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Re: Barb, Re: Naturopath visit results, please read McPac

Posted by BarbaraCat on August 24, 2003, at 23:55:52

In reply to Barb, Re: Naturopath visit results, please read, posted by McPac on August 24, 2003, at 22:50:07

> >>>>>>>>>>>>> Barb, would these tests be the standard hormone tests to have done, male or female? Are there add'l tests you'll have done? Is it really expensive?

***Hi Mr. Mac,
They were saliva tests done by a company called ZRT Labs in Portland, OR. Check out their website:

http://www.salivatest.com/

Saliva tests get bad raps because they're considered inaccurate, but I had blood serum and urine tests done as well and the levels matched. I did this to ease my mind that I was going to be getting accurate test data once I fired my HMO 'health care team' - hah! Saliva tests are used primarily by naturopaths and holistically oriented physicians. When I asked at my HMO if I could get them done, they either didn't know anything about them or blabbed the party line 'we don't have enough scientific data on them' crap. I had to insist I get specific and individual blood and urine tests done to measure the hormones I knew I needed to be looking at. The tests were relatively expensive and not 'formulary' but my HMO did pick up the tab because I literally stamped my foot. So once I had those 'medically acceptable' test values in hand, I went to my naturopath who ordered saliva tests, which are easy to use, less expense, and much more sensitive. We'll be using the saliva tests to monitor my treatment, but if there's a test better served by blood serum testing, we'll go that route. In other words, whatever works the best. I am currently paying for all this out of pocket, but some health insurance companies cover alternative care. But you have to be careful to find the right practitioner. Just because they're 'alternative' doesn't mean they're good!

Saliva tests ran around $150 for measuring reproductive hormones, DHEA, cortisol.

There's a very thorough thyroid test that measures way beyond the standard TSH test. It measures ratios of T3 to T4, reverse T3, free and bound T3 - basically, a more accurate picture of how the cells are really uptaking thyroxine. That one is around $140, but I didn't have it done because my TSH values were so obviously high that my hypothyroidism is a given.

I also did a blood spot test to measure IG-1, or human growth hormone. That one was $75.

My naturopath visits cost about $150 each and I spend 60 minutes with her each time. She would not sell any vitamin supplements to me saying that my body would not use them very well at this time. This is not the usual case with many naturopaths who have walls of exotic pills they're all too happy to sell you. The woman I'm seeing is a rare jewell and I had to kiss alot of frogs before finding her.

My medicines to correct my hormonal imbalances were compounded into a topical cream by a compounding pharmacy. It contains progesterone, estradiol and estriol (the two estrogens women need), DHEA, and testosterone. The amounts of each hormone are individually tailored to me based on values from my saliva tests. I rub a small amount on my skin every morning. A month's supply of this cream is $30. Already I'm feeling a difference in energy and motivation (probably the testosterone of which I tested at near zero). In fact, it's probably fueling my 'I'm pissed as hell and not gonna take it any more!' attitude.

I'm also taking a more exotic treatment, Human Growth Hormone, because my very low levels were a red flag indicating that this imbalance could be throwing off everything down line. HGH is a pituitary derived hormone and if the pituitary is off, which is the case in many chronically stressed folks, then this may be the upline source of all the the cascading imbalances downline - the infamous HPA-axis disregulation. I take a very small amount as a shot in the butt 6 days a week. This will cost about $140 a month, which is a major bargoon considering most sources you'll find on the internet quote around $400 a month. The place I'm getting it (prescription from my naturopath) is Women's International Pharmacy, a very reputable mail order compounding pharmacy. If you're interested in pursuing this path, you might contact them and ask for recommendations health professionals in your area who use their services. They serve both men and women. There's some interesting reading material on their site. Check it out at:

http://www.womensinternational.com/about.html

Later, BarbCat


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