Bioidentical Hormone Therapy: A patient journey
Tracey came to us after suffering years of severe symptoms as a result of the menopause. Despite still feeling youthful, adopting a healthy diet and discovering the benefits of a good exercise regime, her life was interrupted by relentless fatigue, hot flashes during the night and memory loss that left her feeling frazzled.
Since discovering Bioidentical Hormone Therapy at River Aesthetics, Tracey has combined her treatment and healthy lifestyle to take on an admirable positive mindset that looks ahead to how her quality of life will improve.
Read Tracey’s story on her journey so far:
“I’ve always felt ‘young’ for my age; in my mind, I am as young as I was in my twenties. I like lots of young things and hanging out with young people. With that all said, there is something holding me back: it’s called the menopause. We hear a lot in the media about the menopause: what does it all mean? How will it affect me? You will never know until you reach it - everyone is individual.
As much as I think I have the energy, in truth I have been struggling. Anything I do goes back to back with snoozing and, in some cases, I’ve backed out of events simply because I’m too tired. I am a high energy person, so I’ve never been one for sitting around, but recently I have found it hard to keep up my high energy lifestyle.
I recall going to my doctor in London when I was in my early forties and saying things were not right, but she told me “You can’t be in the menopause yet”. That gave me no comfort. I was dizzy, exhausted and had a number of strange symptoms that never stacked up to anything. The night sweats were so tiresome and would leave me waking up in the middle of the night, soaking wet, having to try and get back to sleep on wet sheets, which always seemed to get tousled around me. Towards the mid-part of my forties, at long last, I was diagnosed as being peri-menopausal and so, I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I felt I had to, I was running a demanding skincare business with my husband at the time and needed to be on form, not hiding under the duvet or being disorganised. At the back of my mind, I felt wary of synthetic hormones and the media often talked about the side effects.
One thing that did help me was exercise and starting to eat right; this is something I took up with a passion around the age of 49 when I met a personal trainer. Clean eating, lots of greens, little meat and mainly fish and chicken is predominantly how I eat, and I try to avoid sugar as much as I can. I went from a size 16+ and 13.5 stone down to 11 stone and started running 5ks and felt amazing - in fact, better than I had ever felt during my forties. I cut down on drinking and that too alleviated some of my symptoms. Yet, for me, the weight gain and change of my shape, combined with the tiredness, really hit home when I hit fifty. My memory was shot to pieces and frankly, I felt all over the place.
Three years ago, my periods were virtually non-existent, and the symptoms had eased. I took a risk, as I wanted to see if I could manage without HRT. I set my mental attitude on “I’m going to get better, not older” as I wanted to take my health into my own hands without relying on the NHS to hand out tablet after tablet. That said, it’s fair to say that additional symptoms sort of ‘show up’ as you reach 50 and beyond ad, for a lot of women I talk to, it’s our memory loss that starts to get us worrying. What is going on?
I’d long suspected that our American sisters had been onto something and it turns out I was right; they’ve not been taking HRT from their doctor, but Bioidentical Hormones prescribed by their antiaging doctor. Having previously researched this some years ago, I was put off that it was only available in London and that, on top of the treatment price, you’d need to travel back and forth to London for the consultations. I was therefore so excited to hear a month ago, that the wonderful River Aesthetics in Canford Cliffs were about to start offering Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
My first visit to Dr Victoria Manning was to discuss my symptoms in detail and complete a comprehensive form. On the first visit, Dr Victoria took a vial of blood from my arm, which was sent away to a specialist lab for evaluation to analyse my hormones – DHEA, thyroid profile, sex hormone profile, progesterone, testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, along with other vitamins including Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Folate and Homocysteine (a real eye opener to me and can indicate DVT, heart and stroke and Alzheimer’s). A week later, I returned for my results - and it really is the big reveal. This lab tests for optimum range, so it goes above and beyond what regular NHS tests would reveal as they only check that you are within range. Dr Victoria discusses the results and determines what you need. For me, I need all of them – DHEA, progesterone (as I had none), oestrogen and testosterone. The progesterone is taken at night, the DHEA in the morning and the latter two are in a gel form, which I put onto my thigh and inner arm every morning. The tablets are sourced via a local pharmacy, so Dr Victoria can take you through them and make sure you know how to use everything properly. These Bioidentical hormones are bioengineered from natural plant products and contain the exact same chemical structure as natural female sex hormones.
The entire package included a full consultation and bloods, further consultation and then prescription. Prescription costs are priced separately according to the dose prescribed, for example mine are around £70 a month. But you need to ask the question: how much do I care about my health and how long do I want to feel and look youthful? My health is more important to me than anything and it’s not all about looks.
At the time of writing, I have been on my tablets for just over two weeks and so far, so good. I am not expected to see results for at least six weeks so have to remain patient, but I am truly hopeful this will change my life and, combined with my weight loss, healthy eating and positive mental attitude, will see the best version of Tracey that has ever hit town - which means Bournemouth had better watch out! 53 is the new 33 and I am determined to blaze a trail of youthful behaviour for all those women and men who are feeling their age.”
If you would like to find out more about Bioidentical Hormone Therapy, read our treatment page here. Alternatively, if you’d like to speak to a professional about what BHT can do for you, book a consultation with us today.