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

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.