Thursday, February 21, 2008

Menopause Is Schizophrenic

Menopause is a schizzy thing. The whole transition has the quality of split personality. It’s difficult and delightful. It’s wonderful and just plain weird. It’s frightening and freeing. This may be why so many goddesses tell me that its been hard for them to read the myriad Menopause self-help books out there. (That and we have lost our mental acuity.) These books are not schizophrenic - they are either irritatingly positive and upbeat or a mind-numbing litany of physiology, symptoms, and treatments. Our search for wisdom ends up exhausting us.

The ‘happy’ books tell us that this is the best time of our lives. Bulldroppings! We are suffering more losses than the stock market. And while we may ultimately transition into the best time of our lives, we have to deal with all the trauma before we can begin to move on.

The “one right answer” books tout their own versions of miracles, bioidenticals, the testosterone patch, soy and herbs. We end up having to read a library full of books and experimenting ad nauseum to find a workable combination of menopause aids.

The everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-menopause books just end up overwhelming us even if the information we might need is in there. And worse yet, they frequently contradict one another. And why is that? Because the simple truth is we have lots of info and knowledge, but little wisdom distilled from them. And the web is no different.

That’s why our Goddess Blog (and our upcoming book) is none of these and all of these, why it’s “schizzy”. Our blog entries mimic real life - doom and gloom stories alternate for position with newfound joys and positive changes. Too many discussions about the great new person we are becoming and we risk the overly perky writings which really grate on our last good nerve. Too much focus on the horrific changes, mental, physical, and emotional and we practically lose our will to live.

Our conversation is tear-filled and joyful, full of the despair and hope that we goddesses have shared together. It’s cranky and hopeful all at the same time. Pretty much like menopause really is!
Join us for more of the conversation at our main blogsite:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bioidentical Hormone Access Threatened - Act Now

Many women use bioidentical hormones from compounding pharmacies for relief of menopausal symptoms. In fact, so many women are turning to bioidenticals that a significant chunk of the menopausal health care dollar has been diverted from the drug companies.

And now we got trouble - right here in River City. The FDA has told seven compounding pharmacies they may not “make misleading claims” that bioidentical hormones are better than the synthetic ones. The impetus behind this decision? A petition from Wyeth pharmaceuticals - yes the people that brought you Prempro and Premarin, hurtin’ cowboys financially since the WHI study was halted due to dangerous side effects.

Now, technically the FDA may be correct that no double blind research validates that bioidenticals are safer (Gee wonder why that is - maybe no real money to be made, so the research was not funded.) On the main page of the FDA website describing their recent action, they also say this: “All patients who use compounded hormone therapy drugs should discuss menopausal hormone therapy options with their health care provider to determine if compounded drugs are the best option for their specific medical needs.”

Sounds like an appropriate measured response, doesn’t it? Then I dug a little further into the FDA website, and found another little part to their action:

“In addition, FDA warned a number of pharmacies that they may not compound drugs containing the estrogen substance estriol without a valid investigational new drug application. Firms that do not properly address violations identified in Warning Letters risk further enforcement, including injunctions that prevent additional violations and seizure of violative drugs.”

I can tell you from my experience as a nurse that getting an investigational drug permit is a BIG deal. You don’t just go to the wizard and ask for one. Think killing the wicked witch was a difficult task? Try obtaining and implementing an investigational drug protocol from the FDA! I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that the FDA is bowing to pressure to limit access to bioidentical hormones and this is only the first step.

Here’s the kicker. It’s not like we can individually call up a compounding pharmacy and order our own hormone therapy willy nilly. A physician MUST prescribe it. And they have been prescribing estriol for decades. Safely. Responsibly. The FDA admits that its action was not a concern for safety. There have been no recorded instances of any adverse effects with the use of Estriol, probably because it is a natural hormone in our body.

There has been a tremendous response from physicians and women like us, filing comments with the FDA and writing our congresspeople. But we need to be vigilant and proactive here. We can’t let the government restrict our (and our physicians) access to bioidentical hormone therapy. For more information, on contacting your elected representatives, download the pdf document at our main blogsite and/or click on the link below for HOME (Hands Off My Estrogens) Coalition,