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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hilliard

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

HRT seems like the perfect segue from my "Power Who Needs It, Who's Got it" post a couple of weeks ago and excellent example of our patriarchal healthcare system where women’s health has historically held little interest for research and study.

It's hard to believe that HRT is still a heated topic when simple measures can be taken to balance our hormones and protect us from high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, and many more health concerns. Doctors have disagreed on how to treat menopause in women for years mostly because of a study done in 1991 called the Woman’s Health Initiative that incorrectly concluded that the risks of hormone therapy outweighed the benefits. This has since been disproven but has remained a topic of controversary and disagreement among the medical community to this day. I’ll let you discuss with your doctor what he or she thinks is best for you but I do have one word of caution. If your doctor suggests that you simply must get through it with no intervention or medical help I strongly recommend you seek out a second and possibly third opinion. Sadly, women’s health and particularly hormone health has taken a back seat in the medical community and research for far too long.

Eighteen years ago, at age 51 I ran into my ex Ob-gyn in an elevator. He had been the doctor who delivered my daughter in 1982. His name is Ron Brown. He asked if I had entered menopause, not a typical elevator conversation but Ronny is not a typical doctor either. Dr. Brown had just written his first book “The Youth Effect” on newer cutting-edge treatments for hormonal imbalance particularly women experiencing menopause and it was, to put lightly quite controversial. I trusted him as he had delivered my child and was intrigued. I found myself in his office a couple of months later fully convinced that menopause was still on my horizon. I had been on oral birth control for years since the birth of my child and thought all was just fine. I was after all still having my period. But by doing a simple blood test and running a hormone panel to check my estrogen, testosterone, progesterone plus a few other things he found that my testosterone level was at zero, which bothered me not in the least. Wasn’t that a male hormone and why should I be concerned? I was about to quickly learn a whole lot more about the balance of hormone levels and homeostasis of the body. He immediately took me off birth control pills plummeting me into my first hot flash and taste of full-on menopause. I was not a fan. Since his methods of treatment were controversial at the time before I decided on a course of action, I began investigating the newest research on menopause visiting two other gynecologists who offered two differing opinions. My own gynecologist at the time was 100% against any sort of treatment and suggested I do nothing but push through the hot flashes and night sweats until I was on the other side. That’s when I became my own health advocate picking up every journal, article, or book I could find on the subject including Ron Brown’s. I received my first bioidentical hormone replacement one month later in the form of subcutaneous pellets placed just below the surface of my skins that slowly released a measured amount of estrogen and testosterone. I was given a prescription of progesterone to be taken orally. That was in 2005.

Almost immediately I felt a renewed energy and libido that had been missing for years. I also experienced a slight mood change, a feeling that my glass was half full instead of half empty. At age 51 I remember feeling more like age 28 physically. It was shocking how a simple balance of hormones gave me a new lease on life.

I still receive subcutaneous HRT pellets every 4 to 6 months. There are other methods of hormone delivery through creams and patches which I have also tried. Actually now and then I will take a break from the pellet protocol and utilize the testosterone creams and estrogen patches. Many doctors feel this is safer with more control of the dosage. But I always go back to my pellets which for me are easy and very effective.

Again I’ll emphasize the importance of discussing your full medical history with your physician to find the correct protocol that works for you.

I had a medical work up done by Dr. Sarah Edwards 5 years ago. Her general conclusion in layman’s terms was that all the factors especially my lifestyle of healthy nutrition and my workout at Hilliard Studio Method played the most important roles in my overall physical health but that without my HRT protocol my numbers would not have been quite as good. My body was and is in the shape of that of an elite athlete.

It's up to all of us to take power and control of our bodies regardless of our age and be our own advocates in all decisions made about our health particularly as women. Know the facts, ask the questions particularly the embarrassing ones and seek a second or third opinion when it feels necessary.

Thanks so much and I hope you'll leave your comments or thoughts below. Women's stories are important and sharing them empower us all!

Be Powerful

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11 de dez. de 2023

It’s so hard to find a doctor when you’re not connected to this area. Which is crazy and should t be the case. Any guidance you have from experience on how to find someone would

be great. Right now I'm at the mercy of a google search

Liz Hilliard
Liz Hilliard
12 de dez. de 2023
Respondendo a

Thank you so much Laura! There are several others in or near our Charlotte community but the two practices I am most familiar with are Dr Elizabeth Moran who comes highly recommended or Carolina Healthspan. Best of luck on your journey to feeling hormonally balanced and healthy and let me know if I can be of any other help!


11 de dez. de 2023
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Love this and so timely!

I am 54 and having major joint and muscle pain.

Several friends have suggested to me to get my levels checked and move forward with HRT. They said it is life changing. I’m calling to schedule something with my OBGYN tomorrow and if I can’t get in with her before the end of the year I will schedule with my GP to get my blood work started.

Thank you for sharing your experience and being so real! I love your stuff Liz and love the love story you share with Lee. Happy Holidays and keep sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Liz Hilliard
Liz Hilliard
12 de dez. de 2023
Respondendo a

Thank you so much for your comment and I'm so glad you're being proactive for your health! Your friends are right, it's life changing!

Also from both Lee and me Happy Holidays!

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