Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy the go to in Pennsylvania CAM

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ShyestofFlies, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. ShyestofFlies

    ShyestofFlies Well-Known Member

    Have you tried BHRT?
    Any positive results?
    Any negatives?

    After doing some reading I can say I'm pretty skeptical, still. My doctor selection in PA is slim when it comes to complementary and alternative medicine friendly doctors. Of 3 options I have- one local, one fairly doable, and one on the other side of the state, the two further doctors are big into BHRT.

    The farthest doctor is the only one that claims any specialty in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Her name is Lauren Loya MD and her practice is The Hormone Center in pittsburgh PA. From what her website presents BHRT is just one type of treatment she utilizes.

    Being an anxious and meeker personality though... I'm afraid if I decline to do hormone treatments or won't try some of the treatments with these docs that I don't feel have enough evidence behind them (or that insurance won't cover) that I will not be treated well and will be shit out of luck getting to a better specialist down the line without an initial diagnosis or a physician backing it up.
  2. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    I have done a LOT of BHRT. I do think it's useful but I also think that there are a lot of doctors out there who don't know what the heck they are doing!

    Testing hormones is like testing anything else...imperfect. All test methods have limitations including saliva, blood and urine. Be very wary of any doctor who insists that only one way of testing is accurate because they all have pros and cons. I personally utilize blood testing the most simply because it is covered by my insurance. But there have been times that I needed a different snapshot and have chosen either a saliva or a urine profile. They all provide useful information.

    The bottom line for me is that I think that if you are young, you shouldn't have menopausal levels of hormones for decades before you are supposed to. I don't think it is good for the heart or the bones or for perceived quality of life.

    But with MECFS, hormone replacement is difficult sometimes due to hypothalamus issues. It sometimes requires more finesse and sometimes just plain doesn't work. You can always give it a shot and let it go if it isn't helping.
  3. Edie

    Edie Active Member

    My Naturopath Doctor suggested I purchase a natural progesterone cream from a Health Food Store. I bought "LIFE-FLO's PROGESTA-CARE". It comes in a pre measured pump form. Before going on it, I had flu like symptoms. The symptoms were gone the day after I took the first dose and I also experienced a boost in energy. My ND said I could take more if needed and to alternate the area applied from stomach to inner thighs and inside upper arms. Take it before bed as it helps sleep as well. You can find this cream at most Health Food stores in the US. I order mine from I'm menopausal and have FM. Many women are going into menopause in their forties. Men may also be short of progesterone as well. Bioidentical hormones are safe. I myself, wouldn't touch the synthetic ones with a ten foot pole, especially estrogen. Hope this is of some help to you. In any case Dr. Loya sounds like a good choice. Wishing you well!
  4. Bertiedog

    Bertiedog Member

    One of the doctors on the Fibromyalgia Summit also said that with Fibro there are hypothalamus issues (likely under functioning) and this is likely to give an inaccurate TSH result meaning you don't get treated when you really should be.
    To get over this she suggested having a full thyroid panel to include T4 and T3 as well as TSH. I don't think this ever happens in the UK now. TSH is king unfortunately and leaves many people with Fibro either untreated or not treated at all. (I see this in the Fibro group I run, so many members suffering with both Fibro and hypothyroidism.)
  5. Edie

    Edie Active Member

    This TSH problem is exactly what happened to me. My TSH test showed low normal, so my MD did not realise that my T3 was rock bottom. Luckily the Naturopath Doctor I began to see awhile later had my T4 & T3 tested as well and treated me for it. I then recovered a lot of my energy back! Would you believe that 17 years later, my MD still doesn't believe that you need to test T4 & T3 as well, despite my bringing him various articles on the subject!!! You may want to google WILSON'S SYNDROME for more information. This is the protocol my ND had me follow to correct the problem. You may also be interested in the following information I came across in the last year. High inflammation can cause your T3 to drop. Also, You must have enough T3 to get your digestive acids to work. They in turn, will activate your digestive enzymes. This makes perfect sense to me, as I've had major problems with digesting food, especially protein.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    Lissa likes this.
  6. Edie

    Edie Active Member

    I don't know what happened there. Can Health Rising help to correct?
  7. Reen

    Reen Member

    I have hypothroidism
  8. Reen

    Reen Member

    Oops! This is my very first post so forgive the above post.
    I hope it's not too late to post on this subject. However, I feel I need to put this out there if it'll help someone.
    I have severe fibromyalgia for 20 years.
    Three years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I am on medication for this.
    I have tried BHRT .. bio identical hormone replacement therapy.
    I did that for two almost three years. I did very well on them. I felt quite well for many months, and for the first time since FM diagnoses nothing I'd tried had shown such success, ever!
    Having gone off BHRT about one year ago thinking it might be the thyroid meds making me feel better . I now see they were not.
    My FM has has gotten so much worse. I am doing so poorly and becoming housebound again I feel I need to give BHRT another go.
    It is the only way I'll know for certain if these are what made me feel so much better. I honestly felt as thoughe I was getting my life back.
    After being very active for weeks on end and really over doing it...a huge mistake! I went into a flare 7 months ago and am at this time still going back words, worsening.
    I'll report back on how this all goes, but, it took a good long while before I saw improvement.
  9. Lissa

    Lissa Well-Known Member

    Good luck @Reen - let us know how it goes!

    I'm curious to see if it helps you, as I've been struggling with thyroid meds for over a year now, trying to get it right. Was slightly hypo, and then it feels like the wheels fell off since starting meds to correct it.

    Seems like no matter what starts working, my body shifts and sends things off a cliff again. I've been through T4 only, various T4/T3 combos, and slow release T3 at different mcg. Super frustrating.

    After dialing things in yet again, I've progressed to slow release T3 only. Great--- but now, after only a couple months, #'s are heading back up again, and I still feel crappy. Grrrrrr....

    Posting because I'm wondering if low hormones are involved somehow? Can't recall when was the last time anyone looked at that.

    I'm approaching the menopause years soon... but having ME/CFS, POTS, MCAS, hypothyroid, (and also had a hysterectomy) ----- who the heck knows what "symptoms" are what anymore.

    It's maddening. I'm starting to wonder if we never should have messed with the thyroid in the first place. "Fixing it" caused me to gain 25 lbs, and lose even more hair than I did before!

    Not to mention minor energy boosts when it "worked", only caused me to crash harder. Now I'm struggling even more between feeling crappy and trying to lug the extra unwanted and completely unnecessary lbs around.

    It's even harder to move when you are short and it feels like there's a box of kitty litter strapped to your belly! Fun times.
  10. Reen

    Reen Member

  11. Reen

    Reen Member

    I've not started back on BHRT
    I wanted to try adding back Ashwaganda first to see if there's any improvement as I was also on this at the same time as the bio's.
    I have also wondered the same about treatment of thyroid as I wasn't treating until I began the BHRT.
    After being off the hormone therapy for well over a year my thyroid #'s had to dealt with. Currently not in the normal range but very close.
    My hair fall out is quite severe at this time.
    Thought it was coming under control after switching from Synthroid to Armour then Bam all a sudden out of nowhere... it's terrible!!
    I'm trying different hair products for this but nothing is helping.
    How about you? I'm close to resorting to Rogain!
  12. Reen

    Reen Member

  13. Reen

    Reen Member

    Edie... I would not use these myself but thanks!
  14. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    Yeah, this was basically my experience with thyroid hormones too.

    I still think it's worth trying, but I see people fixing and adjusting mostly to no avail for a LONG TIME. It's clear that hypo is a symptom of something else, not the root cause, in most of us.

    I hope you feel better soon!
    Lissa likes this.
  15. Lissa

    Lissa Well-Known Member

    The hair loss was insane for a while -- got really bad when I was on T4 only and my Reverse T3 got too high. Every time I'd wash my hair I was losing a combined total that was about golf ball sized. (Fully rounded!)

    Now I'm on the T3 only, the hair loss has finally stopped. (Knock on wood - because the same cycle happened when I first started treating with T4 too.)

    I seem to have a halo of baby hairs that stick out when it's frizzy now, so I presume that is good. It'll take a while though to get my ponytail back to its old fullness. My hair is probably close to half of what it used to be in thickness.

    Thankfully I had very thick hair before so I could spare some, but it was seriously approaching a crisis for sure!

    I'm guessing the hair loss was due to the high levels of RT3 preventing the T3 from working properly. Sure hope if doesn't happen again! I haven't resorted to any hair products --- yet anyway!!

    Best of luck to you @Reen !
  16. Lissa

    Lissa Well-Known Member


    Thanks @Remy! I've been suspecting I'm not alone in this. :)
  17. TJ_in_UT

    TJ_in_UT Well-Known Member

    I know this is an old thread, but I found something that might be of interest while I was looking at BHRT myself. This guy says that replacing thyroid hormones can make you worse if you also have low levels of cortisol:

    My body temperature is usually down in the high 96's or 97's (degrees F); the last time I recorded a temperature in the 98's was five months ago, excluding a fever I had shortly after sinus surgery. So I would probably benefit from a little bit of thyroid hormone, but I'm a lot more concerned about cortisol. Prednisone made me feel better, and taking licorice root does, too. So anyway, if you got worse on thyroid hormone replacement, maybe it would be worthwhile to also look at cortisol replacement. :)
  18. ShyestofFlies

    ShyestofFlies Well-Known Member

    I never did see the doctor I mentioned in the OP, and I want to mention I have nothing against her (I carry a healthy dose of skepticism against all doctors and natural practitioners). The travel distance is over 200 miles for me, so that was partly why I was so skeptical. ((I just don’t want anyone on google seeing my posts and thinking this was about a bad experience- it was not.))

    It is interesting some of the hormone stuff, but I think for me too complex to mess with.

    I appreciate hearing everyone’s personal experience, sorry I never wrote this before I think I managed to lose most of my old threads in one of my breaks.
    Not dead yet! likes this.
  19. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Since you brought this up again, I'll add my experience of TSH and the advice I got from family when I told them I have ME/CFS. One of my dear great-aunts said her niece went to Holtorf clinic in PA and that it helped a lot. My TSH always looked ok. It took a functional medicine MD (the kind that doesn't take insurance, but is officially an MD, completed med school just like any other, they just remove the hurdle of insurance because it silences them)... so she finally tested my T3, and I had plenty of it... but it was almost all REVERSE T3, not active.

    I was put on straight active T3 (liothyronine), and I took extra iodine and selenium on my own based on the advice on the website "Miss Lizzy" (suggested by Remy, if I remember right), and it evened out.

    I have PCOS and endo. Those cause high testosterone in women. Abnormally high, and any normal endocrinologist should be able to put you on something to lower it, covered fully by insurance. It helped me, but not enough to continue. I now take DHEA instead of the drug, and a high dose of Vitamin E which acts as an anti-aromatase agent.

    I know that sounds like I'm boosting my T level. It turns out that my body is probably fighting inflammation with the T level, so I have a lower level if I don't fight the process and just support it. It leaves me with a better balance.

    But that's just me. Your experience may not match mine.

    I hope you do work it out and let us know :)