“I started hormones and gained 20 pounds,…”

by Tony Elam

“…my face is covered in acne, I’ve had a heavy period for three weeks, and I’m not happy.”Sleazy-Attorney

This was the first sentence of her email to me.  Since I’ve seen this problem before, I knew the story, but I didn’t realize the incompetence of the “hormone clinic” she visited.

This woman went to a “hormone clinic” for her free evaluation.  The woman she spoke with told her all the wonderful benefits of getting her hormones balanced.  She learned that she she would lose body fat, her skin would improve, her libido would increase, sex with her husband would be incredible, her energy level would skyrocket, and her life would be wonderful.  She couldn’t wait to get started.

Step one of getting “started” consisted of paying hundreds of dollars.  Step two was going into an examination room to get her shots.  She was given two injections and told to come back in three months…that’s it.  No testing.  No hormone levels.  No evaluation of her symptoms.  No consultation.  No nothing but two injections, 20 pounds extra, acne, frustration, and disappointment.

When I write about finding a competent hormone specialist, this story is the reason.  So many of these clinics are popping up with little or no knowledge what-so-ever about proper hormone balance.  They are usually owned by businessman who is looking to make money from the popularity of hormone balancing.  The businessman hires a physician to act as the medical director and a pretty staff of sales women.  The medical director is needed to sign the prescriptions and order hormones for the office.  Whether or not anyone knows about hormones is irrelevant.  All you need is a good sales force.

I’m sure this poor woman received an injection of testosterone cypionate and estrogen (depo-estradiol).  The doses were grossly high.  The lack of testing is horrific.  The injection of testosterone is illegal.  The whole process is grounds for malpractice.

The high dose of estrogen is causing her to gain body fat, have long heavy periods, and her becoming irritable.  The high testosterone is causing the acne and will eventually cause unwanted hair growth and other undesired effects.

So how do I help this woman?

First off, don’t ever go back to this “hormone clinic” and make sure you tell your friends about your experience so they do not fall for the same scheme.  Next…

  1. progesterone cream
  2. DIM
  3. acne gel
  4. time

Progesterone cream is a wonderful solution to many hormonal issues woman have.  I had her apply 10mg to her inner wrists twice a day.  Since she was cycling prior to going to the “clinic,” we had to cycle the progesterone cream in an attempt to get her menstrual cycles back.  Topical progesterone will help create a better balance by giving a larger “grey area” of balance.  It will also reduce the amount of menstrual blood flow due to excess estrogen.  In my experience, very few women have adequate progesterone levels.  This woman definitely needs it in an attempt to balance.

DIM, diindolymethane, is a substance found in broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts.  You would have to eat 3-4 pounds a day of these vegetables to get an effective dose.  DIM promotes estrogen metabolism in the body allowing the high levels of estrogen to be lowered and bring the body into balance.  In my experience, DIM is not a miracle but will certainly help speed up the removal of her excess estrogens.

The reason for the acne gel is obvious.  I make a prescription strength acne gel in the pharmacy that combines benzoyl peroxide with the antibiotic erythromycin.  This is the product she received.  There are many different acne products available over-the-counter.  The best one is the one that works best for you.  There is no secret with the over-the-counter acne products.

Time.  The testosterone cypionate has a half life of about 7 days.  Since I don’t know the dose she was given, I cannot give an accurate amount of time it will take for the testosterone to leave her body.  For example, if she was given a 50mg injection, in one week, she’ll have 25mg left…2 weeks, 12.5mg…3 weeks, 6.25mg…and so on.  Her body needs about 0.3mg a day of testosterone.  The depo-estradiol has a half life of about 11 days.  Estrogen levels fluctuate in the woman’s body but I find most women usually only need about 0.1mg of estradiol supplementation a day.

She came to me about six weeks after the injections.  Can you imagine gaining 20 pounds in six weeks?  With the plan we started, the weigh gain stopped for the next two weeks, but she didn’t lose any.  The acne was reduced slightly with the acne gel over the same two week period.  Then we got over the hump.  Four weeks after talking with me, she lost five pounds and the acne was much improved.   Her period stopped for a couple days, then restarted but it was much lighter.

After six weeks, she was down another three pounds and feeling much better.  The acne was greatly improved and she was spotting irregularly.

As of this writing, we did our fourth coaching session and she is almost back to feeling normal.  She is still ten pounds heavier than when she went to the “clinic” but very happy with the progress so far.  We discussed proper eating and exercise to get the weight off and continue a healthy lifestyle.  The injections were given over three months ago and she is still feeling the effects.

Hopefully, this story will illustrate the improper hormone treatments that are out there.  When people go to these franchise clinics, they get a poor representation in the art of balancing hormones.  The prescriber must know your symptoms, your hormone levels, and discuss a plan of action with you.  Hormone balancing is more than “plug and play.”  You simply cannot add hormones at high levels and expect beneficial results.

Here’s the difference…





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