Bravely sharing, or TMI? You decide.

Posted: March 21, 2007 in health, Journal, Op:Goddess

Long time readers are familiar with the fact that I am very honest about my health, the issues I have experienced, and my opinions of topics related to wellness, nutrition, fitness, and exercise. I am comfortable with sharing – probably to the point of oversharing, sometimes. I do this with the hope that relating of some of my experiences will help educate other people regarding their own health concerns, offer resources they may not have known were out there, or at least let them know they are not alone in the world. I have gotten feedback from lots of folks on a myriad of topics, both from this site (and the main journal) and from Operation::Goddess, which gives me encouragement that my sharing is a good thing.

So, here I go again. I just posted an abbreviated version at Operation::Goddess about this, but I felt the need to expound in greater detail here.

I have suspected for a while that I suffer from hormone imbalance, specifically symptoms of perimenopause, which is really not uncommon for women in their 30’s. Of these symptoms listed (courtesy of this site), I suffer from a startling number (though, thankfully, not all) of them:

Fatigue
Cravings for sweets or carbohydrates
Weight gain
Hot flashes or night sweats
PMS
Feeling depressed or overwhelmed
Mood swings or irritability
Insomnia or restless sleep
Headaches
Loss of desire
Fuzzy thinking
Digestive issues
Stiffness or joint pain
Anxiety
Heart palpitations
Breast pain
Urinary dysfunction
Hair loss/dry skin
Vaginal dryness
Irregular periods
Fibroids

Now, like most people, I figured a lot of these symptoms were from depression, stress, poor diet, or just plain “getting old”. All of you will recall that I saw a therapist for depression and anxiety, I had digestive issues that resulted in my gallbladder being removed, and I’ve been battling for some time to find the right “secret” that would result in weight loss for me. I’ve tried MYRIADS of things to help fix all of the things I’ve mentioned here, plus some other things that (you’ll thank me) I didn’t post about. The links I provided don’t even scratch the surface of all of the entries I’ve written about my, erm, adventures.

I’ve seen doctor after doctor – specialists, therapists, nutritionists, general practitioners, OB-GYN’s. I’ve mentioned, repeatedly, my concerns over my various symptoms. Their reactions have ranged from looking at me like I’m crazy, to prescribing things that will individually treat one or two symptoms (until at one point I was taking 8 prescriptions simultaneously), to telling me this is all normal “for me” because “everyone is different”, to blaming it all on stress and telling me to “destress” my life (yeah, right), to flat-out stating that it’s all “in my head”. I’ve been tested for food allergies. I’ve had my blood drawn more than all the victims combined in all seven seasons of Buffy. I’ve done stuff covered by my insurance, and stuff not covered by my insurance.

After all of that, nobody seemed to come up with an answer that satisfied me. And, my symptoms started worsening. So, I said, “Fuck that noise,” and decided to do some research on my own. Which is what lead me to my self-diagnosis of hormone imbalance. I mentioned this thought to my general practitioner (oh-so-helpful as she always is), who figured it was as good of a reason as any for my complaints.

So! This week, I am starting a personalized program with Women to Women, which happens to be the OB-GYN that I saw when I lived in Maine. I was very pleased to find them at the top of the Google search when I entered in “hormone imbalance”. I think on a regular basis, when doing the girly necessary annual crap, that I wish I could still go to the W2W clinic in Yarmouth, Maine. They were fantastic – very understanding, knowledgeable, and most importantly they took their time with each patient and actually conversed. It always made me feel like they actually cared about what was going on with me, and weren’t trying to brush me off in order to get to their next patient (a complaint I hold VERY dear regarding my current doctor). Plus, their facility is in a very nicely converted Victorian home, which made me feel like I was visiting a friend rather than a doctor’s office. Next best thing to being able to physically go to their clinic is getting their support long-distance, via e-mail and phone support, which thus far has been excellent.

This program involves nutritional changes (based on the Schwarzbein Principle, of which I am already familiar), a supplement regime, and a bioidentical progesterone cream. All of it targets the rebalancing of hormones and the relief of perimenopause symptoms.

This is NOT another one of those “fix it fast” fad regimes. It’s actually developed by doctors, whose clinic I actually utilized. There’s information on a bunch of evidentiary studies for those people (like me) who need the stats and figures and formulas and expert mumbo-jumbo in order to make a decision. The fact that I have met the doctors (in fact, the W2W co-founder and director was my OB-GYN), experienced their care, and have actually physically been to their clinic, was the combination that convinced me that this program is worth a try.

Here is information on their personal program, information on their supplements, and information on their recommended free profile.

I will post updates on my progress and experiences over at Operation::Goddess, just so journal readers can choose how much TMI they want to indulge in. I hope at best that some of this helps someone out there, or at worst that I don’t scare off any readers!

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