What Every Woman Should Know About Hormones, part 4 of 4

So how do you get on bioidentical hormone? The self-dosing method that many women use, which is very unscientific of course, is to take dessicated animal hormones, such as thyroid, you can get at a health food store. These are natural supplements, and as such, are unregulated. (There are measures being actively legislated that would take our access to natural supplements away except as prescribed by M.D.’s. Europeans have already lost many of their rights to, for instance, higher-dose vitamin supplements.)

I recommend if you can afford it, however, you get a full blood panel and have a bioidentical specialist interpret it and get a compounding pharmacy to make your prescription supplements. Google “bioidentical hormone” and your state. Some practitioners are nurse practitioners, others N.D.’s, M.D.’s, even chiropractors with additional training.

Law requires your practitioner to get your blood tested every six months to make sure your hormones are at appropriate levels. Unfortunately most insurance companies do not cover the full blood panel for a holistic practitioner—or much of anything that practitioner does, actually. My practitioner doesn’t do the FULL panel ($400-$500) each time; she may just look at T3 for thyroid or anything we are concerned about.

You may be able to get an M.D. to prescribe the blood panel, so your insurance company will pay for it, but a bioidentical specialist should work with you.

(Incidentally, under President Obama’s health care reform, our ability to get bioidentical hormone through non-M.D. practitioners, and compounding pharmacies, is in serious jeopardy within a year or two. You can imagine that drug companies are threatened by the increasing competition from inexpensive, natural bioidenticals. They have exerted their influence over our policymakers.)

Find a bioidentical hormone clinic where you live (run by M.D.’s occasionally, but also nurse practitioners who can prescribe, or sometimes physicians’ assistants, chiropractors–who cannot prescribe–and other practitioners). Google it, or ask around.

In Utah Valley, the ones I know are Francine Opfar Weiss (Utah Health and Wellness Center) and Catherine Kipp (Utah Valley Wellness Center). They are both nurse practitioners with master’s degrees.

If you use a bioidentical hormone clinic you want to recommend, wherever you live, please feel free to comment here. One of my goals on GreenSmoothieGirl.com in the future is to have a forum or resource to post and review your recommendations for holistic practitioners.

By the way, I use a natural, bioidentical form of progesterone cream. I also take bioidentical thyroid, as I was exposed to massive radiation, having been a cow’s-milk-fed infant downwind of the Nevada Test Site, where the grass cows ate had 5,000 times the radioactive fallout deemed safe by our government. Many Utahns have sued the federal government and won damages for their medical treatment. I haven’t developed thyroid cancer, so I have no place in the settlement, even though I am thyroid suppressed. I’m doing very well thanks to an education, careful monitoring, and an excellent thyroid-supporting diet.

Suzanne Somers believes bioidentical hormones saved her life, now well over a decade past her cancer diagnosis. I, too, believe they play an important role in my health. I often use kelp tablets, naturally high in iodine and inexpensive to buy, or Nascent Iodine or Lugol’s solution, to help my body utilize thyroid hormone. I also use natural progesterone cream applied to the skin, and a bioidentical thyroid, made for me at a compounding pharmacy.

Again, this blog series is not intended as medical advice, and my own actions may be different than what you need. Like many if not most women, I am estrogen-dominant, and natural progesterone balances me very effectively.

My next post is about thyroid, which affects one quarter to one half of women in the modern world, and most of them are diagnosed.

Then, my post after that is about another hormone you may think of as a vitamin because it is rather misnamed—Vitamin D!

22 thoughts on “What Every Woman Should Know About Hormones, part 4 of 4

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  1. I have been on bioidentical hormones for about two years now and believe they so vastly improved my life that I would never be without them! I sufferend chronic pain for over 13 years that started in my early 30’s, I am now 46. I believe now that the pain was from the “normal” hormonal decline that all women face and also from a diet high in processed foods. I had gone to 6 different doctors all oh whom had no idea how to help me and all they could do was prescribe pain pills, my life was miserable until I found Dr. Adam Maddox of Thrive in Portland Or. He is a wise man for being so young and totally gets it when it comes to anti aging and hormone replacement. He uses saliva testing instead of blood panel, not sure why but he says it is more accurate. I only know that I was pain free about 7 days of starting my hormones! Life is so much better now and I will fight to keep my hormones!

    1. Becky, Dr. Lee (quoted in my article) explains in his books why the saliva testing is far more valid. So glad you figured this out! What a compelling story.

  2. Dasilva Institute, Dr. Guy Dasilva in Sarasota, FL is great and he is a functional medicine M.D. I would highly recommend Bioidentical Hormones as it saved me from surgery. I was estrogen dominant as well and the next step was surgery to remove my female parts. I got on bioidentical hormones and it has literally changed my life. I have attended one of your seminars in Orlando, FL and it was great:)

  3. Robyn: I am very interested in hormones. I am very scientific and I need good books. It seems you are the same. Could you please recommend your favorite and most helpful books on balancing hormones? Favorite websites? I would really like to learn about this in-depth.

    1. Anon, Suzanne Somers’ books and also Tanya Harter Pierce’s Outsmart Your Cancer (the part at the end about hormones) are very good, also Dr. Lee’s books (I reference him in this article).

  4. I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks this past november and since then gained weight and wasnt able to get pregnant again. After getting pregnant easily with my other 3 children this was very frustrating and difficult. I am only 30 yrs. Old and have quickly realized and researched that hormone imbalances can impact u at any age. We can even pass them on to our children. So after having a breast lump, and ovarian cyst and miscarriage last year and then infertility i started to connect the dots.I am just finishing my first month of prescribed progesterone cream. Didnt too too well on some from health store so ive learned that having it monitored is critical. Even getting too much progesterone will give u bad symptoms. So start small on the cream and see what works for you individually. This month on prescribed cream for me, so far, so good. I also have been on iodine for my thyroid for two months and I could tell a big difference there. I go to advanced health clinic on shepherds lane in farmington UT. Hormones are definately important to us women at all ages. Good luck to everyone!

  5. I need to read all of your posts in more detail for sure! I’m still kind of young I think to be thinking about this or am I? You seem so young to be on bioidenticals…or to need them yet. I think my hormones really mess with me for oh…two weeks a month – so you know…half of my life! I’m only 32! My Mom had menopause for 20 years and badly, until her rather recent sudden death (at the hands of many doctors and too many drugs) and I always told myself I’d prepare. Wonder what I can do now to keep things like that in balance and awesome? Good topic!

  6. In my mid 30’s I started having night sweats, hot flashes, and the mood swings. My doctor at the time just recommend estrogen cream with out testing and I didn’t like side effects so I stopped taking it. Then a few years later I moved and got a new doctor who said I need to be on HRT or I’d risk bone lose and heart disease. By then my Mother was a breast cancer survivor. After doing some research on natural hormone replacement. I looked up a compounding pharmacy near me told them I had a doctor who knew nothing about them. They recommended that I have my doctor write a RX for HRT and they would compound a bio-identical formula for me. After I told the doctor it was the only way she could get me to take them she agreed. Seven years later when I moved to a Las Vegas I called a compounding pharmacy for the name of a local doctor who treated with Bio-identicals. After more than 10 years on them, my bones were great. But after a Halo Breast Exam found that I had 25 Fibercytic cells in one of my breast. My new doc sent me to an oncologist who wanted me to stop my bio estrogen. So for a year or so I took Herbally Grounded balance formula. Now at 57 an on 80% raw plant based diet with no problem. Also my last 3 Halo Breast Exams were clear.

  7. I to was on biodentical hormones but didn’t feel good about it. I gained weight and ended up stop taking. I’m 50 years old going thru menopause naturally. I do drink green smoothies.

  8. Thank you so much for this blog series, Robyn! I think that many women do not know that they have other options than what their doctors tell them. I was struggling with hormone related issues (low progesterone and estrogen!) and my doctor wanted to give me birth control, prozac and recommended I see a psychologist! I was very taken aback. I took none of his recommendations! I did my research, and I found a doctor that would prescribed bioidentical hormones. I was impressed by the thoroughness of the testing he did. Also, I was impressed by how closely he listened to me and the amount of time he spent with me discussing my options and helping me understand how each worked. He encouraged me to bring my husband with me. He even recommended what I now take. I didn’t realize when I was researching that he is Catholic and his clinic is as well (not that it would have deterred me from going to him, but most people go to him because they are Catholic). I just wanted to mention this so that if people are having trouble finding a Doctor who is not a prescription drug pusher, it could help in their search. 🙂 Thank you again so much for sharing your research and valuable information. It is, as always, so helpful!

  9. I have been considering bioidentical hormones for over a year. I’m 52 and experience hot flashes, weight gain, brain fog, exhaustion (even though exercise 4-5 x week) and vaginal dryness. I can’t get over the worry of the risk of cancer. Should I continue to look into it or suck it up and deal with it…very confused about the topic. Any suggestions or additional information or readings? Thanks.

    1. Ahhh, Nancy, take a look at how the symptoms you have stated here are related to hormone imbalance. Hope you can get in to a bioidentical clinic ASAP! 🙂 Don’t suck it up. Fix it.

  10. I too took bio-identical hormones for menopausal symptoms. I live in France and talked it over with my gyno., who is very forward thinking. I told her what I’d read in a book that I recommend to Anon. by Dr. Christiane Northrup (about Menopause) in which she talks about and explains very thoroughly the importance of progesterones as related to hormones.

    I’m now 57 and haven’t taken anything for over a year. For about 5 years we changed my dosage and at the end I just had a progesterone cream to apply every couple of days.

    I have friends and family back in the States who suffer needlessly from hot flashes and other peri- and pre-menopausal symptoms. I urge all women to inform themselves and seek help and bio-identical solutions.

    Thank you Robyn for bringing to light this subject … I’ll be starting my green smoothies when I get back home after my vacation with family here in Georgia.

  11. This may sound a little off the wall but was a movie made about the whole cow/radiation issue in Utah? I keep trying to find a movie I watched years ago where what the cows ate caused much of the town to get cancer. Anyway — If you know of the movie, I’d love to find out the name. I think it was a made for TV movie years ago.

    1. Veronica, not sure—but there has been a lot written about it, to be sure. There was a movie filmed in So Utah during the detonations, when the govt was telling everyone everything was fine….and 15 years later, over 90 of the actors and personnel (John Wayne was one) in the movie had gotten cancer. Lucky me that I grew up “downwind” during the tail end of the detonations!

  12. Robyn, thank you so much for the info for Utah County. I have been wanting to look into this for some time now but it seemed all the clinics were in SLC. I love your blog and your information has already changed my life (daily green smoothie drinker) so I’m looking forward to solving this new piece of the puzzle.

  13. I’ve been searching for answers as well! My body feels out of whack, I’ve been trying to change it with diet, essential oils, and exercize. I have been wondering what to do, but not believing my current OBGYN would take me seriously. It’s good to know who is around here to see (in Utah), what to have tested, and what sorts of questions to ask. Thanks for the specific details.

  14. What law, “Law requires your practitioner to get your blood tested every six months to make sure your hormones are at appropriate levels” are you referring to out of curiosity? I asked to have my hormones checked by an endocrinologist about 8 years ago and she told me I was “a stupid woman” and that they only thing that was wrong with me as that I had high blood pressure. I was devastated, shocked and hopeless. Finally after continued health deterioration, my GP finally tested my thyroid and found me to by hypo. Currently on Synthroid as that is all my GP will prescribe. I live in the Kansas City area. I am really interested in knowing what law you are referring to. Thanks for all you do.

  15. Hello Robyn,

    I really appreciated your blogs on hormones! A year ago, I decided that I was low on progesterone, based on my symptoms. I went to someone in Orem named Mark Johnson…have you heard of him? He is not a doctor, but he uses a computer program similar to Dennis Remington, MD, to test your body systems through acupuncture sights. He can test for allergies and hormone levels, and other imbalances. Then he uses sublingual drops that are tinctures of , for example, progesterone amongst other things. Incindentally, the sublingual allergy treatments have really helped one of my kids prone to allergies. Anyway, I am wondering if you are familiar with him and this type of progesterone treatment? If so, what is your opinion? It has seemed to help my symptoms, but I am feeling that I should follow up with someone like you recommended for a second opinion?

  16. Bioidentical hormones changed my life! At 48, I had all but lost my mind and didn’t know why. It got so bad I left my husband and four children because I was so severely depresses and anxiety-ridden that I thought they were better off without me and me without them. I had no idea that it was due to hormone imbalance and that it could be fixed! Thank God I found a great doctor and he told me he has seen women go from wanting to leave their husbands and kill their children (not literally) do a 180. It was certainly true for me! I am happy to say that I have been on bioidenticals for a couple of years and my wonderful husband, who is very understanding, took me back (my teens coped very well too) and we are one big happy family again. My nurse practitioner recommended I supplement with DIM, which helps to remove bad estrogen from your body. I did notice that after I started taking the DIM, the soreness and intermittent pain in my breasts went away. My doctor is located in Largo Florida and his name is John Young from Foundational Health clinic.

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