Hey Doc…

I am a 54 year old woman and I prefer natural approaches to health.  My doctor has put me on bio-identical hormones; frankly, I don’t feel any different.  What gives?

-S.L. in La Quinta-

Dear S.L.,

This is a very important question and probably deserves a more thorough response than I can provide here.  First, let me provide some basic information.  Hormone replacement in men, women and children is an art; and, it cannot be accomplished simply by looking at blood tests because levels change constantly.  Sitting down and talking to a patient is key.

In addition, not only are the wrong hormones replaced, they are often taken incorrectly.  For example, women never stop making estrogen and often it does not require replacement.  This is a hormone that creates fat and causes cancer.  However, if symptoms or other criteria necessitate the use of estrogen, there is a form that is safe.  Hormones that require adjustment include progesterone, thyroid, insulin, adrenaline, and testosterone.  But getting hormones into balance is only a part of wellness.  A true wellness doctor should be able to eliminate all prescription medications by treating the underlying cause for using the drugs in the first place.  This includes diabetic medication, blood pressure pills, pain medication, antidepressants, acid–blockers, etc.

Wellness also includes learning to eat correctly for your metabolism and hormonal makeup.  If you are continuously releasing adrenaline to raise sugar levels for the brain because you are doing “low-carb,” not only will you have difficulty losing weight but you’ll have trouble sleeping and be angry all the time.  If your doctor, even if it is a “hormone doctor” is not getting you well, I would blame the health care system, not your doctor.  There are no courses in wellness in medical schools.  Going to weekend seminars on hormone replacement is not sufficient.

If you require more information, my book provides an important source to learn about wellness.

“Hey Doc” is a weekly series of questions & answers pertaining to common medical issues. It was published in the Palm Springs area, as well as the Beverly Hills Courier, not too long ago. The answers are strictly my beliefs and are intended to inform the reader of possible alternative approaches. Obviously, all questions regarding your health should be discussed with your own physician. ~Michael E. Platt M.D.