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Dr. Sharon Stills is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor who helps perimenopausal and menopausal women to pause and evaluate life so they can live the second act of their story stronger, healthier, and sexier while aging backwards. Using her 20+ years of experience and extensive training and background in European Biological... Read More
- European secrets to mastering your hormones
- My personal journey through hormonal havoc
- Naturopathic principles to support menopause symptoms
Dr. Sharon Stills
Hi ladies. It’s Dr. Stills here with my little class for the day for you all before you get into day two interviews. And what I wanna talk with you about today is probably one of the main reasons I created this summit, is the truth about bioidentical hormones. There are so many myths and misconceptions out there, and I just wanna clear them up for you, because once you get them cleared, you can invite them into your life, and your health and your experience day-to-day, year-to-year is gonna be like, it’s gonna blow your mind. So, first of all, everything you hear for the most part about hormones that may sound scary, or is a bad study, or maybe you remember the Women’s Health Initiative back from the early 2000s. All of these studies and data that comes out is all on synthetic hormones, not on bioidentical hormones, and synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones are comparing apples and oranges. They are totally different things. So yes, I am very much in favor of you avoiding all synthetic hormones, because they are dangerous because your body doesn’t recognize them, it doesn’t know what to do with them, and they cause a laundry list of side effects. So no synthetics, no pharmaceutical hormones.
That is correct. However, bioidentical hormones are so amazing, and they don’t get a lot of press because they’re made from compounding pharmacies. So the whole thing with pharmaceuticals is you can’t patent a pharmaceutical if it’s just natural, you have to have done something to it, the pharmaceutical companies have to have altered it so they can make it their own. And so they can’t do that with bioidentical hormones, because bioidentical hormones are that, they’re identical to the natural hormones that our body creates. So they are made from compounding pharmacies, and maybe you have heard compounding pharmacies aren’t regulated, they’re dangerous, you can’t trust them. And maybe there’s some truth to that if there’s some shady compounding pharmacies, but I can tell you that the compounding pharmacies I work with have to go through FDA approval, and visits, and they are quality, and they take pride in what they do, and we check them, and we assay them, and they are safe, and they are effective. I would never be involved with anything that I thought wasn’t safe. And I’ve been prescribing bioidentical hormones for close to 20 years now. And my mom, when she was alive, she just passed this year, she was 85, I had her on bioidentical hormones. I have myself bioidentical hormones.
There’s often a question that we are asked as healthcare physicians. If you were stuck on a desert island, what’s the one, or two, or three things you would bring with you, out of all the things you do for health? And I always say my hormones. I always say that when I die, hopefully a long, long time from now, but when I die, I’m gonna be buried with them just in case I need them in the afterlife. That’s how game changing and that’s how important they are to me. And so what I see with so many patients who have come to see me, that their hormones have been improperly measured, improperly monitored, improperly dosed, whether it be how much they’re taking, or the form they’re taking it, or how they’re applying it, and so it’s a passion of mine to help these women because they come in struggling, and they come in thinking that bioidentical hormones are not gonna be a piece of the puzzle to help them feeling better, and that is false. The other thing is that there’s a school of thought out there, even among other naturopathic physicians, other healthcare practitioners, that, “I wanna do things naturally, and so I don’t need to take hormones.” And I just wanna say that, again, 20 plus years clinical experience, I have seen a number of those patients, including other physicians, in my office who had that thought, and they’re just not sleeping, they’re still sweating, they’re cranky, they have no sex drive, their hair is falling, the whole gamut of things that we suffer with as our hormones drop. And when I have the talk with them about, bioidentical hormones are natural. We have to remember, we live a lot longer than our ancestors who didn’t spend a lot of time in menopause, because they were dying in their thirties and forties. And I truly believe if we live healthy, 120 is not out of the question, it’s reasonable, it’s what we are biologically designed to live to. And so that means we’re living almost 2/3 of our lives in menopause. And if we don’t have those hormones to support our brain, to support our bones, to support our moods, to support our sex drives to support our cardiovascular system, to help our breasts, to support our blood sugar, on and on and on, to decrease inflammation, to support our immune system, then we’re just not doing ourselves a justice, we are doing an injustice to ourself.
And so by giving our bodies back some natural identical hormones, I don’t think that’s any different than saying, “Well, I’m gonna do it naturally, so I’m gonna take an herb that will increase my progesterone.” So let’s talk about, say, vitex. Vitex is a commonly used herb that can increase progesterone production. So you’re not deficient in vitex, so why is that a better option than taking the actual progesterone? It’s not. And I can tell you time and time again, ’cause what matters to me, yes, studies matter to me, but what matters to me is my clinical experience. It’s what I have seen with thousands and thousands of women like you, what works. I want what works. I want our work together to make your life better, to make you feel better, because when you feel better you can go out and enjoy your life and participate in the world in a brighter, stronger way, and it’s a win-win. We all win. So I can tell you that taking an herb is not the same, and I love herbs, I’m an herbalist, but it’s not the same as taking the hormone. So if you still feel like it’s not natural, I’d love to have this conversation with you, because I’ll tell you, all right, I’ll tell you a private, personal story. So I was in practice and I had a patient come in, and I am a naturopathic physician. I walk the walk that I talk. I live a very organic, natural life. I practice what I preach, and that’s because I have my own health issues. So one day, this is, oh my gosh, at least 15 years ago I’m sitting in my office and a patient comes in, and she tells me she’s gonna have a breast reduction.
Now a breast reduction is when you have very large breasts and you are removing some of the tissue. It is not the same as an augmentation where you were putting in implants, which, that’s a whole ‘nother topic that we’ll have to get to. I’m gonna do a little talk on breasts, so we’ll get there. So she tells me she’s gonna have a breast reduction, and my first, my first response was to be a little judgey. And I was like, “Oh, you’re having surgery?” And then my second response was, “Ooh, I’m kinda jealous, ’cause I’ve got big boobs and they hurt my back, and they never, I breastfed two kids, and wow.” And she was so excited, and then I helped her get prepped for surgery, recover from surgery. She came back in and she was thrilled, “I don’t have to wear a bra, I can exer”, she just, “My back doesn’t hurt, I feel better.” And it was a really good lesson for me because I thought, you know what? We have to be balanced. We have to make choices that are gonna be for the best outcome for ourselves. And so yes, did she go under the knife and go through anesthesia? Yes. But did I help her clear the anesthesia, get ready? Yes. And did she feel better in her life and herself after that? Yes. So guess what yours truly did? I made an appointment and I had my own breast reduction, and I learned a very valuable lesson that having to be all natural can be detrimental.
And that’s not that I’m saying I want you to do things that are not natural, because I don’t, I’m just trying to give you the mental process. And so that’s a vulnerable share for me, but yes, these boobs have been reduced, and they’re still huge. And I still feel like I could go for another one. That’s another topic. But what I’m trying to say is sometimes when we’re like, “I’m gonna do things all naturally”, and we take bioidentical hormones out of the equation, we suffer. Our brains suffer, our overall wellbeing suffers. And there is a study in PubMed showing women who use bioidentical hormones have a higher level of mortality. It means we live longer. We live healthier. So I just really, from the bottom of my heart, I want you to, if you’re not already on them, to open your mind to having this be a part, because there is no magic bullet. And so as I teach my other classes, we’re gonna talk about your breasts, and mindfulness, and your lymphatic system, and your liver, and detoxing, and your gut, and your emotions, and all of these things are important in my clinic. Patients are not allowed to get refills of their hormones unless they’re doing all these other pieces, because health happens, it’s the whole gestalt, it’s the full catastrophe of living and what we need to do to enhance our health. But bioidentical hormones take you from here to there. There’s nothing that quite can replace them. So they are safe, they are effective, they are game changers, and I want you to fall in love with them. So now that being said, there are a lot of bioidentical hormone experiences out there that are like run, run, run, this is not safe. So I’m gonna give you a couple of pointers. If someone is just measuring your hormones in blood, run, run, run, because that is not an accurate way to look at your hormones, especially once you are on hormones. It can look falsely elevated. I see this all the time. Patients come in, they’re like, “Oh, my doctor took me off my progesterone because it was too high in my blood.” And I’m like, you know, and then they’re complaining, “Now I’m not sleeping, and now I’m cranky, and now I have water retention, and now I’m anxious”, and it’s because blood is not a safe way to follow. So 24-hour urine testing, that’s the way to go. You can see the metabolites, it gives you an idea of what’s happening over a 24-hour period.
And that being said, there are some levels in blood, DHT, which is dihydro testosterone, and even testosterone and free testosterone can be somewhat accurate in blood and okay to look as long as you know when you have taken it and when you’re getting your testing done so you don’t get misled. But the only way to look at the metabolites and see if your hormones are metabolizing safely is through 24-hour urine. So, how it’s tested is crucial. How it is given is also crucial. I use, the majority of what I do is use creams, and we apply them to mucosal tissue. If your doctor has you putting ’em here, on your breasts, or on your belly, then that is a good way to get dermal fatigue where the hormones start getting stuck in fat tissue, and you don’t get the results that you’re looking for. So where you apply them is also super important. How you take them is also important. They’re a symphony. Don’t let someone just give you estrogen. Don’t let someone just give you testosterone. Don’t let someone just give you progesterone. All of your levels, testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, DHEA, pregnenolone, oxytocin, melatonin, aldosterone, thyroid, cortisol, it’s a symphony. And so someone needs to be looking at everything to make sure you are getting the right pieces of the symphony. So, it’s just a little snippet. We’re gonna talk much more about this in the summit, and I’ll be speaking more about it in the nine week class I’m teaching.
So I just want to kind of expand your brains, if you are not on hormones for you to think about, wow, this is gonna be a really important piece of my prolongevity, my healthy aging program. If you are on hormones and you’re not having good results, I want you to think about how are they being monitored, what form are you taking them in, how are you applying them, are you getting the right amount of each one? And if you are not feeling good on your hormones ’cause I see this all the time with patients, they come in, and things that make you go, this happens all the time in my office ’cause patients come in and I just can’t believe the way they’ve been given hormones from people who say they are hormone experts. So I just want you to know there’s always hope, there’s always options. And if you had a not so good experience with hormones, with bioidentical hormones, that’s okay, you can have a new experience. I promise you that the right way of receiving them will be a game changer. I promise. I promise. You can ask my thousands of patients who have had the experience and are like, “Mmh, we love our bioidentical hormones.” So I hope this was helpful in changing the conversation in your brain and giving you some ideas of what you can be asking your doctor who you’re working with if you are not having a good experience, et cetera, et cetera. So, sending you all so much love, and I’ll see you soon, real soon. Enjoy the day.