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HRT
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This patient support community is for discussions relating to menopause, depression, hormone replacement therapy, hot flashes, mood swing, skin changes, and problems with joints/muscle, memory, sex, sleeping, vagina, and weight.

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HRT

What side effects have you experienced since starting HRT.  
I started 1 week ago today and I still have hot flashes and I have been very emotional the past few days.  Is this normal?  I am on antibiotics and have been for 4 weeks for wound separation.  Could this affect the performance of the hormones?
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Hope Mary sees your post, she is the Hormone Queen on here .  Hang in there.
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Hi,

I would recommend you go to this thread...it is on page 3 and it was there just now when I checked.

*******4/26 Forgetfulness problems after Surgery
Lisagarr*************

I suggest printing it or saving it to your hard drive, Email it to yourself just so you have the information since it is a lot to absorb. I have been studying this stuff since 2000 and still learning!

In the true sense of the word, HRT would refer to Hormonal Replacement Therapy and I don't mean to split hairs with anyone, but I think of myself on BHRT, Bioidentical Hormonal Replacement Therapy. Frankly, I do not know much about the HRT drugs that are prescribed, such as Premarin and Prempro except that I won't use them. Prempro has Progestagen, or Progestin in it, which is a synthetic Progesterone, and would not be used by anyone without a uterus, since it was mainly developed to counter one of the side effects (although rare) of using the synthetic estrogen (Premarin)...the side effect they were worried about is uterine cancer.

When a woman who has had a hysterectomy asks the doc for a script for Progesterone, she will get a blank stare unless the doctor is familiar with the positive benefits of using Bioidentical progesterone...it is just that the words are often, unfortunetly, used interchangeably.

I would not be without my Progesterone. I use very little estrogen (Vivelle, a bio patch) and I use Testosterone. It should take little time for the estrogen benefits to kick in, although this is a case by case situation, I am sure. As far as the progesterone, it takes three months for it to leave the body after the ovaries are removed and up to three months for it to be replenished. I started to feel so much better after about a month and a half of being on the Progesterone...back in 2001.I had been on Estrogen since the day after my surgery.

I am still on it (Progesterone) and use the cream from a compounding pharmacy and I use bio progesterone pills, too, to supplement the cream since I was needing to raise my levels. I have been under a lot of stress and the progesterone was being used by my body to make extra cortisol.....geez....

Sorry I cannot directly respond better than this. I assume you have called your doctor/nurse about this. Also, I would check to see what type of hormonal therapy you are on....synthetic or Bio....and, grab "The Wisdom of Menopause" by Christianne Northrup, MD while you are at it...an excellent resource.

Best to you ..........and

HI TO STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mary (almost 54!)

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all respect to Mary53 and the great encouragement she provides to so many folks on this forum, but i wanted to point out a FDA advisory today:

thought you folks taking bio's, BHRT, would be interested in this report today from the FDA saying that bio's are not better than taking the individual hormones separately.  In fact, it can help to take them separately to individually adjust the dosing for each hormone:

FDA informed healthcare professionals and patients that the Agency sent letters warning seven pharmacy operations that the claims they make about the safety and effectiveness of their so-called "bio-identical hormone replacement therapy," or "BHRT" products are unsupported by medical evidence, and are considered false and misleading by the agency. The pharmacy operations improperly claim that their drugs, which contain hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and estriol (which is not a component of an FDA-approved drug and has not been proven safe and effective for any use) are superior to FDA-approved menopausal hormone therapy drugs and prevent or treat serious diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and various forms of cancer. FDA is concerned that the claims for safety, effectiveness, and superiority that these pharmacy operations are making mislead patients, as well as doctors and other healthcare professionals. Compounded drugs are not reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.

Patients who use compounded hormone therapy drugs should discuss menopausal hormone therapy options with their healthcare provider to determine if compounded drugs are the best option for their specific medical needs.

Read the complete 2008 MedWatch Safety Summary including a link to the FDA New Release regarding this issue at:

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2008/safety08.htm#Menopause
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With great respect to the FDA, I have done my own research and I'm only conveying the facts I have learned about BHRT. (With respect to you, MD).
Please keep in mind the FDA approved the HRT replacement that included the progesterone that was created from horse urine years ago- that caused so much cancer in women and wasn't removed from the shelves for years, (with company knowledge of the problem) until the an action had to take place...
The FDA will also state, that Testosterone treatment in women is 'not approved'. Feel free to look it up. Personally, I do not make testosterone naturally. Nope... Not a drop of natural testosterone in my body- '0 rads found' per my test results- Free open what ever. With this being said, (my opinion only here) the FDA needs to relook this statement and get with the times. They address men but not women. Without testosterone, my life would be in disarray as this hormone is essential to a mirad of things to provide health and well being- not just for sex.

BHRT isn't safer I agree: as anything added to the body can cause a risk...no two bodies are alike. Though it has been proven that BHRT can be metabolized by the body. Synthetics that are used, your body just has to deal with the dosage and side affects occur....(i.e. Testim (which I was on) when applied in the same location eventually will cause fuzzy hair growth in the location of application, adema, etc-see testim reactions on their website, etc).
BHRT is compounded to mimic the body's natural hormone composition per the readings and research I have done. Synthetics do not- they are a 'version' of the body's hormones naturally created... meaning a deviation in the makup (to allow patent). it is believed and only makes sense, that pharmaceutical companies push the synthetics because they can patten the formulas, raise the price and cause you the comsumer/ patient to pay the high prices... with no guarantee of safety. BHRTs are not unique in any way as the natural composition can be created over and over without patten infringement-because its a natural formula. Therefore limiting the price they can put on it as anyone who can compound, can make it and lower their price. So business wise... it's not a good investment to have what others can create in an open market... medical business 101. BHRT that is compounded is best recommended for individual application vice mixing it all up together. I have 2 seperate tubes to apply and in different locations- place a capsule I take as well.

I wish you luck to all who are considering BHRT I am new into the BHRT world but anything is better than wanting to jump off a cliff because it's easier to die than wake up each day or growing fuzz on my back.... I am finding the will to live and enjoy being alive.... as each one of has to find what works for us individually.
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Thank you for taking the time to wander into this issue!  I must say I do enjoy your insights and humour (not a spelling error, I am Canadian :) on your many and varied posts on the Medhelp site.  

You refer to the FDA.  

Please could you take the time to read this text from Drerika.com  

Wyeth has won FDA approval for its new antidepressant Pristiq.
Yes, the same FDA who has just told us "bioidentical hormones" don't exist, the same FDA who has told compounding pharmacists to stop using Estriol, the mildest of estrogens when it helped hundreds of thousands of women with menopausal symptoms.
Yes, the FDA whose mandate is to protect the public has spoken again. This time, it didn't take one of its hundreds of FDA approved dangerous flops off the market, this time it has added yet another antidepressant to an already endless list of drugs that don't work to the market. Unfortunately this is proof yet again that the FDA is more anxious to protect Wyeth's profits than the wellbeing of the American public.
This is a particularly ominous development for women - Wyeth is also asking the FDA to approve Pristiq as a drug to reduce hot flashes in menopause.
Pristiq is the successor to Effexor XR, whose patent expires in two years.
Sales of Effexor last year were $3.8 billion.
By the way, Effexor is not exactly a great drug either.
Just check my blog on the topic and read about its side-effects and disastrous record when it comes to attempting to get off it.
But let me get back to what matters. The new drug provides a lucrative new revenue stream for Wyeth. How lucrative? Well, on the day it won FDA approval (February 29) Wyeth stock soared 2.5% while the rest of Wall St tumbled 315 points. Did I mention any benefits to patients? I would, if I could think of any. One thing I'd like to ask the FDA and Wyeth is how many people (women) have taken this drug for how long before it got through the approval process? And by the way, did anyone have any adverse reactions we might consider serious enough to skip the drug altogether? The prospect of Pristiq being approved for menopause is truly disturbing and proves the FDA has relinquished any pretence of protecting women. Treating menopause with anti-depressants is ineffective and dangerous. If women are depressed during menopause it is because their hormones are depleted and most conventional doctors discard their symptoms and tell them they are just getting old and should just get over it and go away. The sensible and caring way to deal with the problems of menopause is to help women understand what happened to their bodies, how their diets affect the way they feel, how exercise improves the symptoms, how stress management helps them get the sleep they need, how supplementing their hormones with bioidentical hormones can help them get their lives back on track and enlighten the world with the wisdom they acquired along the way.
The solution is not going to be found in giving them another drug to become dependent upon. Instead, the FDA is making it harder for women to find safe, sensible alternatives. You'd think they'd done enough favors for Wyeth.

You can read more on her site.  Hey she may be a snake oil salesmen in the opinion of some, but I like reading what she has to say.
Thanks again and best wishes from
Katie
PS I went through surgical menopause two years ago, my doctor has me on the Estradot patch and I use bioidentical progesterone cream.   The estrogen patch works far better when I use the progesterone.
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WOW...I could have sworn that I posted a comment to the doctor's comments way back in January. I read the article he referred to just the day before. Wyeth was/is lobbying big government to do away with the bio's (AGAIN. GOSH...I write letters and sign petitions to try to halt this ridiculous issue each year) and the FDA responded by trying to get SEVEN????? seven? compounding drugstores to stop using Estriol, which is used all the time in Europe and has been used sucessfully for years. It is newer to this country. I have used it for non-systemic vaginal atrophy help as well as part of a mixture of estrogens (estrodial and estriol) but I now just use Estradial.  

Also, accusations that the bioidentical hormones have not been studied is a comment that does not have a leg to stand on in my opinion. Shall I send them references to where they can get a study?

Interestingly enough, and Katie may have covered this (it is late and I am tired)...more people in government and in the courts are looking at this action and wondering why government is getting so involved in all this...and telling women what they can and cannot use AND wondering why the FDA is leaning toward listening to the lobbying efforts of a large pharmaceutical company.

I also will never forget the report done by Katie Couric a few years ago when the head of the North American Menopause Society (a doctor) got on camera and said that the bio's and the synthetics were treated no differently in the body. Well....The Day AFTER the two-part show was aired, the North American Menopause Society put out a disclaimer on the CBS news and admitted it was "Wrong"....that in fact the bios and the synthetics do NOT act the same way in the body. There were differences...oops. Was I the only person in America watching this the day after the big airing of the show which was laced with misinformation.

Then yesterday, Dr. Erika Schwartz sent out a newsletter all about the Wall Street Journal and the attention it is paying to the bioidentical hormones used for menopausal women (remember that Synthroid and insulin are both bioidentical hormones) and that they are now questioning the statements put out by the big pharm. companies who product the synthetics.

Time for bed. Hoping someday allll of this will e much clearer and available for women without the feeling we hae to jump through hoops.

Goodnight.

Mary
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I have been on vivelle dot patch for 9 months...I still experience slight hot flashes and occassional mood swings..I try very hard to remember to change the patch and when I am a day or 2 late thats when I notice I feel different. I have tried to go without and suffer many other symptoms so I am only 41 and need to be on the patch. I dont take progesterone since I dont have a uterus..other than that I dont really suffer from any other symptoms.  Any questions feel free to ask! gia :)
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Don't confuse Progesterone with Progestin.  They are totally different.  Progestin is a synthetic that is not the same as what your body manufactures.  Bio identical progesterone is as close as they can replicate what your body manufactures.  Think about diabetics and insulin.  That too would be considered a bio.
Progestin causes uterine cancer, and other bad things, yes.  Progesterone is a different thing all together.  You need progesterone.  Google the two.    
And To Mary53, you must get tired of repeating yourself sometimes!!  But I thank you every day, you helped me more than you will ever know!!
Regards,
Katie
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i am so confused....why do I need progesterone?? none of my Doctors has suggested this since my hysterectomy last May!!! I am on 0.5 2x a week on the vivelle dot patch. Please explain this to me as I just went for my yearly checkup and when I asked my Doctor she said no progesterone needed because uterus was taken out. I am new to all this so if you can give me further details I would appreciate it. Thanks, Gia
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Gia,

The following list is from information from Dr. John Lee (considered a Pioneer in Progetesterone research)

Benefits of Progesterone (whether producing naturally in the body or through using Bioidentical (also known as Botanical or Natural) Progestreone:

Helps use fat for energy and keep it off hips
Natural diuretic (water pill)  
Natural anti-depressant
Facilitates thyroid hormone action
Normalizes blood clotting
Increases libido
Normalizes blood sugar levels
Normalizes zinc and copper levels
Restores proper cell oxygen levels
Prevents endometrial cancer
Helps prevent breast cancer
Increases bone building


All due respect to your doctors, but I know this is a confusing area and the way I look at it, well, it is a specialty. Luckily my doctor was willing to learn about the benefits of using the progesterone when I presented the idea to him back in the summer of 2001 which was about 8 months after my surgery. By this time, I had been suffering from the lack of progesterone since three months after my surgery...(it takes about three months for the progesterone that is in your body before the surgery to totally leave the system. It was then that I started to feel as if I was losing my mind. I know that sounds dramatic, and I honestly would not wish this on anyone, and not all are going to feel this way, but I felt this way and had no clue why. But, I had learned the value of research years ago and so I was on a mission, although my mission took the form of a book practically landing on my feet at the Grocery store of all places. It was Northrup's book on Menopause. I had a bit of a history with Northrup since it was the information in the first book she had written that got me through a bout with Severe Cervical dysplasia after I was told by my first doctor to "Wait." I did not wait and ended up in surgery for near cervical cancer. This same doctor was the one who brushed me off when they found the cyst that later, when drained, had malignant cells in it. I was with my current doctor by this time. I was starting, too, to feel the power of advocacy. So it was in this vein that I approaced my doctor (top guy in MN) about using the progesterone. The Oncologist had put the Vivelle dot on me the day after surgery without a word....that was it.

The compounding pharmacist in a little town south of here actually "taught" my doctor about the value of progesterone and I know from seeing my doctor for my yearly exams that many of the women he works with now use the product.


MORE in a Second....
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Part Two....The way it got all messed up with the whole "you don't need it cuz you don't have a uterus" thing is this:

When women use Synthetic estrogen like Premarin, they need a progesterone to protect the uterus from the rare cancer, Uterine cancer. But, progesterone cannot be patented and so the company that makes Premarin came up with a Progestin, as Katie pointed out, and they called it Provera (Depo Provera is a relative of this). The two drugs together, Premarin and Provera, Equal Prempro. It is now theorized that the Progestins are what helps create the big mess in the synthetic world of hormones. The snythetic estrogens are not great either ( I, like you, would only use a bio estrogen like Vivelle) but that Progestin is nasty.

HOWEVER.....Progestin and Progesterone gets used interchangeable. And with all the drama surrounding the hormone issue, well, the first thought a person in the medical community who is not well versed in the Bio hormone issue, thinks of using a Progesterone or Progestin to protect the uterus. Well, here is the deal. There are so many more cell receptors in the brain than their are in the uterus. When we get cramps after a menstrual period (used to at least) it is the lack of Progesterone that causes the cramps. I will tell you that a newer problem for me over the last two years has been horrid leg cramps that I experience when the levels of progesterone in my body are low.

I have printed some more info that follows this. I have info on my Profile, too, in the Journal section. I have old posts on this too (Gosh...I have about 950 posts...Yikes).

I know that you know I am not a doctor. I am in Childrens Mental Health. I am also someone who needed to research when I was feeling lousy.

Check out the books and/or websites for the authors of the books that I referenced on my profile to learn more. You really need to arm yourself with information about all this, so you can feel the most comfortable with your decisions. I see my reg. OB/GYN for exams and I see a specialist in hormones (that finally accepts my insurance...that is another ISSUE....it never ends)...and, I think she is great.

Good luck. I will stop now and leave you to read the rest if you want. Or, print it off so you can digest all this. It IS confusing. I hear you on that!

Mary
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Many women are on Progestereone therapy only, whether they have reached menopause, surgically induced or not.  However, if you do the research, talk it over with a doctor you trust who knows a lot about hormones and the effect both protective and harmful of the female hormones, some women decide to use supplemental estrogen such as Estrodial or Estroil. One of the reasons women use estrogen is to help keep the receptor sites open so that the body can UTILIZE progesterone.

I will have to dig out my books, but I believe progesterone uses the same cell receptor sites as estrogen. Progesterone will balance the estrogen effects and so even if you are not taking supplemental estrogen, you are making some estrogen as a by-product of a substance made in the fat of menopausal women. It is called Estrone and it is a strong estrogen. But for women with no ovaries some do elect to take estrogen, but not the synthetic type of hormone used in Premarin which comes with a separate list of problems.



There are some women who may not take estrogen. The amount that many typically take results in amounts approximately equal to six times LESS  than what was in your system before menopause.



And, again, if the estrogen is balanced with progesterone, you avoid "estrogen dominance" and all the ill effects that can come from that. Estrogen Dominance is the term coined by Dr. John Lee. When women start to skip ovulation, which can start as early as the early 30's, then progesterone is not produced and if you start skipping ovulation more frequently, you become so low on progesterone...then the estrogen in your system becomes dominant. This can happen even when your estrogen levels are dwindling as in perimenopause. So, even a small amount of estrogen without progesterone to balance it out can cause problems. Without my progesterone supplementation, my husband, even at age 60, makes more progesterone in his body than I do!  I believe it was Dr. Lee who did a study with women over the age of 80 who were given progesterone supplementation. They did so well on the supplemental hormone...they cited even being able to play bridge again...think clearly, etc., amongst other things.



As far as learning about progesterone and what it does for the body, google Progesterone, the New Estrogen, or Progesterone, the estrogen alternative and also, a great book, "The Wisdom of Menopause" by Christianne Nothrup, MD. Simplystar mentioned Dr. Lee's website and Katie mentioned Dr. Erika Schwartz's site. Both excellent.





The suspicion is that my cervical dysplasia and my ovarian cancer were both caused by estrogen dominance. If only I'd known....I would have been on progesterone years ago. I'd heard a little bit about it in the early 80's but did not bother to look into it. I am not sure where I would be without it now. In fact, I just put some on before I posted! For me and many others who have had a surgical menopause and have been allowed to take bioidentical estrogen, progestereone, and testosterone, the results have been helpful. My hope is that all of this confusion will some day be cleared up and more health care professionals will have a better understanding about all this.


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Oh boy don't we know how confusing it is!!!!!  I feel for ya!   I was told the exact same thing by the gyn, but, my regular doctor is OK with me adding the bioidentical progesterone cream to the use of the patch.  The Vivelle dot patch is considered bioidentical, so you are doing great there!  (wheeew eh).  
I have to tell you.  My GP who is very honest told me he had like 10 hours of traditional hormone training 30 years ago, and he is always interested in new developments!
The trouble is, doctors refer to PROGESTERONE and PROGESTIN as if they were the same.  They are not.  Most doctors really don't know a lot about this issue.  
Yikes.  It is a pretty long story and have to go yell at my dogs.
When Mary first explained this to me, I was like  "CAN'T HEAR YOU" (hands over ears) and I refused to figure this out.  Gradually, mostly because I didn't feel as great as I thought I should, I read a lot about this issue.  Have you read Mary53's posts? and beach3281s posts above?  They are a great starting point.  
The uterus thing you mention is because the synthetic estrogen caused uterine cancer, so they introduced PROGESTIN to try and protect those who still had a uterus (because it was used for menopause symptoms).  The two things are different!!!  Progestin is garbage.  Progesterone is considered by many, there are some who disagree, you have to figure it out for yourself, to be necessary for our optimum health.  My GP says it leaves the body quickly and he doesn't feel it will do me any harm.
GOOD LUCK!  Gotta dash
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HI MARY!!!!!!!  we did it again eh!!!!
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I have to say I do agree with all comments made about the health aspects of bioidentical hormones, but I really wish we could leave some of the soapbox rhetoric about FDA and pharmaceutical companies out of it, particularly when answering questions to those new to the topic.
Having read into the FDA comments, alot of their concern is that compounded BHRT (mixed/made by Pharmacies and not those bioidentical products made commercially) can not be assured for consistency of dose and stability. Commercially made HRT whether syntheic or bioidentical has had to go through stringent assessment that in the end gaurentees the product is the same each and every time we buy it- compounded products do not have this benefit.
There is always more to the story but if we get distracted voicing our personal thoughts on big pharma companies and the FDA- sometimes our message to those newer to the HRT topic becomes diluted or just harder to absorb.
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In terms of my symptoms after being on HRT, I have had no hotflashes at all, no night sweats, not too emotional. I tried the FemHRT combi patch but had real hassled with breakthrough bleeding (have my uterus still) and issues with allergic reaction to the adhesive of the patch. I then went onto pill type. I have had quite sore breasts so I am now going to swap to a lower estrogen option and see how that goes.

If you are intersted in a website that describes all the currently available HRT (synthetic and bioidentical) what they are composed of and what dosage I have found this website helpful. There is also a link which takes you to an equivalence table where you can look at what dose of the different compounds are equivalent (really useful when trying to compare different options - so you can compare apples with apples etc)

http://www.earlymenopause.com/hrt.htm

Bron
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I am still so confused...what should I do now???? Do I go to my regular Dr or go to my  GP??? Noone ever mentioned this to me. I do sometimes feel achy...no stamina and hot flashes occasionally.  Should I see an endocrinologist??? I appreciate all the feedback given to me.  You are very knowledgeable.  I am so unsure as to what my next step should be...Thanks for all your info and wonderful support.  Gia :)
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Bron...All....
I appreciate your interest in the whole hormone situation. It is a huge jungle out there and one that has affected me and my friends personally. I just want to clarify that Katie, Jan, and I were not answering questions from a person new to this whole thing (and in fact, as you see in a more recent thread, Justscore did not even start this thread, but somehow a glich in the system got her name kicked in on all of this. The thread was started last Spring and surfaced again in January and then again just this month. ). Anyway, the responses from us were for the doctor who printed an excerpt from a very long and detailed response to a petition presented to the FDA by Wyeth (back in April 2006).

Mainly what we are talking about here is what I guess some would consider "thinking outside the box" as many of us have found relief from the debilitating effects of menopause by looking into safer alternatives should we choose hormonal replacement therapy.

One quick excerpt if I may,

"DrErika says that in a full page ad in major U.S. newspapers, the HOME (Hands Off My Estrogens) Coalition www.homecoalition,org denounces the FDA for using unfair and dishonest tactics in an attempt to protect Wyeth's synthetic products from the increasing popularity of bio-identicals."  

This was printed back in January and you can read her dispute/concerns in her blog on her website should you be interested in researching this further.

Unfortunately, Dr. Erika Schwartz along with others, such as Christianne Northrup, Reiss, (my sister's doctor in Boston...published ...I will get her name if anyone wants) all are now considered "alternative" practitioners as far as I understand it. Hopefully someday all (traditional and alternative doctors) will see eye to eye and this whole area of healthcare will not be so totally confusing. But, honestly, even if I was a newer person reading all of this, I would want to know all that I could know so that I could make the most informed decision.

However, as I said, the responses citing the FDA and a pharmaceutical co. were not meant (in my opinion) to be a general response to those interested in hormones and I would certainly HOPE that if someone stumbled onto this thread, it would not shut the door for them from looking into the products that will help them feel well and keep them safe if used correctly. The posts aired concerns about how it does seem at times as if we are being told what we can and cannot do without benefit of all of the alternatives out there. Misinformation is bread when someone in authority says..."This is how it is going to be from now on" and then you find that, indeed, it might be a one-sided conversation.

I am not against drug companies. Oh my gosh, no. And, I have three nieces who work for the FDA. As one poster said, "All due respect to the FDA" but heck, who knows?...our stories (very real and sometimes, yes, very passionate) may encourage agencies like the FDA to look at ALL aspects of a story and hear not just the drug companies, but the women out there whose lives are better knowing about the alternatives to traditional "drugs" to treat menopausal symptoms.

It is well known that much of our medical heritage here is to "Treat" rather then to "Prevent." I hope for the sake of the next generation that this trend will be reversed. And, if the hours I spend writing on this forum help in anyway I will be content if it just raises awareness. Having said that, what you don't know about me is that I am THE most Non-political person I know. But, after 8 years of studying this issue, it is hard to stay quiet when red flags are raised that only give half of the picture.


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Hi Bron,

I know  you have had a rough go of it lately. Hoping you are feeling better these days.

I just wanted to say that I took a look at that website you mentioned. Always glad to hear of new hormone websites. If I may, I just wanted to advise you to continue researching this body of work. There were a few problems with some of the information that I saw. Just a little thing, but they got the name of the drug company that puts out the Vivelle patch wrong. I am a Vivelle user and maybe a bit overprotective :) about this sort of thing. Vivelle is made by Novartis. Also, they mentioned a product that was ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate is what makes up the FemHRT combipatch. Just wanted to make sure you knew that they both were synthetic hormones and not bioidentical. No wonder you had problems while you were on it. I am sure I would have, too. I could not take the birth control pill back when I was in my late 20's because of breakthrough bleeding. Norethindrone acetate is a product (progestin) that is in birth control pills. In retrospect, I am glad that I did not use it longer than I did since I ended up with problems later in life and will never be sure if that contributed to my problems or not.

Now, having said that, the regular Combipatch by Novartis is regular estrodial (a bioidentical) but they added that darned Norethindrone acetate again. Why did they have to mess up a good thing? (again, my opinion).

One more thing, they mentioned an Oral Estrace, but kept referring to it as Estrodial but said more than once that it turns into Estrone once it has gone through the liver. From what I have read, Estrone is a rather harsh Estrogen. Then they went on to say that Estradial is unsafe..after saying that is treated as a different estrogen in the body. Confusing at best. My understanding is that Estrodial is the main estrogen that curses through out body while we are in our 20's.

PLUS, the reason TRI-EST has lost favor with compounders is that Estrone (the third estrogen in Tri-est) is not the greatest estrogen and not needed since we produce it in menopause anyway as a by-product from the fat in our system. The main compounded estrogen product is now Bi-est which is Estrodial and Estriol (very, VERY abundant in Pregnant woman and considered Very weak...has been used in Europe for years). But then Progesterone is produced BIG TIME, too, in pregnancy, but that is another discussion.

That's it. After 8 years of studying this stuff, I continue to develop a critical (don't mean that in a bad way) eye, so I thought I would share my observations.

Take care,

Mary
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Thank you ladies for supporting the use of bioidentical hormones.  

I want to put in my 2 cents here.  I am 54 with a total hysterectomy 20+ years ago.  Upon moving to AZ over 7 years ago, I had to find a new gyn.  I found a wonderful doctor that does bioidentical hormone pellets (she has them herself).  These are put under the skin in my hip and last 3-4 months. I get estrogen and testosterone.  My life has changed drastically for the better.

I hesitate to say too much about the actual pellets because for simply talking about them and how they improved the quality of my life, I have been banned from several websites dealing with menopause and my post about them was removed from Yahoo Answers.  I really believe the big pharma / FDA are behind these health websites.  The only question about the pellets on Yahoo Answers has an answer that says to stay away from them.  I'm beginning to feel like this is a bigger conspiracy than who killed Kennedy.  It's really scary.
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Hi,

I have to say that after reading your post and hearing that you were not even able to get the word out as to how  you were finally get the help you needed ( and deserve!) I am even more grateful that MedHelp has been very respectful over the years regarding our comments on the various bioidentical hormones and their effectiveness compared to the synthetic drugs that are traditionally offered. My sense is that they (at MedHelp) respect the amount of time and effort that some of us have done researching this "alternative" area of heath care/prevention and that we have presented our material thoughtfully, if not sometimes passionately. I will defend passion any day, though :)

For my part, I need to just remind people that I am not a doctor. Hey, "never say never"...right? Med School at age 54? My husband would freak! I work in Mental health and education ...children's Mental health. Currently I teach troubled adolescents. I love what I do, but I love doing this research, too, since I was one of the ones walking around in a sort of coma for months after my hysterectomy. Thank Goodness for the alternatives!

Glad you wrote and I will send a message to you as well. I have heard of the pellets but the information I have is vague. My only thought is this.....what is your thought on adding progesterone (cream) to what you already do. For me, adding the progesterone made all the difference in the world.

Take care,

Mary
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Thanks for replying.  I am really gun-shy right now about saying too much.  I'm so glad to have found a forum that allows discussion of all types of products.  I am not a doctor either, nor do I think the pellets are the answer for every women.  But we deserve to know all our options.  Give us all the information and let us decide.  But to block certain things is just plain wrong.

I have done so well with the E & T that I don't feel I need the progesterone.  But some of the women that are in the Yahoo Group do use it with the pellets.  I've thought about it but figure why fix it if it isn't broken?!

I used to be a teacher too!  I taught junior high and high school choir.  I admire you for teaching troubled teens.  That's not easy but can be very rewarding.

Nancy


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Hi,

I am trying to get a message off to you while I wait for the Oven repair man. Great guy who has fixed other things in the house, but I do hate the waiting...will he be here in a minute or an hour? The dogs will be ecstatic since they figure anyone who comes to the house is here to see THEM! (as it should be, actually:))

WOW...I was in Choir...high school and then Concert Choir in college. Now, that is something I admire. I always loved choir but wondered what kind of magic our choir directors used to get us to sing the beautiful pieces. I used to watch them in awe. My College Choir director still teaches at the same college and has since 1969 I think. He is great!

Sounds like you are doing well. And, I appreciate the open mind. Sometimes that is all that we need to help us fix things when they do go wrong, you know?  I just got to a point where whenever I had a medical issue, I started to look to the hormone issue and sure enough, the problem I was having was caused by some kind of imbalance...joint pains, leg cramps (the worst for which I am in constant pain if I don't keep up with the progesterone) bladder issues (also progesterone for me), and of course mental clarity (testosterone...even though I would say the three hormones I use help with that).

Years ago, my chemical sensitivity got worse than ever and I could not be around people with strong perfume on...and, some of the cleaning products would have me diving for cover. Well, it turned out I was low in Testosterone (which I have used "off label" since 2001)...and, so I read up on it again and realized that clumsiness and sensitivity to loud noises were also symptoms of low testosterone. Once I got that adjusted, I was good to go again.

Again, I will get that message off to you. And, I will have a working oven again, too!

Mary
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I had my Hysterectomy on 02/08/07.  I started with hot flashes & night drenches (not sweats!) within 3 wks after my surgery.  My Dr. started me on Estratest.  My May I was having crying spells & I went to my regular M.D. & ask him if maybe it was my thyroid, as I take synthroid.  He told me he bet it was my hormones & he did bloodwork & forwarded the results to my GYN.  My regular M.D. told me then he thought I needed to go to a compounding pharmacy.  My fsh was 120, the highest that yet another Dr. I found, told me she had ever seen in a women without ovaries.  Getting back to my call to my Gyn who did my surgery, his nurse said she'd up my dose of Estratest & as far as the crying, that had nothing to do with my hormones, wrong!
I then found a web site where there was a topic of pellets.  One of the gals that was so positive about her pellets ended up only living 30 miles from me.  In August I had my first insertion & within 2 days the brain fog had cleared up, I could see better, and I haven't cried since!
Pretty much everybody that commented on the pellets on the site where I found out about them have been banned from that site.
I met Nancy, that has posted above on our Yahoo site.
I have had 3 insertions & I am still being tweaked as my N.P. says but I do feel alot better than 1 yr ago this time.  My husband could tell such a big difference in me after my 1st insertion too.
Pellets aren't for everybody I'm sure but women need to know that that is also a option.  As Nancy stated we have been kicked off several sites.  One gal on another site had posted that her vision was bad & I just posted that since I got my pellets my vision had cleared up & they banned me saying I was soliciting.
I am 51, I do not currently use progesterone cream.  I have found that it really makes me irritable!

Cheryl  
  
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Hi,

I am still reeling over the fact that you guys were or have been banned from other sites. That is just plain scary to me. No kidding.

I have to go in this week for my blood draw (I go about once every three months) and then I will have the evaluation next week to see if I need any hormone adjustments. I will ask about the pellets. I have not had time to do the research I like to do since even though it is my spring break, I seem to be busier than ever, but I am very interested.

I suppose I could be accused of getting on a "soapbox" but I do want to encourage everyone to do more research on the progesterone issue. If you have used it, how long did you use it? How long had you been without it? (how many years since surgery or menopause or even perimenopause, etc) ....did you give it time in the sense that if you have been without it in your body it will cause some initial problems possibly because it will be "waking up" the cell receptors and (OK.... I can look this up for anyone who wants. I am fighting a headache right now....and, I am not recalling my 'cell receptor' details). For some women it takes months and sometimes longer than that to get the desired results.

I also want to say that I cannot take oral bio progesterone. It does a number on me. In fact, I opened up my Prometrium (oral progestereone) capsule and rubbed it on my skin (not recommended by the manufacturer but approved by some doctors).  I also had a horrible time while on the oral troche. I also needed a very high dose of progesterone otherwise mine gets used as Cortisol in my body. But, if you read up on it, you will note that it helps with joint/smooth muscle issues, including bladder issues, also it protects the body from using more estrogen than it needs. It is pretty awesome stuff. Don't let one bad experience keep you from at least studying it..that is all I am saying. I will never stop using it. When I do get behind in my regimen I pay big time for it.

I wanted to add, too, that I am so sorry you had to go through that whole issue with the Estratest. Wow...Oh, and hormones had nothing to do with the tears??????   WOW.... makes you wonder if they were even listening to you. Also, Estratest is a synthetic. Bad enough they had you on it, only to raise the dose. SOOOO glad you are feeling better now. I know the feeling of that brain fog being lifted.

"The Wisdom of Menopause" is a great resourse, by the way. Northrup has been helpful to me on more than one occasion.

It's funny....when you said that some sites thought you were 'soliciting'....I have found myself here saying "I don't sell anything, etc., I was just a woman thrown into menopause and I was feeling lousy.

Take care and I am glad you wrote.

Mary
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I actually appealed to a site that banned me and said exactly the same thing.  I'm a woman just wants to get the word out that there are options.  The response was: It was advertising, plain and simple.  Move on.

Can you believe it?

Nancy
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A few yrs ago before my hysterectomy my Dr. gave me a script of Prometrium, as he was handing me the script he said I'm warning you & you may want to warn your DH that this will make you really bi-----.  It did!  One year prior to my hysterectomy, I started using otc progesterone cream according to John Lee's book "What your Dr. may not have told you about Menopause".  I had  fibroids thinking maybe this would help shrink them.  I noticed I was getting  really irritable & I ask the Dr. when I went for my next checkup if the otc cream would have the same effect as the Prometrium, making me crabby. He told me yes it would .  So this has been my experience on the progesterone cream.  

Cheryl
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Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for resonding. In a perfect world, my beloved Progesterone would be utilized well and tolerated well by all!  

I am surprised that your doctor made that comment to you, though. Wow...It reminds me of the time a doctor told me and my spouse, when we were considering Natural Family Planning, "Well, why any woman would want to touch their cervical mucus is beyond me."  Well, we used Natural Family Planning (in spite of the doctor's comments!) for about 12 years...successfully.

I will say that I have read of other's reports that they did not do well on the progesterone, but I still have to wonder (and these are just thoughts of course) if it is a question of the receptor sites getting all agitated as they can when you start progesterone (or estrogen if you have been deficient for a long time)...I don't know. I read somewhere recently that it may take months or even years for some to get all straightened out. I guess my passion for this hormone shows through since I have read so much (and experienced so much) about it and the importance of using it. I do wish it'd worked out better for you.

I started this journey with Christianne Northrup, MD through her books, and particularly got on the progesterone through her "Wisdom of Menopause" book, but I also have read Lee's work and also a book I love called, "The Estrogen Alternative" .....and, I have had great success using the cream.

I used Estriol once in a 80-20 ratio and had a bad time of it compared to a 50-50 ratio (estriol and estradial). I recall the pharmacist saying that not all women do well on estriol ...kind of rare, but not unheard of. I have used it vaginally with luck for dryness.

I now just use Estradial for overall systemic estrogen support (along with the other hormones I use) as I did when I first started this journey back in 2000.

Thanks again for the information, though.

Take care, Mary
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The combi patch has turned me into a real *****, and also has given me diarrhea. I'm done with it.
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