The Truth About Hormone Therapy

I read a great article in The Wall Street Journal by Dr. Erika Schwartz, Dr. Kent Holtorf and Dr.David Brownstein- “The Truth About Hormone Therapy,”  that speaks directly to what we at the Happy Hormone Cottage believe in and practice. Here is what they say:
 
“Mainstream medicine has been given a wake-up call on a matter critical to the health of 65 million women in the U.S. At isssue are the options for treatment of menopause symptoms (i.e. hormone imbalance symptoms) that cause significant health problems for women in mid-life as their bodies produce fewer hormones. It doesn’t seem like a complicated problem, given advances in medical science. Yet hormone-replacement therapy has beome a textbook example of how special interests, a confused medical establishment, and oportunitsts can combine to complicate the issue and deny patients access to safe and effective treatments.
 
Until seven years ago, women going to conventional doctors were prescribed the FDA-approved synthetic hormone Premarin, derived from the urine of pregnant horses; Provera, a synthetic progestin; or Prempro, a combination of the two. Premarin was the bestselling drug in the U.S., in 2001, generating $2 billion a year for Wyeth.
 
In 1994 a study led by the National Institutes of Health called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was started with the hope of establishing that Premarin and Provera would, beyond relieving menopause symptoms, protect aging women from heart attacks, strokes, osteoporosis and cancer.
 
On July 9, 2002, however, the WHI came to an abrupt halt. The study proved unequivocally that the drugs were UNSAFE and significant factors in increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer in the more than 16,000 women studied.
 
This led doctors to take millions of women off Premarin, Prempro and Provera overnight. Predictably, these women started to feel horrible in the aftermath of the drugs’ sudden withdrawal, and their physicians told them there were no alternatives. Instead they prescribed antidepressants or birth control pills with shoddy results.
 
One year after this disaster, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG)
developed new guidelines that encouraged physicians to prescribe the same drugs in lower doses for shorter periods of time. Yet, and this is KEY, the safety of this “low dose option” was NEVER proven scientifically.
 
Meanwhile, many conventional physicians have ignored the effectiveness of “bioidentical” or natural progesterone, which is formulated to be identical to the progesterone molecule that is produced by the human body.
 
There are 25 years of scientific research with hundreds of studies in the U.S. and Europe that have demonstrated that bioidentical hormones, estradiol, and micronized progesterone, are equally or more effective than synthetics-AND SAFER.  Yet mainstream medicine has buried its head in the sand and refused to take these studies seriously.
 
While Europeans have long used bioidenticals, no commercially available bioidentical hormones existed in the U.S. until 1998, when a few pharmaceutical companies obtained FDA approval for an array of bioidentical estrogen preparations and one progesterone preparation. Unfortunately, due to drug companies running the medical profession by controlling what goes into medical education, most doctors never get educated about bioidentical hormones or the way in which different hormone molecules work. With Premarin and Provera dominating the market, drug companies had no incentive to spread the word.
 
Today the distinction between bioidentical/natural progesterone and the synthetic progestin Provera remains widely misunderstood. Progesterone is used by fertility specialists to protect pregnancy, while medroxyprogesterone (Provera) is used in the morning after pill and in birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Their actions are toally different and antithetical.
 
Sadly, seven years after the WHI study finding Premarin/Provera unsafe, the hormone-replacement debate can be summed up in three words: confusion, ignorance, misinformation. Meanwhile, millions of women have embraced bioidenticals, leaving their conventional physicians looking stubborn and foolish.
 
The medical establishment must stop kowtowing to drug companies and start service women’s best interests–and that involves widely prescribing bioidentical hormones. This will lead to healthier, happier women and, in the long run, help reduce America’s skyrocketing health-care costs.”
 
Drs. Schwartz, Holtorf and Brownstein are founding members of the Bioidentical Hormone Initiative, a nonprofit group of physicians dedicated to patient and physician education
 
    Interesting reading, huh? THIS is why we do what we do at our Piqua Medicine Shoppe and Happy Hormone Cottage. We educate women and men in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to make THEM the best advocates for their bodies. Quite frankly, what choice do we have? At least by educating ourselves, we can become empowered to make the best choices for US, and become committed to our BEST health naturally.

Still Talking About Libido!!

Emails! I get emails!! Every woman I know is concerned with libido….or the lack thereof. Most think libido is simply a cause and effect of the level of one’s testosterone. This may hold true for men-but for women, it is a totally different scenario! I know that for women, libido is NOT simply a measure of one’s testosterone level. I have  clients with a high testosterone level of 88 (when tested with saliva, the range is 16-55) who have no libido; and conversely, clients with  low testosterone levels of 13, who have a healthy libido. So what gives? Obviously, for women, libido is more than just the measure of one’s testosterone. So if libido in women isn’t a function of the level of testosterone, then what is it? I’ve come to understand that libido returns when women are aware of and work to heal the following areas of their lives:
-STRESS. Stress is the #1 libido killer. Especially long-term stress. This negatively impacts our health-emotional, physical and mental. The more stress we have in our lives, the lower our libido. Finding ways to handle our stress and lower it are key to regaining libido. (Exercising, journaling, etc.)
-ADRENAL FATIGUE. Exhausted adrenal glands are synonymous with low energy. Low energy = Low libido. So repairing and rebuilding impaired adrenals is critical to regaining libido.
-HORMONE IMBALANCE. Women who are hormonally imbalanced suffer from sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats, weight gain, thinning hair and skin, etc. So regaining hormone balance through customized natural hormone therapy is critical to libido recovery.
-SLEEP! (Need I say more??)
-RELATIONSHIPS. Poor communication skills, lack of affection, lack of trust, lack of effort….you get the picture. I’m not Dr. Phil, but I do know that having a healthy relationship with your partner is critical in having a healthy libido.
-TIME. Multi-tasking working women who are wives and mothers are exhausted and have no time for themselves, let alone their libido. So making time for themselves  helps increase libido.
   The good news is that our clients who are becoming hormonally balanced, addressing their adrenal fatigue, handling their stress, and making time for themselves are experiencing a healthy libido again within 6-8 months of starting therapy. Libido does bounce back when we not only check testosterone levels and replace those but also address other areas of our lives! It looks like one CAN have sex in Ohio after all! Who knew??

Here’s What I Know For Sure

I know that I am not for everyone! I am not for the woman with the hormone imbalance symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, low libido, etc who wants to take a pill to feel better. I am not for the woman who isn’t educated in natural hormone therapy. These women don’t know that we actually check their hormone levels before making a recommendation for their natural hormone balance and then get the doctor’s permission to customize natural therapy for them. I am not for the woman who is not committed in her belief system for customized BHRT. If she is not educated and committed about why she is pursuing this path, then when she goes to her family practitioner for a check up and mentions what she is doing and the doctor is appalled because as drug therapists, most are clueless about what it is we do, so they throw false facts at her that are fed to them by drug reps and big pharma literature (propaganda) and talk her out of it….I am most definitely NOT for her. I am not for the woman who isn’t willing to give our natural therapy the time it needs to work (3 weeks-3 months). I am not for the woman who will only pursue health options that are totally paid for by her insurance. Here’s the thing-insurance is just that! Insurance. It is insurance against a catastrophic illness or accident. It was never meant to pay for total health care. So if spending $240 to get hormone levels checked is not covered by her insurance (although most insurance companies do happen to cover the cost of this!) so she chooses to settle for a lower quality of life rather than pay the $240, I am most definitely not for her.

So then who AM I for? I am FOR the educated, empowered, committed woman who knows without a doubt the path she will pursue and is willing to pay for it. (What we do is NOT a lot of money! And the value added you get by coming with us is unprecedented! Just ask anyone who is a part of our team; or check out our testimonial page here.

I am FOR the woman who is sick and tired of feeling sick and tired; who does NOT want to be drugged by her doctor; and who wants to follow a more holistic health path. I am FOR the 40 year old woman who is beginning to have sleep issues, depression and anxiety due to depleting progesterone levels and refuses to take the antidepressant or sleeping aid prescribed by her doctor! These are the women I am FOR! It’s a new year! Isn’t it time for a new YOU?

www.happyhormonecottage.com. We can help!

TO BHRT OR NOT TO BHRT-THAT IS THE QUESTION!!

I heard it again! One of my neighbors, late 30’s, actually talked her doctor into doing a hormone check on her and of course, “Your results are normal!” Why the big surprise? Her practitioner used blood serum to check her hormone levels, where the levels have been depleted by the heart, and the ranges that are used are set for post-menopausal women. At least her levels were checked. I do appreciate that. What I don’t appreciate is the “normal’ ” comment. What is normal anyway? Is “normal” for someone else the same thing as “normal” for you?? I think not. Hormone imbalances are not age OR gender specific. They can happen to women age 18-98 AND men. I will say it again: in this area of women’s health, where the waters are very muddy and the misinformation and untruths are perpetuated, it is up to YOU to become empowered and educated. Do the research; read the books. In fact, a great place to start is with Natural Hormone Balance by Dr. Uzzi Reiss. This is a great read and written in layman’s terms to give you the truth on natural hormone balance. Secondly, it IS OKAY TO QUESTION YOUR DOCTOR WHEN S/HE GIVES INFORMATION. Much of what we do is outside the realm of medical training. Trust me on this-NATURAL HORMONE BALANCE WAS NOT TAUGHT IN MEDICAL SCHOOL. For example, when your practitioner tells you that customized hormone replacement therapy is not FDA approved so it should not be an option, YOU can actually inform your practitioner of the reason: The FDA approves drugs that are manufactured for the masses. When we customize therapy for just one, WE are instead strictly regulated by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. HOWEVER, THE PRODUCTS THAT WE MAKE ARE INDEED FDA APPROVED: ESTRADIAL, PROGESTERONE AND TESTOSTERONE. So that argument is really an untruth. Let’s get with the program people!! YOU are in charge of YOUR health. YOU need to get educated. YOU need to think for yourself. It is OK to ask questions and to even question your doctor. Only YOU know the best plan of action for YOU.

Take Charge Of Your Own Journey

I am always amazed by the feedback from our clients. On occasion, we have had a few of our “hotties” not get optimal treatment. Take Lisa D. for example. She is a 45 year old periomenopausal woman who chose to visit her family doctor. Without looking at her saliva test results or our recommendations for HRT, he instead prescribed Climara patches and Prometrium 100 mg capsules. Both of these commercially made medications are bioidentical-Climara is estradiol amd Prometrium is progesterone. They are one size fits most. The problem I have is that many doctors who prescribe BHRT this way use the client’s symptoms to make their diagnosis.My question is why? Why aren’t hormone levels being checked before treating these clients? Aren’t other body issues treated by measuring levels? Can you imagine a doctor prescribing blood pressure medication without checking your blood pressure? How about being given a prescription for a cholesterol lowering medication without measuring total cholesterol, LDL and HDL? How about treating diabetes without getting blood sugar readings? Why the inconsistency when it comes to hormone therapy? I believe doctors owe it to their patients who come to them expecting a recommendation for natural hormone therapy, to check their levels BEFORE making a recommendation for therapy. We believe that saliva testing is the most accurate testing available for measuring hormones at the tissue level.(we do make saliva kits available on our website’s online store). Furthermore, we believe that one woman’s hormone levels aren’t another woman’s hormone levels, so why prescribe a “one size fits most” therapy? Let’s get those hormone levels checked with a saliva test, study personal symptoms and family history, and then make a recommendation for a prescription for a natural compounded hormone that is made just for that woman. The beauty of this is that it can be tweaked throughout the month if needed, and we can make adjustments to the dosage very easily. I think every woman owes it to herself to become educated and knowledgeable about her body before visiting her doctor, so she can take charge of her own journey!