My journey with Bio-identical Hormone Replacement (BHRT). I am a 56 year woman that had a hysterectomy at 32 after my daughter was born. They told me that they removed my uterus only so I should not have any hormonal issues until I approach menopause. I figured that was light years away so I thought nothing of it. Then I blinked, and was 52 years old. Twenty years had just slipped right by overnight. I began to notice that I was not sleeping as good as I used to and that I was getting warm at night. Then the symptoms increased quickly, the difficulty sleeping became awful and it felt like my body temperature was boiling while I was in bed. I would wake up drenched in sweat, then I would freeze. I couldn’t tell if my mood swings were from lack of hormones or sleep. I was easily irritated by things that never bothered me before and felt like I was next to tears over the smallest of stressors.
I decided to go to my primary care doctor and find out if I was overreacting or if this was menopause. I no longer had my monthly cycle since my hysterectomy so the symptoms were all I had to go by. My PCP told me it was menopause and that I could follow up with a gynecologist if I wanted to but as he put it, “there was really nothing that can be done, it’s just a natural path to aging.” He did suggest that if I still felt anxious or depressed that he would prescribe an antidepressant for me and although that could potentially cause weight gain, it would mellow me out. Weight gain was the last thing I needed! I had always called antidepressants “happy pills” and often made light of them. I made an appointment with a gynecologist, I knew there had to be more answers. She examined me and drew my blood and told me that she would follow up with me when the results were back but she felt certain this was nothing more than menopause. She suggested an estrogen therapy for me. I had heard that there were fears from estrogen therapy. She told me that in small doses it was basically harmless.
I did the one thing that nobody is supposed to do; I went home and read about it online. I knew enough to read past the nonsense and I did learn quite a bit from legitimate websites. I learned that there are many more hormones to be considered than just estrogen, and it was unlikely my Gynecologist would prescribe or monitor those levels. I asked anyway, and indeed she said no and told me that was unnecessary. She wasn’t living with my symptoms though. So far, I have had two physicians offer to prescribe me two different pills. Neither of which made any sense for what I was going through.
A friend of mine at church told me about a place that specializes in Bio-identical hormone replacement. I made an appointment the very next day. I met with a nurse, she drew my blood and said that they would follow up with my results in person in just a few days. When I returned for my follow up visit she took the time to explain what all of the levels were and how mine affected me specifically. She then told me a plan to replace 3 of my hormones and that my thyroid needed to be addressed. I started my treatment that day. I couldn’t believe that nobody took the time to talk to me before this appointment. I will continue my blog to update my progress and journey of fighting menopause!