Two Women, a Teapot and a Box of Tissues… By Kelly Kuhlman Brown

When Lyn Hogrefe started the Happy Hormone Cottage nearly eight years ago, she had one mission… to talk with women. She wanted to share the facts about hormones, health, and disease prevention since she had lived it through her own experience. Years earlier, Lyn needed a hysterectomy and she knew it would launch her into surgical menopause. Lyn’s husband Jeff, a pharmacist, knew what Lyn was about to experience because he saw it every day through his work. Jeff went back to school to learn how to compound bio-identical hormones so his wife wouldn’t suffer through the effects of menopause from lack of hormones… “Not on his watch” as Jeff put it.

Lyn had such great results with her compounded bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) that she started talking with other women about it – women were drawn to her energy, youthful appearance and healthy glow. After teaching school for 30 years, Lyn had a passion for education. Friends encouraged her to start talking with groups of women, so she started hosting, “Happy Hormone Hours”. Women showed up by the dozens. A local shop owner in Centerville observed Lyn filling a niche so she offered up a small stone cottage behind her boutique where Lyn could “talk with women”. Following a hand-shake-deal, a shingle went up outside of this tiny one-room building which had no electricity, heat or running water… and the Happy Hormone Cottage was born. A chat at the Happy Hormone Cottage consisted of two women, a teapot and a box of tissues. Lyn offered a warm and cozy environment where hormone imbalance issues could be validated. The tissues sopped up tears as women shared their negative experiences with drugs and physicians. Many had been told their symptoms were in their head, or they’d been prescribed anti-depressants, anti-anxieties, sleeping pills, pain pills, etc. when all they really wanted was to understand why they felt so bad.

The two women would sip tea as they shared stories and found common ground. Lyn would then lead the conversation into educating the women on how to address their core issues instead of masking symptoms with synthetic drugs. She gave women options and she taught the value of BHRT not just for symptom relief but also for overall health and disease prevention. She would suggest women undergo hormone testing then take the test results to their healthcare practitioner who would work with her compounding pharmacist husband to develop an individual wellness strategy.

Clearly there was a need to be filled as the demand for Lyn’s guidance quickly outgrew the confines of the tiny cottage. Lyn leased office space and hired more women to handle the volume of requests for chats (which evolved into consultations). She also had to buy computers and develop a client database. Gone were the simple notepads that stored records. Today there are four Happy Hormone Cottage offices along the I-75 growth corridor in Mason, Northern Kentucky, Vandalia, and Piqua. The main “cottage” is a huge suite of five offices located in Kettering.

Lyn never envisioned the booming business her little cottage would become. She is a living example of how a passion can be more valuable than a business plan and how a simple idea can impact the lives of thousands of women.

The teapot is now a Keurig but much has stayed the same, Lyn’s mission is still at the heart of the business, two women still sit to chat and the box of tissue remains in its place while tears are shed and feelings are validated.

The Incredible, Life Enhancing Importance of Our Hormones

“Disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear.” Think about this truth for a minute. If you say, “But I’m not having any symptoms” ….this needs to be made clear—-these are symptoms you can’t see, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t there and that a disease isn’t developing. It takes 10 years for a disease (or diseases) to manifest. By the time the disease appears, it is too late. You already have it. How does this relate to hormones, hormone depletion and hormone imbalance? The older we get, the fewer and fewer hormones we have to do the jobs they need to do in our bodies to keep us healthy. Why? Because our body’s ability to make the hormones we need, becomes less and less able after age 35 and into our 40s and beyond. THIS IS CALLED AGING. Why is this fact critical for our long term health? Because hormones perform many, many important, life-saving jobs in our bodies. Did you know that estrogen, for example, takes care of over 300 jobs in our body? The most important tasks involve protecting our brain from dementia and our heart from heart disease. Progesterone, which we begin losing at age 35, is our joy of life hormone and is responsible for our sleep, for taking care of anxiety and depression, for getting rid of aches and pains and sugar cravings. One of progesterone’s most important tasks is to balance estrogen for prevention of breast cancer. Testosterone is responsible for new bone growth, energy, memory recall and when we also heal our tired adrenal glands, it helps libido. (Tired and fatigued women don’t want sex.)

Some women, as they begin to age into their 30s, DO begin to experience symptoms of a hormone imbalance, while most women, in their 40s and 50s experience some or many of these symptoms:
Weight gain
Fatigue
Brain fog
Hot flashes
Sleep issues
Low libido
Dryness, brittle hair and nails, hair loss

Typically, women (who aren’t in denial) will say, “I’m in perimenopause or menopause,” but these are just other words for HORMONE IMBALANCE.

Remember our truth: Disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear. These symptoms are telling you that you have a hormone imbalance; that you don’t have the hormones you need to go the distance healthfully; that your hormone receptors are depleting. Hormone imbalance is a fact of life. It occurs BECAUSE we age. And as we age, our body no longer makes the hormones we need to perform the hundreds of tasks we need to remain healthy. I find this fact fascinating and for me, a CALL TO ACTION. If I know that disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear; and that the hormones I need in my body to remain healthy are no longer being made available to me (1 + 1 = 2)…..why wouldn’t I do something about it?

Why not be proactive and do something about it while we can? After all, we have a 401k and IRA for our future financial status. Why not have a proactive plan for our health so we can go the distance? By going to a facility well-versed in hormone balance, like my Happy Hormone Cottage, with healthcare practitioners who know more than to check hormone levels in blood and tell you “everything looks normal,” (or offering you a short-term strategy like an antidepressant, sleeping aid, estrogen patch, etc) you will be educated and empowered to REFILL your hormone receptors with Bioidentical hormone creams made from plant-based powders that mimic the hormones that we used to have enough of. By refilling our hormone receptors, checking adrenal glands and making sure our thyroid is functioning optimally, we can achieve optimal hormone balance and give ourselves a fighting chance against disease. Eating right and working out is also important.

It is all about putting ourselves back on our list and taking care of ourselves every day starting today. Being proactive in regards to our health today just makes sense if we want to have a high quality of life for our tomorrows. I know I want to become a warrior for my wellness. Why? Quite simply, because I’m worth it!

“I’m About to Have a Full Hysterectomy……”

Hello Lyn,

I am about to have a full hysterectomy done in a couple of weeks. I have started having symptoms of menopause for a while now. I was wondering if I could get some information on natural hormone remedies. My doctor had me on a birth control to help with the hot flashes and some other things but I gained about 30lbs in 10 months so I stopped taking the medicine mainly because it wasn’t working . I am worried about gaining more weight but I know I will need something to help me get through this. So what I am asking is do you have anything that will help with the menopause symptoms but help with not gaining any more weight and maybe help with losing some of what I have already gained. Thank you!

My response:

I’m happy you emailed and I’m wishing you a speedy recovery from your hysterectomy in the near future. I, too, had a radical (full) hysterectomy 12 years ago so I’m with you in this. I’m sorry to hear that your doctor put you on birth control for your menopause symptoms, but this is what many doctors know. My Happy Hormone Cottage is a hormone balance facility. We understand that menopause is a part of life that results in a huge hormone imbalance. This hormone imbalance actually starts for women around age 35, as our ovaries begin to age; and continues on through menopause. What we understand from the biochemistry of our bodies AND a lot of studies and books by doctors in functional medicine (holistic health) is that we must refill our hormone receptors as we age, for our highest quality of life. Doing this also eliminates the symptoms of hormone imbalance like hot flashes, brain fog, weight gain, fatigue etc. Hormones play important tasks in our bodies, so keeping our hormone receptors filled as we age is imperative.

Weight gain in women as we age is also a hormone imbalance issue. Estrogen is a fat storer. Birth control pills are synthetic estrogen and progestin, so giving you excess estrogen exacerbates weight gain. Why one would prescribe women over 35 excess estrogen (also in estrogen patches, pills and sprays) when we are already estrogen dominant is the question. This estrogen dominance is responsible for not only weight gain buy also a heightened risk of breast cancer.

At our Happy Hormone Cottage, we check existing hormone levels (sex hormones-estrogen, progesterone, testosterone; and cortisol from adrenal glands) with dried urine strip testing, and we also can see how your hormones are metabolizing and methylating. When test results come back, you meet with our nurse practitioner and together you create a customized strategy utilizing compounded hormone creams made from plant-based powders that refill our hormone receptors. This is a life-long strategy, like brushing our teeth, to keep our bodies healthy and to prevent disease (osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia, breast cancer). For our women with thyroid issues, we also are experts in thyroid health. So our focus is on treating holistically our sex hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid.

I recommend that you call us at your convenience for a step one consultation to get more information. If time allows, you should do this prior to your surgery so you are armed with knowledge and next steps following surgery. You can call us at 513-444-6343. Cost for this consultation is $25.

Keep me posted on your journey. I’m so excited that my HHC has been around for 7 years and we now have 4 local hhc offices and two hhc “cousins” from my consulting business in Miami, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky (Middlesboro). Women are happy and feeling better. Educating women and arming them with knowledge on their bodies is my passion! Keeping them healthy is my other passion. Best to you always! ~lyn
www.happyhormonecottage.com

Do Your Homework Before Getting Pellets

Note: I have made a special pellets page with lots more information. Please refer to that page as it will answer most questions.

Below is an email I received followed by my response.

Hello. Thank you for taking the time to read my email.
I have a question.
I am a 39 years old female.
I went to a doctor that dose the testosterone pellets. I’ve only done it twice last year. It’s been 5 months since my last pellet injection. I was very concerned about having this done & asked a million questions. However I don’t think my doctor had a clue what he was doing.
So here I am 5 months later & I had my blood work done because my hair is falling out & I have the worst acne ever. My blood work showed I had 3x the amount of more testosterone then a man!
How long do the pellets take to rid my system & will my hair grow back? Will I fully recover from these testosterone pellets?
I’m very worried about the mistake I’ve made & I’m hoping the side effects are not long term.
My hair was thick before & now I’m almost completely bald. Will my hair grow back & stay?
Thank you again. I’m sure you get so many emails but I’d really appreciate any advice or knowledge to help myself at this point.
Thank you,
Heather

Hi Heather,
I am never too busy to read or respond to my emails. Thank you for emailing me. For more experiences like yours with pellets, please go to my website’s blog and scroll down to my blogs on pellets. They are popular and I’ve shared close to 200 emails from women with similar horrific experiences like yours. I’ve also written a book, “Own Your Journey……to Optimal Hormone Balance” for more information, and you can order this on my online store if you are interested.
At our Happy Hormone Cottages, we don’t believe in pellets. In fact, we believe pellets give what we do a bad name. We are ALL about HORMONE BALANCE in all areas: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone (our sex hormones), cortisol from our adrenal glands, and thyroid. Let me explain. We understand from the biochemistry of our bodies that we must refill our hormone receptors that deplete as we age, because our hormones perform many, many jobs in our bodies. Why do our hormones deplete? It is part of the aging process. Think about it. Years ago, most women (and men) didn’t live much beyond their 30s or 40s so their depleting hormone levels weren’t a big deal. But now that we are living into our 70s, 80s, and sometimes our 90s, we have to replenish them to continue to be healthy AND to prevent disease. Progesterone begins depleting around age 35 and is kind of a big deal because progesterone performs significant tasks like:
-promoting sleep
-preventing anxiety
-preventing depression (progesterone gives us our ‘joy of life’ feeling)
-preventing sugar cravings
-elevating our mood
-preventing aches and pains
-helping to prevent breast cancer
When our progesterone levels dip in our mid 30s, these above issues begin to happen. Sleep is impacted. Women become fatigued. Tired women don’t want sex, so libido decreases. This negatively impacts marriages. (This explains mid-life crises and why men look to younger women for their sexual needs) This is when women become aware of their hormones, although hormones have always played a huge role in our development from girls to women to pregnancy (and then on to and through the aging process to death). And this is when having the testosterone pellets implanted become popular. Putting a whopping dose of testosterone in our bodies does not make sense to us and in fact, we understand biochemically, the dangers of doing this. We never measure hormone levels in blood, except thyroid and then we do an 11 point thyroid blood panel in conjunction with our innovative thyroflex machine. We find just having a number in blood for our sex hormones and cortisol is somewhat meaningless. It does not give us much information. We are more interested in what our hormones-sex hormones and cortisol- are DOING inside our bodies; how they are metabolizing and methylating. Then we can work with our clients to create a strategy customized just for them, using our bio-identical hormone creams compounded from plant-based powders, to refill our hormone receptors over time for optimal hormone balance. Doing so eradicates the symptoms of our hormone imbalance (sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, low libido, brain fog, weight gain) and, more importantly, helps prevent disease as we age. What diseases? Osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia, breast cancer. Once you understand that estrogen, which depletes during Perimenopause and drastically depletes through menopause, performs over 300 tasks in our bodies to protect our heart and our brain; and testosterone that helps build strong bone (by signaling the osteoblasts to make more), helps memory recall, gives energy and helps libido WHEN we also address our tired adrenal glands……you will understand why replacing these hormones that deplete as we age is so important. In fact, our mantra is, “Hormones are to women what water is to plants!” I hope you now understand why we simply don’t believe in pellets- supraphysiologic dosing of testosterone just does not make sense when you are immersed in Functional Medicine, holistic health, like we are.
For you specifically, these testosterone pellets will decrease over time and your testosterone level will go back to what it was. But the damage to your body is more long-lasting. You can pick up saw palmetto (we sell it on my online store) to help stop the conversion of your testosterone to DHT for your hair loss. You can also get Biotin (yes-on my online store) to help grow hair. Over time, and you will need to be patient, your hair should come back. I’m hopeful that your acne will also subside as the pellets wear off. I highly suggest you give us a call at 513-444-6343 to set up an appointment for a consultation ($25) for over the phone or in person so we can work with you to restore your hormone balance. We have 4 Happy Hormone Cottages in the Cincinnati-Dayton area. Our nurse practitioners work at 3 of them. You can do everything off-site if you live out of our area, but you will need to come and see our practitioner in person for your hormone therapy prescription.
I hope this information is helpful to you. I often wonder why women go through with pellet implantations when they sense the doctor implanting them “doesn’t have a clue what he was doing,’ and more importantly, why there aren’t lawsuits against these practitioners and the companies who make the pellets? Someone, somewhere needs to be held accountable and this madness should be stopped. We spend a lot of our time helping women who have been negatively impacted by pellets.
Take care and keep me posted. I hope you decide to work with us. We are all about hormone balance and wellness. I’m most interested in your journey to health and wellness.
Best,
Lyn

Read more about our view on pellets here

To Do or Not To Do/ Clearing Up the Hormone Confusion

This just in. Another email from a struggling woman, needing help, and confused on what to do next. I love clearing up the confusion, myths and untruths surrounding hormones. Maybe this information will also help you.

Dear Lyn,
I had a hysterectomy back in 1997. I have not taken any kind of hormone medicine since for fear of the dangers. I am 50 year old now and am seeking some kind of treatment. I have no sex drive and I wonder if that’s part of the hormone changes with my hysterectomy. I haven’t had a sex drive in a long time. Plus, I have lots of mood swings. My doctor gave me an anti depressant thinking it would help. I need to know your thoughts and if your treatment is covered by medical insurance. Looking forward to hearing from you.

My response:
You are exactly right. Our hormones in our body perform many important tasks. As we age, as we have hysterectomies, whatever the cause, all women (and men) need to replace their hormone levels. We like to use Bioidentical hormones to replace these hormones in our bodies by refilling our hormone receptors with hormone creams created in a lab from plant-based powders. These hormones mimic in our bodies the hormones that we lose as we age, or from surgery. This is why they are called bioidentical. This has nothing to do with the drugs acting as hormones that were developed back in the 1960s by drug companies, and that were found to cause cancer and other health risks. Sadly, still today there is a lot of confusion, myth and untruth swirling around hormone replacement:
-is it harmful?
-will it cause Cancer?
-isn’t all hormone replacement (HRT) the same?
Our job at the Happy Hormone Cottage is to help clear up this confusion and to help educate women on the truth. You can go to my website at www.happyhormonecottage.com and click on Readings & Resources, to find studies, articles and books on the truth and the importance of refilling our hormone receptors as we age with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Our truth, based on studies by forward-thinking doctors immersed in Functional Medicine (focused on holistic health, anti-aging and the prevention of disease), and on the biochemistry of our body, is that all women over the age of 35, and sometimes even younger, need to refill their hormone receptors for a high quality of life and to prevent disease as we age. It always intrigues me that WE know this information, yet when we go to our doctors for help, we are often prescribed, as you were, antidepressants, or sleeping aids, or estrogen patches (for hot flashes) that help the symptoms but do not fix the cause of our issues…..which is hormone imbalance.
To answer your question on insurance, at our HHC, we do not have an insurance biller, but we do provide you with cpt codes so you can submit your testing kit and your nurse practitioner visit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Many women are getting reimbursed well. We also accept flex spending and HSA cards. A word on our testing methodology. We use an innovative, user-friendly take home dried urine strip testing kit that provides us with valuable information on not only your hormone levels, but more importantly how your body is using your hormones. This helps us know what your body needs in both sex hormones and in adrenal health, so we can create a strategy to heal your body by restoring hormone balance.
What is your next step? Check out my website, read an article or two, check out the following books to get educated and empowered:
-Natural Hormone Balance by Dr Uzzi Reiss
-Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Dr Jeffrey Dach
-any book by Suzanne Somers on hormones
When you are ready, give us a call at 513-444-6343 to schedule your appointment for your consultation ($25). Our goal is your best health naturally. Refilling your hormone receptors with customized compounded Biodentical hormone creams in the dosage your body needs to refill your hormone receptors is what we do, what we are known for, and why the women we work with speak so highly of us. I look forward to working with you!
Warmly,
Lyn

I Love What We Do……Fixing the Cause of Issues Like Libido

I just read the recent study, “Female ‘Viagra’ Only Modestly Increases Sexual Satisfaction,” which found that the new drug approved by the FDA to treat low sexual desire in women, Addyi, only “increases the sexual response in females by half of one sexual encounter a month.” I have to say I smirked when I read this. So let me get this straight…..women take this drug daily, with reported side effects like nausea, dizziness, fatigue and sleepiness…..for a benefit of one half of “one sexual encounter a month.” Seriously? This explains the low number of prescriptions written for this drug. After reading this article, I couldn’t help but be excited and proud all over again, that what we do at our Happy Hormone Cottage every single day is to fix the cause of issues, including libido, and not just band-aid symptoms with drug therapy.
Let’s talk libido in women. We know and understand that as we get older, by our mid-to-late 30s, our hormone receptors begin to deplete and we begin to experience issues related to this decrease in hormone production. (Progesterone, estrogen and testosterone) The most common symptoms reported at this stage are sleeplessness, anxiety, fatigue, and quite often, a lower libido. As women grow into their mid-to-late 40s, we can add weight gain, irritability, vaginal dryness, memory issues, hot flashes, and a significant decrease in libido. And if we include our tired adrenal glands, (responsible for cortisol production) that diligently try to keep up with our stress levels, and are often over-worked to the point of adrenal fatigue, we are at the point of no return. Let’s be clear. Tired and stressed women do not want sex! I often joke in my presentations, that there must not be a lot of sex in Ohio because most of the women I meet are exhausted! So what to do? I can tell you what we at our Happy Hormone Cottages don’t do. Our nurse practitioners don’t get out their prescription pads and prescribe anti-depressants, “female Viagara,” or big pharma hormone products- synthetic or otherwise! We actually begin by educating our women on the CAUSE of their issues, which can be explained in two words- hormone imbalance, whether it is with our sex hormones, cortisol and/or thyroid. So what to do? We offer cutting edge technology to test our hormones that not only tell us hormone (progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and cortisol) levels, but more importantly HOW our hormones are operating IN our bodies. We gather valuable information that is so much more informative than just giving us a number from a blood draw. From here, we work with each client to create a customized strategy that addresses in-depth the cause of her issues- her hormone imbalance. What we know in terms of libido is that just addressing our sex hormones is not enough in recovering our libido. We must also address our tired, over-worked adrenal glands. So we create a strategy that includes not only refilling depleted hormone receptors with customized, compounded hormone creams made from plant-based powders, but we also address adrenal dysfunction and adrenal fatigue. Jeff, R Ph, FAARM, has developed a proprietary blend of herbal adaptogens in two amazing adrenal support products that work on the brain to effectively deal with the symptoms of stress. These supplements effectively change cortisol curve patterns to give women energy during the day, and allows them to sleep at night. So over time, typically within a couple of months, adrenal dysfunction is healing and women are feeling more rested because they are sleeping at night, and more energetic during the day. By refilling hormone receptors for optimal hormone balance AND healing adrenal issues, libido returns. Even in our clients with flat-lined cortisol curves, true adrenal fatigue, adrenal function comes back over time as we work to not only refill hormone receptors, but also heal broken adrenal glands. Notice how our strategy works to FIX the cause of the issue, and is not about prescribing a drug that band-aids the symptoms. Doesn’t this just makes sense? For years, many doctors have been prescribing anti-depressants and sleeping aids for hormone imbalance issues such as anxiety and sleeplessness. My response is, “But you aren’t Prozac or Ambien deficient. You are most likely progesterone deficient. So let’s do viable hormone testing (not blood work) to see how your body is doing in regards to your hormones, so we can actually address and fix the problem.” Our strategy is working, and has worked for the past 7 years at our Happy Hormone Cottages. Women are sleeping; their fatigue is going away; their joy of life (progesterone related) is returning; they are hormonally balanced and addressing their cortisol issues. The bottom line is that by doing this and fixing the cause of their issues-hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue- libido is returning. And really…isn’t this the point? Fixing the cause of hormone issues naturally by refilling depleting hormone receptors and addressing adrenal fatigue is the way we roll. For more information or to make an appointment for your consultation, call us at 513-444-6343 or visit us online at www.happyhormonecottage.com.

What is your Wellness Strategy?

I heard a doctor at our recent anti-aging conference in Hollywood, Florida (Academy of AntiAging and Regenerative Medicine) say, “People would rather spend money remodeling their kitchen than spend it on their health!” I’m thinking most people would rather spend money on just about anything other than their health….unless, of course, it is covered by insurance. And I’m wondering why exactly is this? The more I know, the more I realize how very critical it is to OWN OUR JOURNEY to our very best health. The key operative words here are ‘To Be PROACTIVE.” Here is what I know: by the time symptoms of a disease/condition show up in our body, it has been developing for 5-10 years! I find this fact scary. The time to do something about it is at the very beginning or even better, BEFORE the disease even starts.

So having said this, what is YOUR wellness strategy?
-to hope for the best and do nothing
-to take a chance and hope you are one of the lucky ones
-to not think about it
-to get a yearly physical and be done with it
-to delay it until there is an issue
-to grab vitamins off the shelf at the grocery store and hope they work
-to embrace the philosophy, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

I used to think this way. Then the closer I got to middle-age, the more I began to realize how my actions today and every day DO affect my health and well-being tomorrow. Now that I’m IN middle-age, (and many of my friends are, too) I look around me and I understand the truth of this.
The fact is, those of us who invest in our health today have a significantly higher chance of being healthy tomorrow. So what might a helpful, beneficial wellness strategy look like?

1. Understand that you have to think for yourself and own your journey to your best health. This means taking responsibility for your actions in a plethora of areas:
-what you eat
-how you exercise
-how you view current standard of care’s limitations.
This will most likely involve a paradigm shift. Understand that we live in a country that focuses on dis-ease and not wellness. We typically go to our doctor when we don’t feel well. Our healthcare system (including insurance and drug companies) is focused on treating disease; which means by the time you see your doctor, you already have it. Yes, we DO also spend time and money on screening for diseases like: mammograms (Breast cancer detection), colonoscopies (colon cancer detection) PAP smears (detects cervical and uterine cancer) and PSA tests for men (detects prostate cancer). But I have to point out that screening for a disease is NOT the same as preventing a disease. Again, by the time a disease is detected, it has been developing in our bodies for years.

2. Understand that we ARE what we eat! Reading labels is imperative AND eye-opening. Dr David Purlmutter links eating wheat with a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s. We know consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. High fructose corn syrup does not get metabolized like sugar does. Instead it goes directly to the liver where it gets converted to fat. Obesity is a growing problem in our country, which promotes diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Eliminating or cutting back on wheat, gluten, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are positive steps in owning what we eat. And let’s talk about how our soybean and corn crops are sprayed with toxins like Round-Up (pesticides) and our crops are genetically modified and the environmental toxins that we are exposed to daily…..and we are set up for sickness and disease.

3. Your awareness that there ARE steps you can take to prevent disease:
> Be accountable for your health every day and believe that the choices you make today DO and WILL affect your health tomorrow. Every day DOES matter. A huge area of awareness and ownership is hormone health. Understand that the latest research shows “Hormones are to Women What Water is to Plants.” Refilling our hormone receptors as we age IS a definitive Wellness Strategy. This includes adrenal and thyroid health. Owning your journey in this arena of women’s health by educating and empowering yourself is imperative. Visit www.happyhormonecottage.com for more information. Our Recommended Readings section has the latest books and studies. Knowledge is power.
>   Find a Functional Medicine practitioner or facility, like my Happy Hormone Cottage, that promotes Holistic Health, and works to determine AND prevent your health risks. Are you aware that my Happy Hormone Cottage now offers extensive lab work for women (and men, through our sister company- BioMale Center for men) all billed to insurance, that provides a full lab panel from two prestigious labs: AML and HDL laboratories? The AML panel is a comprehensive blood panel that focuses on insulin, hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid. The HDL panel determines cardiovascular risk.  With this knowledge, we are able to determine the correct holistic health strategy that will decrease your odds of getting a disease and increase your chance of staying healthy.

> 4. Practice gratitude every day. I believe attitude is everything.  My 89 year old Dad still lives independently in a retirement village in Florida, walks his 2 dogs multiple times a day, works out in the fitness center 3 days a week, sings in a band and recently recorded his 2nd CD. His attitude is positive and upbeat. I think this speaks volumes!

> 5. Continue to serve others and work to make a difference in the lives of others. This is why I began my foundation-The Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation, whose mission is to “promote and support integrative health initiatives which prevent, treat or cure cancers that affect women.” I intend for this to be my legacy. Visit www.womenshealthinitiatives.org for more information.

My hope for you is that you don’t take your health for granted. Investing in yourself by protecting your health is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Having a daily wellness strategy can help guarantee a higher quality of life for the long haul. What steps will YOU today take to develop YOUR WELLNESS STRATEGY for YOUR healthiest tomorrow? Women, call us at 513-444-6343 to set up your step one consultation at our Happy Hormone Cottage. Men, you can call Jeff at 513-600-9879 to get started on your wellness strategy at our BioMale Center. Make 2016 your year to fully invest in you!

Six Year Reflection

When I began my Happy Hormone Cottage endeavor 6 years ago, I just wanted to help women regain their joy of life. After my own journey into the world of hormone imbalance, when my husband went back to school to become trained as a compounding pharmacist so he could help me, I became aware of the magnitude and the severity of the lack of real information available to women in this arena of natural hormone balance. We go to our trusted doctors for help and for answers and herein lies the disconnect. This is one area where the misinformation and confusion run rampant, and is often perpetuated by the media, with the big pharma agenda. There are tons of studies and books on natural hormone balance and the importance of replenishing our depleting hormone receptors as we age, to not only alleviate our symptoms (sleep issues, anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, low libido, hot flashes, brain fog, sugar cravings, weight gain) of hormone imbalance, but more importantly, to prevent disease (dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer.) Why aren’t these studies being discussed in the media? Why don’t our doctors know and understand the benefits, the necessity, of refilling our hormone receptors? Could it be because ob gyns join a group called ACOG (American college of obstetrics and gynecology) and I suspect ACOG is funded by a pharmaceutical company or two? Dr Prudence Hall is often quoted as saying, “Hormones are to women what water is to plants.” Why isn’t this truth more a part of standard of care? The bottom line is that it isn’t. So my job, my mission, my passion is to educate women on the importance of refilling our hormone tanks as we age. This is functional medicine at its best! Functional medicine is the study of our whole body (holistic health) and how to keep it running as a whole by focusing on preventing disease and finding/ fixing the cause of disease. This is a much different approach than current standard of care that band-aids symptoms and promotes the big pharma agenda of drugging for the masses. So here is where Owning Your Journey (the title of my book) comes into play. I hope the days of taking our doctors’ word as law are over and that we are encouraged to think for ourselves. This alone is reason to visit one of our 5 Happy Hormone Cottages where our biggest mission is offering educational consultations supported by studies and books on the subject, so women can own their journey to their best health naturally. After all, learning is a change in behavior, so educating ourselves on our options is the first step. I have seen a lot of growth in this area. More and more women are dissatisfied with how they are feeling, and with the subsequent lack of information and options offered at their healthcare practitioners’ visits, so more and more women are coming in to see us at our Happy Hormone Cottage. The first step is building the awareness that hormones are more than just a menopause issue. Hormones are everything and play an important role in our overall well-being, health and quality of life. My Happy Hormone Cottage is NOT a menopause facility. We deal with the hormone issues of life: irregular periods, infertility, perimenopause, menopause, and healthy aging.
Over the past 6 years, I have seen our happy clients tell their friends and inner circle, who have told their friends and inner circle so that we have exploded from one tiny cottage in the Heart of Centerville, to 5 different cottages in 5 different cities from north of Dayton to northern Kentucky. We have developed from just an educational facility to currently include a medical facility as well. We now have our own hormone health experts working on 3 of our campuses. I call Angela and Cathy, our nurse practitioners, our hormone whisperers, and we encourage our women to keep their ob gyns for their gyn needs, but to see our nurse practitioners for their hormone needs. After all, we take our pets to veterinary specialists and our broken cars to car experts. Why not take our hormone needs to a hormone specialist? Doesn’t this just make sense?
I have learned that we can’t treat sex hormones in isolation. We have much greater success when we also address our adrenal health and thyroid needs. Why? Because the body doesn’t work alone. So we heal it from the functional medicine holistic perspective. This is why we recently brought onto our HHC campus, the new FDA-approved Thyroflex machine that actually checks the function of the thyroid, as opposed to relying solely on bloodwork. This allows us to accurately evaluate the body’s specific need for type and dosage of thyroid support/medication.
During my tenure as executive director of the Happy Hormone Cottage, I have seen the healing effects of listening to and validating women. Everyone just wants to know they matter. When our women visit us, we listen, we validate, we educate, and empower, but at the end of the day, we make sure they know how much they matter to us.
So where do I see us going over the next 6 years? I have been getting asked this question a lot lately. My answer? I know I’m open to the possibilities! I know I don’t want to live a small life. I want to live my life on purpose and my unique purpose involves serving people. I know I want to continue to think BIG! Over the past 6 years, I have written a book (Own Your Journey, available at our HHC locations, and at happyhormonecottage.com/shop 24/7) and have updated it with a second edition coming out this month. I have developed a consulting business to train nurse practitioners around the country on how to do what we do, so more women can be helped. There is now a facility opening in Miami, Florida, that is based on the specific training we provided. In June of 2014, I sWHIF-logo-final-webtarted a foundation, The Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation (www.womenshealthinitiatives.org) to raise money for the prevention of breast cancer. If we can predict it, we can prevent it. Personally, I can think of no greater cause. Our second annual fundraiser called “New Hope for Cancer” is being held in Centerville on October 3, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Check out our website for details on buying a ticket or how you can help!
I know want to continue to educate and impact more and more women around the country on the importance of optimal hormone balance and refilling our hormone receptors that deplete with the aging process, starting around age 35, and sometimes younger (!) through speaking engagements, my books, my foundation, my consulting business, my website, my blogs… and ultimately encourage them to come and see us at one of our Happy Hormone Cottages. We now have women calling us from all over the country and driving and flying in from as far away as Texas and Florida to visit us and our nurse practitioners. I find this amazing and I’m ever so grateful that our circle of influence is expanding. Our mission has always been, and will continue to be women helping women. It is important. To put it simply, I just want to “Be the Change.” ~ Ghandi

What You Do Every Day Matters

This month marks my 60th birthday AND the 6 year anniversary of my Happy Hormone Cottage, where our goal is to replenish hormone receptors that deplete with age in all women. I’m happy to say we have evolved into a wellnessPortland facility with a focus on prevention of disease. Our expertise is not only restoring hormone balance in sex hormones, but also adrenal and thyroid health. And now, with the opening of our new BioMale Health Center for men, we have access to cutting edge technology and labs that can assess cardiac risk and over-all health assessment for our women, as well. Our clients can now come in and go full circle from the initial consultation, to convenient testing, to meeting with one of our nurse practitioners- all with the intention to, not only validate and educate women and meet them right where they are, but to get them feeling better and to ultimately prevent disease.
The fact is that what we do every single day matters. Jeff says to think about it as a 401K or an IRA for your health. Smart money advice is to set aside X amount of dollars per month with the goal of having a nice pool of money to retire in 10-20 years. Meeting this financial goal involves discipline every day. So why not have a 401K for our health? Staying committed to a healthy life style every day will improve your overall health in 5, 10 and 20 years so you can go the distance. Whether this means skipping that office donut, avoiding a fast food lunch, or blowing off a work-out…these things matter. When you look at people in their 70s with chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimers, etc., it isn’t that these people had a horrible life style, it is that they made the same choices we do every day. This is scary! Rather than give in to these daily temptations, telling yourself they don’t really matter, I would propose that we become more disciplined and proactive in regards to making good health choices every day. As noted brain specialist Dr Daniel Amen says so eloquently, “We must become warriors for our health.” I’m going to pass on spitting out the normal advice of ‘eat right, get plenty of sleep, avoid smoking and limit alcohol,’ and instead provide specific strategies for fine-tuning that warrior in you:
-There are certain foods you should avoid: wheat, including whole wheat, processed foods (foods in a box or bag), trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup.
-Limit sugar to 25 grams a day and total carbs to 80 grams a day.
-Take at least 2 grams of omega 3 DHA a day,
-30 minutes of moderate exercise (weight training, cross fit or yoga– NOT running) 3-4 times a week,
– eat lots of good fats: avocados, macadamia nuts, olive oil;
-fill your plate with 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 protein
-drink 64 ounces of water a day.
-Of course, adding optimal hormone balance to refill our hormone receptors is key.
Investing in specific health strategies like these today, proactively promotes a healthy quality of life tomorrow.
I began my hormone balance journey 10 years ago, when I was 49 and had to have a radical hysterectomy. I knew next to nothing about hormones then. Luckily, my husband, Jeff, RPh, did
and used his knowledge to guide me. Fast forward 4 years later to the opening of my Happy Hormone Cottage, where I just wanted to talk to women and share with them what I knew about the necessity of hormone balance. During the last 6 years, Jeff has gone back to school to get an Advanced Fellowship in Functional Medicine, and has spent countless hours mentoring my staff on our holistic health approach to finding and fixing the cause of issues. What I now know to be true is that hormone balance (sex hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid) isn’t only about eradicating symptoms for today, but more importantly, for the prevention of disease tomorrow. The choices we make for our health today do matter for our tomorrows. Knowing that I CAN decrease my risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, breast cancer, and insulin resistance, etc. by my choices I make now, motivates me to make the best, healthiest choices I can. I want to be a warrior for my own health! I’m worth it!

The Value of Taking Care of Ourselves Today Equals Prevention of Disease Tomorrow

I’ve spent quite a lot of time with my dad in his Florida retirement community over the past few years and, in fact, IMG_0760recently celebrated his 88th birthday with 140 friends and family, as he sang 4 songs with a band he hired and danced the night away. The next night I photographed him taking line dancing lessons to prepare for a part in an upcoming performance of a small theater troupe he performs, sings and now dances for. In between these activities, he spent an hour on the treadmill walking 3 miles and another 30 minutes on the weight machines. This was after he had spent 2 hours in “brain gym” where memory skills are heightened. Lest you think I am making any of this up, I have pictures to prove it. And this is his slow season! Needless to say, my amazing dad is not the norm! He watches his weight, takes a supplement strategy, works out, stays active and engaged, walks his 2 dogs through-out the day every day and most of all, he has a positive, upbeat attitude except when he has watches too much CNN! Yes, he has hearing aids (which he even wears sometimes!) and has a partial bridge of teeth in his mouth, but he is going strong.
Today, we walked over to the longterm care facility on campus to visit a friend who had been recently admitted. AsIMG_0761 we walked through the hallways, I saw first-hand the ravages of old age and the pay-off for, in many cases, people whom I suspect didn’t take care of themselves when they were younger, and are paying the price now. I’m not being critical or judgmental. All I felt was deep compassion for them, gratitude for the health of my dad, and the reinforcement of my commitment to continue to take care of myself NOW so I hopefully won’t end up here in a few years. My truth is that every choice I make for myself today WILL IMPACT my health for tomorrow and the key to my quality of life tomorrow is all about PREVENTION.
This is where the departure from current standard of care comes in. Current standard of care is all about treating DIS-EASE. I am all about WELLNESS. This is why I began my Happy Hormone Cottage, and why I continue to fight for women’s rights to their best health every day. Many, many studies show the value of not only eating right, watching our weight, and exercising, but also REFILLING OUR HORMONE TANKS AS WE AGE TO MAINTAIN A HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE. You can go to my website at www.happyhormonecottage.com to read any number of studies by leading experts Dr Jeffrey Dach, Dr Kent Holtorf, Dr Erica Schwartz, Dr Jennifer Landa and more on the necessity of optimal hormone balance as a means to PREVENT DISEASE as we age. Which diseases? Heart disease, osteoporosis, breast cancer and dementia. Nothing is more true than the adage, “Hormones are to women, what water is to plants.” My goal is to educate the masses so this information becomes common knowledge. If we aren’t getting this information from our doctors, we have to get it from somewhere. Getting this information out should no longer be an uphill battle. It should be common knowledge being spread through the masses by empowered women!
What I know from my experience in working with women, and also being one, is that women are smart! When they find something that works, they want to share. Our tiny little cottage has grown from one location to five locations and now women are demanding a place for their husbands and partners to go where they can also be validated and educated for their best health naturally. And they also want their partners to take a proactive approach to their health like they are. Welcome to our new healthcare facility for men…..”Bio-Male: Preventative Healthcare for the 21st Century Man!”
The idea behind Bio-Male is the approach of treatment strategies that mimic human male biology. Our bodies are complex and dynamic systems. Drug therapy tends to disrupt normal functions to treat symptoms. Symptoms develop LONG AFTER disease is present. Fifty percent of men that have fatal heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. This is not acceptable. Our clients will be tested on over 60 meaningful parameters that can identify cardiovascular risks at an early stage. Our goal is to identify risks and develop lifestyle and nutritional strategies to modify these risks. We will take a proactive approach to the 3 main hormones: cortisol, insulin and thyroid, and do comprehensive testing on these hormones with the goal to prevent disease. Bio-Male’s goal is to offer the best and most affordable options in preventative healthcare. I’m so excited that now our men in the Cincinnati-Dayton area finally have a place to go for a proactive approach to their health and aging, like our women do. For more information, contact us at www.biomalecenter.com or call us at 888-418-2037. Women can visit www.happyhormonecottage.com or call 513-444-6343 to make an appointment or for more information.