Estrogen For Bone Health

Posted by Lynn Brooks @lbroomayo1, Jul 13, 2021

Around three years ago I started a self evaluated and controversial strategy for bone, muscle, and heart health. I started medical study in late middle age, because I am a licensed insurance agent and wanted to improve my knowlege of medicine. I also wanted a second career to work part time, to earn extra income after retirement. I chose nursing. I injured my knee at the YMCA with swelling and saw an orthopedic doctor. He gave me a treatment plan which consisted of diclofenac and PT. My healing was an extremely slow process. I saw an opportunity to speed things up a little. One day in A&P lecture, my instructor stated that estrogen was the most important factor in bone matrix. I saw s Nurse Practitioner and requested a small dose. She gave me a low dose for 30 days. My knee greatly improved. I asked her to extend the prescription and increase the dose and the NP refused. I saw another doctor and received a stronger dose and a year of prescriptions. He later added progesterone to the hormone regemine. I in turn, cylced the two hormones to mimic the uterine cycle that I read in my A&P book. Three years later I have had extrordinary results. Both my mother and sister were walking with assistance when they were reached my age. My bone mass increased in some areas. I do wear a corsette all day 7 days a week with supporting underwire, which improved my spine curvature and posture. However, there are risks and consequences. Another A&P instructor warned of an extremely high cancer rate with estrogen use for two years or longer in women over age 50. I am an insurance agent, so I did a risk assessment on myselft to access my tolerance for the drugs. I also added a vitamin supplement program, mostly prescribed by my doctors. I have 4 doctors that I see regularly and 3 of them were mortified. However, people take risks in their lives from smoking to other risky hobbies and interests. I felt that I had spent to much time and money in nursing at a late age and it was important to be able to physically and mentally perform the duties and tasks of nursing. My negative side effects have decreased substantially since I first started. I have lab every 6 months evaluating my estrogen levels, cancer risks, and other elements uncovered with blood analysis. This includes but not limited to CA 125 tests and Ionized calcium ranges as well. What do you think? I have full range of motion but I'm still aging like everybody else. This strategy is not a fountain of youth, but a risk which can lead to amazing results depending on your risk factors.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Aging Well group.

@lbroomayo1 Lynn, I can share some experience with hormone replacement and what I have learned from my functional medicine doctors. What is prescribed for me is bio-identical hormone replacement that is custom made for me by a compounding pharmacy. My doctors have told me that bio-identical replacement of estrogen and progesterone reduce risks of colon cancer and also help maintain bone strength. The problems that happen that increase risks of cancer can be due to it not being a bio-identical match or that a person doesn't detox well, or hormones are not balanced. There are normal biochemical pathways the body uses to detox the end products of using estrogen and some people do it better than others. If the end products are not detoxed and removed, this can cause problems. The estrogen must also be balanced against progesterone for its protective effect because too much estrogen dominance causes problems. You don't need to have cycles if the hormone levels are set correctly. Functional medicine doctors and environmental medicine doctors try to achieve balance in the body so all the systems are working correctly and optimized for the best health. There are tests to measure if a patient is detoxing the hormone byproducts, and you can add supplements to help assist. My doctor recommended Orthomolecular Methyl CpG which is a supplement for heart health of several B vitamins, and this helps feed detox pathways. Functional medicine doctors think "outside the box" as opposed to conventional doctors who are prescribing manufactured pills that approximate human hormones and they read the studies of the effects of those prescriptions. That is why you are seeing their reactions of apprehension. I don't have the biochemical knowledge to fully understand this process, but a functional medicine specialist should. The field of environmental medicine was started by a practice in Dallas and they have research volumes for doctors that explain everything.

You can find information at https://www.aaemonline.org/ On the upper right corner of the website is a blue button where you can search for a provider. This link is a provider in Dallas, TX where a lot of the pioneering work was done in this field. https://www.ehcd.com/

I am glad to see that you are advocating for yourself, but please do check in with a specialist who understands the biochemistry of natural hormones. I am glad that you are working to maintain your health and there are many choices involved with that including efforts to reduce inflammation. It is something that needs to be properly tweaked to be balanced and optimized and keep it away from the dangers of approximation. Another thing you could consider is to have a genetic test to determine if your risk of cancer is higher than average. That might help in your optimization of your health. I know there are specific tests for a breast cancer gene, but there are also other tests that can predict cancer risks. Those might be specifc for specific cancers, but that is something you could ask your provider about.

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Thank you for your comments. I do have a well connected network of licensed Board Certified physicians under Emory Health and Cone Health networks. I was offered a hormone drug therapy similar to yours by another doctor, but declined it. Toxins in my body are released by cycling estrogen and progesterone drugs monthly, by losing the uterine lining, which includes the toxins and other bacteria, which could morph into cancer cells. My mother once told me, "You come from long line of strong healthy people!" I have two parents who lived to be in their 90's and their parents before them had long life spans, with very little medical care. I have never smoked and my cancer risks are low genetically. Also, having access to good insurance plans, I have the best coverage for any income bracket at the best costs. I cannot discount the success I have had slowing aging, improving my physical and mental health with estrogen. I cannot ignore my success with the ability to stoop, bend, lift 25 lbs, pass AHA CPR certification and graduate from two academic programs in my 60's. The product of these medicines have had an amazing effect on my ability to live a full life.

However, that doesn't mean I won't consider Orthomolecular Methyl CpG, or similar drugs in the future as I ease in to old age. Ultimately, the choice of lifestyle and medical treatments are individual. The quality of good healthcare, not only depends on good physicians but the client's ability to assess their options and decide what bests fits their lifestyle and budget.

Lynn B. Brooks, MS, Ed.D. LPC-RN Candidate

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