s healthcare system do people have fight SO HARD to be heard and validated, as women in OUR demographic. Why is this? After doing what I do for 3 years now I have come to realize that the reason this is still being perpetuated today is because WE allow it. We (women in our demographic) just take it. I don’t know about you, but I’m done being not validated; told I’m either too young for hormone issues; or being told that “this too shall pass,” or “this is just the way you are supposed to feel.” Really? Since when? I guess when we get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, we won’t take it anymore and begin to stand up to our doctors so we ARE heard and validated.

What I DO know is this-if you do nothing to fix the cause of your issue, you will never feel better than you do today. I think this is a scary thought for most of my women. And I guess that is why we are so busy at our Happy Hormone Cottages. Because women are feeling better! How? They are going to doctors who actually validate how they feel; who “get” that saliva testing IS valid and are willing to think outside the box so their female patients can feel better.

My suggestion for you is to go to a doctor who DOES work with us and does understand your issues. If you can remind me what part of town you live in, I can recommend a doctor for you. We can easily fax your test results and our recommendation for your natural hormone balance to this doctor.

Please let me know how you wish to proceed. My wish for you is that YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO FEEL BETTER by NOT accepting your family doctor’s word as law. You are allowed to think for yourself and take charge of YOUR journey. This is why we are here–to empower you so YOU can advocate for yourself what you believe.

Warmly, Lyn”

I Can Only Do So Much…..

And so it goes. We meet with women constantly, listen to their stories, gather information, educated them in the area of natural hormone balance, determine they do indeed have a hormone imbalance (as do most women over the age of about 35), give them a strategy for getting their hormone levels tested,  write the recommendation for their hormone balance for their doctor or health care practitioner, which is then faxed to them for their visit with our client, and then the rest is out of our hands. Once we fax our recommendation for our client’s natural hormone balance to the client’s doctor, it is up to that doctor and our client what the outcome will be. Luckily, most of the time, the outcome is favorable. Our clients go to either one of the doctors we work with who are familiar with us and whose patients have experieced success OR they work with their own doctor who is open-minded enough to give our strategy a try. These are the women who are doing well, feeling better and reclaiming their lives from the awful exhaustion, sleeplessness, weight gain, brain fog, hot flashes or joy of life that have overtaken their lives. But this last week we had a couple of women who weren’t so lucky. They went to their own doctors and both women left with no prescription in their hand for our natural hormone balance. One of the women told us her doctor ordered more blood work and they will meet again for further discussion. The other client’s doctor doesn’t “do” natural hormone balance so will send her somewhere else. I’m not sure what this means. Will he send her to a doctor who specializes in hormone therapy? Will he send her to a clinic that implants pellets? (be still my heart!) The good news is that these 2 women were maybe luckier than a former client who went to her doctor to work with us on natural hormone balance and she left instead with a prescription for an anti-depressant. She did email me last week saying, “My anti-depressant isn’t working for my hormone imbalance issues (do tell!) so please refax my doctor your recommendation for my hormone balance.”  My response was, “Absolutely! But do you want to consider going to a different doctor? One we know who does understand and agree with the benefits of bhrt?”  She replied with, “No. Please fax them to this same doctor.”  Of course we honored her request and that was the last we heard. I am not optimistic about the outcome. Here is where the rubber meets the road. Here is where YOUR education is critical in this area and where YOUR voice needs to be heard. I understand many of us have doctors we have been with over time; have established a good relationship with andhave a rapport with; and we ultimately put a lot of trust in. But when we have been struggling with the same issues for years and the “strategies” we have tried haven’t worked (doing nothing “you’re just getting older,” using sleeping aids and anti-depressants, using synthetic drugs masking as hormones, putting on an estrogen patch) I think we need to move on and find someone to work with us who listens to our body’s needs and works with us to meet us right where we are, and if the desire is to work with us at our cottage and pursue a more natural path, then I think that path needs to be considred and honored. What do we have to lose? The choice is pretty clear to me. We can either continue on the same path and feel no better OR we can find a different health care practitioner to work with us who is willing to give what we do at our Happy Hormone Cottage a shot. The bottom line is that our women ARE better. They have reclaimed their lives. Many are losing weight, sleeping great and regaining libido. Isn’t that the point?  Our truth is that the only way to replace depleted hormone receptors that cause a hormone imbalance is with bioidentical hormones. Supplementation alone won’t do this; eating right and exercising won’t do this. One has to replace progesterone, for example, with progesterone. The fact that we check existing hormone levels before writing the recommendation for natural hormone balance and that we only dose physiologically that which our bodies need on a daily basis is also key. And so it goes…..we will continue to serve women, and educate them in this area of women’s health, but the bottom line is that each woman has to become empowered to make sure HER voice is heard when it really matters…..which is in that critical meeting with her doctor, for permission to pursue this path. And when her doctor is bombarded daily with misinformation about bioidentical hormones, so the waters are muddy and myths are perpetuated, education and assertiveness are critical. Our doctors need your help and information we provide you with, to learn more about hormone balance that isn’t determined by a pharmaceutical company. The books, studies and research IS out there. My website even has a special Practitioner’s Resources section that contains a wealth of information on bioidentical hormone balance. It just takes time and the desire to learn that about which their clients are demanding, that makes the difference.

Lyn

Keep up to date by installing our Happy Hormone Cottage mobile app, now in your app store.

Go Forth and Be Drugged OR Go Forth and Be Well…the Choice is Yours!

I think you’ve probably heard the word on the street that our reason for being, our passion, is educating and empowering women to live their best life naturally. Such a great cause and one that is desperately needed in our society today. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if women were better and felt well, as they aged, then we wouldn’t be so busy! If, when issues developed,   doctors were treating the root cause of the issue, instead of just band aiding these issues to get rid of the symptoms, women would be better. But women aren’t better! I see it every day as they stagger into our offices with obvious hormone imbalance issues of fatigue, weight gain, low libido, hair loss, sleeplessness, brain fog, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues and no joy of life. And the worst part is that the traditional approach to dealing with these issues is just NOT working. Hormone levels are rarely, if ever, checked. Women are told every day by their doctors, “Oh you are too young to be in menopause. Or you are too old to need hormones. Or, having a hot flash? Well, here’s an estrogen patch. Or, not sleeping? Here’s a sleeping aid. Or, what thyroid issue? Or, my favorite-feeling depressed or anxious? Here’s a prescription for an antidepressant.” What we know to be true; what has been done for 25-30 years in Europe (where, by the way, the women are remarkably healthy and happy!); what we DO have clinical studies on are bio-identical hormones. We know that replenishing depleted hormone levels with these bio-identical hormones, AFTER checking a woman’s existing hormone levels and then customizing bhrt for that woman DOES work. Our women ARE better! That using natural hormone replacement as we age, considering the entire health of the woman holistically, and working at the PREVENTION end of the spectrum is a relevant anti-aging strategy! And women WANT natural! Women also really want to go to their trusted health care practitioner and be heard. They want to tell their story and be validated. So what’s the problem? The problem is that the traditional approach to medicine focuses on drug therapy with a one-size-fits-most, big pharma-driven, very limiting belief system where thinking outside the box isn’t valued. Whereas OUR approach to women’s health deals more in the world of FUNCTIONAL medicine. What is this? Functional medicine is a personalized approach to medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying CAUSES instead of symptoms, for serious chronic issues. This is a science-based field of health care that is grounded in several principles:
-patient centered
-dynamic balance of internal and external factors
-interconnections of body systems
-health as a positive vitality
Functional medicine uses the patient’s story as the key tool for diagnosis and is focused on patient care rather than disease care. And it is anchored by an examination of core clinical imbalances that underlie various conditions. So I think it is clear what our goal for 2012 needs to be. We need to push our traditional doctors to begin to open their minds to a more patient-driven, functional approach to medicine. There are classes , seminars and workshops offered in functional medicine. If our doctors are motivated enough, they CAN get informed outside the realm of traditional medicine and feel comfortable   thinking outside the box of current standard of care. Obviously what is going on in traditional health care today in this area of women’s health isn’t working. So frankly, isn’t it time? Isn’t it past time where you can go to your doctor and partner with him to discuss options for keeping you healthy? The choice is yours-go forth and be drugged or go forth and do what it takes to feel better? I think the choice is clear! Oh, and by the way, when you do nothing at all to replenish your depleted hormone levels that deplete with age, (maybe because you currently aren’t having any issues)  you are setting yourself up for failure. For example, when your estrogen levels deplete, and we know that estrogen does 300 jobs in the body (!), how are those jobs going to get done if we don’t replace those levels? When you go to your doctor with a disease that could have been prevented, it’s already too late. Education is key to eradicating misconceptions and wrong assumptions.
I urge you to strongly encourage your doctor to work with you to explore more natural options for your healthcare!

Lyn

Keep up to date by installing our Happy Hormone Cottage mobile app, now in your app store.

Really? And You Believed Him??

I really hate it when I get all worked up! But gosh darn it, I can’t help it when we get a 40 year old woman’s lab results back
that clearly show she has significant hormonal issues. So we write up a recommendation for her doctor and when she sees him, all he
can say is, “The only thing that is really out of whack is your progesterone level but with me giving you that last shot in July for birth
control, that is why it could be off….so let me give you a prescription for wellbutrin and if it doesn’t help, we can go a different route.”
Wow! Really? I don’t even know where to start! Let me finish banging my head against the wall and report MY findings from her
labwork. Here is a 40 year old woman with an unusually high estrogen level. It is 4.2 (range is 1.3-3.3) so I know that she is estrogen
dominant. What does this mean?  This means she is storing a lot of fat (estrogen is a fat storer), has brain fog and a high risk for developing
breast cancer. At the same time, her progesterone level, which we measure from 75-270 is a 40. So I know that she isn’t sleeping well,
has some depression and anxiety, irritable, moody, probably has sugar cravings as well as probably aches & pains. Her ratio of her progesterone level to her estradial level, which we like to see between 100-500 is only a 10! (yes, a 10!) So I know she can NOT feel well. Compound that with crippling
adrenal fatigue, which plays out in exhaustion, and we have one TIRED woman. As if this isn’t enough, she also has a very low functioning
thyroid. We actually measure free t4 and free t3 through zrt labs (most doctors don’t check these….which is why over half the women who
crawl in to see us on their hands and knees are all on synthroid for their t4 because no one has ever checked their free t3. When they complain
to their doctor that they have no energy, dry skin and they are losing their hair….the response is “double your dose of synthroid!” This is like trying
to fix a broken leg by putting a cast on your arm!!) Her free t4 is .7 with the range being .7-2.5. Her free t3 is 1.9, with the range being
2.5-6.5! So she is extremely exhausted, has no energy, isn’t sleeping, has hair loss and couldn’t lose a pound if I paid her A LOT of money to do it. Women with these high estrogen levels, low progesterone levels, adrenal fatigue and low functioning thyroid do NOT feel well. So how do they function?
How do they feel good about themselves? How do they go to work and be expected to do their job? How do they care for their family? How can they be expected to have a libido? Libido? News flash! Tired women have no libido! And here’s the “good” news:  THIS IS THE BEST SHE WILL EVER FEEL if she believes her doctor and goes on wellbutrin. I mean, is she wellbutrin deficient? This drug will not fix any of her issues. The sad part is that for some
reason, this 40 year old woman has lost her voice. She has lost her ability to stand up for herself and fight for HER body. When did we give that power
away?? My hope and dream is that ALL women will take charge of their body and have the confidence to dialogue with their doctor about their choices, and not give up. If one doctor refuses to listen and learn, then go to a different one. Call us! We have lots of doctors who believe in what we are doing and endorse this natural path. We no longer have to settle for feeling bad for the rest of our lives. We do have a voice and we CAN take our power back.

Lyn

Keep up to date by installing our Happy Hormone Cottage mobile app, now in your app store.

The Things My Clients Tell Me!

Working with women all day, every day and listening to their stories, I never know what kind of things I’m going to hear about their hormonal journeys to better health….but the funniest comments I hear are said to them by their doctors. Darlene told me that when she went to her doctor a couple years ago, at the age of 42, with issues of irritability, exhaustion, sleep issues, anxiety and low libido, she told her female ob gyn that she thought she had a hormone imbalance, had been doing some reading and thought she wanted to try the natural hormone therapy. Her doctor looked at her as if she had grown 2 heads and said, “I want you to stop watching Oprah and STAY OFF THE INTERNET!!” Darlene said she just sat there and looked at her doctor in disbelief and pity. She walked away, visited us and went to one of the doctors on or website who DO listen to and validate their hormone imbalanced women. Darlene began our therapy and began to feel better in one week! She is now balanced and beautiful! By the way, she still watches old Oprah shows and is most definitely ON the internet!!
Another client told me that HER ob gyn threw a book on the desk in front of her when SHE mentioned she wanted to do the compounded hormone replacement therapy. This doctor, also a female, said, “Oh, you know that compounding is BS! I don’t know why you would even consider doing that when I can give you something that is FDA approved!”. Sharon walked away and came to us! So glad she did! Her energy and fatigue are gone, her sugar cravings have gone away, and her mood is better. What I know is that everything we make at our compounding lab IS FDA-approved. But because we customize it for the individual….we are regulated by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. What I also know is that ob gyns joins a group called ACOG. ACOG stands for “American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.”. Guess which pharmaceutical company funds ACOG? Guess which group has the greatest peer pressure about stepping outside the box and thinking more openly and holistically?? Guess which group of doctors are now losing clients at an alarmingly high rate because their former patients are now going to more open-minded doctors on my website?? Oh, and the comment about “compounding is BS,”….well, let’s discuss that with family members whose loved ones are in Hospice, and whose pain level is being managed by transdermal therapy made at our compounding lab because they can no longer swallow their pain meds. OR discuss this with the vet who just saved a beloved pet, due to a specific, individual medication that was made in a compounding lab. Compounding goes back years and years BEFORE big pharmaceutical companies became prevalent. Just sayin’.
So the next time YOU visit YOUR ob gyn and want to have a discussion about a more natural strategy for YOUR hormone imbalance issues, be prepared to meet with resistance and even ridicule. Why? MY bumper sticker says,
“CONDEMNATION WITHOUT INVESTIGATION IS THE HEIGHT OF ARROGANCE.”. You WILL have to be assertive and educated into the path YOU want to take AND empowered to walk away from your traditional-minded ob gyn and toward a more open-minded doctor. They ARE out there. The first step is to NOT assume that just because your doctor likes you, she or he will work with you on a path they aren’t familiar OR comfortable with. I hear this all the time: “MY doctor loves me and will do whatever I ask.”. In a word-“NOT!”. I see this time and time again. And then my clients are stunned when their request for a more natural strategy toward hormone balance (customized BHRT) is dismissed and they are steered toward a more traditional “strategy” that involves synthetic drugs masking as hormones, an estrogen patch (given without checking hormone levels first), or an
antidepressant. My husband asks our clients who are offered an antidepressant for their hormone imbalance issues, “Are you prozac deficient??”. Doubtful!! They are most likely progesterone deficient. So why not just prescribe progesterone?? Because progesterone can not be patented, so drug companies can’t make a profit, so you will not be offered progesterone by your traditional doctor.  Buyer beware! Your journey is up to you. You do have the power to direct your own path. You probably won’t be guided by your doctor in this area and that’s ok!! We understand and we are prepared to help educate and guide you. You just need a little faith and the ability to think for yourself. I spoke to a group of women last night at a Happy Hormone Hour and one of the ladies there said, “Well, I’ll go discuss this with my doctor and then come see you.”. I asked her who her doctor was. Guess who it is?? It is the doctor who told my client to “stop watching Oprah and stay OFF the internet!”. Do you think her conversation with this doctor will go anywhere near the area of natural hormone balance?? Good luck with that! She reconsidered, is coming to see us first and we can direct her toward a list of health care practitioners in our area who WILL listen to her AND work with us!

YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS!

I got an email today from Janice: “I gave my saliva test results of my hormone levels to my OB/GYN and she advised me that I don’t need any hormone treatment or supplements. I’m no longer interested in this.” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh hysterically or do a kick boxing session! Either way, I feel badly for Janice! She obviously hasn’t read my blog of May 18 entitled “The Truth About BHRT” written by 3 ob/gyns. (this is also on my recommended readings section of my website). If she would have read that very interesting article, she would have understood WHY the confusion and ignorance among many of our doctors about natural hormone replacement; and she would have NEVER accepted her doctor’s word that “you don’t need any hormone treatment or supplements!”
Without natural customized hormones to replace the hormones Janice has lost through the aging process, not only will she continue to feel poorly (exhausted, overweight, brain fog, no libido) but she will also NOT be preventing the diseases that natural hormone replacement therapy can prevent: heart disease (the #1 killer of women in our age group); breast cancer; dementia and osteoporosis. Janice came to us because she wasn’t feeling well and had many symptoms of a hormone imbalance. She didn’t elaborate in her email about what her OB/GYN suggested she do- either nothing (just live with it!) OR drug therapy (anti depressants and sleeping aids are the drugs of choice for hormone imbalance issues!) but it certainly wasn’t natural hormone replacement therapy. So because Janice wasn’t educated in this area when she went to her doctor, she couldn’t be her own best health advocate. Now Janice is left to either suffer or try to treat her symptoms with drug therapy, when the reality is that Janice could replace her depleted hormone levels with customized bioidentical hormone therapy to feel better AND to prevent disease. I guess I feel the most badly about Janice’s journey because we only get ONE chance to live this life! It’s such a shame when someone chooses to give up her power of her body to someone else, and chooses to live these precious years feeling awful! As you can see from Janice’s experience, it’s up to US to become informed, educated and empowered! We MUST become our own best health advdocate…. especially in THIS area of women’s health! As always, we try to learn from each other. I’m hoping Janice’s lesson of what NOT to do helps others.

Part 2:

So the gal I spoke about in my previous blog, who got her saliva test results and then went to her doctor (one who is NOT on our list of practitioners we work with) for treatment…..well let’s just say it gets better and better! (not!) This 54 year old gal, “Leslie,” came to us with symptoms of: hot flashes, heart palpitations, mood swings, irritability, vaginal dryness, weight gain, night sweats, depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and feeling cold all the time. The results of her saliva testing (hormones at the tissue level of cells) came back with the following results:
-low estradial levels (brain fog, weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness)
-extremely low progesterone (sleep issues, depression, anxiety, heart palpitations, mood swings, irritability)
-good testosterone range! (ability to make new bone, energy, memory recall, libido)
-cortisol issues which indicate adrenal fatigue (energy and fatigue all day)
    So our team at our Piqua Medicine Shoppe (recommended as THE compounding pharmacy of choice in Ohio in Suzanne Somers last several books) made a recommendation for her practitioner that included adrenal vitamins to help rebuild and repair her exhausted adrenal glands; estrogen therapy to not only help her symptoms BUT ALSO help prevent dementia and heart disease (the #1 killer of women in this age group); progesterone capsules for her severe sleep issues and progesterone cream to help her anxiety during the day;  and vitamin D 5000 units a day. Vitamin D helps prevent breast cancer, depression, aches and pains etc. And in Ohio, the “Land of No Sun Ever!”, most people need at least 5000 units of vitamin D daily. I might also add that even though Leslie’s estrogen levels are on the low end, she is still estrogen dominant because her progesterone levels are SO depleted (because she is 54! It’s called aging!). Estrogen dominance is responsible for her weight gain and other symptoms listed above BUT MOST ESPECIALLY carries the greatest risk for breast cancer. Again, unopposed estrogen carries that risk. Our strategy is to physiologically dose Leslie with just the amount of estradial AND most especially progesterone to regain her hormone balance. Unfortunately, she didn’t have us do a thyroid panel, but because of her ‘feeling cold all the time,” and inablility to lose weight, I suspect she also has a thyroid issue. Her family doctor would probably run tests on her T4 and TSH. Our thyroid panels checks: free T3, free T4, TSH and TPO (checks for autoimmune deficiences like Hashimoto’s disease). We see women every day who have severe thyroid issues (hair loss, weight gain, cold body temperatures, no energy) whose family doctors have told them time and again they are “within the normal range.” My response is:
-normal for whom?
-what testing was run?
   If you have a broken leg, would you xray your arm?? So why NOT run a complete thyroid panel that detects thyroid issues that are relevant to your body’s symptoms? Just because it has always been done that way, isn’t good enough for me. How about you?
   Leslie went to her doctor for treatment for her hormone issues. This doctor “does her own thing.” She doesn’t use saliva test results (even though Leslie paid to have them done and the doctor had them in front of her, along with our strategy for Leslie’s hormone balance). She likes to use blood serum to check hormone levels. So her recommendation for Leslie is:
-prometrium (drug company made BHRT progesterone capsule: comes in 2 doses-100mg and 200 mg, is soaked in peanut oil, lasts for 6 hours)
  (note-our recommendation for her progesterone capsules is 150 mg-based on her body’s needs as indicated by the saliva test results)
-testosterone (our saliva testing indicates her testosterone is 32 (range is 16-55) Do you think she needs testosterone???
    Leslie’s doctor gives her no estrogen, no adrenal therapy, no vitamin D. And guess what? Based on my conversation with Leslie (previous blog) where I urged her to read and get information and education in Natural Hormone Balance so SHE could have a voice and dialogue about what SHE would like to do for her hormone balance WITH her doctor and her response was, “I just want to get a second opinion from you…” (my response to this is why not get educated so you can develop YOUR OWN opinion???) I knew her visit with her doctor wouldn’t go well. Because Leslie isn’t willing to get educated, she doesn’t have an informed opinion so she CAN’T advocate what is best for her body! So she is settling for one-size-fits-most drug company made progesterone that isn’t dosed for HER body AND testosterone because this is the strategy her doctor has created for her with NO interaction or opinion from Leslie. I find this extremely sad. In the words of Dr. Phil, I say to Leslie, “Let me know how this works for you!”

Education is Power!

 I can’t tell you the number of clients who meet with me to get started on their therapy, who have had an interesting (ahem!) experience with their practitioner. These are the doctors and nurse practitioners who are ok with signing off on our recommendation for their clients’ customized BHRT so they do it, but are not really educated in this area. Because they aren’t educated, they aren’t exactly  overcome with enthusiasm. In fact, I just had one client tell me that although this NP did sign off on our recommendation, it wasn’t until AFTER she offered our client a synthetic hormone to try first! I think her exact words were, “I can sign off on this, but wouldn’t you like to try a synthetic hormone first?” Seriously? After I threw up in my mouth (!) I realized how truly appalling this really is! Who in their right mind would offer anyone a synthetic drug masking as a hormone with serious health risks associated with it OVER a natural alternative that replaces depleted hormone levels with hormones that are bioidentical to the ones your body used to make? The answer is clear to me: anyone with a vested interest in pharmaceuticals; anyone who believes the drug company rhetoric; anyone who chooses NOT to become educated in a natural alternative, etc. Make no mistake! Women are at war against big pharma AND practitioners who refuse to consider anything BUT a drug company product. You DO realize, don’t you, that just because something has been approved by the FDA, does NOT make it safe? Tell me you know this! So when a “health care provider” tries to scare off their pro-customized BHRT client with “but it isn’t approved by the FDA..” I want to just laugh hysterically (or scream!) Again, for those folks, everything we make for natural hormone balance IS approved by the FDA….but the FDA approves drugs for the masses. WE are under the strict regulations of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.
   I understand that the clinical studies and literature that validate and give credibility to customized BHRT isn’t readily available BUT it IS out there! Go to my website and click on our Recommended Readings button. There is a special section just for practitioners that says “Practitioners Resources.” Anyone can go to Amazon.com and buy a plethora of books on natural hormone balance and even a book on Adrenal Fatigue. (See my website for recommended titles). We have studies that show the safety and efficacy of customized BHRT. There are links on my website to clinical studies. It is up to YOU to read and become educated so you can dialogue intelligently with YOUR doctor. Obviously YOU are going to have to be the driving force behind insisting your practitioner becomes educated. I don’t know about you, but I personally will NOT SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS!
  Women who are educated in this area, who want to do the work require to get hormonally balanced naturally, are also the ones who are rethinking the whole mammogram thing. I know I don’t want radiation shot through MY body every year! So can we rethink this? There ARE options: ultrasounds, thermagrams, etc. We have to do the research and then approach our practitioner. When enough women begin to insist on other options, I have found that it is the compassionate practitioner who will begin to go the distance WITH me to explore alternatives.

Happy Holidays from the Cottage!

Merry Christmas and a blessed new year! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

We have been very busy at our cottage listening to women, offering them hope AND a strategy for natural hormone balance. Along with this comes educating women to read, take charge of their journey and empower them to dialogue with their doctor-often educating them along the way. The practitioner who vehemently rejects any opportunity to think outside the realm of “conventional” drug therapy and refuses to work with you on your journey toward natural hormone balance may be one you may want to consider leaving. Let me give you an example. We had an interesting experience a few weeks ago that speaks to this.

We have a client, “Cheri,” who came to us for a consultation and purchased a saliva test to check her hormone levels (including cortisol). She is 56 years old and hasn’t felt well for awhile. When her results came back, I wasn’t surprised to see her hormone levels physiologically validating the way she feels. Her estradiol level was 0.5. This is the very bottom of the “normal” range. This tells me that she is ripe for dementia and heart disease, since estrogen protects the brain and heart. Replacing depleted hormone levels as you age with customized therapy that is bioidentical to your body just makes sense for not only symptom relief and control, but most importantly disease prevention. Her progesterone level was 9. The normal range is 12 – 100. Because her progesterone is so low, she is still estrogen dominant-even with a level of only 0.5. This estrogen dominance is responsible for weight gain around the middle area, as well as brain fog.  More importantly, this imbalance also increases her risk of breast cancer. Her ratio of progesterone to estradiol is 18. We like to see it between 100-500 and optimally around 250. With a ratio of 9, I know she has to have issues with sleep, depression and anxiety since adequate levels of progesterone protect us from these problems. When women begin losing this progesterone level around the age of 35, these issues begin to manifest, so by the age of 40, many women suffer from sleeplessness, depression and anxiety. Instead of just replacing depleted progesterone levels with natural progesterone, traditional medical education encourages drug therapy, so doctors prescribe an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety drug along with a “sleeping pill” for these problems. Why have antidepressants and sedatives become the standard therapy for hormone imbalance??  Cheri’s testosterone level is a 6. The normal range is 16-55. Because her level is so low, she is likely to have osteoporosis. Testosterone also helps with memory recall, libido and energy. So now we have a 56 year old woman who is ripe for some significant diseases and is very symptomatic. She can’t feel well. (I haven’t even addressed hot flashes and night sweats due to the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone). Then we took a look at her cortisol levels which reflect adrenal gland function. The graph should look like a nice, lazy “L,” where we see levels high in the morning to start the day and then gradually sloping off during the day, coming to rest in the evening so we can sleep. Hers looks like a caterpillar! It starts out low in the morning (hard time getting out of bed) and then spikes up very high to 9.5 at noon (we like it to be between 1.2 and 3.0!!) and then crashes to 0.6 in the evening. This is adrenal fatigue! So now we have a hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue. This woman can not feel well! I actually wonder how she gets out of bed in the morning.

We sent Cheri her test results AND we sent her results and our recommendation for her hormone balance and adrenal repair to her doctor. She went to meet with him. Her doctor was upset and offended that she would take matters into her own hands and get information from another source than him. He called our saliva testing “witchcraft” and adamantly refused to have anything to do with our recommendation for her natural hormone balance. We spoke with Cheri and suggested that she ask her doctor what HIS strategy is for her hormone balance. He said he would prescribe the synthetic combination Estratest®. This contains horse estrogens from horse pee and methyltestosterone. Both drugs have serious health risks associated with them. Oral estrogen raises the risk of blood clots. Methyltestosterone can be toxic to the liver. Natural testosterone is not. So – doesn’t it make more sense to use topical estrogen (of course, bioidentical like your body makes, not from horses), and natural testosterone to restore hormone balance?

I advised Cheri to ask her doctor for studies showing the safety and efficacy of HIS recommended product. (I gave links to clinical studies showing safety of bioidenticals last month). I don’t think he will have any current studies on this product. The Women’s Health Initiative of 2002 pretty much nailed the coffin shut on synthetic drugs used for hormone therapy. Yet we continue to allow our practitioners to prescribe these drugs to us. Again, I ask why? I have to assume it is because we are not educated about all the options. Do you understand that we are at a crossroads here? We can either begin to read books (see my website for recommended readings and studies) to become educated on our options, or we can just settle for feeling bad and live with that the rest of our lives; or we can just say to our doctors, “anything you want, doctor,” and be done with it. If you choose option #1, call us (513-444-6343) and we can help guide you. We are a free resource center whose only passion is hormone balance for women (and men!). We have free Happy Hormone Hours and free Happy Hormone Coffee Hours. Check our website’s events page for more details. I also speak to women’s groups and businesses for free. We truly walk the walk of helping you live your best life naturally!

We kick off our NEW YEAR NEW YOU campaign on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. We urge YOU to call for your free consultation. Here is hoping that 2011 is YOUR BEST year yet!
Warmly,
Lyn