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!”

You Can’t Eat Your Way to Hormone Balance!

I always love it when I hear middle-years women say to me, “Well, you know, I never take medication except maybe an aspirin and I eat really healthy, so I’m sure my hormones are fine!”. My response is always the same, “Good for you! But did you know that you can’t eat your way to hormone balance? AND, as you age and your hormone levels become depleted (even if you eat healthy) you become ripe for disease.”. They are always shocked. “Really?” is their skeptical response. Yep! But don’t take my word for it! Do your own reading and research! Get on my website-happyhormonecottage.com and click on the “recommended readings” button across the top. We have lots of articles and books that are all about natural hormone balance. Better yet-ask for some of these for Christmas. Even if you are one of the lucky few who aren’t symptomatic with hormone imbalance symptoms: sleeplessness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, low libido, hot flashes, dry skin, night sweats, hair loss, weight gain etc.
your hormone levels WILL deplete with age and you will be at risk for dementia and heart disease (low estrogen), osteoporosis (low testosterone, progesterone, estrogen) and breast cancer (too much estrone, not enough progesterone). Also, for women who have gone through menopause, you are most definitely NOT done with hormones. This is when you need them to prevent disease.  Truly, hormone replacement with customized hormone therapy, IS your anti-aging strategy. Again, education, enlightenment and empowerment are key!

Angry at Katie Couric

There was a TV Nightline report with Katie Couric Tuesday night that finally proved that all the synthetic crap-oh, I mean drugs manufactured by drug companies that mimic hormones: Premarin (horse pee), Prempro (Premarin + Provera), Provera (synthetic Progestin) really do increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. The “Women’s Health Initiative” of 2002 already proved this. Unfortunately she used the term Hormone Replacement and summed it all up by saying “All Hormone Replacement is Bad.”. I got some angry emails and a phone call yesterday from some of my clients (angry at Katie Couric) because she:
-used that terminology
-didn’t mention customized BHRT or even BHRT
The problem is one of semantics. Those drugs are hormone substitutions-not hormones. The uninformed woman will be confused. She may think what WE do at HHC is also bad. This is why education is so important. MY clients know the difference. Why don’t intelligent people like Katie Couric?

At the end of Katie Couric’s special news report, she ended with the message that “it looks like women will just have to suffer through the symptoms of menopause!” This ignores a couple of important points:
1) Symptoms of menopause are actually signs of a hormone imbalance and are NOT just a menopause issue. We have clients from 19-89
2) The real reason to use customized BHRT actually is to prevent disease. When one’s body is depleted of hormones, it is ripe for disease. Disease occurs before symptoms appear. Replacing depleted hormone levels with customized BHRT can help prevent breast cancer, dementia, osteoporosis and heart disease. Why wouldn’t a woman pursue the truth?

The truth is that BHRT bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is NOT cancer-causing. BHRT is made by drug companies in one-size-fits-most dosing. Doctors who prescribe this often DON’T check hormone levels before prescribing and many only prescribe the estrogen BHRT-most often the estrogen patch. They don’t also prescribe Prometrium ( progesterone). My issue with these mass-produced BHRT products is that because the drug companies use blood serum data, where the hormone levels are already depleted by the heart, they make their estrogen products way too strong. They put way too much estrogen in their patches, gels and sprays. Unopposed estrogen in any form can increase the risk of breast cancer.
What WE do at the Happy Hormone Cottage is CHECK HORMONE LEVELS FIRST (using accurate saliva samples from your body that test hormones at the tissue level of cells) and then we write recommendations for EACH woman’s hormone balance based on HER levels. We also always recommend progesterone. Every woman I work with has estrogen dominance issues already, so why would I give her just more estrogen without checking her levels, while totally ignoring her progesterone?? It boggles the mind! Oh, let me guess……this isn’t taught in medical school!! This is why education for EVERY woman is critical. Go to www.happyhormonecottage.com to read more. Become empowered for YOUR journey!

Just Because It Is the Standard of Care …..

Have you ever wondered why current standards of care exist? Does it make them the BEST choice just because they have always been done that way in the health field? I think not. I see clients on a daily basis who have been given hysterectomies in their 20’s because they were given no other options!! I suspect many of these surgeries were unnecessary as there probably WERE other options. But if it is outside the realm of our “standard of care,” it can’t be considered. Right?? Wrong! It is way past time for us, especially women, to think for ourselves. I’m always amazed when women I talk to blindly accept their doctor’s word as law. WE need to be doing the research! WE need to become informed on OUR bodies, OUR options, and weigh these against the current standard of care. Just because it IS the current standard of care doesn’t always make it right!!

It Happened Again! (or doctors’ ignorance on natural hormone replacement…stop the madness!!)

My husband has told me never to blog when I’m angry! I am not going to take his advice this time! I just got a call from a client who went to a doctor (I have heard of him but he is not on my website as one of the doctors we work with) to have him sign off on our recommendation (prescription) for her natural compounded hormone therapy. I tell my clients all the time to make the call BEFORE your appt to make sure that dr will sign off on what we do, because doctors know drugs and what we do is NOT a drug! So Andie goes to this doctor for his permission and he won’t sign off on it.(big surprise!!) I am ok with a doctor not signing off on something he is not familiar with and admitting it. But this doctor went on to not only say he didn’t know much about it because “hormones aren’t his area of expertise,” he THEN proceeded to put the fear of God into Andie about taking hormones and what too much can do and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.
He then proceeded to do a blood test to measure the hormomes because he couldn’t validate the saliva testing that we do. On top of that, when Andie suggested that he go to my website where he will find many, many clinical studies on BHRT and the efficacy of what we do, his response was, “I am not going to go to some website and read about this!” The sad truth is that now Andie-periomenopausal and miserable: can’t sleep, no energy, no libido, foggy thinking etc…..all treatable with checking her current hormone levels and then replacing them with customized, natural therapy made just for her….is confused and caught in the middle. Who does she trust? Her doctor or us? I feel her pain! I am totally empathetic! It just makes me so angry that doctors who know nothing about natural hormone replacement have to throw out false facts that scare and confuse their patients, instead of just saying, “You know what? This is not something I am familiar with, but let me check into it for you. Let me read, make some calls, get some answers and maybe we can meet again soon to talk about this some more.”
How awesome would that be? Now Andie is left to muddle through the maze once again. So a woman who could have gotten tested, treated and better is now left to continue to suffer and to have a lower quality of life that impacts the entire family unit……….ALL because a medical professional who knows nothing about natural hormone balance refuses to become educated, therefore perpetuating the myths surrounding hormone replacement. Let me say once again that natural hormone balance is hormone replacement. It is NOT hormone substitution (premarin, prempro, prevara, estrotest, etc) that CAN cause serious health risks. To lump ALL hormone therapy under one umbrella and call it ALL bad is like saying that ALL fruit is bad because apples (i.e. premarin) has been known to cause breast cancer. Does this make any sense to you…or is it just me??!! I hope I live long enough to see the day when doctors will actually love middle-years women enough to take the time to become educated in this area, ask the tough questions and actually find the CAUSE of her hormone issues and maybe, just maybe, realizing that to REPLACE these hormones in her body so she can get her life back JUST MAKES SENSE!