Women: share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

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Women: share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby SquarePants » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:29 pm

If you or your wife has had any experience using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help with libido, post partum recovery, perimenopause, or menopause, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Specifically, I’d like to hear about how it affected the following:

  • Libido
  • Post partum recovery
  • Emotional health
  • Mental and physical energy levels
  • Overall well being
What hormones did the doctor prescribe? Testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, DHEA? Are you happy with your results?

I began testosterone therapy a while back, and I’ve recommended that my wife consider being evaluated for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT) for herself. She’s had two children in the last five years and she hasn’t seemed to have completely bounced back, physically or emotionally. Two small children are draining, but it seems to be more than that. She’s around 40 years old now. I described my wife’s situation to my bHRT doctor who said that she would almost certainly benefit from progesterone, and possibly some other hormones. I’m interested in hearing about anyone else’s experiences, and any suggestions that you might have.

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby seeking perspective » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:39 am

At 40, your wife could be experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, so it might be worth having her talk with a gynecologist. I started with some symptoms around 40, and when I had a hysterectomy 4 years later, I kept my ovaries but began experiencing serious enough symptoms that my doctor put me on estradiol. It has worked well for me with my most frustrating symptoms.

I have to say, though, that it took me until all my kids were at least 3 before I felt like I had my self, my brain, and my body back--and that was in my early 30s. Your wife may still be in the process of bouncing back from childbirth and the demands of parenting.

She should check with a gynecologist either way, just to get a sense of what, if anything, she should be concerned about and to exlore her options.

ETA: Re: your actual question...I have been very happy with my estradiol in that the first hormone replacement I tried worked well for me. Sometimes the first thing doesn't work and women have to try different things before something works well. I have not needed to try the services of a compounding pharmacy, but that can be a good option if others efforts don't work. And for some women, bioidenticals don't work nearly as well as premarin, which is not bioidentical but is natural, and which some people are opposed to for various reasons.

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby seeker12 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:01 am

My DW has been taking bioidentical hormones for almost 10 years now. She did this due to her perimenopause symptoms (started in her early 40's). This treatment has helped her greatly. However, the treatment has not helped her low sex drive. Actually, she has always had a low sex drive throughout our 30+ years of marriage and does not see the need to change this at all (which includes being generous despite LD).

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby SquarePants » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:01 pm

Seeking perspective, thanks for sharing.

================
To no one in particular:

I’m trying to get a feel for whether female hormone therapy is generally as successful as testosterone therapy is for men. I’m not an expert in this field, so please correct me if I’m wrong:

My understanding of Premarin is that are two concerns about using premarin alone.

1. The estrogens from Premarin and its metabolites produce an distribution of estrogens that have a greater affinity for the breasts than normally produced estrogens. I understand that this is suspected to be responsible for the increased risk in breast cancer from Premarin use.

2. Augmenting with estrogen without progesterone can cause estrogen dominance, causes a variety of problems.

Adding Progestin to Premarin was supposed to solve the problems of estrogen dominance. However, studies have shown the combination actually increased cancer risks. The bioidentical hormone explanation is that progestin isn’t the same as progesterone, but was synthesized and sold because it was patentable, while real progesterone was not. I have heard that at least two recent studies have shown that bioidentical estrogen (Estrodial?) combined with real progesterone did not result in increased rates of cancer.

This I my understanding of the main premise of female bioidentical hormones. Again, my understanding is very basic, so please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve looked a various websites on this subject, and some of the critics of bioidentical hormones seem to be nitpicking and building strawmen arguments in order to bolster their criticism.

Testosterone therapy for men sounds like it should be pretty easy for a doctor to manage. However, it looks like most mainstream doctors do not have proper knowledge about this field. Female hormone therapy sounds more complicated.

I understand that many women had reduced progesterone levels after childbirth, which can last for a long time, if not permanent. This results in estrogen dominance. Treatment with estrogen alone would likely make many of those problems worse.

My wife’s gynecologist is pretty mainstream. My hormone doctor works mostly with women with bioidentical hormone treatment.
Last edited by SquarePants on Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby SquarePants » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:02 pm

seeker12 wrote:My DW has been taking bioidentical hormones for almost 10 years now. She did this due to her perimenopause symptoms (started in her early 40's). This treatment has helped her greatly. However, the treatment has not helped her low sex drive.


Seeker, thank you for taking the time to respond. What hormones is she taking? Is she taking any testosterone?

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby seeker12 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:29 am

SquarePants, my DW is taking progesterone. Thanks for asking because when I asked my DW about this (I have a hard time keeping track of the hormone names), it reminded my DW to get a refill. Perhaps if my DW was more med compliant, her libido would improve? But as I said in other posts, she does not see her low libido as something to get fixed. :?

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby OldMarriedLady » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:44 am

SquarePants wrote:My understanding of Premarin is that are two concerns about using premarin alone.

1. The estrogens from Premarin and its metabolites produce an distribution of estrogens that have a greater affinity for the breasts than normally produced estrogens. I understand that this is suspected to be responsible for the increased risk in breast cancer from Premarin use.

2. Augmenting with estrogen without progesterone can cause estrogen dominance, causes a variety of problems.

This has been my understanding as well, and also my experience since I took Premarin alone for 13 years. It relieved my menopausal symptoms and problems, but caused some others too (weight gain, foggy thinking, memory loss).

SquarePants wrote:The bioidentical hormone explanation is that progestin isn’t the same as progesterone, but was synthesized and sold because it was patentable, while real progesterone was not.

I have heard this also, from both my doctor and DH's (both of whom are bHRT specialists).

SquarePants wrote:Testosterone therapy for men sounds like it should be pretty easy for a doctor to manage. However, it looks like most mainstream doctors do not have proper knowledge about this field. Female hormone therapy sounds more complicated.

For DH and I, the experience has been the opposite - his doctor has to test his blood much more frequently and make constant adjustments to his T dose, as well as adding/subtracting other supplements and pills to keep his estrogen levels low enough. There's the added worry of his blood thickening from the T as well so he needs to donate blood periodically to keep the red blood cell count balanced. For me, I've been seeing the doctor for a year now, and other than the initial blood test, he hasn't checked it again - he just asks how I'm feeling and bases his prescriptions on that. (I feel great, actually. :D )

SquarePants wrote:My wife’s gynecologist is pretty mainstream. My hormone doctor works mostly with women with bioidentical hormone treatment.

My OB-GYN isn't too happy about my decision to discontinue the Premarin and use bioidenticals instead, simply because he feels they haven't been tested enough or used for enough years to know how they will affect women. DH's hormone doctor has told us he works with a fairly equal number of men and women for hormone treatment. He is an OB-GYN in a separate practice.

Since I started taking bioidentical estradiol, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and a thyroid medication all at the same time, I really can't pinpoint which of these is most responsible for my increased libido and overall better well-being. I also take Wellbutrin which affects my mood and thinking so some of it may still be due to that. The most noticeable change when I started the hormones and thyroid med, other than increased libido, was just a generally less tired feeling and a clearer mind. I had read that Wellbutrin often gives people memory loss and foggy thinking/difficulty concentrating so I thought maybe that was responsible, but that all went away once I started on the bHRT and thyroid med. Wellbutrin had also aided in my weight loss, but I lost even more weight after I started on the bHRT too.
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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby OldMarriedLady » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:32 am

I just got my blood work results back for my annual hormone check, and my testosterone is at 192 :shock: :shock: (normal range for women is 6 - 82). I guess that would explain the spike in my sex drive lately! The doctor told me to cut my T dose in half, but I'm really worried that if I do that, I'll start gaining weight. :( I'll cut back for now, but if I see my weight creeping up for no apparent reason, I'm going back to my usual dose. All of my thyroid scores are on the low end, so he doubled my dose of thyroid medication.

What's funny is that when he ordered the lab work, it's on an old-fashioned piece of paper where he puts check marks next to the tests he wants them to run. He hadn't checked any of the thyroid boxes and I thought that would be important (and I was curious what the results would be), so when I got home I put check marks next to them myself :oops: :lol: before giving it to the lab. Good thing, since he wouldn't have known my scores were low! (Hey, I'm just taking charge of my own medical care!)
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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby SquarePants » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:16 am

OldMarriedLady, thanks for sharing your experiences. It sounds like BioIdentical Hormones offer the following for at least some women:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood
  • Weight loss
  • Increased libido
  • Improved overall well being

Have you had any changes in cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, or any other health indicators?

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Re: Share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby OldMarriedLady » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:33 am

SquarePants wrote:Have you had any changes in cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, or any other health indicators?

No, my cholesterol/triglycerides and blood sugar didn't change after starting on the hormones. My cholesterol is actually ridiculously high all the time, went even higher when I lost all that weight which makes no sense. I've been on simvastatin (generic cholesterol med) for many years. The doctor had me stop taking it for a short while when I lost weight, thinking I didn't need it, but I sure do so I went right back on it after a few months. Even though my eating habits have greatly improved over the past few years, my diet is still nowhere near "heart-healthy" :oops: . Strange though that my cholesterol has been much lower back when I was 60 pounds overweight and eating absolute garbage all the time. I think in my case it's not tied at all to my diet.

My blood sugar (A1C) used to be at diabetic levels (above 6) all the time, but since losing weight it's held steady at around 5.5 - no change in it when I started hormones. Almost all of my positive health changes (including greatly lowered blood pressure) resulted just from losing weight.

ETA: My other posts regarding bioidentical hormones are here and here.
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Re: Women: share your experiences with Bioidentical Hormones

Postby ledgemoor » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:19 pm

DW has been on bHRT for about 7 years, following a hysterectomy/oophrectomy due to cancer.

She had sailed thru menopause with nothing more than the proverbial hot flashes. Her libido actually increased. But a month or so after the surgery, she started having problems. First was depression. She can get down in the dumps on occasion, but nothing like this. She looked old. Her pubic hair started falling out (they don't shave for surgery anymore). After 10 weeks when we could start having sex, but she had very little libido.

She had this white discharge coming out of her vagina. They thought it was a yeast infection, a reasonable diagnoses considering all the antibiotics they had her on. But it wouldn't get better. They finally figured out that the discharge were dead cells from the walls of her vagina :yuck:.

They gave her a topical estrogen to put in her vagina, which solved that problem. They wanted to give her antidepressants, but she refused.

Instead, we decided to fix the problem rather than treat symptoms. She went on bHRT. She is taking estriol, estrodial, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA. She is also taking T4 (thyroid), but that was probably a preexisting problem not related to the hysterectomy.

Within days, she started improving. It took about a year to get the dosages worked out, but now her libido is better than it has ever been. Vaginal moisture, and lubrication during arousal are the best they have ever been. Her ability to orgasm is better. Her beautiful pubic hair came back, I believe thicker and longer than it has ever been.

Her personality got back to her old self. She lost weight and hardly ever gets sick. Her general health is better than it has ever been.

It has not affected her cholesterol or triglycerides that I am aware of. They are fine, but have never been an issue.

If anyone is ever facing a hysterectomy, be forewarned that many doctors routinely remove them from postmenopausal women, whether they are at elevated risk for cancer or not. They seem to think that the ovaries don't do that much after menopause. Don't allow this without researching the pros and cons for yourself.
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