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Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

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Unread 07-14-2008, 01:24 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

I'm 43 years old and having a full hysterectomy (ovaries, uterus, cervix) in three weeks. I live in Canada. My surgeon/endocrinologist has suggested bio-identical hormones for after the surgery. I have had 4 previous surgeries for severe endometriosis and have been on birth control pills to control the pain for about 20 years.

I would appreciate hearing some personal stories about the effectiveness of these hormones (ie., is it difficult to find the right balance, affect on sex drive, control of menopausal symptoms).

Any suggestions with how to find a balance between estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are welcome.

Unread 07-14-2008, 02:26 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

Hi Issi,
I live in Calgary and have been on bio-identical creams for about eight weeks. I started about two weeks after my surgery because of symptoms but it took about four or five weeks for the hormones to kick in. I had very low energy, extreme weepiness and irritability and no libido. I am doing much better now but I had to increase the dosage and it improved slowly. I am not 100 per cent yet but getting there. My OB/GYN actually knew of a compounding pharmacy so I didn't have to go searching for one. They are not that common and you may have to search around for one.

From other posts that I have read - it can take a long time to find the right product, application type and application location. It sounds like there is a lot of trial and error (and patience) to get it right.

I am still very low energy but the weepiness is under control as is the irritability. The libido is still low but I am starting to get little twinges - finally.

Good luck.
Unread 07-14-2008, 05:18 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

Hi Issi,
It's so great you already have a doctor who believes and understands BioHRT! It took me four months to find someone locally (with whom I could get an appointment before I was 70!) Anyway...It is the only thing I've found that does keep me balanced. I have changed formulations several times, but I now you BiEst 80-20 (80% estrio/20%estradiol) 3 mg. and also .5 mg of testosterone. I found after a while that progesterone made me very tired, however, it helped for a while. (around 25mg). I have tried many pharmaceutical brands (pure estradiol) and found that the slightest change in dosage would bring on a headache. For me, the BiEst can be adjusted a little more easily without messing with my head The testosterone has really jumpstarted my sex drive -- it took several weeks, but I realized I was having more "feelings"... I did go through a little glitch at about 7 months post op -- got more sweaty and was feeling rundown and a little depressed. I increased the estrogen/testosterone and voila -- felt better very quickly. I would certainly give it a shot if you have a good doctor with whom you can work. It's been wonderful for me.
Good luck
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Unread 07-14-2008, 07:07 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

I use the Climera Estradiol patch. I have been doing very well! My doctor does not give prog. if the uterus is gone. I didn't want that anyway, made me ill when I tried it several times before. All is great.
Unread 07-14-2008, 09:53 PM
thank- you!

Thanks so much for your personal experiences. This is a tough decision for me (ie., to do the full hysterectomy at age 43). My doctor thinks leaving an ovary would not be a good idea - I've had so much pain, endo cysts etc ... when not on the birth control pill. Anyway, it's really helpful to get information from women who have gone through something similar.

thank you very much!!

Unread 07-15-2008, 12:34 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

Hi Issi, I use the Vivelle dot 0.1 patch and haven't had any problems since using it a month after my surgery last year. I like the patch because of the size and only have to change it twice a week. God bless you with your upcoming surgery.
Unread 07-15-2008, 01:10 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

Issi, I am also 43 and am now 3 weeks post surgery (everything taken).

Recovery has been good, but I have started developing hot flashes, so my dr has prescribed EstroGel, which is a plant based bio-identical. We'll see how that goes. I have read good things about it on this board, though, so I am expecting the best.

I have started back to work this week so my pain level has increased a bit, and I am impatient to feel back to 100%. I know it will take a while, so I'm trying not to be too whiny about it.

Good luck with your surgery!
Unread 07-15-2008, 01:21 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

to Hyster Sisters, Issi!

I'm glad you're asking questions now - it's a good way to get an idea of what to expect after surgery.

Since you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, hormone therapy may be trickier for you. Many women do fine on estrogen only after surgery but in cases of endometriosis, it can be risky as any endometriosis left behind at the time of surgery can continue to grow and cause trouble post-op, as many members have learned from personal experience. As you have probably already learned, there is no cure for endometriosis at this time but there are women who report doing well after surgery.

Many who are diagnosed with endometriosis are prescribed nothing at all for a period of time (typically 3 - 6 months) so the endo has time to die. Sometimes only progesterone (or synthetic progestin) is prescribed as that hormone can counteract the effects of estrogen on endometriosis. Some doctors will prescribe both progesterone and estrogen at the same time. There really isn't one set approach to this.

Experiences vary with how easy or difficult it is finding hormone balance after surgery. While some women are lucky and find the right hormone at the right dose on the first try, others have a much more difficult time of it, even when working with a knowledgeable doctor and compounding pharmacist. It can take a lot of patience along with trial and error to hit on the right dose, hormone or combination of hormones and even the right method of delivery. It can be helpful to keep a journal of symptoms that are experienced after surgery. The journal can be a useful tool to share with your doctor who can interpret the symptoms to adjust your hormones, if necessary.

This site also has a forum called Endometriosis Support which you're welcome to visit. If you have any specific questions about your diagnosis, you're welcome to start a new thread there so members can reply to share support and experiences.

I wish you all the best!

Unread 07-15-2008, 01:40 PM
Effectiveness of Bio-identical Hormones after total hysterectomy

I had my hyster for the same reasons you did at 42 years old..wish to god I never did it..sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but Its been a nightmare for me and I know Im not alone. I was ok on the bio's after surgery-for about 7 months, then wammo..they didnt work. Ive tried numerous other estrogens and I just feel sick inside when I take them. My doctors all agree that my body just cant handle any of them..then what? I have extreme anxiety, hot flashes, dizziness, joint pain, stomaches, weight gain-belly that I never had before, severe yeast and other infections and my gyno thinks my endo might be back, or adhesions? great. Im not depressed, just too sick to do anything anymore.
Pray it works out better for you..

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