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Old 05-15-2007, 08:46 PM   #1
 
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Default Bioidentical hormones/HRT and peri/menopause symptoms

Anyone read Suzanne Somers book, take bioidentical hormones, or know anything about it? If you are on them, how has it been for you and what positive/negative changes have you seen? I've been researching this on the web. It's new to me and I want to learn more about this and possibly find a knowledgeable MD in the metro Boston/Metrowest area.

I'm 4-5 years into perimenopause. I no longer have night sweats, haven't had a migraine in almost a year, have the occasional hot flash when I drink something hot. But my hair is noticeably thinning in volume. I have weight that just won't come off, and my libido has definitely decreased. I would rather have night sweats every night of the week than have all this scary stuff happening.

I'm not interested in synthetic hormones. But if you are doing bio-identical hormones or phyto-estrogens and have seen positive changes, I would love to hear from you.
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:32 AM   #2
 
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I don't know much about it, but I have seen her interviewed and then they talked to a couple of doctors who say this is not safe and her research is flawed. Sorry, I don't remember the details.
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:42 AM   #3
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I have read the same thing. She's not a scientist.

One thing I have more faith in, though, is the use of HRT delivered through a skin patch instead of orally. It's not metabolized through the liver and it doesn't appear to have the same negative effects.
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:53 PM   #4
 
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my half-sister is 10 years older than me--she's 55--and went on bio-identical hormones 2 years ago after having a hysterectomy.

she really likes them, and says it makes a big difference in managing all those symptoms, particularly her mood swings. (she started peri at around age 53.)

but she says they need to be adjusted. she's lately putting on weight & is usually really slender, so the doctor is doing a bunch of tests to see what's going on and then will adjust the hormones accordingly.
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:08 PM   #5
 
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Heard the skin patch is better. I made an appt. with my PCP for a consult, but I think she would be more into the synthetic hormone stuff. I haven't read Sommers book but I think I'll reserve it. There is a lot of info on the web. I already got a referral to a practitioner in Boston and spoke to an MD in NH. I want to proceed with caution because I am not sure this stuff is covered by my health insurance, I would have to put it on my flex spending plan.
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Old 05-17-2007, 12:56 PM   #6
 
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my sister said it is not cheap.... keep me posted on what you discover. she lives in LA. i think she went to a naturopath. i can find out if you want.
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Old 05-27-2007, 07:36 PM   #7
 
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I have been on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy for about 7 years. I am currently 51. I started them to help me with the multiple symptoms I was suffering from peri-menopause. I was diagnosed with peri- just before age 40 and had actually been suffering symptoms since age 36. The MD I had at the time put me on synthetic HRT which within a year caused a bilateral pulmonary embolis. I was rushed to the hospital and given a 15% chance of surviving the night. I had just turned 40. After a week in intensive care, followed by 6 months of blood thinners to try to dissolve the clots in my lungs, I was released from treatment and told I was not to use HRT again.
It took me almost 4 years to find an MD who worked with natural hormones. He did an extensive blood work-up and put me on transdermal cream which helped with most, if not all of my symptoms. After that, I found a naturopath who also put me on intravaginal estrogen cream for the thinning and drying issues associated with menopause. The doses I use are very, very low. And it's been 7 years and I have not had ANY adverse affects AT ALL.
Your best bet is to find a naturopath or MD that works with bio-identicals and have him run the salivary tests on the gamut of hormones involved with premenopause/menopause. The salivary test is the most accurate. And yes, you should have them adjusted periodically, though I have done fine all these years with the same dosages. No, they are not cheap, particularly because there is a probability that insurance won't cover it, but when you break down the cost, it's not really that much more than you'd have to pay if you did standard HRT and had to pay out of pocket for it.
My personal opinion is that most MD's (read the AMA) are claiming bio-identicals are unsafe, because many - not all, but many - MD's probably get credits and kick-backs from pharmaceutical companies for promoting and prescribing their pharmaceuticals. They, not being trained naturopaths, haven't a clue about bio-identicals and are threatened by anything they don't know or understand.
And BTW, most naturopaths have to go to naturopathic school just as long as MD's go to medical school. The difference is that most do not do specialties, i.e. surgery, orthopedics, etc. but they do general practice, gynecology, etc. and some minor surgery. At least the one I went to did.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:40 PM   #8
 
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My primary care MD finally, finally recommended an MD who does bio-identicals in my area. I had a list of MD's from a web resource, and this doctor is on it, but I really wanted my primary to be in on this. Also it may be partially covered by my insurance since they asked what I have. I'm getting screened on 8/14 by an NP, then will see the MD later in the month. I am hopeful. I have never been so vague, forgetful, late, foggy as I have been for the last 3+ months. I know it's not depression because I was treated for that and know what it feels like. This is different and also includes low sex drive, resistant weight gain, changing sleep patters, etc. I still get my periods -- sometimes every 31 days other times every 45 days, occasionally just spotting. So hormones are definitely fluctuating.
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:23 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanbushbabe
My primary care MD finally, finally recommended an MD who does bio-identicals in my area. I had a list of MD's from a web resource, and this doctor is on it, but I really wanted my primary to be in on this. Also it may be partially covered by my insurance since they asked what I have. I'm getting screened on 8/14 by an NP, then will see the MD later in the month. I am hopeful. I have never been so vague, forgetful, late, foggy as I have been for the last 3+ months. I know it's not depression because I was treated for that and know what it feels like. This is different and also includes low sex drive, resistant weight gain, changing sleep patters, etc. I still get my periods -- sometimes every 31 days other times every 45 days, occasionally just spotting. So hormones are definitely fluctuating.
Wow, sounds a lot like me about 15 years ago. Except you could add radical mood swings to that list. My forgetfulness comes and goes now, as does my period. I've pretty much given up on the weight. I'll NEVER be a size 8 again, and imagining how wrinkled my skin would look if I tried keeps my at my current weight! LOL Sleeping patterns have been shot to hell for a loooong time now. We won't even go into the rest.
I recently got wind of a compounding pharmacy that is local (I usually do Rxs out of Washington state!), and found an internist who does the full hormonal screening - like 19 hormones - through salivary tests! Very excited about it. But it involves a regimen you have to follow and a LOT of spitting. I think I'll do it over the weekend. That way I don't have to interfere with my weekday work routine.
Good luck to you!
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:25 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alim1216
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanbushbabe
My primary care MD finally, finally recommended an MD who does bio-identicals in my area. I had a list of MD's from a web resource, and this doctor is on it, but I really wanted my primary to be in on this. Also it may be partially covered by my insurance since they asked what I have. I'm getting screened on 8/14 by an NP, then will see the MD later in the month. I am hopeful. I have never been so vague, forgetful, late, foggy as I have been for the last 3+ months. I know it's not depression because I was treated for that and know what it feels like. This is different and also includes low sex drive, resistant weight gain, changing sleep patters, etc. I still get my periods -- sometimes every 31 days other times every 45 days, occasionally just spotting. So hormones are definitely fluctuating.
Wow, sounds a lot like me about 15 years ago. Except you could add radical mood swings to that list. My forgetfulness comes and goes now, as does my period. I've pretty much given up on the weight. I'll NEVER be a size 8 again, and imagining how wrinkled my skin would look if I tried keeps my at my current weight! LOL Sleeping patterns have been shot to hell for a loooong time now. We won't even go into the rest.
I recently got wind of a compounding pharmacy that is local (I usually do Rxs out of Washington state!), and found an internist who does the full hormonal screening - like 19 hormones - through salivary tests! Very excited about it. But it involves a regimen you have to follow and a LOT of spitting. I think I'll do it over the weekend. That way I don't have to interfere with my weekday work routine.
Good luck to you!
And you too!
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:35 PM   #11
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I'm taking Bioidentical hormones (progesterone cream, testerone & estrogen tablets) because I had a total hyst 10 mths ago at the age of 31. I haven't noticed any difference in my hair yet except it grows a bit slower but it isn't thinner.

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Old 08-11-2007, 07:11 PM   #12
 
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My first appointment is this Tuesday. I am now getting hot flashes again (after more than a year without). My forgetfulness is getting worse: I left my wallet at a fast food place across town; I put heavy stuff at the back door to pick up and forget it's there so it stays there overnight. I have left my keys in the lock. My sleep patterns suck-- I wake up every couple of hours then go back to sleep and wake up in the am exhausted. I need some fixing, bad!
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:59 PM   #13
 
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UPDATE:

I just got prescribed after being screened and I am so happy and hopeful and relieved-- and I haven't even started taking the hormones yet! Spent about an hour with the doctor and she explained a lot, including an interesting one about hot flashes, how they are the body trying to spike estrogen production. Anyone in the Needham, MA area I recommend this office. It's called Womanwell and specializes in this stuff. One of the doctors used to be my OBGYN and did my myomectomy back in 1995. She quit her OBGYN practice and now does this. There's a compounding pharmacy (not related) right upstairs so I was able to drop off my prescription and they will overnight it to me.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:44 AM   #14
 
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I was searching for resources to answer someone's questions about bioidentical HRT, came across this old thread and thought it would be helpful to update since I'm now a year and a half into HRT.

I began taking bio-identical hormones (via prescription cream on my thigh) in Sept. of 2007. The major symptoms I was experiencing were reversed pretty quickly: I could sleep through the night, had more mental focus, reduction in fogginess/forgefulness, and sexual energy is back. No more balding spots. No more migraines. I kept on getting hot flashes for awhile but they decreased and finally stopped. I am in full menopause and no longer get any periods. My doctor has "tweaked" the prescriptions a couple of times and increased my dosage because of my reduced estrogen levels. She also has me on B12 (mental clarity), vitamin D and calcium (bone support). And they recommend thyroid supplements if called for (my thyroid's fine).

I had one side effect about 6 months into the medication, and that was a very large lump in my breast that was a result of an infection (I was biopsied and all was well). No other side effects. It went away with treatment. Other than that, occasional spotting. That's it!

The treatment is covered by my health insurance with a pretty high co-pay ($50) for the cream which lasts around 5 weeks. It's well worth it.

Here are 2 good sites for resources and information:

Project Aware

Power Surge
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:15 PM   #15
 
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Thanks for posting this. I'm about to turn 49 and have just started noticing a host of symptoms. Some are benign, such as the desire to wear looser clothing and stop coloring my hair.The lowered libido is a mild concern. The forgetfulness and lack of mental clarity is very troubling. I've had periods of forgetfulness before and they have passed. I'm trying to re-enter the work force as a professional and find myself feeling less than sharp. Long story short, I think its hormonal,even though I have regular periods.

I'm a little concerned about the breast lump you mention, since I do have cystic breasts. New lumps are always a little disturbing.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:37 PM   #16
 
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I'm a little concerned about the breast lump you mention, since I do have cystic breasts
I have microcalcifications and very dense breasts and this was my second biopsy. First was back in the '90's. My breasts are fine; I get mammograms every year, with ultrasound if necessary.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:22 PM   #17
 
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Did anyone see the shows Oprah did on this topic? It was quite good. There were two shows - one had Robin McGraw and Dr. Christine Northrup. She had a second one with Suzanne Sommers on it. The one with Robin McGraw and Dr. Northrup was really informative. Both of them are pro bio-identicals.

I'm really interested in them as well and was thrilled to see this thread. Although my periods are still very regular, my PMS symptoms are terrible. There are some months that people honestly don't realize how unsafe it is for them to be around me !!! It is all I can do to not rip someone's head off some days. Evening Primrose Oil has helped a lot, but I suspect I have a hormone imbalance. I never had it like this years ago.

Fortunately, I haven't suffered many of the other menopause symptoms, but it would be wonderful to be well informed before having to deal with the others. Having help for the mood swings would be SUCH a bonus. I hate being like this. Some months I don't know myself.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:21 AM   #18
 
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i went to see my endocrinologist this morning about my sleeping problems and forgetfulness - the first thing she suggested were bio-identical hormones.

now, i just have to find out if my insurance will cover them. we have a pretty good plan, so i hope they do. otherwise she gave me a huge bottle of Estrogel to start with.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:16 AM   #19
 
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so... not only will my drug plan not cover the bio-identicals, it turns out that i'm not even CLOSE to having hormone levels indicating approaching menopause. no peri-menopause... nada!



the doctor wants me to continue using the Estrogel until i see her next month, but i'm not comfortable using HRT if i don't need it....

maybe i'm just depressed....??? and the pain from the neuropathy (which is now constant and not relieved by anything including codeine) isn't helping. i don't know...
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:52 AM   #20
 
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I have been in perimenopause for several years now and started my quest for relief about 4 years ago. I am a professional and was suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, couldn't sleep, severe mood swings and a brain that seemed to be on the path to Alzheimer's disease.

I found Bio-identical hormones and they saved my life. I thought I was loosing my mind but I wasn't. Here is a good website to find doctors who can help: ACAM.org

I became so much better and so interested in alternative health care that I now work for a doctor's clinic that specializes in alternative treatments like BHRT, supplementation, and many others.

The right hormones can make a huge difference along with the right nutrition and supplementation. They can help without, but life can be better with all three. My only caution is testing. Make sure you get your levels checked at least every 6 months. Without testing, you may be dosing needlessly, which can bring back old symptoms. When you change your diet, hormones can improve so make sure your doctor keeps checking.

If anyone wants more info or has any questions, feel free to PM me. I'd be happy to help. It's also nice to have the medical resources I have access to.

I'm glad BHRT has helped so many.
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