Monday, September 5, 2016

Menopause: why I don't take bio-identical hormones

We women of a certain age know that they old gray mare...she ain't what she used to be.

(This post contains what I like to refer to as "marital issues," so if you don't want to read about them, please go away. If you click to continue, you have been duly warned.)


In a nutshell, body parts don't work the way they used to.

Last week I went in for my physical, and I asked my doctor (who is just three months younger than I) what I should do about certain female-related issues.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I asked my GYNO, but he is a middle-aged man and it was uncomfortable. His answer to nearly everything is coconut oil.*

So my GP and I had a long conversation (longer than her health care company wants her to spend, but she's old like me and doesn't give a darn) and we approached the idea of hormone replacement therapy. ("The favorite of Buena Vista blondes," she noted...not realizing I'm blonde and I live in Buena Vista. You can read about that here.)  Then we talked about the other drugs I was on. (None, actually.) But some interesting questions about other prescriptions arose.

I will be honest--I don't like taking drugs at all. I have been known to cut a Tylenol in half. But if the occasion calls for something, I'll take it as directed. Such was the case with the painkiller Tramadol three years ago. I needed it because I could no longer raise my arm above my shoulder (an injury that occurred when a car fell on me, but that's another story for another day) and as a teacher, I need my right arm to be able to do things, like write on the board. So I was prescribed a three-week bottle of Tramadol. 

I lost seven pounds because I forgot to eat.

(Now before you think 'WOW! I'm going to get some Tramadol! I'll tell my doctor that my arm is sore!', please be aware that 'forgetting to eat' is not as cool as it sounds. I actually passed out in my car--while parked in a parking lot, thank goodness-- because it had been over 24 hours since I had anything to eat. There was absolutely no sensation of hunger, ever.

So being the research junkie that I am, I went on-line to look at the side effects of Tramadol. Sure enough, less than 5% of the folks who take it suffer from anorexia. While this SEEMS like a bonus, it really is not.

Next drug I used to take? A sulfa drug for my annual UTI. The result? Not being able to get off the potty, which is a side effect "in rare cases."

I told the doctor that I sense a pattern. If a medication has a wonky side effect, I will be that one person in several hundred thousand who will exhibit that side effect. And the side effects of hormone replacement? Heart attack and stroke. Not a risk I'm willing to take.

As of yet, I have not tried the coconut oil. It may or may not work, but the only side effect I'll have to worry about is smelling like a pina colada.



7 comments:

Art and Sand said...

We were just talking with a male friend last night about the side effects of old age - bumping your hand on an edge of anything causes major trauma. But, old age beats the alternative.

I am going to my 50th high school reunion 10 days and I bemoan all of my issues, I get relief from knowing that everyone else is going through the same thing.

Summer said...

Smelling like pina colada is way better than heart attack and stroke! Hope you have a great day and the best with your health ♥

summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

andi filante said...

I already feel like I'm falling apart, and I haven't even gotten to the mental pause yet.

-andi

Bliss said...

Ahhh ha ha ha ha ha ha.... go here, buy it; https://mwmade.com/products/do-you-like-bean-enchiladas-getting-caught-in-the-rain

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

I will tell you that I took bio-identical hormones for 10+ years and it actually saved my sanity, and my marriage. I finally am off of them because my body does not need them anymore. Like you I am that person that gets the weird side effects and symptoms from drugs (there aren't many I can take) and that usually stumps the doctor on exactly what is wrong with me. So, I said all that to say that they worked for me under the care of a great doctor that kept a close watch on me while on them. Taking the risk taking them was way better than the alternative without them.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Well I'm going to be presumptuous and tell you that coconut oil can be very helpful and doesn't smell much at all. Also that I am currently on tramadol because I had to remove anti-inflamatories from my life, for the rest of my life, and I now have a team of doctors that are looking at alternative treatments for pain. I do still get hungry, and still feel a lot of pain. It all sucks. Big time. whoever thought that "a team of doctors" would be in my vocabulary. Cus words come to mind.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Well I'm going to be presumptuous and tell you that coconut oil can be very helpful and doesn't smell much at all. Also that I am currently on tramadol because I had to remove anti-inflamatories from my life, for the rest of my life, and I now have a team of doctors that are looking at alternative treatments for pain. I do still get hungry, and still feel a lot of pain. It all sucks. Big time. whoever thought that "a team of doctors" would be in my vocabulary. Cus words come to mind.

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