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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fireside Compounding Pharmacy------

I will never recommend Fireside Compounding Pharmacy in Palm Desert, CA to anyone. Ever again. I had been using Town Center Pharmacy, also in Palm Desert, but after they made several errors (and each time acted like I was inconveniencing them by asking that the errors be made right), I switched to Fireside. At first they were fine, but after a very shoddily packaged/mailed package over the summer, and now this latest fiasco (detailed below), I am literally sickened by what has become a month long saga in trying to get an order for bioidentical hormones straight.

I posted this review of Fireside Compounding Pharmacy today on Yelp!:

I was seen in my physician's office on 12/2, and they were supposed to call in prescriptions for three different bioidentical hormones. When I returned to NC several days later, I called the Fireside to give them my credit card number (I have had to ask them at least 3 times NOT to keep the number on file). I find out the prescriptions have not been called in (I will deal with the doctor's office separately), but I had refills on two of the three hormone prescriptions (progesterone and testosterone) that I needed. The third hormone, ESTRIOL, is to be taken intravaginally, and I had not filled that prescription at Fireside before. I asked the young woman I spoke to, Amy (who had to ask me my name three times, and 3 times I had to repeat my credit card number to her) if she would call the doctor's office, get the order for the ESTRIOL, add it to the order for the other hormones and ship it to me. She said she would, and I was careful to ask her to please make sure that the vaginal applicators were to be included with the prescription, they are hard to get locally if the prescription is not filled locally.

I get the box of hormones a week later, and instead of the ESTRIOL that I needed, the box contained a 90 day supply of BI-EST, a hormone that I took at one time many months ago, but do not take currently. Amy apparently never called the doctor's office, just took it upon herself that ESTRIOL and BI-EST are the same thing (they aren't) and filled the BI-EST without ever calling the physician's office for the right prescription. If she didn't want to call the doctor's office, she should have told me that from the beginning and I would have called them myself; it would have saved me a big hassle.

I call the pharmacy, and email the doctor's office. The office talks to the pharmacy, the ESTRIOL is ordered. The pharmacy robo-calls me 12/14 to tell me the estriol is ready. I call back, explain to Michelle that there was an error and I shouldn't be charged for the estriol. She blows me off by telling me fine, if there is a problem she will call me back, but otherwise they will just ship the ESTRIOL.

A week goes by and no ESTRIOL, but I attributed it to the holiday delay in shipping. Meanwhile, my doctor ordered another compounded medication for me, and Fireside calls to tell me it's ready (and to get my credit card number.) About 20 minutes later, they call back again, they found an ESTRIOL prescription for me, and do I want that shipped too? They never bothered shipping it to me when they said they would. I explained the whole situation to them AGAIN, they tell me they have to talk to the pharmacist, and then they call me back to tell me in order to get the ESTRIOL, I have to mail them back the BI-EST so they can reuse it. Of course, the BI-EST has to be mailed back at my expense. I was told when they received the BI-EST then they would mail the ESTRIOL to me.

I get a package in this morning's mail----my compounded medication was in it, and so was the ESTRIOL------packaged incorrectly. The estriol is to be used intravaginally, but the container sent to me will not accomodate the vaginal applicators. I email the doctor's office, they call the pharmacy, pharmacy tells them the prescription was not sent in with the correct information----doctor's office tells me the prescription is written as Estriol Vaginal Cream 2.5mg/gm, apply 1/4tsp QD in the evening. Not to mention that 3 weeks ago when I asked for this prescription, I was very, very clear with the technician/assistant I talked to to PLEASE make sure that vaginal applicators were included. Pharmacy tells my doctor's office I have to send back the incorrectly packaged prescription back to them (again, at my expense) so the other prescription can be mailed. Pharmacy just calls me just to blame the doctor's office (they have filled tons of estriol prescriptions, and if they weren't sure this was supposed to be used intravaginally they should have called the doctor's office to clarify, so their blame game holds no water for me) and to tell me AGAIN that I have to mail them back their prescription, which I am doing so within the hour.

And to note, this is not the first problem I have had with this pharmacy. I got an order of about $275 worth of medications this summer, shoddily packaged in a very thin padded envelope----and it was sent MEDIA MAIL rate (which can take up to two weeks for delivery, and is ONLY to be used for books and DVDs). Very unprofessional business practice.

Two things not detailed in the Yelp! review:

  • When I was told I had to return the first "mistake" prescription to them, I was told it was so that they could reuse it. I find that very unsettling---that the pharmacy would take a prescription supposedly custom compounded for me, sent cross country twice, and then the pharmacy will pass that off to another patient. From my perspective, I would worry that it had been contaminated in some way....I was very careful not to open the jar while it was in my possession, but not everyone would be that careful. I don't know if they really would pass the prescription off to another patient, or if they would just throw it out and they lied to me just to ensure I would be maximally inconvenienced by having to mail the wrong hormone back to them (at my expense, even though I was in no way at fault for the error----I'll never figure that out!) but whatever, I would never be comfortable using any of their products again. I wish I did not have brand new jars of all my hormones from them right now, but I cannot afford to replace such a huge order at another pharmacy and throw out the products from Fireside. My deepest apologies to anyone I may have referred to Fireside Compounding Pharmacy.

  • I know I have repeatedly said in the past that compounding pharmacies are a great source of bioidentical hormone practitioner referrals, and for the most part, that is still true. However, I went on Fireside's website today and happened to notice that they have under practitioner listings a Nichole Gardner at Platt Wellness Center. They obviously do not update their website information; Platt Wellness Center is no longer at that address, and Nichole Gardner no longer practices at that office, and hasn't for quite some time. Finding a good bioidentical hormone practitioner is important to patients, and to have information on a business website that is incorrect and misleading shows a lack of concern for customers.

Please be sure to thoroughly check out any new doctor that you are considering for hormonal (or any type) of care; I have links on the right side of the blog page for state medical boards (you would be surprised at what you find!) and for the board certification status of your potential healthcare provider. I can't stress this enough, I have done research on some doctors that patients have written to me about, and some of what I have uncovered is scary!

I've had to disable the comments section on this blog because of some anonymous and troubling posts that were left several months back. However, if you have a compounding pharmacy that you have used for a while and are particularly happy with, drop me a line at holyhormones@gmail.com and I will compile a list to post here on the blog. Good customer service, and a passion for bioidentical hormone optimization for patients deserves to be recognized!

Hormone Replacement Therapies Are Hot Again

Finally-----a media article that is supportive of bioidentical hormones!

And even better yet, the pharmacist quoted, Peter Koshland, is someone who really knows his stuff----I've corresponded with him, and he is passionate about bioidentical hormone balance. If you are in the San Francisco Bay area, he is a great resource for bioidentical hormonal balance practitioner referral. I may even start using him for my own hormones, since both pharmacies that I have used in the Coachella Valley can't seem to get an order right to save themselves!

Click here to check out this morning's article from The Huffington Post........enjoy the rest of your week!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Health Conditions Can Menopause Cure?

Hope everyone had a great, safe, memory making holiday (for those of you who celebrate---for those of you who don't---like me----hang in there, it's almost over!)

Today's article is from Yahoo Voices ---- and it discusses several common medical conditions that are actually alleviated by menopause........nice to know there's some good news about declining hormones! For the record, I would far rather have hormonal balance (remember, this is not just about menopausal symptoms, hormones affect every system in the body) than to merely get rid of my PMS.

This is a slow news week in general, so if I don't post again this week, it's because there are no articles worthy of sharing with you. You never know, I am finishing up a book and may have a book review for you by the weekend. Enjoy this last week of 2011!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Great quote for the day!

"A desire to be in charge of our own lives, a need for control, is born in each of us. It is essential to our mental health, and our success, that we take control."

- Robert F. Bennett

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Uterine Fibroids Cost The U.S. Billions Of Dollars: Study

I had a partial hysterectomy in 2002 because of uterine fibroids; although they weren't huge, they were causing big problems with my menstrual cycles (I was ranging from 21 to 65 days) and I was losing so much blood I became severely anemic. At the time, removal of the uterus was the best option, but I sure wish I had known then what I know now about hormonal imbalances and low progesterone levels. My supposed overnight stay in the hosptial for the hysterectomy turned into an 8 day stay, as I had to go back to surgery for bleeding issues and then developed a urinary tract infection that required IV antibiotics.

Check out this article from The Huffington Post.com about the financial cost of uterine fibroids, not just in medical costs but in lost wages, etc. It's staggering, and I wonder how much of it could be alleviated with just a portion of the women affected getting their hormones bioidentically balanced.

Happy Winter Solstice----it's 65 degrees here in Charlotte right now, so a pretty mild start to the official winter season. The days start getting longer now----yay! This is a good time to remind you that even with the business of the holiday season, don't forget to take your Vitamin D (and your other vitamins too!) as even on sunny days this time of year the sun is not strong enough to give us the Vitamin D we need.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DHEA May Help Sex, Symptoms After Menopause

I've been taking DHEA for over 5 years, so this morning's article from WebMD.com piqued my interest. Two things to note:

This study involved a very small number of women

Although DHEA is available over the counter (I get mine from my physician as a supplement), it should only be used if your levels are low----please talk to your doctor about taking it! I get my DHEA levels checked at least twice a year with a blood test.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Testosterone: 13 Surprising Facts

Good slideshow this morning on The Huffington Post.com dealing with facts about testosterone. Click here to view the slideshow......and hope everyone is doing well this last week before Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great quote for the day!

"If wrinkles must be written upon your brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old."

- James Abram Garfield

Friday, December 16, 2011

TV Alert!

Hi everyone, sorry for the late notice------I just learned that Suzanne Somers is going to be on Dr. Oz today, talking about being cancer free for 10 years. Should be a lively discussion. Check your local listings for the time and channel in your area. Good thing here in the Charlotte market the show is on at 4 pm, and then repeated on another channel at 9 pm......ironically, today at 4 pm I will be on a phone consult with my doctor so I will miss the first showing!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Natural remedies that have been shown to be of value for preventing or treating influenza.- Alan R. Gaby, M.D.

Dr. Carr (my hormone physician) shared this article with his patients recently, and with cold and flu season upon us, I thought it was good information to share with you.

I am a huge believer in using supplements to boost the immune system, and they sure have worked for me. I take both Vitamin C and Vitamin D, and I think in the last 5 years (since I have been on bioidenticals) I have had maybe two very light colds. Period. I haven't been sick at all otherwise, and I am out and about with people just about every single day.

Two important notes:

Dr. Carr prefers to use a liquid form of Vitamin C

for better absorption. I take two packets a day, the taste isn't bad but I just put it in a small glass of Crystal Light or lemonade and drink it.

Make absolutely sure you are taking a good brand of Vitamin D, I use Ortho Molecular. I learned an important lesson about this a couple years ago ---- I ran out of my regular supply, forgot to order it, and grabbed a bottle of Vitamin D at the drug store. Two months later I had my Vitamin D level checked (routine, I have it done at least twice a year) and my level had tanked big time. I now never let my supply of the Ortho Molecular brand get too low!

Both the Vitamin D and Vitamin C are available through Dr. Carr's website, the office number is 760-779-55111 and ask for Jason. Wishing you a happy, healthy, sneeze/cough free week!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hi everyone---I have not forgotten you!

I'm back from my trip to CA to see Dr. Carr (great appointment), and I am slowly catching up with life here in NC. I'll be back to posting in a few days-----enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Consumer Reports: Experts’ advice on exercise includes some do’s and don’ts

Good morning! Check out this article in this morning's edition of The Washington Post listing some of the do's and don'ts of exercise.

I know I carp on this a lot, but pay particular attention to the first recommendation: DO LIFT WEIGHTS! It is absolutely critical for bone health, and I am living proof, weight training, testosterone, and Vitamin D optimization cured me of osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis).

Tip #5 is also important ---- be sure to stretch after exercising! Those of us in our late 40's to 60's were taught to warm up before exercising, and now we know that it's best to stretch after the muscles are warm.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Risks: Partial Hysterectomies Affect Menopause

This article from the NY Times.com came across my newsfeed this morning----and it's a question I deal with a lot. There is now scientific evidence that a partial hysterectomy does increase the risk of an earlier menopause. I know in my own case, I had a partial hysterectomy in the summer of 2002, I was 44, and within a year was suddenly having severe peri/menopause symptoms. My hot flashes were excruciating, I gained all sorts of weight, and I became deeply depressed. I met Dr. Carr and got my hormones balanced not too long after that (thank goodness), and I remember at one of my first appointments he told me that even in a hysterectomy where the ovaries are left intact, the removal of the uterus causes a decrease in blood flow to the ovaries, thus diminishing their capacity to produce hormones.

I may or may not post again this week, Thursday I am on my way to CA for my appointment with Dr. Carr. One of my friends from NY is meeting me out there, so I guess this qualifies as girl's weekend out! I'll have plenty to talk about when I get back, enjoy the rest of your week.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Follicle stimulating hormone FSH tests

Hello and happy Black Friday (no, not me, because I do not celebrate the holiday season, and even if I did, I would do all my shopping online!)

Most of you who are in the peri/menopausal stage have had a blood test to check your FSH level. FSH stands for follicle stimulating hormone, and high levels are usually an indication that you are approaching menopause (or have reached menopause. Check out this article from BellaOnline.com to learn more about follicle stimulating hormone levels.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Choosing a doctor should be like the Amazon shopping experience

I'm an admitted geek about medical stuff (particularly when it comes to hormones). One of the reasons I got into this whole thing of helping women research and find doctors/compounding pharmacies who work with bioidentical hormones is that there are a number of BHRT clinics popping up who are blatantly ripping off patients, and your health is at stake. It drives me nuts to hear some of the stories that women tell me about bad experiences with these places.

Check out this article from KevinMD.com's blog, since I am a big fan of Amazon.com the title of the post caught my eye. Pay particular attention to the bottom of the fifth paragraph ---- the part about how most American's spend more time planning a vacation than they do choosing a doctor. Scary, but all too often true (and I have been guilty of this myself).

I will likely post again this week, but in case I don't ------- I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bio-identical progesterone provides balance to hysterectomy patient

Finally ----- something coming out of one of the medical advice columnists that makes sense. Suzy Cohen's article in the TulsaWorld.com contains some good news about using progesterone in conjunction with estrogen, even for women who have had a hysterectomy. Click here to read the article........

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleep Problems Triple Women's Fibromyalgia Risk

I know that a huge percentage of the women who contact me about peri/menopausal issues tell me that sleep disorders are one of the most frustrating issues of menopause. I have long dealt with sleep disturbances because of chronic pain from a car accident---and then when I hit perimenopause, I almost went nuts from sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep exacerbated my depression issues, which in turn cause further sleep issues............and on it goes. I do not have fibromyalgia, my pain issues are from a car accident in 1992.

Check out this article from The Huffington Post.com on the relationship between sleep disturbances and the risk of fibromyalgia. I will share with you that bioidentical hormone balance has helped my sleep considerably, and got me off the Ambien/Lunesta whatever pharmaceuticals I was on to sleep. I now take melatonin and I use Cortisol Manager (Integrative Theraputics ----- it's a supplement) at night to help me sleep.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Preterm Birth and a Really Sleazy Lawsuit

A little back story here.....for at least 30 years, doctors have used progesterone to help prevent preterm labour in pregnant women. It's generally compounded and comes at a cost of approximately $10-20 per dose. Along comes KV Pharmaceuticals, who wants to patent their version of progesterone, market it to obstetricians to give to their patients, and charge $1500 per dose. KV Pharmaceuticals went so far as to send letters to compounding pharmacies threatening legal action if the pharmacies continued to sell progesterone for this purpose. To their credit, the FDA came out and said they would not protect the "orphan" status of KV's drug, thus allowing the compounding pharmacies to continue supplying the progesterone to the medical community at approximately $10-$20 per dose. KV Pharmaceutical's response was to "lower" the cost of the drug to $690 per dose, and they flooded the media with press releases about their generous gesture (eyes rolling). I have very little use for Big Pharma.

Check out this article from TheHuffingtonPost.com ---- now poor, poor KV Pharmaceuticals is getting sued by a group of investors for overstating projected profits----in other words, failing to gouge patients as much as they thought they could. Oh. Gee. In every instance where Big Pharma tries to nail compounding pharmacies and loses, it's a victory for all of us taking BHRT.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

I saw a great post on Facebook today: "Real heroes don't wear capes, they wear dogtags." Amen.
My grandmother had three children in World War 2 at the same time, my mom (pictured below receiving her Bronze Star), my aunt Betty (also a nurse), and my Uncle Jack. I can't imagine what Grandma must have suffered in anxiety. I keep this picture on my IPhone and show it off whenever I can. Blessed be to all those who serve!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Women who stop hormones therapy increase hip-fracture risk

One of the many benefits to bioidentical hormone optimization is stronger bones-----I had osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis) before I got my hormones balanced, and now I have nice, strong, healthy bones (and I've inadvertently tested them a few times over the last years by falling---my back gives out every once in a while). Check out this article from the LATimes.com, and pay close attention to this passage:

"About one-quarter of women who have a hip fracture die within one year. One-quarter require long-term care after a hip fracture and 50% suffer a long-term loss of mobility."

That alone is enough to scare the stuffing out of me------I'm all about independence and mobility, since I lost both for an extended period of time after a car accident.

One other thing-----although the hormone optimization helped tremendously with bone health (particularly testosterone), it was also partly due to Vitamin D level optimization, and regular exercise with weights. I hate working with weights, but I know how important it is for bone health----so I suck it up three times a week and just do it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Avoiding sun may increase risk of vitamin D deficiency in light-skinned people

Today is a good day to share this article from News-Medical.net........there isn't much sun to be had in NC today. According to a study out of Stanford University, light skinned people who avaoid sun exposure are twice as likely to suffer from Vitamin D deficiency as those who do not avoid the sun. One interesting note is that the use of sunscreen did not significantly affect the blood levels of Vitamin D......it is theorized that it's likely because the people using sunscreen were not applying enough sunscreen or only using it sporadically.

I need to note on this that the study used a a Vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml (blood test) as the cutoff point for determining deficiency, which in many professional's opinions (including my own doctor) is far too low. Dr. Carr (my own physician) likes his patients to be at an optimal level of 70-100 ng/ml, and most integrative physicians use at least a level of 50 ng/ml as optimal. Even the lab I use (LabCorp) states that any level below 30 ng/ml is flagged as deficient, and the labs are notoriously slow to embrace the newer standards of sufficiency for any blood level. As always, check with your doctor about the optimal level for you. If you have not had your Vitamin D level checked, seriously considering doing so-----as we age, our bodies do not absorb Vitamin D from sunlight as efficiently as when we were younger. People who live in sunny climates are not immune to Vitamin D deficiency........Dr. Carr practices in the desert area of Southern CA, and he has a lot of patients who all but live on the golf course, and they are seriously deficient in Vitamin D.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Study: Trauma, stress may contribute to bowel disorder

I'm sharing this article from USA Today.com for a couple of reasons:

1. I had a pretty substantial case of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) for years, and it wasn't until much later that I was told is was at least in part hormonally related. I would get so sick just before my period with stomach cramps, etc. that I used to pray my worst days would be over the weekend so I could just stay in bed. Since I got my hormones optimized, I haven't had any problems whatsoever (I never even get an upset stomach!)

2. I was sexually abused as a child, and so this study reinforced what I had long suspected---there was a correlation between the abuse and the intestinal problems I had for so long. Since I know so many of you have shared with me that you have dealt with similar sexual abuse issues, I thought it was important to share this article with you.

The Mayo Clinic has a pretty comprehensive overview of IBS, symptoms, treatments, etc. If this is something that you are dealing with, please be sure to talk to your doctor---and if necessary, a therapist or other trusted healthcare provider.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

For Older Men, Lowered Testosterone May Mean Muscle Loss

Today's article from MedicalNet.com is for the man in your life----partner, parent, sibling, friends. A study done at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon studied 1200 men age 65 and over, and found that the men with higher levels of testosterone were less likely to suffer from muscle mass loss than those with lower levels of testosterone.

Makes sense, since testosterone is what builds muscle in both men and women----I would venture a guess that the majority of women on bioidentical hormones are on testosterone (most doctors who are proficient in bioidentical hormones know that true balance is more than just sticking an estrogen patch on a woman and sending her on her way). I know in my own case that the testosterone has helped me build muscle tissue in my back, thus stabilizing it and giving me better core strength---crucial for me because of spinal abnormalities. I even have a hint of muscle definition in my arms, not Michelle Obama arms by any means, but I will now occasionally wear a sleeveless shirt now, something in the past I wouldn't have dreamed of.

Back to the men ------ muscle strength for men as they age will help reduce the chances of falling, and if they do fall, will enable them to get back up unassisted. People with more muscle mass burn fat more efficiently, and testosterone is also important for bone health (men tend to not develop osteopenia/osteoporosis until a little later in life than women, but by the age of about 65 their risk is as great as women.) It's important to note that after the age of 65, 1 in 4 people who fall and break a hip will die within one year of the injury. Those statistics alone are enough to keep me in the gym.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women Experiencing Menopause May Not Get Enough Vitamin D

The study that this article from BetterHealthResearch.com refers to has been all over the Internet in the last week or so. over 3500 Spanish women were included in the study and it was determined that only 39% of this group were getting the "recommended" amount of Vitamin D every day. As most of you know, Vitamin D is essential for bone health and for a variety of other health concerns. Additionally, the "recommended" daily amount of Vitamin D is considered by many doctors (including my own) to be woefully inadequate, somewhere between 600-800 IUs (International Units) daily. I take 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily, and still struggle to get my blood levels up the optimal 70-100 ng/ml per day. We do not absorb Vitamin D as well as we age, even with sun exposure. As always, check with your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting/increasing a supplement.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Is There a 'Best' Exercise?

I've been exercising regularly for about 5 years now----and it still amazes me that I can say that. I'm not setting any records, and for me it's partially about overall health and partly about being able to stand up and walk; I have a very screwed up back, pelvis and hip from a long ago car accident so my exercise routines are actually physical therapy. I am a big believer in combining cardio/aerobic exercise with weight training. I cured my osteopenia with regular weight exercise, Vitamin D and testosterone, and I don't want to go backwards. I love to walk, but right now I am dealing with a pretty bad case of Achilles tendonosis (both ankles), so I have had to substitute riding the recumbent bike (yawn) as a safe alternative.

I love to listen to the conversations at the gym about what everyone else does as their favourite form of exercise, a lot of what they are talking about I have never even heard of! People can be really passionate. Check out this article from the Huffington Post, and also from The NY Times. I agree with the statement that the best exercise is different for each person----do what you can, what you enjoy, and what won't eventually bore you to death. I think one of the hardest things for me to adjust to was that I need to constantly change up your routines, like most of you, I am a creature of habit and get comfortable with doing the same routines over a period of time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! It's gorgeous but cold here in NC----Fall is making a statement!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

'Our Bodies' Gets an Israeli Makeover

This article from the Jewish Daily Forward really caught my attention because I have owned at least two versions of the book "Our Bodies, Ourselves". I remember when it came out in 1970 (I was 12), it was groundbreaking and very controversial. My mother did buy me a copy, but told me I was not to share it with my friends. As I remember, we had to go to a bigger city to purchase it, as the bookstore in our small town did not carry it. Times sure have changed.

I'm fascinated with the terms used for menopause in Arabic and Hebrew. The book coined new words for this time in our lives and I like them much better. I didn't realize in Israel that fertility treatments are covered by the government and therefore widely used. I am sad to say I do not know very much about the Israeli culture, but this article makes me want to learn more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I kid you not-----

Today is World Menopause Day! Get out there and celebrate! Here's the link to the International Menopause Society --- I'm not one of their fans, as they are not supportive of bioidentical hormone therapy.) I am, however, happy that we "get" a day in our honour!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Massage Therapy For Menopause

I don't do massages for a couple of reasons: 1. I have had post traumatic stress disorder in the past, and having someone I am not familiar/comfortable with touching me in such an intimate way can sometimes flip me out, and 2. I have very sensitive parts of my back, that if touched the wrong way can exacerbate big time pain (I would be so stressed that someone would set off the back pain that I could never relax enough during the massage to actually enjoy the massage!)

However, a number of women have told me that they have used massage therapy to help with menopausal symptoms, especially the stress and anxiety that so often accompanies the peri/menopausal transition. Check out this article from TheHuffingtonPost.com for some of the ways that massage therapy can relieve menopausal symptoms.

This is how I feel about bioidetical hormone practitioners:

"Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them."
- Warren Bennis

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Male Testosterone Levels Influenced By Genetic Makeup

Good morning! I'm up early to hit the gym today (weight workouts and 30 minutes on the bike.) It's a nasty, miserable day here (but we need the rain)---I really wanted to just stay in bed this morning!

I'm reading a good book on testosterone replacement therapy for men called Testosterone For Life by Abraham Morgentaler, MD. Dr. Carr recommended it to me. I'm about two thirds of the way through the book, and will have a full review when I finish (I'm usually reading two or three things at once, and so it takes me longer).

This morning's article is from Medical News Today, and it discusses how testosterone levels in men are influenced by genetics. Since I know many of you have partners/family in the age group where testosterone deficiencies start to occur, read this article yourself and then share it with the man/men in your life!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A little off topic this morning----

Like so many of you, I am very saddened by the death of Steve Jobs. I cried Wednesday night when I looked at my IPhone. I was heartened this morning to see that my hormone practitioner, John Carr, was featured in a story about the reaction from every day people to Job's passing on ABC News.

I am off to a quilt show today with a friend----so I will post over the weekend. Beautiful day here in NC, hope it's the same wherever you are. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vitamin D deficiency might be common in fair skinned people: Study

Hi everyone, computer problems (needed a new malware program) are fixed and I'm back up and running----still catching up a bit.

With the days getting shorter (boo, hiss)----I thought this article from News-Medical.net was timely. A study done in Great Britain with 1200 participants concluded that fair skinned people are more likely to be have deficient Vitamin D levels. Low levels of Vitamin D (and regular readers of this blog know that Vitamin D is a prohormone) are associated with increased risk for skin cancer, breast caner, osteopenia/osteoporosis, just to name a few. Fair skinned people tend to get less sun exposure, and use higher SPF sunscreens.

Depending on what lab/doctor you use, you will get a huge range of what is considered an optimal Vitamin D range--- my own physician uses 70-100 nmol/L. I struggle in the winter to maintain that level, even with 5000 IUs of Vitamin D daily (and we bump it to 10,000 IUs every other day and 5,000 on the alternate days from December to March). Summertime I'm usually fine with 5,000 IUs----I'm out doing water aerobics in our condo pool 4-5 days a week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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

Computer gremlins (I think my 'puter is peri/menopausal). I'm almost back on track, working through the backlog. Hopefully will be caught up and posting again by Friday, thank you for understanding!

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 Infuriating Fibs About Women Over 50

Good Monday morning! Not exactly a "hormonal" post this morning, but I was fascinated by some of the statistics in this article from TheHuffingtonPost.com. No, we are not invisible----we (women over 50, I would broaden that to include women in the per/menopausal stage of their lives) are visible, vocal, and a driving force in today's society (some of society just hasn't gotten the message yet!)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

10 reasons why you need to change doctors

Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time know I am all about patient empowerment----choosing a doctor carefully, asking questions, etc. Good article from the KevinMD.com blog today, written by Dominic A. Carone, PhD, neuropsychologist who blogs at MedFriendly.com. It's important reading, it lists 10 different reasons you might need to change doctors.

Pay particular importance to #10 ----- checking out your doctor on the state medical licensing board, and with his/her appropriate certification board. I am amazed at the number of patients who tell me "well, I picked this doctor out of so and so's book (insert celebrity name here) but then I found out he had his board certification suspended, lost prescribing privileges...". One of the West Coast's "top" BHRT specialists has lost his medical license in the last two years. You think it can't happen to you, but it can, and I absolutely stress checking out any new practitioner. All of the reasons listed in the article are important-----be sure to check this one out.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Garden pictures!

Getting to the gardens to take flower pictures is good for the soul (which in turn is good for the hormone levels----you keep your hormone levels up by keeping your stress down). Although the garden was in rough shape today (I think they must be having financial problems, as it looked very overgrown and unkept), I did manage to get a few good shots that I will turn into notecards. Enjoy, and you can see the entire album by clicking here, it will take you to my Facebook Album (you do not need to be on FB to see the pictures). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hip Fractures Tied to Death in 60-Something Women.

Hi everyone, back from a mini vacation (Gatlinburg/Pidgeon Forge, TN). Had a great time, even got to take a "mini" hike in the Smoky Mountain National Park-----felt wonderful!

This article from the Wall Street Journal (blogs) should concern all of us! Women in their 60's who break a hip are 5 times (yikes) more likely to die within a year than women of the same age group who don't break a hip. As most of you know, I am not at all in favour of the osteoporosis drugs....neither is my doctor, he doesn't prescribe them. Before I started the biodientical hormones 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with osteopenia, but two years ago my bone density showed that not only do I no longer have osteopenia, my bone density is comfortably in the normal range. I was thrillled! I attribute it to testosterone optimization, Vitamin D, and regular weight training exercise (3 times a week----I lift light weights and use the weight machines at the gym). I'm all about bone health-------and studies like this make me only more dedicated!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Soy protein reduces progression of atherosclerosis in women within 5 years of menopause

Good news for those of you who consume soy products! A new study out from the USC Keck School of medicine shows a reduction in the progression of atherosclerosis (thickening of the coranary arteries) in women who consume soy products if (and this is important) the introduction of soy into the diet occurs within about five years of the onset of menopause. Read more about it from News-Medical.net.

I'm going to be away from my computer for most of next week, so don't think I have disappeared if I don't post until the end of next week. I am taking a much needed break and getting away for a few days!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ten Questions To Ask Your Doctor

I'm whining and wheedling trying to get Dr. Carr to write a guest post about important questions to ask a doctor you are considering as a (bioidentical) hormone specialist, but in the meantime, check out this article from NPR.org.

Stress and aggressive breast cancer go together, study finds

Not that you really need another reason to do everything you can to reduce stress, but an interesting article from the LA Times discusses the topic of breast cancer and stress. A University of Illinois---Chicago study has linked an increased stress level with an increase in high grade tumor/estogen receptor-negative breast cancers. Check out the article by clicking here.

Estrogen therapy can reverse progression of pulmonary hypertension

This article from News-Medical.net piqued my interest this morning----many years ago, I lost a student to pulmonary hypertension. She was only 19 years old, and at that time was one of the youngest patients diagnosed with the condition. This was back about the mid 1980's, and not a lot of research was being done with hormones at the time.

The study detailed in the article has found that low dose estrogen therapy can significantly improve advanced pumonary hypertension-----this is great because many patients with this condition eventually end up needing a lung transplant (Cindy, my student, died waiting for the transplant----you all have signed the donor card, haven't you?) Studies like this further reinforce the fact that hormones affect every system in the body.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

UR study examines menopause's overlooked issue

I'm one of the many women who think that research in general on menopause is woefully lacking. I was heartened to see this article from the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle on a study (University of Rochester) is conducting on how peri/menopause affects memory (cognition). I know when I started the peri/menopausal transition I truly wondered if I was in the early stages of dementia, I grasped for words, couldn't remember anything, and had a terrible time comprehending textbooks (I was in graduate school at the time, so it was a mess!). We already know that progesterone, one of the hormones that drops in the peri/menopausal transition, is important for brain function, and it is also known that estrogen protects the brain. Stands to reason that when the body loses those two important hormones, then yes, cognition will be affected.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Birth Control Pills May Explain PTSD Syndrome Differences between the Sexes

Hopefully neither you or someone you love will ever have to deal with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), but I thought this article from EmaxHealth.com was worth sharing with you. A study done at the University of California-Irvine shows that women who are on birth control pills (which suppress hormones) remember traumatic events differently than women who are not on birth control pills. Women on the pill seem to remember the overall gist of the event more clearly, while those not on the pill seems to remember details more clearly. As someone who has dealt with PTSD (car accident) and who took birth control pills for less than a year in college (they messed with my vision)------I do know that the medical professionals were amazed at some of the strange details I remembered about the accident and the aftermath. Guess now I know why!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stronger Cautions Backed on Bone Drugs for Women

It's been well documented on this blog that I am NOT a fan of bisphosphonate (bone density) drugs---I wouldn't take them on a bet. They don't work, and are linked to some pretty serious side effects. I was diagnosed with osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis) about 7 years ago, and I started bioidentical hormones about two years later. The hormone balance, along with a commitment to weight training exercise and Vitamin D optimization, cured my osteopenia and in fact, put my bone density comfortably in the normal range.

The drugs are in the news again because an advisory panel is urging the FDA to put more specific warnings on the osteoporosis meds that they should only be taken for a limited amount of time (my time frame would be zero, but I wasn't asked). For more information, check out this article in the NYTimes.com.

On another note, today is an important day in our history. Pause and reflect, then get out and find joy in the day------it's the best way to honour those lost 10 years ago. Have a great week!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Prescription Drug Side Effects

I'm a proud member of AARP (and yes, I know that is going to offend a number of my blog readers), and this morning I took my AARP magazine to the gym to read while I was working out on the recumbent bike (I'm so ADD I can't just sit and bike for 20-30 minutes without something to do).

I read this article about the side effects of prescription drugs, and I thought it was important enough to share with you today. When I got my hormones balanced, I was able to get off 7 medications, and for the life of me, I do not know how I functioned when I was on all that stuff (actually I didn't, I was just existing not living). I know the side effects all the interactions caused, and with so many of us seeing multiple doctors, often drugs are prescibed that likely wouln't be if the physician had an accurate record of what a patient was taking. Remember, and I know I hound on this all the time, you MUST tell any health care practitioner treating you all of the medications, HORMONES (no not avoid telling your doctor you are bioidentical hormones because you think he/she won't approve----if you feel that way, get another doctor) and any and all vitamins and supplements. I can't stress this enough! I keep a one page document in my purse that lists all my surgeries, medications, hormones, supplements, and emergency contact numbers------if you don't have such a list, make one and run copies before the week is out. Do the same for your spouse/partner, parents/inlaws, and encourage your friends to do the same!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Could Lack of Deep Sleep Fuel High Blood Pressure?

My sleep has been off now for several weeks, so this article from TimeMagazine.com piqued my interest. There are a number of issues with the study that make it less than definitive (only measuring levels for one night, subjects tested in their own beds, only two blood pressure readings), but we do know that insomnia can stress the body and stress can make your blood pressure shoot up. Read it and relax this holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Insomnia costs U.S. $63 billion annually in lost productivity

I guess sleep (which is one of the most common issues women write to me about) is my topic of the week. Check out this article from CNN.com ---- the amount of lost work productivity from insomnia is staggering! I was not working outside the home when my peri/menopausal symptoms were at their worst, but I often wondered how I would have gotten through the day. There were many nights I didn't sleep more than about 3 hours, and that wasn't in a row. Chronic pain issues were part of the problem, but at least part of my sleep difficulties were hormone imbalances. My sleep still isn't perfect, but much better than it used to be-----I take melatonin and a supplement called Cortisol Manager (it can be purchased through Dr. Carr's office by clicking here).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why Some Women Can Have Problems Falling Asleep

Although this article by Dr. Michael Breus deals with sleep issues in all women, not just those in menopause, I thought it was worth sharing with you. It appears is this morning's edition of the HuffingtonPost.com. Be sure and check out the tips he shares at the bottom of the article---I found out a while ago that my best exercise time is in the morning. I was doing some fitness walking in the mid to late afternoon back about a year ago, and found that while I thought it would help "wear me out" to sleep that night, it actually wound me up a bit and contributed to my sleep issues.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mother Nature!

Thank you to those of you who have emailed and asked me about Hurricane Irene---which is predicted to hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina this weekend. I live far inland from that area, about 400 miles, and the most we are likely to get out of this is possibly a breeze of about 15 - 20 mph on Saturday. We've had enough excitement here this week with the earthquake, the weekend is going to be much calmer. Enjoy the rest of your week, and again, thank you for your concern!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


We felt the quake here at 1:50 pm ----- the condo shook, but no damage. Hope everyone is safe!

Lack Of Sleep Could Lower Men's Sex Drives

I have not shared an article on testosterone lately----I just noticed this one on the HuffingtonPost.com site. Granted, the number of participants in this study, conducted by The University of Chicago, is very small, but I was fascinated by how much of a decrease there was in the participants' testosterone levels over an 11 night period. Testosterone levels do not just affect libido, but also muscle and bone strength (we don't think of men as dealing with osteoporosis, but by the time they reach the age of 65, the incidence is nearly as high as it is in women). Share this with the guy in your life----but if he's sleeping, wait until he wakes up, he needs his rest (don't we all!)

A Plum By Any Other Name

This topic was screaming at me from my newsfeed yesterday-----check out this article from Women's Day Magazine (yes, that's me commenting at the end of the article). A small study was done that shows women who eat 10 prunes a day for a year had a higher bone density than the control group who ate 10 dried apples every day for the same year. I'm getting a little queasy just thinking about eating 10 prunes a day (or as they are now called, dried plums). I would far rather be bioidentically hormonally balanced, take my daily Vitamin D (I take 5000 IUs daily, as always, check with your doctor on this), and do regular weight training exercise. On a side note, all that weight exercise I am doing is starting to pay off, my arms are far from beautiful, but there is a wee bit of muscle definition----I'm very proud!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I just got back from a presentation by one of the local hospitals on the mind/body/spirit connection. I love going to health seminars, I usually learn something and I enjoy the day out and the interaction with others. Today's presentation was substandard, and that is putting it politely. I will list a few of the points on the (boring) Powerpoint presentation, with my own snarky little comments in RED:

"Chemicals and hormones release by Neurons affects your body" I copied this word for word---the grammar is atrocious. What is more atrocious is that the presenter read this off the computer screen and then didn't give any explanation. At all.

"Damage to discrete areas within the brain can thus produce a variety of disorders of the mind." Again, absolutely no explanation.

"Mindful Awareness: Recognize what is happening us in the moment it occurs. Accept the experience without any judgement or emotional reaction." A laudable goal; however, much harder to put into practice without some guidance. I am a big fan of mindfulness, and although none of us practice it as often as we should, while you are reading this-----stop for a moment. Right now, what are you experiencing? What colour is on the screen you are reading? How does your chair feel beneath you? I'm right now feeling the carpet under my bare foot, and I am feeling the push of my laptop edge on my right wrist. The air conditioner just kicked on, and I can hear a loose shingle outside my condo.

"Conditions that may affect Mindfulness: Being laid off from your job, dealing with the death of a loved one, experiencing money problems....." Yes, it is true that these very stressful life events can affect your ability to be mindful and/or focus on the present moment, but good grief, what about the events that we deal with every single day? For some of us, chronic pain, menopausal sypmptoms (I was particularly sad that she didn't discuss this, as most of the ladies in the room were over 40), the barrage of information in this day and age, social media distractions, and the list is enormous!

"Exercise (screen title) A very effective stress buster, improves quality of life". If you don't know this, you really need more intensive help than a health seminar. There were so many other benefits that the presenter could have touched on: bone health, flexibility, balance so that falls are less likely as we age, cardio, the importance of weight training and cardio, finding an exercise that works for you, and so on. A new study just came out that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can be helpful in reducing coronary and cancer risks (however, more exercise per week, a minimum of 150 minutes, is preferable).

"Meditation (screen title): Awareness exercise and concentration". The presenter gave no resources on different ways to meditate, books/DVDs and Smartphone applications available.

"The Relaxation Response: Take time off to relax. Treat and own your body." And honest, that's all she said about it. Not about finding ways to get a little time to yourself, and nothing about hobbies, girls time together, enjoyable pursuits, and the myriad of other ways to take care of yourself.

I could go on but that's enough for today. Thank you for letting me rant----see, it relieved my stress and I feel better already. I am going to work on getting a list of resources together for you about stress management, mind/body/spirit connection, etc. and as soon as I have it completed, I will post it for you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New targets for treating pain in women possibly found

Very interesting article today from HealthJockey.com ----- a research study done at SUNY (State University of NY----my alma mater) Downstate indicates that hormone levels are likely to affect the efficacy and effect of some pain medications. Some of the article is a little technical, but the take home message is that in post menopausal women (who are depleted of hormones) may not get the full benefit of some pain medications. This is something to talk to your doctor about (I plan on taking this article in to my pain managment doctor next month for a further explanation----he's a great patient educator). Another important point-----make sure EVERY doctor treating you knows exactly what medications, HORMONES, and supplements you are taking-----I get almost hysterical when a woman tells me that she is getting her hormones (bioidentically) balanced, but she isn't planning to tell her gynocologist and/or primary care provider that she's taking them because she doesn't "want the hassle". Nuh, uh---not acceptable, and possibly dangerous.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Research Explains How Estrogen Could Help Protect Women From Cardiovascular Disease

It's long been known that estrogen helps protect women from heart disease (the rate of cardiovascular problems in women shoots up after menopause), but little was known about why. Check out this article from RedOrbit.com about research into the relationship between estrogen and heart disease.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Exercise: Just 15 minutes a day has benefits

I went to a health seminar a couple years ago and Dr. Oz (yes, that Dr. Oz) was the speaker, and one of the things he said really stuck with me: "If you can't find 20 minutes a day to exercise, you need to seriously look at your life." I do exercise at least 30 minutes (usually more) daily, for me it's not just about the health benefits of fat burning, weight management, etc, but also bone health (I will NEVER take the osteoporosis drugs), and keeping my back in the best shape I can.

Interesting article popped up on the newsfeed today; even 15 minutes of exercise daily has health benefits. Read more in this article from the LATimes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yes, I know, I haven't posted in a few days-----

Playing "hookey" now and again is good for the soul-----and helps to keep my stress hormones in check. I know I haven't posted any articles in a few days, but I have a good reason (and I can blame it on someone)----my wonderful friend Karen went away for a few days, and is allowing me to "babysit" her die cut/embossing machine. I didn't want it to feel neglected, so I have been on a card making marathon since Wednesday (the machine goes home this Wednesday). As you can see by the pictures below, I am utilizing the machine to its fullest (and my printer is exhausted!). Some of these cards are for my own use, and some are for gifts. This is only a sampling of what I have done......as I write this on Sunday night, I have done about 19 different designs in two different sizes, and I estimate I have printed, cut and embossed nearly 180 cards. I'm putting the pieces for each card into separate zip lock bags to be put together over the next few weeks. Enjoy the pictures, and I will be back on Monday or Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Soy Doesn't Stop Bone Loss Or Ease Menopause Symptoms: Study

OK, for the 10th time ------ we have a HORMONE deficiency as we approach peri/menopause or andropause, not a soy deficiency (or an antidepressant deficiency, or black cohash deficiency). This study, outlined in this article from HuffingtonPost.com is all over the Internet this week (and I have posted a response on at least a half dozen websites----probably annoying a whole bunch of people in the process). Down off my soapbox for now-----thanks for listening!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Healthy diet heavier on the pocket: Study

Medical-News.net presents an article about a study done recently that indicates eating "healthier" costs an average of $380 more per year per person. A couple of points to note:

**Eating inexpensive/filling/less healthy foods may seem cheaper in the short term, but the overall effect on health will be a lot more expensive in the long run ---- obesity is a major contributing factor in serious (read that expensive) diseases like diabetes, stroke, heart health, and the list goes on.

**Check out the fourth paragraph of the article: "they did not factor in costs for food bought outside grocery stores, such as fast food - which would likely increase the food cost for each person. " I know a lot of people, especially those with children, use fast food restaurants frequently because of busy schedules, time constraints, convenience, and other reasons----but I wonder if they stop and calculate the costs over the course of a year. They would be astonished.

Hot Flash Havoc?

Have any of my readers seen this documentary yet? I just noticed that it is available through Amazon.com ----I'm wondering if it's worth purchasing. I know it has been shown at movie theaters in selected cities (Charlotte was not one of those cities, sadly). If you have seen the documentary, and would like to do a "guest post" review of it here on the blog, contact me through my holyhormones@gmail.com address and we can set it up!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Adrenal Fatigue: Are We Burning Ourselves Out?

I just picked up Marcelle Pick's new book Are you Tired or Wired? a couple weeks ago, but haven't had time to read it yet (and if I don't have time, maybe I need to reprioritize my schedule!). Check out this excellent article on adrenal fatigue in this morning's HuffingtonPost.com ----- now I am off to go put her book at the top of my reading list!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Does aging increase creativity?

A little off topic today, but I thought this article from PsychologyToday.com was worth sharing with you. This intrigued me because: a) I am very creative (and glad to know I will become more so with advancing years), b) I'm ADD, and very often ADD people are creative, and c) my maternal grandmother, who was very crafty, took up painting in her late 60's. I wonder what creative endeavor I will get into at that age?????

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Big Pharma looks to capitalize on success of vitamin D by turning it into a 'drug' for kidney disease

This nonsense with the drug companies makes me sick. First they try to patent bioidentical progesterone shots (used in preventing preterm labour in high risk pregnancies). Now they want to turn Vitamin D3, which in fact is not even a vitamin (it's a prohormone) into a drug----that I am sure will cost way, way more than over the counter Vitamin D3. Check out this article from International Business Times.

Monday, August 1, 2011

No good articles on menopause to share with you today-----

But I love this quote:

"Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied toward a meaningful end."

- Dr. Thomas Dooley

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In case you were thinking of Angie's List to find a BHRT physician----

I tried that today, wanted to see if Dr. Carr was listed, and thought that I could perhaps check out a few of the other doctors that I have been asked about. Big surprise, Angie's List limits you to the city you live in, which for me is absolutely useless. Just a warning, thank goodness I didn't pay much for the subscription and I cancelled it immediately. I hate rip offs like that.......

(Update 8/2/11) Angie's List did finally refund my membership fee, the first email they sent said they would make sure my membership wasn't renewed, but that I was "welcome" to enjoy my year's membership with them, when I sent another email clarifying I wanted it cancelled entirely, they refunded me.)

Penn Study Identifies Risk Factors for Sudden Cardiac Death in Post-Menopausal Women with Coronary Artery Disease

This article from the PennMedicineNews.com site is one that you need to read, and then discuss with your doctor. Hopefully, you are not dealing with the risk factors listed in the article:
previous heart attack, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, physical inactivity, diabetes, and reduced kidney function---but if you are, please make sure that you are keeping up with your medical appointments and take special care to reduce your risks to the extent that you can. This is also an article to share and discuss with the older loved ones in your life who may be dealing with any or all of the risk factors listed----we often think of post menopausal as just those few years after we hit menopause, but in actuality it's the years from the moment of menopause until death.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

History and menopause

Although we have made many strides in society's thinking about women in general, menopause, and how menopause is seen, we still have a long way to go. Check out this article from BellaOnline.com about the myths and historical perspective of menopause.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This quote pretty much sums up bioidentical hormone treatment:

"The shoe that fits one person pinches another. There is no recipe for living that suits all cases."

- Carl Jung

Study reveals how alcohol and weight influence breast cancer hormone levels in post menopausal women

I don't smoke, I don't drink (I think the last drink I had was at my 50th birthday party 2 years ago), but I am still overweight (but working on it). Check out this morning's article from NewsMedical.net ----- a study recently published in the British Journal of Cancer discusses the three biggest risk factors for breast cancer: obesity, alcohol, and smoking. I've done one workout already today, and am now heading to the pool for my water aerobics, and remind me to have just a protein shake for lunch!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dispelling the Myths and Misconceptions About Natural Progesterone

For those of you who are bioidentically hormonally balanced, and especially for those of you who aren't-------this article is important reading. Go, Dr. Dach!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Great quote for the day!

"Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit."
- Jeremy Taylor

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Can't Sleep? Calm Down and Cool Down

Although my sleep is still far from perfect, it's way better than it used to be thanks to hormone balance (much of my problem now is back and hip pain from a long ago car accident). Check out this post from The HuffingtonPost.com ------ it has some great ideas on ways to help improve your "sleep hygeine".

Alzheimer's Disease: Targeting Risk Factors Could Cut Number of Cases

Lots of articles popping up on my newsfeed about Alzheimer's Disease and dementia, must be there is a big conference going on somewhere and research papers are being presented. I was struck by this article from ABCNews.com, most especially by the part that said:

"On the basis of these figures, reducing the prevalence of all seven risk factors by 10 percent would cut the global and U.S. case counts by 1.1 million and 184,000, respectively. Prevalence reductions of 25 percent would correspondingly prevent some 3 million and 492,000 globally and in the U.S., respectively."

That kind of decrease in the number of people who will be affected by the disease is significant, not only in the suffering of the individuals and their families (I've had two friends in the last couple years who have had lives devastated by the disease, each is/was caring for a loved one), but in the financial cost to our health care system.

Temperatures back in the mid to upper 90's here in NC, so my repeated reminder: stay hydrated, and don't overdo the outdoor exercise!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

To Ward Off Dementia, Try Staying Healthy From Head to Toe

Most peri/menopausal women have experienced moments/hours/days of forgetfulness, and most of us have felt at one time or another that they may be "losing it"----early signs of dementia or Alzheimer's. I know I did, but the hormonal balance has made my cognitive functioning a lot better. I like to think my daily hour of exercise helps not only my back and hips, but also my brain.

Time Magazine discusses in this article how various health issues can affect your risk for developing dementia, and ways you can work to minimize those risks. This is a good one for me to post, I just finished a 45 minute weight and balance ball workout (I don't mind the balance ball, but ugh, I hate working with weights----but I know it's important for bone health). Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can Shoes Really Tone the Body?

Good afternoon, everyone! I hope you are all staying cool and hydrated in this awful heat (here in NC we have heat index warnings of about 105 degrees). It's been way too hot to walk since about Sunday, but fortunately, the heat is supposed to break a bit by tomorrow, so perhaps I can get in at least three walks this week.

This article from the NYTimes.com didn't come across my newsfeed, I am not sure exactly how I backed into it. It's worth sharing with you, as I know a lot of you like to walk as part of your fitness routine (you are also doing weights for bone health, aren't you?) Some ofyou may remember that I purchased a pair of the Shape Up (Sketchers) shoes last September:

I tried, I really, really tried to like them, but I ended up hating them. I am not one of those people who wears sneakers out and about every day (I am way too in love with cute shoes---sigh---it's a sickness), but I do wear them almost every day for some form of workout. They made me overpronate both feet terribly, and I found no toning benefit. They were also a bit scary, as if I didn't have my foot at least halfway on a step when climbing stairs, I felt unstable, like I was going to fall backwards. I finally bought a pair of Saucony cross trainers for the gym and workouts at home, and a pair of Ryka walking shoes for fitness walks (so far, so good). I sent the Sketchers to Goodwill. Everyone is different, and I have friends that swear by these.

Now if it would just cool off so I could GO walking-------make it a great day!

I'm a huge fan of the Bear (and I especially LOVE Eeyore!)

"A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise."

---A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh

Monday, July 11, 2011

Patients and Professionals for Customized Care

I have talked about this in the past, but not recently, and I know I have a bunch of new blog readers (thanks!) I subscribe to the free newsletter from Patients and Professionals for Customized Care, an advocacy group for compounding pharmacies, they are affiliated with the IACP (International Academy for Compounding Pharmacists). Lots of good information in their newsletters (and they don't bombard you with email, something I enjoy and respect!), and relevant since most of us use compounding pharmacies for at least some of our hormones. Click here to learn more and sign up for the newsletter.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Truth About Low Testosterone -- And What To Do About It

Good morning, everyone! Another hot and humid day in NC (typical July weather)----hope everyone is keeping well hydrated!

This article from TheHuffingtonPost.com is to share with the guy in your life.....Dr. Jeffrey Life (that really is his name) discusses low testosterone, or low T. You may have seen Dr. Life's picture in magazines advertising Cenegenics, which is a chain of very high end "anti-aging" clinics around the country. His new book looks somewhat interesting, might throw it on my next Amazon.com order to add to my "health" library.

Teaser for an upcoming post----I am reading a book on hormone replacement therapy that is all at once fascinating and appalling. I'll post more about it as the week goes on......

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Testosterone Therapy Improves Memory

Must be testosterone day on my newsfeed! I know a lot of you write to me complaining of brain fog and forgetfulness, and it's normal to be concerned and wonder if it's the first signs of dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. I know when I became peri/menopausal that my inability to focus on any task was maddening. I've been a lifelong book lover and reader, and yet it became a chore just to get through a chapter with any comprehension. I'm ADD to boot, so it was a double whammy. I now take testosterone once a day transdermally, and it makes a huge difference in my cognition. To learn more, check out this article from RedOrbit.com

The Low Down on Low-T; Replacement Can Help

I haven't shared an article with you lately on testosterone deficiency in men, often known as Low-T. It can have serious health consequences beyond erectile dysfunction, and as I stated in the post below this one, men can and do die from osteoporosis related hip fractures. My aunt's recently deceased husband is a good example-----he was hunched over from osteoporosis and had great difficulty getting around the last 10 years of his life. He was pretty miserable.

Check out this article from FoxBusiness.com ---- an overview of how testosterone deficiency can affect the man in your life.

New online test calculates osteoporosis risk for men, women

I have something for you to try out today! Saw this article on KABC-TV.com (Los Angeles ABC affiliate) about an online tool you can use to assess your risk for osteoporosis. We hear an awful lot about it affecting women as they age, but men also get osteoporosis, and if they fracture a hip, they are twice as likely to die from it as women.

Here's the link to the FRAX (WHO Fracture Risk Assessment Tool), go ahead, take the test, I'll wait!

I took the test, and my results showed that I have a 8.5% risk of a major osteopathic fracture in the next 10 years, and a .7% chance of a hip fracture. Now, a few points:

  • I had to answer yes to having a previous fracture----I was in a car accident 19 years ago and had approximately 23 breaks in my pelvis, two broken legs, and a crushed right hand, wrist and forearm. That's a little out of the ordinary for someone so young, so that does alter the restults a bit.

  • Nowhere does it account for hormonal balance, and quite honestly, my bone density has improved dramatically since getting my hormones balanced. Testosterone and Vitamin D3 have made a huge difference for me, and I also do regular weight training (not breaking any records, but still weight training).

  • I have had a couple DEXA (bone density) scans, but right now in this mess of a desk I can't find my latest result (2009) so I left that area blank.

If the online assessment does nothing more than make people more aware of the osteoporosis risk for themselves and a loved one, it will have done its job. Stay strong!

Love this quote:

"We immediately become more effective when we decide to change ourselves rather than asking things to change for us."
- Stephen Covey

Monday, July 4, 2011

New highly-accurate blood test can measure all forms of vitamin D deficiencies

Most regular readers of this blog have probably already gotten their Vitamin D levels checked (blood test). I have mine checked every 6 months with Dr. Carr, and despite the fact that I faithfully down my 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 every morning, getting to an optimal level has been a struggle. Dr. Carr explained it to me that the enzymes in our skin that convert sunshine to Vitamin D become less efficient as we age, so that sun exposure does not guarantee a good Vitamin D level (which is kind of ironic------I'm nice and tan from being out in the pool working out this summer!)

New blood test on the horizon to test the different types of Vitamin D, it will more accurately pinpoint deficiencies and provide important clues for research into Vitamin D and disease process. Read about this new test in this article from News-Medical.net.

Natural Estrogen May Improve Cognition for Alzheimer's Disease Patients

Good morning, everyone! A little "brain food" for this morning's post.

Check out this article from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's website. A small study done at UW has shown that women with mild to moderate cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's Disease may benefit from wearing an estradiol patch (most often known as Climera or Vivelle Dot) for a period of three months. The findings indicate that natural estradiol (not to be confused with Premarin or Prempro, which are drugs and not natural) may have protective effects on the brain. That's good news for those of us who are hormonally balanced!

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July-----be safe, make memories! Hot as hell here in NC, time for me to head down to the pool for a workout before the crowds get there.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fourth of July: Love America, Love Life

Nothing to do with menopause----but having to do with beauty (and we are beautiful inside and out, right?)----check out this post from Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen's YouBeauty.com blog----celebrate our great country!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Easing Menopause Symptoms With Food

Good morning! Ah, food, one of my favourite and least favourite topics (I have such a love/hate relationship with food, and although I am better at controlling it, I still am an emotional eater).

Check out this morning's article from TheHuffingtonPost.com. It is true in many other cultures that women do not deal with menopause the way we do in the Western world, and it is thought perhaps one of the reasons is the vastly different way they eat as opposed to the fast food, chemical laden diet so prevalent in the US. Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Integrative Way: Hope for menopausal symptoms

A few points about this article in the SacramentoBee.com (and yes, that is me commenting at the end of the article on their site):

1. I am so SICK of every article that mentions hormones and menopause only cites the WHI Study in 2002. You would think that no other study had ever been done on the efficacy of hormones.

2. Media articles are more often than not using the terms "progesterone" and "progestin" interchangeably. One more time, progesterone is bioidentical, progestin is a DRUG, and is NOT bioidentical. I'm amazed (and saddened) at how often even health care providers use the terms interchangeably. Drives. Me. Crazy.

3. Women without a uterus (and from talking to a lot of women, there sure are a lot of us out there!) absolutely need progesterone for true hormone optimization. If they are not making enough of it on their own (and most aren't), they need supplementation. My male doctor takes progesterone 3 times a day-----and he told me he doesn't have a uterus.

4. I have taken a course that uses the Jon Kabat-Zinn program for meditation/stress reduction. I did learn some things from it, but it was one of those things where I had a hard time because his voice drove me nuts. That's a very subjective thing in any meditation program, some people loved his voice and found it very soothing, I found it akin to hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. I now use Andrew Johnson's meditation apps on my IPhone, he has a very gentle Scottish brogue that makes me just want to relax and go with the flow. As I said in my comment on the article, I am all for complementary therapies to deal with hot flashes or any other health concern----and I agree that good meditation hygiene will lessen the suffering of hot flashes for some people. However, to get to the root of the hot flashes, you need hormone balance. Period.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court lets $58 million award stand

Any of my regular blog readers will tell you I am not a fan of Wyeth/Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, nor am I a fan of Premarin or Prempro. They are NOT bioidentical hormones, they are the drugs used in the WHI Study that was halted in 20o2 because of increased health risks, and that study is the reason that it is still so hard to get wide accepance of bioidentical hormone therapy (as I am sure you know!)

Saw this article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, thought it was worth sharing with you. Gives me some hope in the judicial system.

This is how I feel about working out:

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

- Arthur Ashe

Study: The Best and Worst Foods For Weight Loss

Groan, why can't the foods I like be good for weight loss? Common complaint, I bet most of you say the same thing! Check out this article from Time.com about what foods are most likely to pack on the pounds, and which ones are good for our waistlines (I do like yogurt, so the news isn't all bad!)

Monday, June 20, 2011


The month is slipping away, and I have not yet acknowledged that June is National Men's Health Month! So ladies, celebrate by making the man in your life get checked out for hormonal balance, a PSA blood test for prostate cancer, nag him to eat right and exercise, whatever you need to do to ensure his health! For more information, click here!

Celiac disease linked to earlier menopause

Saw this article on Reuters.com this morning----untreated celiac disease can lead to earlier menopause. I thought at the end of the article that an interesting point was made: if a woman experiences premature menopause, she should at least consider the possibility of celiac disease. Getting a diagnosis and treatment (gluten free diet) can improve the quality of life.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Celebrating another trip around the sun-------

Yep, today is my birthday and so I am taking the weekend off from blogging (well, today at least, tomorrow I plan to have a quiet day so I will probably spend some time on the computer catching up!) We had a birthday celebration yesterday-----I am blessed to have so many friends in my life:

And as you can see, I am enjoying the time with my friends----today I have been gifted a ticket to go see Shrek the Musical -----heading into Charlotte this afternoon. Later on, dinner with friends, so I can't ask for a better couple of days!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Causes of Women's Fatigue

Besides hot flashes, fatigue is the most common complaint I get from women in the peri/menopausal transition. I've been there, I remember before getting my hormones balanced and getting healthy sobbing in my doctor's office more than once because I couldn't sleep and I was a zombie during the day. It's miserable! My sleep still isn't perfect (back pain issues and years of not sleeping), but it's much better and most nights I get at least some quality sleep.

Check out this article from WebMD.com about some of the common reasons that women are so tired. As always, talk to your doctor about any sleep or tiredness issues.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vitamin D levels should be higher in people taking certain osteoporosis drugs, experts say

I really hope that my blog readers are using biodientical hormones, Vitamin D and regular bone stressing exercise (weight training) to keep their bones healthy, but if you or anyone you know are taking the osteoporosis drugs, be sure to check out this article from the LATimes.com (yes, I did comment at the bottom of the article.)

Monitoring thyroid hormone therapy is necessary

I never thought about this before, since my thyroid levels are checked several times a year, but a number of women write to me about thyroid issues and tell me they have been taking the same dose of thyroid medication for 5 years or more----without any additional testing being done by their healthcare practitioner. When I tell them that they need to have their levels checked if they are symptomatic, they often tell me their doctor doesn't see a need to test since they have "found the right dosage". I find that strange, as the body is dynamic, always changin, and thus, our medication/hormone needs change (thyroid is a hormone, by the way.)

Some good information in this article from the TorontoSun.com----and the emphasis is that if you are taking thyroid medication, you need regular monitoring by a health care professional (ideally one who knows what the hell he or she is doing in regards to thyroid treatment!). If you have not had your thyroid levels checked in the last year or more, be sure to ask about it at your next appointment!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Sun, Collagen, Wrinkles And Bone Strength: All Related?

Hi everyone! Before you read today's article------go take a look in the mirror and assess your wrinkles. Go ahead, I'll wait.

OK. Now read this article from MedicalNewsToday.com. According to a study being presented this week at the Endocrine Society meeting, the more wrinkled you are, the higher your chances are of having low bone density. Yes, I know, now that you know that you are going to take a second look at all your friends with the idea of trying to guess at what their last DEXA scan results were, aren't you?

I find it kind of fascinating because in my 40's, I wasn't terribly wrinkled (all my fat kept me pretty smoothed out---I weighed over 300 pounds), but I did have osteopenia. Now that I am in my early 50's (I'll be 53 next week), I no longer have osteopenia----cured it with a combination of weight bearing exercise, bioidentical hormones and getting my Vitamin D level up to optimal range. I lost quite a bit of weight last summer and fall, so my face is a little more wrinkled, but actually I have been pretty lucky......I don't have that droopy look that so many women my age get when they drop a lot of pounds. I do get out in the sun, also-----I don't lay out and bake myself, but I walk about 5 days a week, and this time of year I am doing about 4-5 water workouts each week, so I am pretty tan (I'm convinced the optimal levels of Vitamin D help with that also, I don't burn like I used to, just get a nice golden glow).

Hope everyone is doing ok in this heat------today it was just too hot for me to go for a walk, even at 8 am. I did a weight workout and some water aerobics, so it was ok, but I do like my morning fitness walks. I've got a lot of Lady GaGa music downloaded into my IPod, as well as Black Eyed Peas, good walking music. Leave me a comment below and tell me what is your favourite walking music, I am always looking for new artists/songs to download. Stay cool, stay hydrated, make it a great June!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Heart attacks: No. 1 killer of women

Heart attacks kill far more women each year than breast cancer----but breast cancer seems to have a better public relations image, because they sure get a lot more coverage. Check out this article from this morning's Charlotte Observer.

Age Is No Barrier to Muscle Building

Good morning, and yes, I know I haven't posted in a week! A combination of very busy week, a lack of good articles to share, and a few thunderstorms in the area that have limited my computer time.

If you don't already read Dr. Weil's blog----think about adding it to your list of things to do. He has some good, concrete tips for aging successfully. Check out his blog post from last week----I harp and harp to my friends that weight training is an absolute crucial part of a fitness program. So many people focus on cario workouts only. I take a circuit training class twice a week, and then do a third workout with weights at home each week. I also walk, do water aerobics and stretches (very bad back so this is all pretty much physical therapy for me.)

Again, and I can't stress this enough in the hot weather, be sure to hydrate!!!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

10 dumb things you do at the doc's office

Good morning and Happy Memorial Day!

Check out this article from CNN.com. Medical care is expensive, whether it's out of pocket or covered by insurance, so it's important to make the most of your office visit. I think my friends get tired of hearing me say that they need to be upfront with every doctor/healthcare practitioner who treats them about what medicines they are taking----including bioidentical hormones, supplements and over the counter medications. I get emails from ladies all the time who tell me they have not told their primary care doctor they are taking bioidenticals because they fear the primary care doctor will laugh at or scold them. It drives me nuts ---- both that the patient isn't being upfront, and that the doctor would ridicule a patient. I also encourage everyone to make a list of your medications, hormones, supplements, surgeries, and emergency contacts and keep a copy with you at all times.

Have a great holiday, remember why we observe Memorial Day and stay safe!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

30 Worst Cities in the US For Ragweed Allergies

People are surprised (and often skeptical) that bioidentical hormone balance cured my seasonal allergies (don't forget, hormones affect every system in the body). I have said it before, here in NC allergy season is long and difficult, both in the spring and the fall. I would take the hormones for no other reason then the relief from allergies (overall, Charlotte is in the top 5 of worst allergy cities in the US), never mind all the other health benefits!

USAToday.com posted a list of the 30 worst cities in the US for ragweed allergies, according to data from Quest Diagnostics. Click here to check and see if your city is listed!

Sharing a great quote with you!

"Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young. A good laugh makes us better friends with ourselves and everybody around us."

- Orison Swett Marden

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Not to Say to Thyroid Patients

If you don't already subscribe to Mary Shomon's weekly newsletter on what's up in the world of thyroid imbalance, you are missing some valuable information. I really like the article she featured this week-----I am willing to bet many of you have heard one or more of these comments from friends, family, and sadly, yes, health care providers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I like this quote!

"We must look for ways to be an active force in our own lives. We must take charge of our own destinies, design a life of substance and truly begin to live our dreams."
- Les Brown

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Please watch this video!

Morbid obesity reduces the effectiveness of levothyroxine for patients with hypothyroidism

This article from EndocrineWeb.com popped up on the newsfeed this morning, and I thought it was a good one to share with you all (or for those in the South, including me, y'all!). Levothyroxine is the generic term for Levoxyl, and it's given for hypothyroidism (thyroid is a hormone)----specifically for the T4 (storage part of the thyroid hormones). Too often only the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is addressed, when actually the T4 and T3 measurements are more indicitive of what is really going on with the thyroid.

Today may be our first 90 degree day here in NC for the summer---and I know much of the country is experiencing the first real hot spell of the year. Don't forget to hydrate---hydrate---hydrate! Drink before you feel thirsty, and don't leave the house with out a bottle of water. Hydrate before and after exercising. Make it a habit----and plain old water is the best hydration!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Life After 50: Women's Worst Fear After 50? It's Not What You Think

I'm sharing this article from The HuffingtonPost.com with my blog readers because I think the topic is something we all think about, either occasionally or obsessively :) I've never been married (just never found the right guy), so I try to take the steps necessary to take care of my self so that I CAN take care of myself in the long run. I think realizing it's all on me, that there isn't a family to take care of me is what finally pushed me to start taking better care of myself. I have a ways to go, but I am much healthier and at peace than I was five years ago. Enjoy!

I'm likely going to take the weekend off (taking a little mini vacation tomorrow), so let me be the first to wish you a good weekend. I'll be back on Monday!