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  • Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

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    Old 05-04-2019, 11:11 AM   #1
    Sadtosay
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    Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Five years ago, I was a slim post-menopausal 58 year old, bordering on thin. I wasn't sleeping, so my naturopath put me on bioidentical oral progesterone. I slept like a stone for 18 months, and then the insomnia came back. However, shortly after I started the progesterone, I realized I had gained at least 10 pounds, most of it on my chest.

    A 24-hour urine test showed that my progesterone levels were too high, and my estrogens were very low, so she put me on topical bioidentical estrogens and reduced my progesterone. I gained even more weight.

    In these last 5 years, I have gone from a bra size of 34D to a 34 F cup. My waist has increased, but not nearly at the same extent as my chest. I'm covered in a layer of blubber. I feel disgusting. Exercise doesn't help. Diet doesn't help.

    I keep being told that I need the hormones, but is that actually true? Can I safely have low hormone levels if I take calcium and magnesium instead?

     
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    Old 05-04-2019, 12:38 PM   #2
    Titchou
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Odds are you would gain weight HRT or not. As for whether or not you "need" it, that depends on what outcome you want. Do you want no hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, dried out vagina? Then the answer is yes, you "need" it. If the above don't matter, aren't all that bad or can be controlled with other meds, then the answer is no, you don't "need" it. Since you are seeing a naturopath instead of a gyno I am assuming you aren't interested in standard HRT?

     
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    Old 05-04-2019, 03:42 PM   #3
    Sadtosay
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    The thing is, the hormones haven't really done much for me since they stopped working for my insomnia. I never did have night sweats and I've been done with hot flashes for fifteen years. The reason I'm using it is that my test results showed that I was very low on both. But given the lack of positive change and the horrible weight gain (which amounts to a 20% body weight gain in just a few months), I'm left wondering if I should continue with it. All I really cared about was whether the progesterone would help me sleep. Since it no longer does, what's the point?

    I just wondered if it was possible to avoid bone density loss without using estrogens.

     
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    Old 05-04-2019, 04:19 PM   #4
    Titchou
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    From what I've been given to believe (osteoporosis clinic at UAB hospital here), that's the reason my numbers have improved. at 73 and small boned,my score is -1.1 and improved to that from -1.6. I'm however on traditional HRT - Activella, a combo pill. You're doing it differently and that's a personal choice. I've been on this for 13 years, my sister has been on the estrogen patch (after hysterectomy) for about 35 years and her score is -1.0. All I can share is our experience.

     
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    Old 05-04-2019, 05:34 PM   #5
    Sadtosay
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    It's not really my choice -- my GP knows nothing about HRT, so he prefers to have me go to a naturopath, and this is what they prescribe.

    I could ask my GP about a combo traditional, though -- I wasn't aware it existed since years ago all I was given was the estradiol suppository, which didn't help with dryness at all over the years I took it.

     
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    Old 05-04-2019, 08:53 PM   #6
    Titchou
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    You should be talking with a gyno not a GP about this. Do you not have that option where you are?

     
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    Old 05-05-2019, 06:37 AM   #7
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Please go see a gyn....

    I do not take anything hormone related- I am 3/4 of the way through Menopause- and I am doing fine without anything. Yes, I get hot flashes, but I much prefer hot flashes to the symptoms you are describing or the possibility of hormone replacement related cancers (which run in my family).

    You can do this naturally, you just have to make up your mind to get through it. Its not easy- and some people just cant- but you wont know unless you try.
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    Old 05-05-2019, 08:40 AM   #8
    Sadtosay
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    We don't have a gynecologist here where I live. The nearest one is a couple of hours away. It's really hard to get a referral, too.

    The last gynecologist I saw, years ago, put me on Premarin, which stank so much I stopped it after a week. She didn't test my levels, either. It was just an appointment plus prescription. That's pretty much the way it is here.

    That's why I ended up with a naturopath -- I finally got a complete thyroid test and a complete 24-hour hormone panel, neither of which most doctors will order here.

     
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    Old 05-05-2019, 09:50 AM   #9
    Titchou
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Only had one hormone test in my life around age 50 while I was still on bcp. It was only in the teens. When I started skipping periods on bcp at age 57, we went straight to HRT and I've never looked back. All is great -just my experience.

     
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    Old 05-06-2019, 12:58 AM   #10
    Hannah1492
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Why don't you stop the hormones and retitrate as needed. If you lose weight without them that would be awesome.

    When I took Anatomy all the skeletons had thin spots in their hip bones - male and female. Figure it's the natural process of falling apart we all go thru.

    I use progesterone cream as I had unbalanced estrogen leading to tons of cervical polyps and ovarian cysts. A bonus was that my dry eye problem and constant chocolate cravings went away.

     
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    Old 05-06-2019, 07:02 AM   #11
    MSNik
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Most primary doctors are also trained to do women's health...since yours doesnt seem to be helping you and you say there are no gyns close by- try consulting another primary care doctor with more knowledge...maybe ask friends who they use for this sort of thing?
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    Old 05-06-2019, 07:45 AM   #12
    Sadtosay
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    GP's here basically give you estradiol suppositories.

    Here in Canada we have a good medical system, but it's very difficult to get a new family doctor. Where we are now, a small town, I'd have to go to a walk-in clinic and take my chances that someone there would be any good. That's why I chose a naturopath, since there are quite a few of them around here and some of them have been in practise for a long time.

    I like the idea of titrating my dose, though, Since the hormones are both cream that would be easy. Maybe I'll try it.

     
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    Old 05-06-2019, 09:54 AM   #13
    yayagirl
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    Dear Sadtosay,

    You are in a hard situation all around. But there are some things you can do. I can relate because of my own less than usual health issues. I have to figure out what may work for me and then I have to be vigilant and proactive and report what is or is not working for me. That isn't easy when we get depressed, are gaining too much weight or are feeling awful.

    But you do need to be proactive on behalf of your own health, hon. You can care for yourself by keeping records of what is tried, what dose, how long, and what side effects or results, and take a copy to each doctor that you see. That is how hormones are anyway. There is not one common dose for everyone. Hormones need to be titrated according to your own symptoms and well-being. If you started on too much hormone or not enough, you would not reach a satisfactory level. And it takes weeks to know what a dose change will do.

    It is really important that we read up on a drug before taking it so that we know if we really want to take the risk, and also so we know what to watch out for and then report unwanted side effects to the doctor. To me, this is always so no matter where we live or who our doctor is.

    Can you go to a walk-in clinic or make an appt for a consultation, then go with a list of what you take, how much, how long you have taken it, when, and a list of the side effects and results you have gotten and ask for advice?

    Here in America, I personally like naturopaths, because often they seem to be more sensitive about side effects and that every body responds differently. Is that true there?

    Now for the hard facts, hon; weight can only be controlled by paying attention to what and how much we eat, exercise or at least walk. No hormone or drug can resolve those things for us. For sure, in my experience Canadian naturopaths are very knowledgeable, and one should be able to help you make a plan to become active, lose weight, and also get your hormones and prescriptions back into a balance that works for you.

    Hormone dose change is done by trial and requires regularly reporting the effects. So, ask your doctor how long to try a specific dose before you can expect to see any results. Usually a dose change requires 6-8 weeks before seeing what it may do for you. But know that you must make yourself at least get out there and at least walk for the weight to come off. Lifting weights to build muscle also helps, because it is muscle that burns body fat. A drug alone won't do the job.

    Don't give up. Let us know how you are doing, hon.
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    Old 05-06-2019, 10:12 AM   #14
    Hannah1492
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    Re: Do I actually need hormones post-meopause?

    There's a very good chance it is your thyroid. I don't see obese old women running around. When I was put on synthroid I went from 128 to 196 lbs. It wasn't menopause. I couldn't sleep, I had heart palpitations. The medication didn't work for me.

    You have to be on the right medication for you, the right dosage, the exact correct dose. Do you have Hashimoto's disease?

    If their not monitoring you closely for the other hormones, I doubt your thyroid is well treated either. I have a sluggish TSH its a meaningless number for me. I don't convert T4 to T3 well, I make reverse T3 which is inactive, and a standard test lumps it all together. I take high doses of thyroid hormones because I'm British, some of us have a gene that makes us resistant to thyroid hormones. Most of the drug sits in my blood, the test look like I'm hyper. The dr has to know the symptoms of hypo and hyper thyroidism It has to be personalized by a really good doctor. I have to pay for my dr it's $300 every 2 months and buy my own medication because of this.

    Last edited by Administrator; 05-06-2019 at 11:45 AM.

     
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