"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wow, wouldn't it be great if we all had a group like this in our cities?

I just saw this article in the St. Louis newspaper, a group that meets once a month to discuss women's health issues. Wow, that's something I would love to start in Charlotte.

How To Fix Health Care: Four Weeds to Remove

This came up this morning from Time Magazine, and I think it's an excellent article. Pay particular attention to the part about medical billing, I hear an awful lot of complaining about doctors who will not accept insurance reimbursement for services. I've been mired in a nightmare system with insurance companies for 17 years and I am absolutely appalled by the reimbursement rates, I guarantee you they do not allow my doctor to make any profit on me after the hassle he has to go through to get any payment at all. It makes me sick, which of course, is not good for my health! Read this article, it's important and affects all of us.

Interesting Study on How-----

Taking birth control pills can affect a woman's ability to build muscle mass. Read about it here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

Oh, there are so many catagories this could fit into: doctors who blow off their patients, people who would rather whine and complain than at least read some websites/articles/books on BHRT, big Pharma-----here's the quote:

"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."
- Unknown

The Latest on Nutrition and Menopause

From the website Third Age. I tried black cohash for hot flashes and it didn't work for me, but for some women it provides a measure of relief. Get out there and enjoy this spring day, everyone, it's beautiful here in Charlotte!

Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis

This article is from Web MD, and it talks about how using very large doses of Vitamin D (which is quickly becoming the new wonder vitamin) can drastically reduce the number of relapses in people with MS.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Know For Many Of You, Menopause Is No Laughing Matter----

But if you ever get a chance to see Menopause the Musical when it comes to your town (I believe it's again on a national tour), be sure to go see it. I laughed so hard I cried, and it was before I got hormonally balanced! Read about it here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oprah Show Doctors "Weigh In" on Weight Gain

Drs. Oz and Roizen, the two doctors who appear regularly on the Ophan Winfrey Show, have written and article on four of the common reasons women (and men) gain weight as they age. Click here to read the article, some of it (most of it) relates to hormones!

Here's the link to the message boards for the show "The Doctors"

The message boards over there are not as busy as the Dr. Phil show last week, but there are a number of people posting. Click here to get to the message boards.

Review of the TV Show "The Doctors"

I went into watching this show with absolutely no hope that anything substantial would be discussed, because quite honestly, I thought the Dr. Phil show last week was more interested in promoting Robin's book than actually educating women on the facts surrounding bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

However, I will say that I thought this presentation was marginally better than the Dr. Phil Show last week. Of course, there were the requisite shots of Robin playing with her dog in the front yard of her home, and of her posing for the cover of her book, and I think that time can be better spent. She sat at the table with the four doctors who are the "regulars" on the show. One of the annoyances for me was this whole hype of how talking about menopause is "shameful" and women were shown in taped pieces saying they never talk to their girlfriends about this, that their mothers and grandmothers went through this behind closed doors (who cares, this is 2009), and on and on. Again, wasted time.

Robin talked about how she was in full blown menopause at the age of 43, and her doctor told her "life as you know it is over". I've heard that until I am ready to barf. She talked about having night sweats and hot flashes, which as most of you know, are very common, and sometimes debilitating symptoms of menopause. Then she went to a doctor who put her on bioidenticals, and suddenly menopause is "ok", "fun" , and my personal favourite, "the time of your life". OK, Robin, we get it, that's enough now.

Of course, the next step is to take a perimenopausal woman to the Prudence Hall Center in Los Angeles. I swear this is giving women the idea that she is the only hormone doctor on the West Coast (if you want a great one in the Palm Springs area, email me, his name is Dr. John D. Carr, he is without a doubt the most knowledgeable and compassionate doctor I have ever dealt with, and he is super easy to talk to---phone number is 760-779-5511). Dr. Hall spoke to the woman (with Robin sitting right there, of course, for moral support) and Dr. Hall told the woman she has hormone deficiencies and that they will only get worse without bioidentical hormones. Next stop, a compounding pharmacy (I don't know where the pharmacy was located, I suspecct its the one that the Hall Center sends its patients to). Actually, I have to say that segment at the pharmacy was pretty interesting, they showed how the creams are prepared, how troches are prepared (they're a gummy/candy like substance you take orally, another delivery system for hormones, I think the example they used was DHEA).

Next segment was the patient and Dr. Hall sitting in the audience, and the patient gushing about how great she felt, and of course, thanking Robin for her help. Dr. Hall went on to speak about how bioidentical hormones are usually compounded so that each patient gets the dose best for her individual needs. One thing I did notice is that andropause (the male version of menopause) was not discussed.

On the upside, the show at least BROUGHT UP the topic of the cost of bioidentical hormone therapy, a subject that was totally ignored on the Dr. Phil show. The young female doctor said that actually some bioidentical hormones are commercially available (and she's right, the two most common are the Vivelle Dot --- which is a patch, and Climara, also a patch). I believe there are some oral hormones that are also considered "bioidentical" but are not used because they turn into a different hormone once they hit the liver. Dr. Hall said that she in fact, does use some commercially prepared hormones in some instances, but pointed out that some compounded preprations turn out to be cheaper than the copay for a commerical preparation. I think the example she used was estrogen, and that one was true for me, I was surprised by how cheap estrogen (estriol) is.

Another positive note is that Robin talked about how when she first went on BHRT, she talked to a compounding pharmacy, who directed her to a doctor for the proper care. That's another thing the Dr. Phil show never addressed, and boy, their message boards went CRAZY with women screaming that Robin/Dr. Phil just had to tell them how to get to a physician in their area (and many of them, I suspecct, strongly hinting that they should be whisked to CA to be "saved" at the Hall Center). This is information I have emailed to a number of women.

For those of you who are new readers to my blog (because you heard about it on the message boards for the show The Doctors), welcome, please look around, I hope you will like what you see. Feel free to comment or shoot me an email, I always love hearing from you! Enjoy the rest of your day, it's in the mid 80's in Charlotte today!

Soy offers natural estrogens....

The important lesson to be learned in this article in the Sacramento Bee is not what the article offers in the way of insight, but to see how often infomation on BHRT interchangably use the words progestin and progesterone------they are NOT the same hormone!!!!! Not even close.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another show on Biodientical Hormone Replacement Therapy

The TV show The Doctors (executive producer is Dr. Phil's son Jay) is talking about the subject of menopause on tomorrow's show (April 27.) Robin McGraw is the guest. You can learn more about it here, and there is a message board (I have already commented twice). Check your local listings for the time and channel in your area, I know in Charlotte it's on at 3 pm on the NBC affiliate WCNC. I'll be watching, but honestly, I am not holding out much hope that this show will be any better than last week's Dr. Phil show, which quite frankly I thought was nothing more than an infomercial for Robin McGraw's book and the Hall Center in LA.

Oh, God, this is too funny and I had to share it!

I just ran across this article, some woman (who has been through menopause) actually figured out a use for all those extra maxi pads----she uses them for her Swiffer! You've got to hand it to her, that's ingenious! Read the article here.......

Eating Disorders and Women with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

From the ADDitude Magazine, some insight into why women with ADD have a higher incidence of overeating/binge eating/bulemia. Read about it here....

Could Autism Be Caused by Lack of Vitamin D?

April 24, 2009 06:05 PM ET Nancy Shute
Could autism be caused by low levels of vitamin D? That’s a new idea that’s just starting to emerge, sparked by the large number of autism cases among children of Somali immigrants living in Sweden and Minnesota.
The mothers and young children are exposed to much less sunshine in their new homes than they were back in Somalia. Lighter-skinned people make more vitamin D than dark-skinned people do when exposed to sunshine, so it’s easy to imagine that the Somalis are getting relatively little vitamin D. And because most of the Somali immigrants are Muslim, they cover themselves when going outside, reducing their sun exposure even more. But there’s as yet no clear connection to autism. Read the rest of the article here.....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I just posted this on the Dr. Phil Show website:

This is a heavily edited list of common side effects of five of the most popular antidepressant medications:

Decreased interest in sexual intercourse


Dry mouth


inability to have or keep an erection

increased sweating

loss of sexual ability, desire, drive or performance


sleepiness or unusual drowsiness


general feeling of discomfort or illness


joint pain

muscle aches and pains

not able to have orgasm

unusual tiredness



body aches

change in sense of taste

changes in vision



discouragement, feeling sad or empty

drugged feeling

feeling of warmth or heat

flushing or redness of skin, especially on face and neck

frequent urge to urinate

heavy bleeding


lack of emotion

loss of interest or pleasure

menstrual pain or cramps

severe sunburn

trouble concentrating


One of the things I have noticed throughout the message board is that so many women/men are absolutely frustrated (with good reason) because they go to their doctor with menopausal symptoms, and the doctor hands them a prescription for an anti-depressant. I know how you feel, because over the last 15 or so years, I have been on Paxil, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor, and Lexapro (and I think another one too, but I've lost track).

So I thought this evening I would go on one of the popular and respected websites, the Mayo Clinic, and take a look at what are some of the side effects of these medications (a lot of them I knew because I had experienced a bunch of them). I used as a base the antidepressants listed above, and for each one I cut and pasted the side effects (just the common ones, I didn't even add in the rare ones!) and the total document I had on my Word progam------for five medications --------- was ------ wait for it------14 pages long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy whatever! So many of the side effects are exactly the symptoms of menopause, so --------- well, think about it! I am posting a list (just the highlights, I am not going to take up too much room with it in one post) on my blog holyhormones.blogspot.com, or do a little research and see what I mean. Use one of the medical websites like Web MD (the only thing is it sometimes loads quite slowly) or the Mayo Clinic, there are also others out there.

Now, it is extremely important to note, you NEVER, EVER, EVER go off a medication like an antidepessant (well, actually, ANY medication) without supervision from a doctor!!!!!!!!! Never, never, never. Knowing about the side effects, however, can make you a more informed patient and consumer, and talking to your doctor honestly and articulately can have a world of benefit to your health. No two patients react to a medication the same way, and your doctor doesn't know how the med affects you unless you tell him/her. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

NUFF said -------- (sorry, couldn't resist!)

National Uterine Fibroid Foundation (who knew) has some very interesting facts about uterine fibroid treatments and hysterectomies. You can even find out how your state stacks up in hysterectomies performed. Click here for some great information!

From The Gynocologist's Second Opinion Website---

Edited excerpts from our book A Gynecologist's Second Opinion by William H. Parker, M.D.
Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, is a procedure surrounded by controversy - and for good reason. Hysterectomy is the second most common major operation performed in the United States today, second only to cesarian section. Approximately 600,000 American women have a hysterectomy every year, at a cost of almost 5 billion dollars. By the age of 60, one out of every three women in the U.S. has had a hysterectomy. Read the rest of the article here....

I'm editorializing here, and I guess I can do that since I own the blog------I went out to lunch with a group of five friends about a month ago, and somehow the subject of hysterectomies came up. We went around the table, and 5 of the 6 women (including me) had had their hysterectomies by the time they were 45. That's frightening, and I wonder how much could be avoided by balancing the hormones. I am virtually certain I could have avoided surgery if I had known ------ and I ended up with the hysterectomy from hell, a second surgery to control bleeding, a urinary tract infection that shot my temperature to over 103 degrees, 8 days in the hospital for what was supposed to be a 23 hour stay. I know we can do better!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Most Recent Post on The Dr. Phil Website-----

(and I'm venting a bit here, honestly, I think some of the viewers who posted did not even take a few minutes to look at some of the other posts to see if there might be answers to their questions!----My special thanks to the Las Colinas Pharmacy in Dallas for backing me up on the message boards that people need to do a little research to see if their question had already been answered.)

Many of the viewers of Tuesday's show are wondering how to find a practitioner in their area who incorporates the use of bioidentical hormones into his/her practice. Here are a couple ideas:

Type into your Internet search engine COMPOUNDING PHARMACY and the name of the town where you live, or for those of you who live in small town areas, you might have better luck with the closest large city. Usually more than one name and phone number will come up. Call one or two of the pharmacies and ask them for the names of some doctors in your area who prescribe BHRT. Since all bioidentical hormones are made at compounding pharmacies, they know who prescribes and who doesn't.

Do an Internet search for the Natural Woman Institute, and when you get to their web page, at the top there are links to click to both email the Institute to get a list of doctors in your area, and a separate click will take you to a large list of compounding pharmacies listed state by state.

Womens Health America (Google it) also has a referral list of doctors, and they also have a great number of learning resources on their web page, and additionally, they have discussion boards where you can get help and support.

Please feel free to email me if I can be of further assistance (click on the picture to get my email address). If you are looking for a doctor in Southern CA, I can help with that too, and I know of some names in the Charlotte, NC area. Without a doubt BHRT saved my life, and I am happy to share any information I can with those of you who wish to learn more about BHRT and how it can drastically improve your health. Best wishes for your hormonal health!

My daily reminder to get some Vitamin D----

and most importantly, to find little pleasures in the day! My vitamin D reminder is get out in the sunshine a bit (no, this is not an endorsement to go fry yourself)-----at least in my part of the country, it's going to be a beautiful, sunny, gorgeous day! I am taking a little road trip today to the Riverbank's Zoo in Columbia, SC, an awesome place with a great botanical garden. One of the pleasures of my life is to take pictures of flowers and turn them into notecards to send to my friends and for gifts. Take the time to connect with another person (I have already talked to one friend on the phone this morning!), smile at a stranger, treat yourself well by exercising (for me today that's walking around the zoo!) and reflect at the end of the day about how to have an even better tomorrow. I will be back with a "real" post either this evening or tomorrow!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

For those of you new to the blog:

There is a great site over at Women's Health America an absolute ton of information, minicourses, all sorts of resources INCLUDING an area for message/discussion boards. Get over there, let's get those discussion boards going!

Viagra Prices Rising 20% (pun intended)

But there are alternatives-----click here to read about it!

Diabetic men at risk for low testosterone

By Dr. Stephen PonderWednesday, April 22, 2009

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times
CORPUS CHRISTI — Low testosterone strikes men with Type 2 diabetes twice as often as non-diabetic men. Seven out of 10 men with low testosterone report erectile dysfunction and 63 percent report low sex drive. Estimates indicate that more than 13 million U.S. men suffer from low testosterone levels. The bad news? Only one in 10 gets treatment. Click here for the rest of the article......(very informative)

Wyeth Ordered to Face Lawsuit Over Menopause Drug Linked to Breast Cancer

Drug giant Wyeth must face a personal injury lawsuit filed by a woman who accuses the company of failing to warn her and millions of other users that the popular menopause drug, Prempro, might cause breast cancer, a Texas appeals court has ruled. Read the rest of the article by clicking here!

Possible Link Between Asthma Severity and Vitamin D Levels

I went to a health seminar last night (all three women doctors were dead set against biodientical hormones, calling it merely a "marketing term") but near the end of the talk, they did address the issue of Vitamin D deficiency. They recommended taking at least 2000 IU's daily, and possibly more (I take 5000 IU's and do great). This morning, this article popped up on my news finder about a possible link between Vitamin D deficiency and Asthma in children, which I find interesting. I know many doctors feel there is a hormonal link to asthma and allergies, and I can tell you that once I started the BHRT in 2006 I never had to take another antihistamine. Hmmm, I wonder--------

A beautiful, sunny, lovely day here in Charlotte, NC. I just got a copy of Dr. Ron Brown's book, The Youth Effect, from the library, so I am going to settle in on the porch to read. Dr. Brown is widely regarded as the expert in Charlotte, NC on biodentical hormone replacement therapy. I'll let you know how the book is! Have a great, healthy safe and balanced day, everyone! We're over 2000 hits on the blog, thanks for your support!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

International Academy of Compounding Pharmacies

This is the site that the pharmacist who appeared on Dr. Phil's show talked about yesterday, you can use it to look up a compounding pharmacy in your area.

This is my latest post on the Dr. Phil Website-----

(and if any of you are looking for the site to get to the message boards for yesterday's show, look one post below this one and it will take you there!)

OK, here's the deal-------many of you are posting on the message boards that you have no idea how to start looking for a doctor in your area who works with and is receptive to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Many of you are not reading through any other of the posts on the board before you are posting your request for information, and that's unfortunate, because a number of people who have some great ideas have been busy with posts presenting a lot of information on some important topics, including:

Books to read to educate yourself on biodentical hormone therapy
How to find a doctor
What sort of questions to ask that doctor

Now, on to the "finding a doctor". Use whatever search engine you normally use and type in "compounding pharmacy" and whatever city you live in (or near if you live in a small town). Get on the phone with one or more of these pharmacies and ask them if there are doctors in your area who prescribe biodentical hormone therapy. Because bioidentical hormones are prepared by these pharmacies (you MUST have a doctor's prescription to get true bioidentical hormone creams---don't trust everything you read on the Internet), the pharmacies know which doctors are using bioidenticals to treat their patients.

Once you are armed with this information, you can call the doctors offices and ask if the doctor is taking patients, does he take insurance (your insurance, specifically), and how much the testing will be and is it covered under insurance.

I have posted about this before, but straight up, many doctors who are well versed in BHRT do not take insurance. Balancing hormones requires doctors to take a detailed history of their patients, listen to them carefully, and study their lab results carefully to make the best decisions for an individualized protocol for each patient. That takes time, and in most cases cannot be accomplished in the 6-10 minutes usually alloted for a patient visit when the insurance company is paying the doctor. In addition, the reimbursement rates for insurance payments to physicians have gotten so bad (and are such a hassle to even get reimbursed period) that many doctors have given up on insurance companies because they can practice medicine more effectively, efficiently and provide better care to their patients. I know in this economy that is hard to hear, but it is what it is and that's the reality of the situation.

I have another excellent resource for those of you still looking for a doctor, or a compounding pharmacy. Christine Conrad, who wrote an excellent book on bioidedentical hormones called A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones, has a website called Natural Woman Institute (Google it to find the website address). When you get to the site, at the top there is a link you can click, it will take you to an email address where you can request a list of doctors in your area. A different click on the home page will take you to a state by state list of compounding pharmacies. Honestly, it's not that hard on the Internet to find resources, but put a little effort into it!!!

The absolute most important thing you can do as a patient is educate yourself on bioidentical hormones. On my blog holyhormones.blogspot.com (check it out, lots of information and I add to it at least every other day, most of the time every day) last night I posted a list of books that I have found most helpful in teaching me even more about biodentical hormone therapy (I am lucky have a terrific doctor who is very into educating his patients---yeah, he's a keeper). If you can't afford to buy a bunch of books, go to your local library and see what they have on their shelves. Christine Conrad's book on Amazon.com is only $4.99 (I just got mine, I got one for myself and another to share with friends and pass around), and most people can afford that if you are really serious about want to learn about BHRT-------skip your Starbucks coffee one day and that's about the cost of the book (healthier too!)

My real point is this, and I mean no disrespect to anyone because I know that many of you are really suffering------I've been there, truly, I have------but posting that you feel lousy, but you just KNOW your insurance won't cover any hormonal therapy (you don't know that unless you call your insurance company and challenge them as to whether they do cover any of the hormones, the testing, or the doctor's appointments), or that no one listens to you just isn't helpful!!!! In the parlance of America's Therapist "How's that working for you?" (Sorry to take your line, Dr. Phil, but it just fits here!) If you are posting on this site, then you have access to a computer and the Internet, and you need to use this wonderful resource to start studying, searching until you find some answers!!!!! There are a number of different sites out there that will educate you about BHRT, some are better than others but look at it this way-----having a mission, a passion to find out more about bioidentical hormones is a great way to keep your mind sharp and focused (good brain exercise).

Lastly, I am so deeply gratified by all the emails I have received (click on my picture and my email address is in my information, please feel free to email me with questions, I am not a health care professional and I do not give medical advice, but I can give you some direction in your search, and I can offer some hope!) ------ your questions and observations show that you truly are passionate about the issue and you are making an effort to be the best you possible. I am also so happy to see my blog be so busy over the last 24 hours, I put a lot of effort into it and I am glad so many are enjoying it. Have a great week, everyone, if I have not responded to your email yet, be patient with me, I am working as fast as I can!

If you are looking for the message boards -----

Pertaining to Dr. Phil's show yesterday, here's a quick link! Have a great day, everyone, keep those comments and emails coming!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Andrea's Favourite Books!!!!!

Hi everyone, I have had a very busy day, but very exciting. First off, the blog has had nearly 500 hits today and I can't tell you how happy that makes me, I am absolutely determined I am going to hormonally balance the world one woman at a time!!!!!! I have personally answered over 30 emails today, and I loved it. Keep those emails coming!

Secondly, I posted last night on Dr. Phil's website a list of the books that I most often recommend to people wanting to learn more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. There are a lot of books out there, but these are my favourites:

  • A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones by Christine Conrad
  • Dr. John Lee's Hormone Balance Made Simple - Dr. John Lee and Virginia Hopkins
  • *What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause - Dr. John Lee
  • *What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Perimenopause - Dr. John Lee
  • Thyroid Power by Richard L. Shames, MD, and K Shames, RN

*These two books have a lot of similar information, choose the one most appropriate for your stage of hormonal life

I've gotten several queries today about why I do not include Suzanne Somer's books in my list of favourites. While I admire Ms. Somer's dedication to advocating bioidentical hormone therapy for women (and men), I have found her protocol to be somewhat over the top. My view is shared by a number of doctors who are quite well known in the field. She advocates using the Wiley Protocol, which is very controversial, and is a proponent of women who haven't had a period in years taking such high levels of estrogen that they restart their menses in their 50's and 60's. I do tell women that if they wish to do extensive research into BHRT to look at her books because they are an example of one end of the spectrum, but for a woman who just wants to get a basic knowledge of how bioidentical hormone therapy works, it's efficacy and safely, there are better resources out there.

Have a great night, everyone, I'm going to put the computer to bed and then head off for some sleep myself. Good night!

How much does bioidentical hormone therapy cost?

I got an interesting comment from a reader earlier today asking me for some specifics on the cost of biodientical hormones, she said it was information nearly impossible to find on the Internet. Fair question, and I promise I will write up a post and get it up here on the blog tomorrow or Thursday (didn't want the person who wrote to think I was ignoring you), but my hands are a little worn out and I have a TON of emails to catch up on, keep them coming, be patient with me if it takes me a bit to get back to you, I personalize each one so it takes a bit longer. I love hearing from you!

I found a great resource for finding doctors and compounding pharmacies

I just started reading the book The Women's Guide To Natural Hormones, and in it, the author discusses her non profit organization, Natural Women Institute. I went to the site, and holy cow, there is an extensive list of pharmacies listed, and an area where you can email for a list of practitioners in your state. Do check it out!

Dr. Phil's Show on Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

This is a somewhat modified and edited version of what I emailed to my doctor right after the show, to say I was disappointed in how the subject was presented would be an understatement:

The show presented women who were "suffering" and were "saved" by Robin taking them to her physician, Prudence Hall of the Hall Center in Santa Monica After seeing tapes of the women draped on their couches, sticking their heads in the freezer, sighing deeply, and tossing and turning in bed (because they couldn't sleep) Dr. Hall told them how off their hormones were. In the next shot, the women were introduced to come out on the stage, they hugged Dr. Phil and Robin, and gushed and told them how Robin's book "saved their lives", Dr. Phil spoke to their husbands in the audience about how it must be wonderful to "have their old wives back" (wink, wink).

Only a couple passing mentions were made to thyroid levels (one segment was about thyroid cancer), and I will guarantee you that those message boards for the Dr. Phil show are going to light up with women having questions and complaints about how nothing was covered on how to find a doctor who specializes in BHRT, what does it cost (if I were watching this for the first time, I would immediately assume only wealthy women could afford this, unless Robin "saved them" and took them by the hand to her own doctor). I'm going back on the boards and politely politely tell women that BHRT is something that, with some careful budgeting, most women can afford.

They wasted time right off the bat going on about how when Robin entered Menopause she called her husband and children together to explain to them "what Mom was going through" and to make it "a family affair". Oh, for heaven's sake, give me a break. Even when they did get to the symptoms, it was what most women already know (if they're living on this planet, anyway): the mood swings, hot flashes, disrupted sleep, tiredness, irritability.

Of course, when they got to the testosterone for women, Robin had to inject on how it made your hair and skin so much better-----it does, but that's not why I am taking it----it's helped tremendously to build muscle tissue in my back.

They did one segment on "the male menopause" and not once did they call it by it's proper medical term of andropause.

In every segment, no matter what the subject, they show shots of Robin posing for pictures of her book, time wasted that I think could have been used in much better ways.

It gets better----near the end of the show, they had a woman DOCTOR (ER physician) sitting next to Robin, telling her how she had NEVER heard of bioidentical hormones, nor had she ever heard of a compounding pharmacy, until she saw Robin appearing on Ophah, and how it was a perfect example of "how even a doctor can learn from you". The doctor called her ob/gyn for the bioidenticals, started taking them (didn't say what and in what doses), and had bad side effects, so now she has gone back to synthetics. Robin and Dr. Phil to the rescue again, Robin is taking the doctor (her name is Natalie) to Dr. Hall's Center-------I smell a follow up show coming soon.

The last segment just about threw me over the edge, it was Robin telling women about "taking care of themselves", including "always having a pair of lightweight pajamas on hand for those night sweats". She then (to much wild applause) told everyone in the audience they were getting a free pair of her favourite cotton pjs. Next, her "little bedtime ritual" always includes a cup of hot tea----and everyone gets a free box of "Sleepytime" tea (more applause). Oh, it gets better, everyone got a free portable fan, and a free copy of Robin's book "What's Age got to do with it?"

There was so much NOT covered in this show that it would take me all day to write about it. I will be back with another post soon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Way We Should Weigh Ourselves!

My Post on the Dr. Phil Show website!

I am delighted to see that the Dr. Phil show is addressing the issue of bioidientical hormone therapy. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that BHRT saved my life.I am blessed to have a progessive, "thinks out of the box" physician who prescribed progesterone and testosterone cream for me starting in September 2006. I was experiencing severe menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, no libido, extreme fatigue, substantial depression, you name it. I suffered from a variety of health problems, and I weighed over 300 pounds.

Within 2 weeks of starting the hormone therapy, I was off six medications: antihistamine (cured my severe seasonal allergies), acid reflux medication, sleeping medication (I had taken them all), Klonepin for anxiety, blood pressure medication, and most importantly, Ritalin (I am ADD). I began to feel a level of energy I hadn't felt in years. It took longer (several months) to come off a seventh medication, antidepressant, as those meds must be very carefully weaned.

My restless leg syndrome was cured in less than a week, and I no longer suffer from the severe dry eyes that plague many menopausal women. Oh, yes, did I mention I am down over 80 pounds from my high weight? I finally know what it is like to feel like a healthy, peaceful woman.

I take my hormones transdermally (by creams on the skin) as that way they bypass the liver. I now work out 5-6 days weekly at our local gym, which has tremendously benefited the substantial back, hip and pelvis limitations I have because of a car accident in 1992. My pain management physician is thrilled that the testosterone has allowed me to strengthen my back to the point of no longer needing a back brace, and I have been able to discontinue using the cane I relied on for many years.

I was bemused to read an earlier post about women overdramatizing their menopausal symptoms, but of course, everyone has a different perspective. This goes way, way beyond simple discomfort from a transient set of symptoms, this is about overall health and quality of life. My cholesterol has dropped over 65 points since I started the BHRT, and my other blood levels are excellent. I am now at decreased risk for a number of different types of cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and diminished brain function. I am confident that with the help of balanced hormones, I will be able to live the second half of my life with better quality, and more independently.

Although I do not personally deal with fibromyalgia, I have spoken with more than one person who has told me their symptoms were greatly diminished by progesterone cream. I would be more than happy to correspond with anyone who would like to learn more about BHRT. I have a blog dedicated to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, as well as a group on one of the social networking sites that I hope people will use as resources to educate themselves. I am also happy to hear from other women (and men, I was so glad to see an earlier post about andropause, which is a significant health issue for men) who have successfully used BHRT. I am quite passionate about the issue, as you can imagine. I use the name Holyhormones because everyone in NC (where I currently reside) is evangelical about something, with me it's just hormones instead of religion!

However, because I am somewhat new to using this site, I do not know if it is allowed to give my email address (which I did over on the Oprah Winfrey site----it's the one I use for my blog) or if I am allowed to give the blog address. I would appreciate it if one of the show's staff who monitors the message boards could clarify that issue for us (I tried to read the terms of service, but they are complicated and incomprehensible), as I know after Oprah did her two shows on bioidentical hormones, the message boards went NUTS and women were desperate to communicate with each other. I hope that this show generates similar reactions and excitement from people who want to learn more and feel better! We exchanged information about doctor referrals, resources to learn more, book lists, success and frustration stories, and answered questions. I have made a number of new friends through BHRT and am proud to be able to help women educate themselves (and in many cases, their doctors!) For now, until we get a clarification, I think you can add me to a "friends" list and I will try to communicate with you that way. Best wishes to all for happy, balanced hormones, there is hope out there for a better life!

Another Resource for information on BHRT

I just got a nice email from Justin, who is a Pharmacist for Kohll's Pharmacy in Omaha, NE. I went on their site, on the home page there is an area that says Bioidentical Hormones, click on it and it will take you to several other pages with information and explanations about a number of different hormones. Also, remember I told you that a compounding pharmacy is always a great place to call for physician referrals, so if you are in the Omaha area, give them a call, and if not, still check out their website for some great information. The pharmacy is licensed in every state, so they can do mail order, which for many is a big help, especially if you live far away from a local source. Thanks, Justin, for contacting me!

On another note, I just checked the Dr. Phil website (Google it) and there are already comments about the show on hormones, and the show doesn't even air until tomorrow. You have to read the one from someone who thinks women are just overdramatizing their menopausal symptoms, it's the funniest thing I've seen so far this week! I have already written and submitted one very long, detailed post about my experiences with BHRT, and I have asked the show for clarification about posting an email address for viewers to contact me. I forgot to copy what I wrote so I could cross post it here (brain blip), but as soon as it appears on the Dr. Phil site I will put it here so you all (or as we say, y'all) can read it. Have a great evening!


Hi everyone, I know I have talked about this on the blog, but be aware there is a 1 hour radio show on KSEV each day from 1-2 Eastern Time (noon-1 pm Central) by the doctors at Hotze Health and Wellness Center. I try to listen to it on the days I am home. Click here to access the station website, or go through the Hotze Health and Wellness website. Take care!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I now have a FACEBOOK Group!

I took the plunge and started my own Facebook Group on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy----click here to join! If you are not a member of Facebook, you can easily sign up for an account. I was somewhat surprised that there weren't several active groups already on Facebook, but the few groups that exist are not terribly active. I hope with this group we can share information about doctors, compounding pharmacy, information websites, our personal experiences (good and bad) and have a few laughs too! Have a great week, everyone ---- I suspect it will be busy for me once the Dr. Phil show airs, I know after the two Oprah shows back in January I had a wonderful time connecting with lots of great women and men about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy!

What's hormones got to do with it?

Dr. Phil is doing a show on hormones (and I assume it would be favourable to BHRT, as his wife Robin takes bioidentical hormones) on Tuesday, April 21 (according to his website).

Laughter is Indeed Good Medicine----

So that gives me an excuse to watch a few episodes of MASH tonight instead of 60 Minutes, for medicinal purposes, of course! Click here to learn more....

Dark Skinned and Veil Wearers Should be Screened for Vitamin D

I had never thought of this population as not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, but it makes sense. Read the article in Medical News Today. Please note, many doctors (including mine) do not feel that 400 IU's of Vitamin D daily is an adequate dose, I take 5000 IU's daily and have never had a problem.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Psychotherapy Goes From Couch To Yoga Mat

Check out this article from Time Magazine, I enjoyed reading it. I know without a doubt regular exercise improves mood (I'm living proof). I don't do a lot of yoga, as it tends to bother my back and hip (especially lying on the floor), but I try to meditate on a regular basis (and need to try harder!) Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vegan Buddhist Nuns Have Same Bone-----

Density as non vegetarians. One of the concerns about veganism is the low calcium intake and how it might affect bone health. Read the article here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Milestone!

I've reached over 1000 hits on the Holy Hormones! blog-----thanks so much for your support, everyone!

Two videos by Dr. Erika Schwartz on Hormone Health

Dr. Erika Schwartz has appeared in two segments of the television show "Extra" (I don't get the show in this area, I happened upon these through a news alert to my email). Here's the link for the first segment, and a second link for a segment that clarifies and answers some questions raised in the first appearance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Overview of Hypothyroidism

From the New York Times----click here!

Don't miss this post (or this blog)!

Peter Koshland over at the Compounder's Forum has a terrific post today (he is one of the few blogs I never miss) on estrogen dominance. Be sure to check it out for a great explanation!

Cool Jams

No, it's not some 80's rock group! Cool Jams are nightwear designed to wick away perspiration and keep you cool if you suffer from night sweats. That was one of the few menopausal symptoms I DIDN'T have, but for those who deal with it, it's a nightmare (no pun intended). Here's the link to check them out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

From the Harvard Medical School Newsletter------read about it here!

Vitamin D Deficiency Related To Increased Inflammation In Healthy Women

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2009) —

According to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 75 percent of Americans do not get enough Vitamin D. Researchers have found that the deficiency may negatively impact immune function and cardiovascular health and increase cancer risk. Now, a University of Missouri nutritional sciences researcher has found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system, in healthy women.

Increased concentrations of serum TNF-α, an inflammatory marker, were found in women who had insufficient vitamin D levels. This study is the first to find an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and concentrations of TNF-α in a healthy, non-diseased population. This may explain the vitamin's role in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

"The findings reveal that low vitamin D levels negatively impact inflammation and immune response, even in healthy women," said Catherine Peterson, assistant professor in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. "Increased inflammation normally is found in people with obesity or chronic diseases; a small decrease in vitamin D levels may aggravate symptoms in people who are sick."

The results support the need to re-examine the biological basis for determining the dietary reference intake (DRI) of vitamin D, Peterson said. The Institute of Medicine's DRI for vitamin D is 200 IU for people age 50 and younger and 400 IU for people 50 to 70 years old. The guidelines, created in 1997, are being revised to reflect new research, and Peterson is confident the DRI will be increased.

"Adequate vitamin D levels identified in this study are consistent with recent research that suggests the DRI should be increased," Peterson said. "To improve vitamin D status and achieve its related health benefits, most people should get at least 1000 IU of vitamin D per day. Sunlight is a readily-available, free source of vitamin D. Exposing 25 percent of the skin's surface area to 10 minutes of sunlight three days per week will maintain adequate levels in the majority of people; however, people with darkly-pigmented skin need more. Only a few foods contain vitamin D naturally, such as fatty fish; other sources are dietary supplements and vitamin-D-fortified foods, including milk and orange juice."

In future studies, Peterson will determine the effectiveness of Vitamin D in reducing disease symptoms and reducing blood glucose levels in diabetics. The study, "Serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha concentrations are negatively correlated with serum 25(OH) D concentrations in healthy women," was published in the July, 2008 issue of the Journal of Inflammation.
Adapted from materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia.

(Note from Andrea: I take 5000 IU's daily)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blood Pressure and Progesterone

From Medical News, evidence that higher progesterone levels in women may lead to increased vascular health and lower blood pressure. I know I have eliminated one blood pressure medication since I have been on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.


A brief, but easy to read synopsis on hypothyroidism from EmpowerHER. Good reading!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

10 Ways to Fight Menopause Symptoms Nutritionally

This piece was written by a dietician and she talks about 10 ways we can (naturally) reduce the effects of menopause. Some of them I do (exercise, water, and flax seed oil, I'm pretty good about fruits too, not so much veggies!) but others I need to work on. Have a great Easter weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Something to be aware of ------

It's very tempting to cut corners by either skipping vitamins or getting them at your local big box stores (and I have on occasion done it myself) but this posting on Yahoo News is important reading. Vitamins have the power to help or hurt the right or wrong doses. Buyer beware!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sleeping Pill Use Grows as Economy Keeps Us Up At Night

The LA Times recently posted an article about the increased use of sleeping pills, at least in part blamed on how the bad economy is affecting us emotionally. Read about it here!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Forbes Magazine Article

This article from Forbes Magazine came across my email today, and I am furious! What a one sided, poorly researched article, not one mention of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy! Read it and then comment below it (I did!). Ugh.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk

A great article from the Virginia Hopkins Newsletter (and truly, think about subscribing to it, I really enjoy the information presented). Click here to read!

The National Medical Report Announces a New Public TV Series on Age Modification

The National Medical Report is currently launching a new series in 2009 on regaining your youth, highlighting some of the top doctors, procedures and products that are helping millions of Americans, "Turn Back the Hands of Time.”

(1888PressRelease) April 07, 2009 - In today’s scientific world people are constantly looking to innovative ways to live longer, and remain healthier. One way that has not gained enough television exposure is Biodentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Bioidentical hormones are part of what science calls "Age Modification" in the world of Anti Aging. These hormones can be manufactured, or they can be natural as with NHRT – Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy.When used for health purposes, Hormone Replacement Therapy has tremendous advantages such as lowering cholesterol levels, improving mental health, improving the look and feel of hair and skin, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, heart attack and stroke. “Everyone on the planet is aging, and all of us will get older,” said the senior producer for the series, “but getting older does not have to be something we dread, rather through proper supervision by a specialist, HRT can help us perform as we did in our younger days.”In this series the National Medical Report will be covering important Age Modification procedures. About National Medical Report: The National Medical Report is part of a privately owned and operated television production company and series that is on the leading edge of the documentary television industry. The series is distributed to Public TV across the country and is hosted by Mr. Hugh Downs. For more information visit http://www.nationalmedicalreport.tv or call Mark Miller at 954-652-8674 or visit http://www.nationalmedicalreport.tv/pressreleases/AgeModification.htm

Testsosterone Boost Does Not Fuel Risky Behaviour In Women

From Nature News.........click here to read the entire article (full disclosure, I take a small amount of testosterone cream every other day, but I don't make a move without a financial planner!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Minicourses on Menopause and Perimenopause

The folks over at Women's Health America are offering email "minicourses" in menopause and perimenopause.....it's a series of six weekly emails, great reading to add to your arsenal on learning about hormones and how they affect your health. Click here to get to the site and register. Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sorry I haven't posted for a couple days----

It's been a crazy week here.

I had my screening colonoscopy on Thursday. If you are over 50, and have not yet had one, what the hell are you waiting for? Whatever anyone tells you about how "horrible" and "awful" the preparation is, no, it's not. I took a bunch of pills (I have a sensitive gag reflex and the liquid prep wouldn't work for me) and it just wasn't that bad. You have to fast (clear liquids only) for 24 hours beforehand, which isn't a lot of fun, but my guess is that colon cancer is a lot less fun. The procedure itself is painless, and I was in and out of the endoscopy center in under 2 hours. We as a society moan and complain about how much healthcare costs, but we put off getting necessary screenings that most insurances pay for because we're too busy or we don't want to be inconvenienced or it's unpleasant. Then we bitch about expensive treatments that could very well be prevented if we took better care of ourselves in the first place. We can all do better (me included) to lessen the burden on the healthcare system. I want to live a lot healthier in the second half of my life than I did the first 50 years.

I went to the most AWESOME seminar on Tuesday evening in Hickory. It was presented by the Compounding Pharmacy, and the subject was on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The scheduled time was 2 1/2 hours, it went three with a five minute break, and it was absolutely fascinating. Pat Mixon, who along with her husband own the pharmacy, knows her stuff inside and out. I urge any of you who are in the Piedmont of NC are and are interested in bioidentical hormones, call the pharmacy 828-324-4115 and make a reservation to attend one of the upcoming seminars.

Pat covered a number of topics in the seminar, including why the drug companies are so against bioidentical hormones (can't be patented), why we are unlikely to get large studies done on the efficacy of bioidentical hormones (drug companies won't financially support something they can't profit from). We talked about how changing one molecule in the composition of a substance can dramatically alter the make up (think carbon dioxide versus carbon monoxide), and how to pick apart an article on hormone replacement therapy. She gave numerous examples of how even health care professionals (who should know better) interchangably use the words progesterone and progestin (I've seen this repeatedly). Her best line was something about how women who have heavy bleeding are shocked to discover the products in the maxi pad aisle don't come in "single mattress size". Everyone in the audience (about 30, and several were men) just howled! A great evening all in all.

I promise to be more consistent in posting this week! I have a couple articles I am reviewing to share with you. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, it's going to be 75 degres here in NC, great spring weather.