At the age of 53, I was so discouraged with how I felt. I was having hot flashes throughout the night which were disrupting my sleep, and then during the day I was experiencing numerous stress induced hot flashes.
I was also having a chronic problem with Bacterial Vaginitis and dyspareunia. I tried using vaginal lubrication but it did not help. I was on medications constantly for vaginal infections and really was not interested in intercourse because it was too painful.
It was at that point that I realized I needed to do something. I fortunately work for a Gynecologist and knew the nurse practitioners were working with patients using bio-identical hormones. I set up an appointment and discussed all my concerns with the APRN. At that time, she discussed with me the possible options and gave me an order to get labs and imaging done which would be used in determining the proper dosages. After my labs were completed, I had a follow-up visit with the nurse practitioner to review my labs and to establish a course of treatment specifically for me.
One thing she made clear in the beginning was that my symptoms were not going to go away over night – there was no quick fix. It was going to take time to determine the right combination of bio-identical hormones that would work for me.
At first she prescribed a cream that provided estrogen and testosterone. My symptoms and labs improved a little but I still was experiencing hot flashes and dyspareunia. Unlike some patients, I was not adequately absorbing the hormones through the skin so I then tried a sublingual medication for the estrogen under the tongue and a cream for testosterone. I had some more improvement but the nurse practitioner felt there was still room for improvement. At that point I moved to a topical gel for the estrogen, a cream for the testosterone and a compounded pill for the progesterone. This seemed to be the right combination for me. It took about a year for me to get the medications adjusted to levels that improved my symptoms significantly.
I have now been on bio-identical hormones for almost 7 years and feel great. I still have my labs done a couple times a year, as well as imaging, and office visits with the nurse practitioner to ensure everything is within recommended medical parameters.
With the help and medical guidance from the nurse practitioner, bio-identical hormones have significantly improved the quality of my life.
This is one journey I am so happy I embarked upon!