It’s been over two months now since I started my Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy so it’s time to update you with my progress. I know how you’re all hanging on my every word to see what difference, if any, they are making to me. Thank you for your interest.
As mentioned in my previous blogs and having read the book ‘Ageless‘ by Suzanne Somers, starting a course of Bioidentical hormone therapy isn’t for the faint hearted. You need to believe that you’ll eventually get there and this will include a number of blood tests to check your progress and make any ‘tweaks’ to your prescription.
Just to clarify that I’m taking a cocktail of hormones including DHEA (great for hair), Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. The Testosterone and Oestrogen are taken as a gel which you apply to your thigh and arm every day. The other two hormones are small and easy to swallow tablets.
I’ve had no side effects to report other than a little ‘break out’ of acne on my neck which appears to have gone now. I have to admit this made me a little jittery. In my early 40s I had horrendous acne (hard to believe now) but I did, and it was so bad that I had to go onto ‘Roaccutane’ with a private dermatologist. Anyway, it’s all good now and any acne I had has completely gone. Other than that, there have been no side effects.
In truth, it has to be said my life is hectic compared to some, although I balance my life with calm time (reading) and writing my blogs with no music and just me, a glass of water and some candles! However, I’m always on the go, either at the gym (3 times a week), walking 12 miles along the beach, holidaying in Ibiza or going out at the weekend, and these are usually late ones! So with all that said and given my age, how do I feel? I honestly feel fantastic! I have a massive amount of energy and can keep on going and going. A bit like the Energizer bunny in fact! Despite my lifestyle I seem to never flag like I used to and even a little ‘sleep’ seems to rejuvenate and I’m off again. I’m going to the gym 3 times a week and this week, for the first time, I intend to do 4 sessions. Have I seen real improvement? Yes, a lot of improvement! I could hardly manage 3 gym sessions before so upping the ante is great news.
For me, the main issues I’ve had with my hormones were weight gain and the inability to drop the weight, tiredness, depression, dry skin, very dry coarse hair and generally feeling ‘yuck’. Who wants to feel ‘yuck’ for the rest of their days? I want to feel ‘zingy’! 🙂
I accept the age I am, I’m 53 and I don’t mind being 53. I wouldn’t want to go back in time and I feel better than ever. However, ageing is inevitable and I want to age well. I want to be fit and well, mentally and physically, and feel alive and well to contribute in every aspect to my business but also to society as a whole. I want to take responsibility for my own health rather than accept my ‘fate’ and leave everything to the NHS. Our health system cannot cope, and as we live longer but with all the issues that entails (including early onset of Dementia). As much as I can avoid it, I don’t wish to be a burden to the NHS. In fact, I’ve just applied to be a health advocate for the NHS to show that leading a positive lifestyle incorporating good food, exercise and good mental health are key to living a good life.
Did you know, for example, that increased Homocysteine levels (an amino acid in your blood) indicate a potential risk of Alzheimer’s disease? Homocysteine levels are raised when you suffer from stress but can be lowered with less stress, of course, and a Vitamin B complex (which I’m now taking). My levels were raised so I’m keen to bring them down for obvious reasons. I think all of us worry about our memory these days, but I put that down to hectic lifestyle and too much social media. Our brains were never geared to this level of activity.
So, with that all said, after six weeks of the programme, Dr Victoria called me in for more blood tests. This time, however, she tested not only the hormone levels as before but also took a saliva test to show more accurately my thyroid functions and flag up any issues I might have. I’ve long suspected, in fact since the age of 27, that I have an underactive thyroid. I’ve had all the symptoms but none of the diagnosis, so life has been tricky – hair loss including eyebrows and lashes, tiredness, depression, you name it, I’ve had the symptoms. I was therefore very keen to find out the test results.
The results were received last week and have revealed some interesting insights and for me, one particular result almost made me cry. Firstly, my Progesterone and Testosterone are spot on. Hurrah! But both the DHEA and Oestrogen have not ‘worked’ yet, so my dose of both hormones have now been doubled.
This is exactly why ‘one tablet fits all’ approach of synthetic HRT will never work. Each of us is entirely different with regards to hormone levels and production so what suits one will not suit the another. For one person, one tablet a day would been enough, for me, it’s not, so now my dose is doubled to improve my DHEA and Oestrogen levels. This will obviously increase the costs of my treatment but that’s fine and has to be done to achieve the desired results. The Homocysteine levels will be tested at the next blood test.
Guess what?! It turns out that I do have an underactive thyroid. I felt like crying when I received the result. At the age of 53 I’ve been finally diagnosed and knew all along. It’s so sad to think that at the young age of 27 I expressed my concerns to my doctors only to be told to get a wig for my hair loss. How dare he said this to a young women to only distress her even more! I’ve seen my hair slowly disappear down the plughole (and block up a few showers in the process) along with lashes and brows. I’ve fallen asleep in front of my 80-year-old mother on more than one occasion, and my skin has been so dry I could have been picked up and used as an energy board. However, at last I’ve been listened to. Thank you to Dr Victoria Manning for listenting to my concerns and watching my back. I know I’m in safe hands now!
One more thing I need to mention, and this is deeply personal, my mental health is better than it’s ever been before and that’s without any form of medication. Okay, I have the ‘odd’ blip, especially if I dwell on past memories (don’t we all?) but in truth, I’m in a good place now.
I feel like I’m on the path to be the best version of me and I am delighted to be part of this amazing HRT programme. I’ll update you as I progress, but in the meantime, this weekend will see me dressed as a ‘zombie’ Marilyn Monroe for ‘Dead Famous Halloween Special’ at Canvas in Bournemouth – woohoo. I’m just off to get a wig and some white face powder now.
If you have experience with Bioidential hormones or would like a chat, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.
With love – always,
Tracey B x