The Protocol I Followed-Dr. John Lee’s 3 Rules of Hormone Balance

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I followed the Dr. John Lee’s 3 Rules of Hormone Balance to get well.  Dr. Lee wrote the best-selling books, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” and “Dr. Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple.”

Below are Dr. Lee’s Rules of Hormone Balance:

Rule #1: Take Progesterone Only if you Need It (If you have clear symptoms or your levels are measurably low). *Click here for Dr. Lee’s low progesterone symptoms list.

Rule #2: Take Bioidentical Progesterone Instead of Synthetic Progestins

and

Rule #3: Take Progesterone in Physiological Amounts Only.

I discovered I needed progesterone based on my symptoms. I read through Dr. Lee’s progesterone deficiency list and I realized I had most of the symptoms! Headaches:  check.  Fibrocystic breasts:  check.  Fatigue:  check, check, check!  It was clear my body needed progesterone.

I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), this is a syndrome where ovulation doesn’t occur regularly.  If there is no ovulation, progesterone isn’t produced.  So taking progesterone made sense to me.

You don’t have to have PCOS to have a progesterone deficiency.  You could have luteal insufficiency.  Luteal insufficiency is a condition where you ovulate, but progesterone production is still inadequate.  If you have PCOS or luteal insufficiency, you may experience heavy menstrual cramps and/or heavy menstrual bleeding.  Fertility problems are also common.

So how can you tell if you need progesterone?  Take a look at the “progesterone-deficient” symptom list found here. And discuss these symptoms with a doctor who has experience correcting hormone imbalances.

If you don’t know a doctor who does this type of work, try contacting your local compounding pharmacy.  Many compounding pharmacies keep an associated list of doctors who use their pharmacy.  Ask your local compounding specialist to refer you to a doctor who prescribes progesterone and specifically to one that works with people with mood disorders.

To find the compounding pharmacy nearest you, contact the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacies at www.iacprx.org or you can call their toll free referral line at 1-800-927-4227.

If you are taking medications, keep taking your medications as prescribed and work on getting your hormones balanced at the same time. Only your prescribing doctor can wean you off of your medications if and when appropriate.

Continue to educate yourself about hormone balance.  Read all you can.  The more you know, the more confident you will feel when you approach your doctor.

Best of luck to you!

Doris

Types of Bipolar Disorder

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There are many types of bipolar disorder:  bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia (cyclothymic disorder), mixed bipolar, and rapid cycling.  All types of bipolar disorder include some degree of mania and depression.

Bipolar I disorder is the most severe form of bipolar disorder.  Some days you may feel extremely high (mania) and other days terribly low (depression).  These feelings usually interrupt your everyday life.

Bipolar II disorder is a milder form of the illness.  The mood swings are not as severe as bipolar I.  Those with bipolar II are said to experience periods of hypomania (mild mania) and depression.

Cyclothymia has even milder mood changes than bipolar I and bipolar II.

If you have symptoms of mania and depression at the same time or one right after the other, this is called mixed bipolar disorder.

If you have four or more episodes of mania or depression within a year, this is called rapid cycling.

Doctors diagnose bipolar disorder looking at the length, severity, and frequency of one’s symptoms.

If you suspect you have bipolar disorder, please share your symptoms with your health care provider.

Schizophrenia: Reproductive Hormones and the Brain

Mental Health 5 Comments

I’m always searching for articles that show the importance of hormone balance to mental health.  Today, I stumbled on a jewel.

Dr. Janice R. Stevens of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon noted that the onset of schizophrenia occurs during the reproductive period (puberty) in 80% of those affected.

Could the increase of steroid hormones during puberty have something to do with schizophrenia’s onset?  I think so.  And Dr. Stevens does too.

In her article, “Schizophrenia: Reproductive Hormones and the Brain,” Dr. Steven’s explains how the brain is flooded with high amounts of estrogen and testosterone throughout the reproductive years.  She says that if these excitatory hormones aren’t counterbalanced they can cause hyperexcitability and seizures.  Both of these symptoms are very common in schizophrenia.

One of progesterone’s roles in the brain and body is to balance the effects of estrogen.

And yes, men have estrogen too!

An enzyme in the male brain converts testosterone into estrogen, for the male brain to use.

Estrogen isn’t a “bad” hormone, but it’s extremely toxic when not properly balanced by progesterone.

I’m not trying to shake the mental health system up, but preventative treatments need to be explored.  Why shouldn’t we explore steroid hormones as a viable treatment? We already know that healthy brains need them and we know through articles like Dr. Steven’s that they are unbalanced in mentally ill people.

If you are interested in reading Dr. Steven’s full-length article, please click here.  In order to open the article, you will need to click on the link that says “Begin manual download.”

Good luck to you!

Understanding Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

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The symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. The illness causes you to experience two different phases:  mania and depression.  Mania is the part of the illness that can cause high energy surges and racing thoughts.  Depression is the total opposite.  During depression, it’s common to have low energy and difficulty concentrating.

Below are common symptoms of mania and depression.

1) Symptoms of bipolar mania or hypo-mania

  • euphoria or irritability
  • excessive talk; racing thoughts
  • inflated self-esteem
  • unusual energy; less need for sleep
  • impulsiveness, a reckless pursuit of gratification (shopping sprees, impetuous travel, more and sometimes promiscuous sex, high-risk business investments, fast driving)

2) Symptoms of bipolar depression/major depression

  • depressed mood and low self-esteem
  • low energy levels and apathy
  • sadness, loneliness, helplessness, guilt
  • slow speech, fatigue, and poor coordination
  • insomnia or oversleeping
  • suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • poor concentration
  • lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities

If you suspect you have bipolar disorder, please talk with your family and friends, and especially your health care provider.

Hormones and Our Mental Health

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We all know hormones impact our mental health.

Take a look at the emotional and behavioral changes that happen during women’s menstrual cycles and before and after pregnancy. And look at the changes that occur in men and women during puberty.

So doesn’t it seem logical that an imbalance in hormones would be involved in emotional and mood disorders?

I’m not telling everyone with a mental health diagnosis to run out and take progesterone.  I’m encouraging people to educate themselves on the importance of hormone balance.  And if one finds they have imbalance, I’m encouraging them to have the courage to correct it with the help of their doctor.