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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Earlier Hormone Therapy Elevates Risk of Breast Cancer, Researchers Say

I saw this article from the NY Times on my newsfeed this morning, and with a little research, a dozen or more similar articles popped up on the Internet. Read the article CAREFULLY---and take two things away from it: a) this British study was not a randomized trial, it was an observational trial, which means the women involved made their own decision as to whether to take hormones or not, and most importantly b) the study does not talk about BIOIDENTICAL hormones----check out paragraph 7, which clearly states "in women who started taking the most commonly used hormones — estrogen combined with progestin" ----- the estrogen is likely Premarin/Prempro, which as my regular readers know is horse urine (not bioidentical unless you are a horse), and progestin is a drug, synthetic, and is NOT to be confused with progesterone, which is bioidentical (sorry for all the caps today, need to make my point!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Too nice a day to stay indoors-----

By North Carolina standards, this has been an "icky" winter. Our normal high in January is in the low 50's and we have seen very few days of that so far this year. The sun hasn't been out as much as normal, we had a snowstorm that shut the city down for 3 days a couple weeks ago, and well, I am just itching for spring (it will officially, by the calendar, anyway, be here in 51 days).

It's beautiful here today, partly sunny and I think the temperature went to about 55. This morning I decided it was too nice a day to waste with routine stuff, so I hopped in the car and took a little adventure. We have a beautiful botanical garden in Belmont, NC (about 40 miles from me) and I purchase a membership to the gardens so I can come and go as I wish multiple times each year. I love taking flower pictures and making them into notecards for my friends, and I was sure that a visit with the flowers today would perk me up and help me see that spring isn't that far off. The pictures below are a few of the beautiful orchids on display in the Orchid Conservatory, and you can see the rest of the pictures by clicking here to see my Facebook Album (you don't have to be on FB to see the pics). I'll be back tomorrow with a "hormone" post, in the meantime, enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Testosterone and Sex: What Women Should Be Talking About

We have not had an article about testosterone on this blog in a while-----and it's an important part of hormonal balance for both men and women. Remember, men and women have exactly the same hormones, just in different amounts (that's what makes the world go round!) I take testosterone cream once a day, it's compounded and only available by prescription.

I ran across this article today in TheHuffingtonPost.com and it has some interesting information. A couple of points I want you to be sure to read:

At the end of paragraph 4 ,the author states that saliva testing for testosterone levels is thought by most experts to be a waste of time. My doctor agrees, he tests blood for testosterone levels.

Paragraph 11 - in most cases, there is more than one factor involved in female sexual dysfuntion. Consider lifestyle changes along with hormonal balance. Most women in the peri/menopausal transition are often juggling a myriad of responsibilities: work, husband, home, children, elderly parents, hormonal imbalance, sleep deprevation ---- you get the picture.

Third paragraph from the end-----read. it. Seriously.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Screening Adults For Hypothyroidism Could Give Many "A New Lease Of Life"

This study, detailed in MedicalNewsToday.com discusses how increased screening of adults (the study was done in England) for hypothyroidism could improve the quality of life for thousands of people over the age of 50. I would encourage screening for those over the age of 40, as I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my mid 40's, and I am certain that before that I had a doctor who didn't know what the hell he was doing (sorry, little editorial comment there).

I am amazed at how many women my age and older I have asked if they have had their thyroid checked, and the answer is either "no, no one ever said anything about getting my thyroid checked" or "yes, but only my TSH, and since it's below 4-5, the doctor said nothing needed to be done". My doctor treats for any TSH over 2, and prefers it be lower than that (mine is nicely under 1). As always, check with your doctor!

Lexapro for Hot Flashes - Medical Victimization or a Joke?

I'm sure you have seen articles all over the news lately about a study linking the use of Lexapro (antidepressant) with a decrease in number and severity of hot flashes. Uh, huh. What we have as we enter the peri/menopausal transition is a HORMONE deficiency, not a Lexapro deficiency.

Dr. Dach's blog (he's the guy that refers to Premarin and Prempro as "monster hormones"---love it!) has a good, angry article about how ridiculous it is that we are studying giving women powerful, often dangerous drugs for hot flashes (and they don't even work all that well), when what they need are bioidentical hormones! I was absolutely furious last week when the reports came out last week about Lexapro-----I took Lexapro at one time and know how awful the side effects can be. As always, my caveat is to talk to your physician, and NEVER, EVER discontinue a drug suddenly without physician supervision.

I know many of you are suffing through some wicked cold in the Northeast, it's pretty chilly here in NC, cloudy and gloomy, and I am just itching for spring. It'll be here in 54 days, so hang in there!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Suzanne Somers TV Appearances

Hi everyone---I know some of you are reading Suzanne Somer's new Book "Fight Fat After 40", and she is on a promotional tour right now (she was on the Today Show this morning on NBC---I just happened to catch it as I normally do not watch morning TV). I got this list of appearances from her website, to stay updated, please visit her site at http://www.suzannesomers.com/appearances/.

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
8pm Eastern

Weekend Today Live
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Saturdays (7 - 9 a.m. ET) and Sundays (8 - 9 a.m. ET)

Sunday, January 23, 2011
8pm Eastern

Sunday, January 23, 2011
11pm Eastern

CBS "The Talk"
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Access Hollywood
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Day LA
Wednesday, February 3, 2011

Today I am going to work out my "girlfriend bonding hormones" ---- I'm off to have lunch and then go shopping with several of my friends. I'll be back later with another post, in the meantime, make it a great Friday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Tips to Break Out of Your Winter Rut

I'm not kidding when I tell people that I moved out of NY State because I couldn't take the winters up there anymore. Besides the heavy snow (upwards of 150 inches most winters), the sun would disappear for a week at a time, and by the end of January my depression (this was before I got my hormones balanced) was even worse than usual.

I'm much better now that I am in NC because 1) my hormones are balanced, 2) I take 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D each day (talk to your doctor about this) 3) most winter days in NC have at least some sun (today is not one of them) and 4) because the winters are milder, I am able to get out pretty much every day (being housebound two days last week because of snow and ice was very unusual).

I saw this article today on the HuffingtonPost.com by Oz Garcia, and it has some great tips to help you cope with the winter blues/blahs. I used to use a BriteLight box when I was in NY, and actually found that it did help a little. I sat with it 30 minutes each morning. I think one of the most important tips in the article is to get some exercise----that way, when spring rolls around you will be in better shape, and will feel like getting out to enjoy the fresh season!

Monday, January 17, 2011

OnTheGoWomen---check it out!

I received information on this site a month or so ago, and life got in the way so I am a bit delayed in sharing it with you. It's called OnTheGoWomen (it's a Canadian based site), and it has a lot of information about how osteoporosis affects us as women. Check out the following links, I think the sections of the website on how to have a conversation with your doctor:

osteoporosis, bisphosphonates, osteoporosis treatment, strong bones, healthy bones, osteoporosis fracture, healthy bone, osteoporosis risk factors, osteoporosis fractures, osteoporosis injection, osteoporosis information, osteoporosis risksosteoporosis, bisphosphonates, osteoporosis treatment, strong bones, healthy bones, osteoporosis fracture, healthy bone, osteoporosis risk factors, osteoporosis fractures, osteoporosis injection, osteoporosis information, osteoporosis risks

Your mom or other older female relative:

osteoporosis, bisphosphonates, osteoporosis treatment, strong bones, healthy bones, osteoporosis fracture, healthy bone, osteoporosis risk factors, osteoporosis fractures, osteoporosis injection, osteoporosis information, osteoporosis risks

And how to assess your own risk of developing osteoporosis:

osteoporosis, bisphosphonates, osteoporosis treatment, strong bones, healthy bones, osteoporosis fracture, healthy bone, osteoporosis risk factors, osteoporosis fractures, osteoporosis injection, osteoporosis information, osteoporosis risks

Now, the caveat from me is that I am NOT a fan of the osteoporosis drugs that are way too routinely given----I was able to reverse my osteopenia with bioidentical hormone balance, Vitamin D, and regular weight bearing exercise. However, I am also a firm believer in having an honest, open conversation with your doctor about the best choices for you (and your family). I am also a firm believer in getting after our Moms about bone health-----my own mother had crippling osteoporosis by the time she was in her mid 70's, and when she was younger, refused to do anything about it (including refusing a bone density test----she drove me nuts). She fell and fractured her upper arm in 3 places and was never the same, in fact, the immobility exacerbated other health issues and she died less than a year and a half later. I do not want that to happen to me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Give Osteoporosis Drugs A Holiday To Help Them Work Better

I've been very clear on this subject ---- there is absolutely NO way I would ever take the bisphosphonate drugs ----- both my doctor and I think they are dangerous. That, however is a decision between you and your health care provider. I was intrigued by this post from bio-hormone-health.com about a Loyola University study. The findings of the study concluded that patients can safely take a "holiday" from these drugs, up to several years. As always, you need to talk to your doctor before making any changes in your medication.

Perimenopause: The change before 'the change'

USA Today ran an article yesterday on perimenopause (and it's actually from the Associated Press). Nothing earth shattering in the article, but I did find it a bit curious that Dr. Ken Holtorf was quoted about how thyroid levels can affect mood and weight, but no information was provided about bioidentical hormones (Dr. Holtorf is an outspoken advocate for BHRT). It also saddens/angers me that the article talks about estrogen like it's the only hormone that women need to have replaced. We have far to go in educating people (including much of the medical community) that true hormone replacement and balance involves the three sex hormones (progesterone, testosterone and estrogen) as well as thyroid balance.

This is the scene outside my condo door about 5 am yesterday morning, and the snow came down for quite a while after that before changing over to sleet and freezing rain. Now, I am from Upstate NY (north of Syracuse) and up there, no big deal. I now live in an area north of Charlotte, NC where this much snow shuts the city down!!!! I'm on day two of being housebound, fortunately, I have a lot of hobbies and interests to keep me busy. I am reading two different books (one of which will be reviewed here on the blog sometime next week), knitting (just finished a pair of fingerless mitts for me) and working on making some notecards and greeting cards (I'm a recovering rubber stamper----now I just fool around with a bit of papercraft using my computer.) I can work out at home on my balance ball and I just got a new exercise band (complete with DVD). So far, so good. Most of the freezing rain has moved out, but it's still so cold out it's dangerous (our average daily high this time of year is about 52 degrees, we won't see anything near that until at least the weekend----yikes!) I am really hoping that tomorrow it will be clear enough to get out, I want to get in a workout in the swimming pool (helps my back) and get to my knitting group (helps keep me sane). Wherever you are, if you are being affected by this storm I hope you are staying warm and safe. Spring is in 68 days!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Study finds no blood clot risk with hormone patch

My first reaction to this article from MedLinePlus.com was "well, duh!" (cold weather makes me snarky.) It's long been known that transdermal (through the skin) application of hormones decreases the risk of blood clots, but ok, now we have an "official" study to back it up.

However, this is a prime example of misinformation: paragraph 3 of the article says "The number of women using HRT plummeted in 2002 after a large U.S. clinical trial found that women on estrogen-plus-progesterone pills had higher risks of blood clots, heart attack, stroke and breast cancer than placebo users did. " The WHI (2002) study referenced used PROGESTIN, not progesterone, and there is a huge difference. Progestin is not bioidentical, progesterone is bioidentical. Always take these articles with a grain of salt----they often contain erroneous information!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Are women losing more sleep than men?

Not being able to sleep -------- well, it just sucks. I've been there, when I became peri/menopausal, I often got no more than two hours sleep, even with sleeping medication (Ambien, Lunesta, etc. ---- I've taken them all). Check out this article from TheExaminer.com about some of the reasons women lose more sleep than men. At the bottom of the article, note the links to two great websites for women, Red Hot Mamas and Take Back Your Sleep. I've visited both websites and learned some valuable tips.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pfizer Ordered to Pay $1.5 Million in Prempro Damages

I don't even need to comment----just read the article from Bloomberg.com!

Research shows bedtime intake of levothyroxine may benefit hypothyroid patients

My usual caveat TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES-----but this article from EndrocrineWeb.com discusses a study relating to the timing of taking levothyroxine (the brand name is Levoxyl, some take brand name and some use a generic form). I take it myself and have always taken it first thing in the morning (an hour before eating), but this study indicates that taking it at night may lower TSH levels (lower is better for TSH). I have an email (just sent it) in to Dr. Carr regarding when he wants me to take it----oh, boy, if he changes me to nighttime, it will rock my world as I am such a creature of habit :).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

TV Alert!

Hi everyone, sorry for the short notice on this one. It doesn't directly relate to bioidientical hormones, but Dr. Deepak Chopra will be on the Dr. Oz Show tomorrow talking about the Secrets to Reversing Aging (I disagree with the title, just as I disagree with anti aging medicine---it's age managment medicine). Click here to see what channel and what time Dr. Oz's show broadcasts in your area.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hormones Could Be to Blame for Post-Holiday Torpor

Good morning and happy 2011! Finally, life gets back into a normal routine (whatever that is!)

Good article to share with you this morning, from the HuffingtonPost.com. Dr. Katz always has good information to share. Today he talks about both Vitamin D (which is really not a vitamin but a prohormone) and thyroid function. Problems with low Vitamin D and/or thyroid function may be contributing to your post holiday blues, and it's important to get both checked out (by a doctor who knows what he/she is doing in regards to thyroid, not all do!). Two points to take special note of: the explanation of how hormones affect nutrients, and the discussion of how a "normal" level of thyroid (which is a widely broad range depending on who you listen to) may not (and likely isn't) the optimal level for you personally. Run off a copy of the article and take it with you to your next medical appointment if you suspect your levels may be off ---- ask your doctor to discuss it with you!