Bioidentical Hormones

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I started using the Vivelle Dot Patch, a transdermal, bioidentical estradiol, about two years ago.  You can read a couple of posts I did on it when I first started using it here  and here. 

I started using it because I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  was experiencing debilitating joint and muscle pain, was lost in massive brain fog, and couldn’t remember my middle name most of the time due to short-term memory issues.  I knew from my research that estrogen could address these issues.

So I took the plunge.

On my last visit to my gynecologist (whom I love by the way), she told me that I had a cervical polyp, which she commenced to snipping off right then and there and shipped it off to the lab for biopsy.  She assured me that it was most likely benign as most all of them were, but she had to follow protocol to make sure.

I trusted her judgement and wasn’t too whipped up over it, but still did a little Google research when I got home and learned that polyps can grow with estrogen.  Since I had been using the patch for close to two years by then, I thought it might behoove me to back off the dosage.  So, I decided that I would not change the patch out as frequently and only use it essentially when I noticed symptoms – for me that would be brain fog, short-term memory issues, and even vaginal dryness.

I actually wrote about it all here if you would like to read that post as well.

It’s been several months since I made that decision, and approximately a month ago or so I began to experience issues with my sleep.  Since I take 200 mgs of Prometrium at night, along with 3 mgs of melatonin, provided I keep a regular sleep schedule, I haven’t really had issues with sleep.  However, I began to have problems with waking up at 2:00 a.m. almost on the dot, and couldn’t go back to sleep.

At first I thought it was a problem I was having with the Happy Calm Focused supplement I had been taking.  So, I backed off of that.  But the problem persisted.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on and concluded that since my jerk-off ex-husband was still harassing me on a regular basis, that perhaps I was reacting to stress.

However, a couple of weeks ago a light bulb came on over my head.  I realized that my inability to stay asleep might be connected to the fact that I was not using the Vivelle Dot Patch as often and that my estrogen levels might be too low to promote healthy sleep cycles.

That day, I popped another patch onto my hip and viola’ sleep returned.  I have changed it out more frequently than I had been (just slightly longer than the actual dosage recommendations) and I haven’t had any problems with falling asleep and staying asleep since.

There is a lot to be said for the importance of estrogen in promoting good sleep.  Of course, it must be balanced with progesterone, and good eating habits and moderate exercise are important as well.  But, as I get older – just turned 58 – and further into my post-menopause years, estrogen levels are going to continue to drop.  Therefore, I’m going to have to address it one way or the other.

For now, I’m back on the Vivelle Dot Patch and sleep is coming.  I might decide to go a different route, or maybe I won’t.  But, the point is, estrogen was a key issue in why I couldn’t sleep.  I’m convinced of that.

I will be writing some more posts on the connection between estrogen and sleep.

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Are Compounding Pharmacies Safe?

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Thanks to the recent outbreak of fungal meningitis in the United States, which is now responsible for 25 deaths across the country, compounding pharmacies are now in the cross-hairs of federal regulators, and questions are being raised about their safety. The New England Compounding Center, (NECC), located in Massachusetts, shipped thousands of vials of a […]

April 1, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Food as Medicine: Omega-3s & Zinc For Itchy Skin and Scalp in Perimenopause

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This is the first post in a new series I’m entitling “Food as Medicine.”  After several years of reading and writing about perimenopause, I’ve come to the conclusion that food is as important in managing the symptoms of perimenopause, as I believe bioidentical hormones are. In fact, I would likely say that food is even more important. Now, […]

March 3, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Looking for Resources for Perimenopause? Look No Further!

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A lot of my readers ask for help in locating physicians, pharmacies, and recommendations for bioidentical progesterone (which I promote a lot here).  I almost always forget to direct them to my  Resources Page.  And unless you take the time to click through on some of my pages, you might not locate it either, though […]

February 15, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Estrogen, Uterine Polyps & Me

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UPDATE: A reader left a comment pointing out that this article wasn’t entirely accurate.  She herself had undergone a procedure to have uterine polyps removed and informed me that hers were so deeply embedded in her uterus, that there was no possible way for a routine gynecological exam to discover them. She also noted there […]

January 30, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Bioidentical Progesterone for Insomnia: It Works for Me!

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I’ve been taking Prometrium, an FDA approved bioidentical progesterone, for the past month to help me with sleep, and to help with my night sweats and hot flashes. I told you all I would share my experience with you, and the jury is in: it works. I am taking 200 milligrams about 2 hours before […]

November 18, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

So Exactly “WHAT” are Bioidentical Hormones?

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I’m going to come clean and tell you that until the last couple of years, I really didn’t understand the difference between bioidentical hormones and what we call synthetic hormones. I also didn’t know that bioidentical hormones have actually been around for a very long time – like, nearly 100 years. Surprised?  I was too. […]

October 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

FDA Approved Bioidentical Hormones……Really?

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It does seem like an oxymoron to have the words “bioidentical” and “FDA approved” in the same sentence, I know.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably always associated anything that is FDA approved with pharmaceutical companies. You’ve probably also thought that anything produced by a pharmaceutical company couldn’t be bioidentical or natural either – and […]

October 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Prometrium: An Oral FDA Approved Bioidentical Progesterone

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It is no secret that I personally prefer bioidentical hormones for the treatment of symptoms of perimenopause as opposed to synthetic hormones and drugs. In fact, I sincerely believe that most women prefer natural, healthier, and less intrusive treatments as well. However, most bioidentical hormones are not FDA approved, and therefore, are not covered by most health insurance plans. Unfortunately, this […]

October 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Premarin, Prempro & Bioidentical Hormones

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If you are confused about the difference between synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones, you are certainly not alone. The difference between the two is a hotly contested issue among medical professionals, and unfortunately, it is women suffering with hormone imbalance who are always caught in the middle. Some physicians will tell you flatly bioidentical hormones […]

October 16, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia…….Bioidentical Hormones Have Worked for Me!

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I received this comment recently from a reader who identified herself as “Found the Solution.” I was so impressed with what she had to share that I wanted to feature her comment in this month’s “Dear Magnolia” installment.  “Found the Solution” encapsulates in her comment everything I have blogged about here at The Perimenopause Blog […]

October 15, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hormone Replacement Therapy isn’t as Scary as You Think

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In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study sent the medical professionals prescribing hormone replacement therapy to their patients into a bonafide tail spin. Terrified of putting women at risk for coronary heart disease, stroke or breast cancer, physicians abandoned HRT all together, advising their patients to do the same. Few would argue the value of the study. […]

October 1, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Are Lab Tests Accurate in Testing for Perimenopause?

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In Western medicine lab work is king. Blood work can tell you if you’re pregnant or if you’re not. You can determine if you’re diabetic or have kidney disease. If you have an infection, a high white blood cell count will tell all. And if law enforcement authorities want to determine if you are legally drunk, blood-alcohol levels can also send […]

August 11, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

DHEA: What is it & Why Should You Care?

If you’re anything like me, prior to perimenopause the only thing you knew about hormones was that you had them, and that about every 28 days or so, you had a deep and passionate longing for a luscious piece of chocolate and a high powered firearm with bulls-eye accuracy. In prior generations there wasn’t much talk about […]

July 9, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer? Part III

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This is the final post in Dr. Joseph Mazzei’s series on the relationship between estrogen therapy and breast cancer.    If you wish to contact Dr. Mazzei or any of his colleagues in the Body Logic medical group, please see his byline at the end of the post.  As always, the views expressed in this post […]

July 2, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer? Part II

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Today’s post is a continuation of  Dr. Joseph Mazzei’s post on the relationship between estrogen therapy and breast cancer.  The views expressed in this post are not necessarily the views held by The Perimenopause Blog and are for informational purposes only. Please see your physician or healthcare provider for personal medical evaluations.  Let us continue our conversation from […]

June 29, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer? Part I

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Today’s post is a guest post by Dr. Joseph Mazzei, a Chicago based doctor for BodyLogicMD, a medical group which sponsors The Perimenopause Blog. I asked Dr. Mazzei if he could give his opinion on estrogen therapy since it is starting to make its way back into the news once again.  In this post, Dr. Mazzei […]

June 24, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Symptoms of Perimenopause Symptoms of Menopause

I thought it would be appropriate – and helpful – to follow up on a recent post I did on the difference between perimenopause and menopause and provide a list of the symptoms associated with each. Though the terms are often (and I’m guilty of the same) used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Perimenopause is a transitional […]

November 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Natural Therapies for Menopause & Product Giveaway!

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Today’s post is a guest post from Dr. Rawls, co-founder of the company Vital Plan and the non-hormone product HPA Balance® to treat perimenopause and menopause symptoms.  To participate in the giveaway either leave a comment on this post in the comment section, or join us at Facebook.  Either “Like” the post, or leave a […]

October 14, 2013 CONTINUE READING →