I’m Not the Only One

Mental Health

I get lots of mail and emails.  And one of the most common questions I receive is, “How can you be certain hormone balance will help others to recover from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia?  Just because it helped you don’t mean it will help everyone else.”

Believe me.  I understand this logic.  I felt the same way.

Initially, I thought my recovery was a fluke.  But as I begin to tell my story, I ran into others who were just like me.

And so I started to do research.  And I learned that hormone balance is essential to everyone’s mental health.  Just as oxygen is needed for us to breathe.  Hormone balance is needed for our happiness and sanity.

The more I read about progesterone, the more I was amazed by it.

I learned it wasn’t just a pregnancy hormone.  It was so much more.

Progesterone, along with estrogen, helps our brain cells send and receive clear messages.  It does this by helping the brain maintain healthy levels of sodium and potassium—which is essential for healthy cell function.

Progesterone is also a natural regulator of our bodies dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitter systems.

Progesterone does what so many psychotropic medications try to do—it restores mental health.

Here is a link to other roles progesterone and estrogen have in the body.

So do you think you have an imbalance?  Are there any tests for it?

Well– yes and no.  Yes, you can take a test to have your hormone levels tested, but it may not be useful.  If your hormones are so out of whack that you are hearing voices or seeing things or having suicidal thoughts, chances are your levels might be too low to be helped by testing.

Also, blood tests are commonly used to measure estrogen and progesterone.  And as Dr. Lee pointed out theses tests aren’t the best measures to use when trying to check hormone levels because blood is a watery substance and progesterone and estrogen are fatty substances.  When progesterone and estrogen are in the blood stream they aren’t “hanging loose.”  They are often bound to protein hitching a ride through the body.  So when you have an actual blood test for estrogen and progesterone, you are getting a measurement for hormones not bound to protein.  These “unbound” proteins may or not be available for the brain and other tissues to use.  Because it’s impossible to know which portion of them will end up in the brain, it’s not the best measure to use.

If you must have a blood test, a good test to have is a test that measures your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels.  LH and FSH regulate progesterone production, so imbalances in these hormones are often strong indicators of other imbalances.

The absolute best way to determine if you have a progesterone deficiency is to check your symptoms.  That’s how I found out I had an imbalance.

The late Dr. John Lee did a fine job of compiling a list of common progesterone deficiency symptoms.  The list can be found here.  In the list Dr. Lee has the heading “estrogen dominance.”  Estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency can be used interchangeably.  When there is not sufficient progesterone in the body, estrogen “dominates” which cause all types of disease and illness.

If you find that you have many of the symptoms on this list you should contact a doctor in your community who specializes in hormone balance.  This may or may not be a psychiatrist.

Make sure if you are taking psychiatric medications, that you continue to take your medications as prescribed until you are able to balance your hormones and your health is restored.  Once this happens, hopefully you can be weaned off your medications with the help of your prescribing doctor.

I’ve said a lot in this post.  And there is much more to be said on this topic.

But this is a start.  We have to start facing our fears.  We have to face this illness head on and address it.  It can be done.  Hormones can be balanced.  Mental health can be restored.

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