Bio-Identical Hormones - Anyone on them?

Jane Royse

Cathlete
I was taken off "regular" hormones a few months ago. I am absolutely miserable (migraines, insomnia, hot flashes, dry hair...& we won't even talk about my moods)! Has anyone tried bio-identical hormones? I trust opinions from the wonderful women here on the forums! Are they totally prohibitive cost-wise? Any thoughts, insights would be appreciated! TIA Side note - I have tried several herbal remedies - Royal Maca, cohosh, but nothing has helped.
 

aussiekers

Cathlete
Hi Jane, yes I am on them. I did the saliva test and questionaire that gets sent away to a lab. This is done through your doctor or maybe you can start it through a pharmacy which makes their own creams etc. Anyway, when the tests come back it has the information for your doctor to recommend what you need. I'm on an Estradiol and a Progesterone cream, the first I use twice a day and the second in the evening. Good luck researching it. I feel it has really helped me.
 

ReneePruitt

Cathlete
I wanted my doc to do this when the time comes but he says he doesnt recommend reg hormones or bio... hum im thinking of finding a diff doc. Hard to ffind a good one around here!!!
 

hokypoky

Cathlete
Yes, I have been on bioidentical hormones for about 6-7 years now. I am 43 and went into early menopause due to a hysterectomy I had to have. I know I am miserable without the hormones, and my levels were rock bottom.

I take a little compounded pill of test/est/prog once a day, and I think it's a pretty low dosage ... I started at a minimum level and they increase the testosterone a little the first month and I've been at the same ever since.

Every time I see a doctor I ask about the risks, just because .... my ob/gyn's opinion is that there is a risk but you have to weigh out quality of life. He says that if this greatly changes my quality of life (and it does!) then it's okay for me to stay on it. The biggest risk is breast cancer, yes? I have mammograms yearly.

I changed to a new internist this year and had a full physical. I asked him the same question. He said studies have found very little risk under age 50, so I plan on staying on the hormones until then at least! After that, we'll see. If I go off of them and go back to the fatigue and depression, well, that is not a good way for me to live, even with regular exercise and healthy eating!!!
 

janiejoey

Cathlete
Jane,

I had taken them for awhile until my symptoms had subsided. You do need to take the saliva test and then you can take that test to a compound pharmacy and they will create the creams for your body based on your test.

It's a relief and very livable. Sometimes (as I got older, now 61) I felt the hormones made me feel not so good, (overdose feeling, but just know that and you'll be fine) so taking smaller amounts (even skipping a day or two) until it fit me worked beautifully. It is such a relief and life can be good again. Trust me, eventually things will cool down. For some it takes longer than others. For me it was about 16 years. I'm now on just one hormone and that is Estrace and only about 1/2 size of a pea and only about once every two weeks. It's for my dryness. Just listen to your body.

Janie
 
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Janis

Cathlete
This is a timely query. I’ve been viewing a lecture by Dr. Diana Scharzbein on this very topic. I recommend her menopause booklet and lecture, Menopause Power. You may find it here: Learn how to treat menopause safely with bioidentical hormones and here: Schwarzbein Principle - Home - Endocrinology - Controlled Carbohydrate Plan - Vitamin Supplements - Menopause Testing

I have not started on therapy, but what she recommends is bio-identical hormones delivered in a bio-equivalent manner. What does this mean? In a way which mimics how the body formerly produced and delivered the missing hormones. She recommends you restore only the missing hormones. The delivery method is not oral. She suggest you bypass the liver by using transdermal estradiol patches or using vaginal suppositories or gels. You cycle the hormones with daily use of estradiol and then 11-14 days only of progesterone.

You will need to work with your doctor, getting appropriate blood level and saliva tests, and using other diagnostic tools regularly, and also use a compounding pharmacy.

She cautions against using continuous combined therapy, and she also does not recommend using topical gels or creams as she states they can accumulate in the fatty tissues.

One final note – she contends that menopause is not a phase that comes to an end. But rather menopause is the permanent loss of the sex hormone system. Her goal isn’t to just treat the symptoms, but to balance all hormonal systems and prevent the other degenerative diseases of aging.

HTH
 

mesilla67

Active Member
I hit menopause at 44. I use a bio-identical estradiol cream in am and progesterone in pm. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings are all gone. They have made a huge difference for me. My dr also said the risk of breast cancer is lower if you are younger when you start taking them
 

exercise-lover

Cathlete
I also used bio-identical hormones that I got thru a compounding pharmacy. I used them for many years and gradually, as I got older, reduced the amount until I got off them. They were wonderful -- so much better than premarin, etc. The kind I used was a cream. I had to pay for them myself because the amount my insurance paid was so tiny it wasn't worth the hassle of filing for them. Hope you find the relief you need. Good luck.
 

Jane Royse

Cathlete
Thank you, everyone, for your input. You really helped me make up my mind. I've made an appointment with an ob/gyn that does prescribe bio-identical hormones. April 12th can't come soon enough! ;)
 

SirenSongWoman

Cathlete
At 51, the only change I've noticed is lighter periods but I think it's starting. After reading these posts I really wish I hadn't cut out Flexible Spending if insurance isn't going to help much.

I just remember my late mother had to have a full hysterectomy in her early 40s but she was miserable until her doctor put her on hormone pills. She was a smoker and didn't pass until 79, of natural causes.
 

NY25

Cathlete
What is the origin of these? Are they animal by-product / cruelty free? I'm not there yet, but I would never consider taking, for example, Premarin, due to the unbelievable level of animal cruelty involved its production. What's up with bio-id's?
 

ReneePruitt

Cathlete
NY25. I heard and read the natural hormones r from plants. The ones that docs prescribe that are not natural r made from horse urine. I may b wrong but i read a book about it. But thhe natural plant based is more like human natural hormones r body produces on a cellular level. Again imm not sure how accruate that is. I take thuings i read with a grain of salt til i read it in different places sayn same thing lol.
 

exercise-lover

Cathlete
Yes! The word Premarin comes from PREgnantMARe'surINE! I did not know that when my doctor put me on them right after my hysterectomy. As soon as I found out, that's when I read Christianne Northrup's book and made the change. My body felt so much better on the bioidentical hormones.
 

ReneePruitt

Cathlete
Man i hope i can find a good doctor soon. Tthe one i have.. we dont mix well he wants to prescribe pills for everything. Never seems to find out y ..just cover symptoms. I dont like that. As far as hormones he said if i wont want to try reg hormones the bio isnt any better. N he clams up. Im 42 now so im looking around now. I like options.
 

sunsdaughter

Cathlete
As a doc, I tend to counsel against hormones, especially their long term use. There's clear data out there that shows the direct link between HRT and breast cancer. I see and take out too many breast cancers to ignore this link. I also agree that quality of life is VERY important, so just make sure that you have a detailed and thorough discussion with your doc about the potential risks, expectations/indications, your personal and family medical histories, and the plan for screening for breast cancer. The longer that breast tissue is exposed to estrogen, the higher the risk of developing cancer, as estrogen continuously stimulates breast tissue.

Just food for thought. The bottom line is to have a detailed discussion with a doc that you trust about these issues. Good luck!!
 

Ivy

Cathlete
As a doctor, what sort of recommendations do you make to your patients who are having premenopausal issues and or menopausal issues. I am not saying I am going to go out and do as you have recommended to your patients, I know one should always check with their doctor because each situation is different. I am just curious as to the sort of things you recommend. This is such a big issue for many women.
 

ddj

Cathlete
The longer that breast tissue is exposed to estrogen, the higher the risk of developing cancer, as estrogen continuously stimulates breast tissue.

But what if your estrogen levels are within range and your progesterone is practically non existant (which is my situation). I was told that made me estrogen dominant which is another potential cause for female cancers. And if progesterone is the balancing hormone and you aren't making any, your hormones are definitely out of balance. That's not good either.
 

ElleJay

Cathlete
Man i hope i can find a good doctor soon. Tthe one i have.. we dont mix well he wants to prescribe pills for everything. Never seems to find out y ..just cover symptoms. I dont like that. As far as hormones he said if i wont want to try reg hormones the bio isnt any better. N he clams up. Im 42 now so im looking around now. I like options.

It's so hard to find a good doctor - I found a wonderful one but she disappeared on me. Something happened in her life and all of her practice got letters saying she would be out for two years :(. The man who is subbing for her totally screwed up an out-patient procedure and then told me I would have to do it again but under general anesthesia. Yeah, I jumped on that one, especially when I found out that I had to pay for the screwed up procedure and the one under general if I decided to go that way. And when I went to pick up my records to find another doctor, the nurses were saying that they didn't blame me. Apparently I am not the only unhappy person.

So I went to another doctor on the advice of a co-worker. She didn't even glance at my file before she walked in, then wanted to do an exam on me and that was something I just wasn't expecting. DOH. Then wanted to put me on birth control pills and do the same procedure again that was screwed up before saying that she was 'much better at it'.

I got rid of the BCP's at the next pill turn in in my county and have not been back to any gyn doctor. I was a lab tech and have some understanding of what's going on, so I really do want to get everything resolved, but I also want a doctor to at least listen to me - or to at least glance at my 10 page file before walking in and stop repeating tests.

Sorry for the long post, just a bit frustrated and hormonal today ;) I do use the doctor reference sites before I go to a doc, however it's like when you research a product. It seems the only people who really post reviews are the ones that had a bad experience.
 

jackie7

Cathlete
How long do you stay on bio identicals? Suzanne Summers still takes them and my sister's friend is well into her 60s and still takes them.
 

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