How Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone Work Together

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | July 29th, 2011

 This month my focus will be on hormones and their interaction with each other and how their interaction affects us. Toward that goal what better way to start than looking at Thyroid, Estrogen and Progesterone.
 
When I first started working with bioidentical hormones ten years ago, thyroid had a strictly conventional meaning to me. When a patient came in complaining of feeling cold, fatigued, sluggish, loosing hair and possibly every other symptoms associated with low thyroid, my knee jerk reaction was always to get a blood test. It never crossed my mind that the symptoms alone were good enough to trial treat the patient and see how she reacted.
 
What was I thinking? I was thinking conventional and the only way to diagnose low thyroid in conventional medicine is to get a high TSH reading on the blood test.
 
With that conventional mindset on the topic of thyroid, I embarked on my enlightened journey of treatment with bioidentical hormones. Here I was taking such a different approach from conventional wisdom and yet the results were so remarkable. Inspired I focused on finding the proper balance between estradiol, progesterone and testosterone and worked to learn more about it for years.
 
The results got better and better. Within a month or two of treatment, I now consistently find women who felt horrible for years, are coming back to my office happy and smiling. They feel validated and believe they have reclaimed their lives.
 
Not exactly something you hear too often in the confines of conventional medicine..
 
While initially I worked entirely with menopausal women and believed bioidentical hormone therapies were exclusively the domain of the aging female, within a short period of time, as both my patients and I became more educated and aware, we understood the role hormones play at all ages in all aspects of our lives and acted on this information. Connections between symptoms like exhaustion, fatigue, joint pains, bloating, headaches and migraines and loss of sex drive and depression erstwhile treated with antidepressants and other medications became clearly related to hormone imbalances and the focus of the treatment now shifted to bioidentical hormones.
 
Soon a new generation of women found their way to me. I saw teens and women in their 20s and 30s and certainly the 40+. With the publication of my book The Hormone Solution, the connection made by my patients and I on a smaller scale, reached a broader audience and suddenly the importance of hormones to our wellbeing regardless of age became clearer.
 
Unfortunately, this great moment of clarity was quickly slammed shut by the Women’s Health Initiative study whose negative results were made public in July 2002. Suddenly, the word hormone became a dirty word and in the frenzy to disengage from the connection to synthetic hormones, the baby was thrown out with the bath water.
 
Few and far between were the voices of reason, those people who saw the truth and tried to explain that all hormones are not bad.
 
That when you are in your 20s you are full of hormones and that is when the incidence of heart disease, cancer or other terrible chronic illnesses is very low.
 
Could it be that hormones protect us from disease, not cause them?
 
The connection between hormones being the protectors for youth was made by anti-aging medicine and with it, a better look at what needs to be used to maintain youth followed.
 
We now know that synthetics may not be the Fountain of Youth but we also know we need hormones if we don’t want to get old and chronically ill.
 
That is when bioidenticals increased in popularity., But that is not where today’s story ends., I want to take you one step further. While bioidentical estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are wonderful and I personally believe everyone should be taking them at some point in their lives, they are only a part of the picture of hormone balance picture.
 
Another important part is the thyroid. And just like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, thyroid is a critical hormone needed to help people find a better safer, more youthful and healthier balance.
 
As I became more and more comfortable and experienced with the use of Estradiol, progesterone and testosterone, I found that even though overall my patients were doing very well and feeling better there was still room for improvement. So I turned my focus onto thyroid.
 
Instead of wasting my time agonizing over the blood test result, I look at the patient and ask the questions of how she feels., If she is cold, her skin is dry, her hair is brittle, she is having a hard time loosing weight and is often depressed, I treat her not only with the bioidenticals, but I also add thyroid medication.
 
For me, Armour thyroid and Cytomel as well as compounded bioidentical thyroid are favorite options., For more about thyroid read Mary Shomon’s articles. As a patient who had thyroid problems that were missed by her doctors, she had to teach herself and in the process has become a patient advocate for thyroid hormone balance and awareness.
 
My point, as you wade your way through Hormones 101 is to understand that there will never be one pill, hormone, herb or thought that cures us. Everything we do together will help bring better balance to you and the result is a better, healthier and more aware you.,  

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