Standard of Care
I’ve not been around for a bit because I needed to take my own advice to trust my body’s innate wisdom to tell me when something is wrong. I had been having strange symptoms that rather felt like a light depression, inability to focus, sleeplessness and some irritability. Before menopause, may women may have symptoms that border on PMS or PMDD. These are real issues. Being post-menopause, there wasn’t anything especially wrong or a sudden crisis that brought these feeling on me. So I went through the possible causes and felt that I needed a check on my hormones. To be completely transparent, I decided years ago when I started into menopause, after lots of research, that I would take bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
My first gynecologist disagreed with my view on bioidentical HRT since it was not the standard of care she was used to providing. That made my decision to find another doctor fairly easy. But now, being around the time for that annual women’s check up, I checked with the new GYN who felt that since the “numbers” on the blood test were in the “normal” range that adjusting the level of the prescription wasn’t necessary. I’d probably need to see a mental health therapist or psychologist. I knew I wasn’t really depressed, but I was having hormonal symptoms. Needless to say, I went on my way without making an appointment with a mental health professional.
I am Not Sum of My Symptoms
I returned to my integrative doctor, who uses functional medicine methods of treating the whole person and not prescribing a drug just to mask a symptom. Just because he is not a “specialist” in women’s health doesn’t mean that he cannot diagnose from the symptoms. Armed with the same information on the blood tests and taking the time to interview me to get details about my symptoms, he determined that it was hormonal and adjusted the dosage of my prescription. Because I am sensitive to medications, I slowly increased my dosage until I reached the point where I felt better and maintained that for a while to see if the symptoms returned. I feel better and more like my “normal self.”
Many women do not challenge their physicians when they express their medical opinions. Although a test appears normal, as a woman, I feel I know my body better than the doctor. I am willing to stand up for myself. If I had not, I most likely would have wound up on a prescription for an antidepressant that would have been totally unnecessary.
So I took my own advice and trusted that my body will let me know when things are out of balance. I also know that I need someone who is willing to evaluate me as a person, not as a sum of my symptoms and then try to solve whatever issue it is by prescribing a drug. Yes, I am taking prescription hormones but they are bioidential (natural) and not synthesized chemicals.
Would I recommend this to anyone else? What I recommend is having that conversation with a functional doctor who will see you as a whole person and help YOU decide what is best for you. The point I want to make is that we are the guardians of the only body we’re going to have. Don’t turn over your rights to someone else to make that decision for you. Get informed, weigh options, get second – and third – opinions. Don’t just let things happen to you. Be you’re own medical advocate for the health care you deserve.
Would you challenge a doctor’s medical “authority?” Post your response below and let me know what you think.