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!