New adventures in hormone therapy

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New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Sat 05 Jan 2013, 11:16 pm

As many of you know, I have been taking a combination of bio-identical progesterone (200 mg), vitamin D (5000 ug) and magnesium (400 mg) for 3 years now. It brought my migraine frequency down from 80% to 20%. I started getting chronic daily headaches at age 45 following a problem with a bulging disk in my neck, never having had a problem with migraine or headaches prior to that.

After 2 years of trying Chiro, epidural injections, acupuncture and other meds (Lyrica, Topomax), it turned into classic migraine symptoms and I realized it was the head causing the neck pain rather than the other way around. Over the next year I had 2 nuerologists throw up their hands after a whole host of preventative medications either did nothing or caused bizarre side effects or both. (Lamictal, verapamil, zonisamide, bystloic, cymbalta, amitriptyline, avelox,Nadolol).

As a last ditch effort I tried the natural progesterone route and much to my surprise it worked! It was not perfect, but my life was clearly much better, with some months better than others.

So here is the problem. I can no longer get the progesterone I've been ordering on line. They can't get it any more. It is in pill form. I can only find a cream type on line, which is both messier and much harder to get a proper dosage on. I tried tapering off on the progesterone in November and my headache days went way up to 50 %. Clearly I still need to take it.

As a potential solution, I found a naturopath doctor in my area who specializes in female hormones. I went in mid December and had a full set of tests on my hormonal levels done. I figured this was a good idea as I have never had them tested. I was just working off of trial and error. It may be that I could also benefit from some other supplements as well.

So far he put me on a multi vitamin and Nitricum acidum (90c), which I take sublingually each morning. This is apparently indicated for headaches that are vice like (as opposed to other types). I go in this week to get the results of my tests and will see what the hormone tests indicate.

Results so far: week 1 - 4 headaches days, weeks 2/3 - no headaches. I've gone as long as 3 weeks without headaches before, so I'm not getting too excited yet, but so far so good.

Downside: Naturapaths are not covered by insurance. The visits are not expensive (about $60), but the blood tests ran $2000. If this works it will be totally worth it, but the jury is out still.

Will keep you all posted on how this works out.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Cluelesskitty on Sat 05 Jan 2013, 11:37 pm

I am also very curious how your tests will turn out.

have you ever had your thyroid checked out for anything,
your anti-tpo? my anti tpo was elevated, even if other thyroid levels were within norm.
of course, the anti-tpo antibodies are not restricted to thyroid only, but it may indicate the Hashimoto.

Risa

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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Tue 08 Jan 2013, 8:11 pm

So I went back to the doctor today and got my results. I am showing low levels of pregnenolone (a hormone all the others build upon), testosterone, estadiol and estriol (2 of the estrogens), Free T3 (one of the thyroid indicators), cortisol in the morning, and serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (all neurohormones). My magnesium is good (as I take a supplement for that), and my progesterone levels are high (also due to the supplements I'm currently taking).

So I have a whole bucket load of supplements to take for each of these things. I will take for the next month and see how I do.
Natural thyroid (1.25 grain), hydrocortisone (10 mg), D3 (5000 ui), magnesium (200 mg), multivitamin, DHEA (10 mg), 5-HTP (100 mg), Kavinace, Cognition supplement, Estriol (2 mg), testosterone (5 mg), progesterone (75 mg)

I'm not too worried about most of them. But he is putting me on a different and lowered dose of progesterone which has me a little worried. Yes, my levels tested high. But when I tried lowing my intake in November, I had a very bad headache month. Was it coincidental? Or a direct result? Who knows? Will getting these other things in balance make it not necessary? Again, who knows? It all seems like a major roll of the dice.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Cluelesskitty on Wed 09 Jan 2013, 3:07 pm

Wow, if I am understanding right, this is whole lot of hormones out of whack..?
I wonder why your cortisol is low, even if in the morning only? It shows some adrenal insufficiency.
perhaps you should be checked for some number of adrenal- related disorder/diseases? not only the thyroid...

Risa


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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Wed 09 Jan 2013, 10:42 pm

You may be right. I've no idea why these things are low. It may be adrenals or thyroid or the low prednonelone that drives all the hormones. I'll have to see how these supplements effect them all.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Cluelesskitty on Thu 10 Jan 2013, 6:44 pm

I suspect the supplements will balance things out, but I would like to find out the cause of it all in the first place.
Isn't your Dr even remotely concerned about that ?
Some time ago I was researching Cushing's and Addison's. With Cushing's cortisol levels are elevated. In Addisons - lowered.

Elevated PTH (parathyroid hormone) level is elevated in Hyperpituitarism.

Just a few examples..

Risa

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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 6:25 pm

Here is an update on my progress. After 3 weeks with ZERO headaches ( a record for me ), I'm back to having 4 headache days this past week. 2 were migraines and 2 were low level headaches. I am definitely bummed!

The main thing that changed was finishing the nitricum acidum. The headaches started again a few days after that. Coincidence? Possibly. But I'm definitely going to check back with the doctor on it. I don't know if its something that can be taken long term or not.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  marion on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 9:15 pm

Hi everyone, haven't posted for ages, hope life is treating you kindly.

I peck occassionaly and this makes an interesting read. I looked up nitricum acidum - for the relief of excessive mucous in the throat among things. Sinus problem? In Australia it is really hard to be prescribed thryoid meds without a lot of argument and quite extreme blood test results. You are lucky to get the natural thyroid. If this is a contributing factor, from personal experience it can take some months to kick in. Strangely just before it did I had a @#@ of a migraine and then none for some months. They did come back though.

Have you ever had your neck examined - xray/mri? I am just coming to the conclusion that the migraine is from the neck not the autoimmune. Your going the other way. That's why I found it so interesting. Shall we hit our heads against the wall simutanously or try for a rythem??

Really hope something in the mixture works.

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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Wed 23 Jan 2013, 10:40 pm

Yes the reading on nitricum acidum is quite interesting. Apparently is used for warts, mucus, tight hats and bad personalities among other things. Ha! The most useful (scientific) article I found was this:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/36896-side-effects-nitric-oxide-/

Apparently as far as headaches go it has an effect on vasodilation.
Not sure what it does for the cranky disposition.... Very Happy

I'm going to keep taking all this stuff and hope it helps. I've no idea how long it takes for all these hormone levels to get adjusted. I really was feeling great though. I could focus mentally. I had good energy again. I haven't felt that good in years. I finally felt like my old self. This weeks it's gone. Back to where I was.
Hopefully I'll get back there again. Sigh....

Btw. I've had multiple MRIs, epidural injections, facet injections, massage 3 times per week, physical therapy, acupuncture, and the works on my neck. The neck pain only got better after I started taking the progesterone and magnesium. It was quite a surprise. I think the neck is a trigger. There is some residual inflammation there. But in the end the migraines are the real problem.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Thu 07 Feb 2013, 6:49 pm

Update:

So after 1 month on the long list of hormones and supplements, I had 9 headaches (about the same as my average of 10/month). I saw my naturalpath doctor yesterday and he said it can take 3 months to start feeling better. So he upped my dosage on two of the things I'm taking and retested my thyroid.

He also put me back on the nitricum acidum for another month. Apparently you can only take it for 2-3 months max. It acts as some kind if booster for the body. Hopefully it will help.

I'm going to keep at this for the 3 months at least. The good news so far is no weird side effects!
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Porsche Fan on Fri 08 Feb 2013, 12:43 am

migrainegirl,

can you find a neuro-endocrinologist or at least an endocrinologist near you to look at this--that way you should be covered under insurance.

even for guys with migraines, getting hormone levels checked can solve some problems. neuros never think about that....

then again, neuros don't think to begin with.

good luck.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Thu 14 Feb 2013, 2:01 pm

My problem is the endocrinologist and GYN just offer traditional synthetic hormones which have been shown to be a real problem for migraines. I'm trying to stick to natural hormones and supplements which is what I can get through the naturopathic doctor, even if I'm paying for it.

Really when you consider what we pay in medicine co-pays and deductibles, I'm not really paying that much going this route. And I can use my Health Savings Account to pay for it, which saves a lot as it is all pretax dollars.

The main thing to me is finding something that works! I've been all through all the meds that traditional medicine has to offer to no avail. Once I find what works I can then worry about costs. My time and my life are ultimately what I have to value more than the money. If I can't get rid of the headaches, I lose my ability to work and that is far far more costly.

Thus far, I'm doing okay. My thyroid test came back good, all in the rangevits supposed to be. So the natural thyroid supplement is working better than the synthetic one I was on for the past year and a half.

We will retest my hormone levels next month. No headaches in the past week on the current dosages. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Sun 21 Apr 2013, 8:20 pm

(Compared to an average of 10 headaches per month prior to starting )

Month 1: 9 headaches.
Month 2: 7 headaches
Month 3: 8 headaches (increased progesterone and 5-HTP)
Month 4: 0 headaches.

We readjusted the dosage on a couple of things based on a second round of blood tests.
The good news is I'm feeling great! Lots of energy. I can exercise again. Even a tough schedule of traveling and messed up time zones has not been triggering headaches. So I'm very optimistic at this point. I need to stick with it longer I think to really be able to say for sure, but so far I think this program is working.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Platypus on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 1:51 am

Wow that's great! You might have to change your username.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Mon 22 Apr 2013, 5:34 pm

I forgot to mention I have not needed anything more than aspirin for the headaches I have had in the last 2 months. So intensity and intransigence is way down too.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Wed 27 Nov 2013, 7:40 pm

I thought I would give you all an update on this experiment. The hormone therapy worked very well for about 3 months with zero headaches. Then they crept up again till I was back to my normal rate of 6-8 per month (although only 1 really bad one that kept me home from work).. I was feeling a bit discouraged about this. I went back to my doctor. He did another blood test and adjusted dosages on two of the supplements and within a week I was back to headache free. Zero headaches the past month. I am pretty much able to do everything again and live a normal life.

This has all been during a time period when I've taken a much more demanding job. Lots of travel which is always a trigger for me. I could not have even contemplated it had we not been able to get my migraines under control. So I feel very fortunate.

For anyone who has gotten migraines associated with peri-menopause or with their periods, I would certainly recommend looking into it. The key is you need someone to check all your hormone and nuero-hormone levels via blood tests to figure out what you need to get them to optimal. Just randomly taking things won't really work unless you just luck out.
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Cluelesskitty on Wed 27 Nov 2013, 8:10 pm

Girl, that's just great!
I am so happy for you !!
cheers 

Risa

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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Migrainegirl on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 9:37 pm

Over the past 4 months I have averaged 3 headache days/ month (10%). This is a big drop from where I started at 80% per month. And those I have gotten have been due to known triggers- flying, noise, bacon (I cheated). I feel like I've made big progress on this plan. The secret is in getting a proper blood test to figure out what hormones and supplements you need and sticking with it for the 3 months or so it takes to have an effect.

This is much much better than any of the drug treatments I tried to no avail ( and terrible side effects).
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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  Cluelesskitty on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 3:05 pm

I am so happy for you !! Smile

Risa

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Re: New adventures in hormone therapy

Post  milo on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 10:11 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your great news. I know this is one of my issues. Sadly I can't find a doctor to take enough time with me to work it out. My pain specialist would if I asked, but I feel so guilty asking for his time when a GP should be able to do this. You give me a good reason to try again. Smile
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