Adventures in Bioidentical Hormones and a Small Non-Update

I first heard about bioidentical hormones about four years ago from a friend who was investigating them to combat infertility.  I’m not sure if she ever went on them or not, all I know is that she hasn’t had any biological kids in the past four years.

But ever since she clued me in and I read the book, It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!, I have thought maybe it would be nice to go through menopause just so I could maybe get a doctor to prescribe me some bioidenticals and see if they would maybe relieve my migraines.  But when wheat started triggering the migraines?  All bets were off.

Menopause be dammed, along with traditional doctors who don’t know, or give credence to, the difference between traditional hormone replacement therapy and bioidentical hormone replacement.  Okay, okay, I’ve always pretty much had the “doctors be dammed” mentality anyway.  Again, I’ve known tons of them and like them personally, I just don’t like most doctors professionally.

Anyway . . . I found a doctor here in my corner of Canada South who treats patients using bioidentical hormones, and now I am going to start chronicling my experiences with bioidenticals on my blog.  I’ll make sure the title somehow indicates when I’m focusing on hormone stuff so that you can just skip those posts if you want to.  In the meantime, just know that, starting tonight, I’ll be using bioidenticals.  So if I start to post crazy things here or on Facebook, you’ll know why.  And, incidentally, I’ve decided not to post about this on Facebook because I have guy friends there and I know some of them get all squeamish and uncomfortable when women start talking about hormones.

So now you’re thinking, “But E.!  You probably have one or two guy blog readers, and one of them may even be a teenager!”

Yeah, well, whatever.

Now, should I explain the difference between traditional HRT and bioidenticals?  Just in case you don’t know, here is the (very basic) skinny:

Traditional hormone replacement therapy is made primarily from the urine of pregnant mares (horses) and is molecularly similar, though not identical, to the hormones our own bodies produce (because, really?  when is the last time your body made horse pee?).  Bioidentical hormones are, I believe, plant based and are molecularly identical to the hormones our bodies produce.  I think I am stealing the following analogy from It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!  Think of a lock and a key.  Traditional HRT would be like the key that fits in the lock but doesn’t actually turn it (though traditional HRT is probably more dangerous than a benign, improper key) and bioidenticals are like the key that both fits into the lock and turns it – they accomplish exactly what they are supposed to accomplish. 

Like I said, that is just a very basic, basic, basic explanation.

So two weeks ago I went to the doctor (who is an actual M.D. and is marketing her practice as one of “anti-aging medicine”) (apparently not uncommon amongst those who understand and treat with bioidenticals) and told her I’m not looking to “anti-age” (though who wouldn’t want to, really?  especially when staring down the barrel of her 40th birthday?) but that I am looking to do something about my migraines so that I can hopefully eat like a normal person again (though it can easily be argued that a “normal” person’s diet in the USA is pretty much a death sentence anyway).  She had the nurse take gobs and gobs of my blood and sent me home with a saliva test kit, and today I went in for the follow-up appointment to see what the good people at the blood/spit lab found out.

Drum roll please . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

My vitamin D is low (like there is anybody left in the continental US who doesn’t have low D?).

My homocysteine level is high (horribly high, as far as I can tell) (horribly, horribly high), so I will be taking folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 to try to bring it down.

My thyroid is normal, but on the low side, though she is going to leave it alone for now while we treat . . .

My low progesterone,

My low testosterone, and

My low estradiol.

Here is a rundown of what those three hormones are/do:

Progesterone

In women this is produced in the adrenal glands and ovaries.  It regulates your menstrual cycle, sustains a pregnancy, aids in bone building, promotes energy production in the brain, and protects against nerve cell damage.

Estradiol

This is one of the three estrogen hormones.  Yes, estrogen is not one hormone, it is three: estradiol, estriol, and estrone.  It is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat cells.  Estrogen in general is important to bones, reproductive tissues, the urinary tract and blood vessels.  Estradiol specifically seems to play a key role in the development of secondary sex characteristics, which means low estradiol could explain why I have no boobs. 😉

Testosterone

Really?  Do I need to tell you much about this one?  Let’s just say I’m keeping a close eye on my bioidentical testosterone supplementation because I don’t need to shave my hobbit feet any more than I already do.  On the other hand, my husband is undoubtedly hoping to reap some benefits; and at $120.00 per month for office visit, bioidenticals, and supplements, this could potentially up the average for a lot less than getting a hooker (not that he would ever do that).

So this is the beginning of my adventures with bioidenticals.  My doctor, believe it or not, has recommended that I read some of Suzanne Somers’ books, so I have started with Ageless.  I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous to be gleaning medical advice from Chrissy Snow, but you know what?  I’ve learned more about nutrition from reading Marilu Henner books than from anything or anywhere else.  Rock on, Elaine.

Now for the non-update:

No news.  Still.  Nothing.  So should I send George another Facebook message and just spill my guts about the blog and everything, or is that kind of stalkerish?  I have no idea if he just doesn’t check his Facebook and accompanying email account or if he just wants to leave his past in the past.  Decisions, decisions.

And George, since I just talked about you in the last paragraph, it seems weird to have Tewt the Newt say anything.

5 thoughts on “Adventures in Bioidentical Hormones and a Small Non-Update

  1. Being a biologist, I actually understood everything you said! And, you said it quite well, in fact. 🙂 I hate talking to doctors and being the one to give the information and recommendations. So, here’s hoping that this will work for you. And, beware of any popular science book. If there are citations, I would seriously consider looking up a few of those and read the paper for yourself. The statistics can be made to say anything, so actually reading the methods and how they interpret their data is often illuminating. Good luck!!

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  2. Dianna

    I’m not anti-medical establishment which would seem obvious, since my husband is a doctor, but truly – some of the people he went to med school with??? I wouldn’t let touch me with a 10 ft pole. I think the most important part of any doctor/patient relationship is respect. If the doctor respects your insights and information – and you do the same – then you’re going to get effective medical care. So… to sum up my rambling… I’m so glad you’ve found someone that you feel comfortable with AND who is listening to you! I will be anxiously awaiting new posts on your funky hormone situation 🙂

    Oh, and I totally vote for a little more stalking. Send him another message!

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  3. Christina

    I’m very interested in the biowhatever hormones. Especially since 39 seems to be the new 13 (hormonally/emotionally speaking) and I’m kind of freaked at the idea of having all my hormones revolt on me sometime in the next ten or so years.

    I have a close (female) friend from highschool who I tracked down on FB, tried to “friend” multiple times and … no response. According to another friend, she just wants to leave high school in the past. But it totally bothers me. Because, obviously, I must have DONE something that causes her to not want to ever speak to me again, right? And yet I have no idea what. All that to say… no idea what you should do about George. But I hope he’s a better friend than my friend and decides to respond.

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  4. Brandon

    Thank you! Finally someone who doesn’t believe all the nonsense that the media and big pharma tries to cram down our throats. I’ve been on bioidentical hormones for three months now and I feel great. I’m sleeping better, I wake up feeling rested and that midday fatigue that would always hit me like a ton of bricks is gone! Looking forward to reading your journey to hormonal balance!

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