-by Julie A. Chatt, FNP-C
At the age of 51, I started to experience irregular periods, and slowly, just before I turned 52, my periods stopped. It was soon after that I started experiencing hot flashes. Unfortunately for me, they occurred both day and night. I would find myself waking up during the night drenched in sweat, throwing off the covers and then shortly after freezing. I was not sleeping through the night due to this, which then caused me to feel tired throughout the day. My husband’s sleep was also disturbed. He would tell me all the time that he could literally feel the heat coming off of me! We eventually had to buy a king size mattress so that at least one of us could get a good night’s sleep.
During the following months, I started to realize that I had no libido which had never been the case in my 30 years of marriage. When we did have sex, it was uncomfortable (to say the least) due to vaginal dryness. It was near impossible to climax as I kept thinking…let’s get this over with! We tried lubricants which turned out to be messy and sticky. I was not happy with this change, as this was once a wonderful part of my relationship with my husband.
In addition to these symptoms, my mood was changing; I was more irritable, quick to get upset, and definitely had some degree of “brain fog.” It’s hard to explain, but I just knew I wasn’t feeling like myself in general. I decided to see my OBGYN physician. She empathized with me and gave me a synthetic hormone patch of estrogen/progestin. I was looking forward to having all of these symptoms go away!
Discovering Bioidentical Hormones
Coincidentally, one month later Dr. Quatela and I were attending our first Bioidentical Hormone course given by Dr. Neal Rouzier of Worldlink Medical. During one of our first lectures of the 3-day course, Dr. Rouzier started talking about the negative side effects associated with synthetic hormones, specifically progestin. The most common side effects included bleeding, bloating, break outs (acne), irritable mood, and breast tenderness. I had been experiencing all of those for the past few weeks!!! I instantly pulled the patch off of my abdomen and crumpled it up. Dr. Quatela, who was sitting next to me, said, “What are you doing?” When I told him, besides laughing, he said, “Wow, I am so glad we are here at this course!”
Shortly after this course, I started taking bioidentical hormones (identical molecular structure as our own hormones): estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. Within two weeks, my hot flashes were gone. I was sleeping through the night and waking up rested. It took 4 to 6 weeks, but my long-lost libido came back. Sex was now enjoyable as I was no longer experiencing vaginal dryness. In fact, I was experiencing wonderful orgasms – woohoo! My brain fog lifted, and I was once again feeling like myself. I went from being irritable to feeling rested and overall just good. I have been on bioidentical hormones for 3 years, and I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. Truly, I feel the best I have in years.
Helping Others Suffering From Hormone Changes
I have completed all of my educational training on bioidentical hormones, and I am excited to offer hormone replacement for both women and men. The impact that restoring our hormones makes on our well-being and health is amazing. We can age better, look and feel better, as well as prevent future health problems when our hormones are optimized. I look forward to embarking upon this journey with my patients!