Finding someone who knew a thing or two about female hormones proved to be quite the challenge. As I mentioned in yesterday's post about my road to recovery, the medical doctors I visited all wanted to treat what they saw as the problem of depression. Medications helped a bit, but came with their own set of side affects which were not at all pleasant.
Finding a more natural way to handle the depression meant figuring out the root cause. I still believed the depression was not the problem, but a symptom of a bigger issue. I asked on several occasions to have my hormones tested, but was met with resistance from the medical doctors. I still don't know why, but I believe it was just a lack of knowledge on their part. They are trained to prescribe...and so they do.
The first thing the midwife suggested was saliva testing for hormone levels. The saliva tests cortisol levels (morning, noon and night), estrogen, progesterone and several other minor hormones. Each of these hormones acts in accordance with the other, so if one of them is out of whack, they will all be affected. Sure enough, my cortisol levels ("fight or flight" stress hormone) were off the charts. As a result, the high levels of cortisol had depleted my progesterone levels. Low progesterone levels lead to an excess of estrogen, or "estrogen dominance". One of the main symptoms of both estrogen dominance and high cortisol? DEPRESSION!
The saliva test results are then used by your doctor to prescribe natural hormones specific for your needs. This is key. You can go to Whole Foods or any other health foods store and purchase a progesterone cream (made from wild yams), but it will be generic and not specifically made for your hormone levels. The natural progesterone is mixed in a compounding pharmacy to your doctor's exact specifications for your exact hormonal needs.
NOTE: If you are struggling with depression, feelings of hopelessness or suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. Don't wait! Anti-depressants are useful for helping curb the symptoms of depression, allowing you to regain some control of your life and emotions. I couldn't even begin to search for answers until I dealt with the immediate and overwhelming need right in front of me. Anti-depressants helped me heal enough that I could take control of my own recovery.
Links and helpful resources:
Take the hormone balance test and find out if your symptoms are due to hormone imbalance.
Hormone Balance Made Simple, by Dr. John Lee. Dr. Lee explains the delicate balance of our hormones in language you can understand.
ZRT Laboratories offers the hormone kits for sale. You can take the test in the privacy of your home and then take your results to your healthcare provider.