Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses

18 Jul

Pardon us, Men’fo’k whist we talk about menopause–although, maybe you will be interested in reading on for your own reasons, huh?

I was lucky to have had a fairly easy segue to menopause, even though I reached it earlier than I thought I would. And while part of my “easy” experience may be genes, it is also because I exercise and eat healthfully.

Still, reaching menopause sent me into a panic. I remember thinking: I can’t have any more children! Well, I wasn’t planning on it anyway *haw!,* but the idea that this life-giving part of me would be forever gone made me feel “Less than a Woman.” It made me think, “Oh My God! I’m old now! I’m officially OLD! Waaaaaaaah!” Well, guess what? Turns out I feel better and am in better shape than I have been in years. I’m writing and my books are being published. I’m speaking before groups. I hike; I took up photography; I kick my ass on the treadmill and mat work; I travel when I want to; I feel sexy and alive and determined; I am empowered!

Ka-Pow! And we have lift-off!

As with any stage in life, there are changes we cannot stop from happening, so we can either embrace our new lives and bodies and move on to the wonderful moments, find a remedy for what may require remedy, OR, we can mope and sob and whine. I quickly disgust and bore myself when I mope and sob and whine, so I embrace (or ignore -teehee) what I can’t or don’t want to change, and I find remedies where needed.

What I simply could not over-look no matter how much I exercised and ate healthfully were brain-fog and a general lack of energy. You know it when you are there, don’t you? As if your head is wrapped in 2ply toilet paper and your legs have weights attached to them—unnnnghhhh, y’all! And as well, I was just on the edge of disinterest in some aspects of my pre-menopause life, and that, my friends, is a place I did not and do not want to go—naw ma’am.

If you feel this way, have you considered you may be low in testosterone? Yes, women naturally have testosterone in our bodies, um hmmm. Yeah, I know, there’s that commercial for men. Well, I don’t want their medicine, for it’s not right for me; I want what is made for my needs as a woman!

What we shouldn’t do!

I didn’t use hormone replacement therapy when I went through menopause, for I like to do things as naturally as I can. But the foggy brain, lack of energy, and “Meh, whatever,” were finally enough to send me scurrying to my gynecologist. After mumbling and forgetting what I was saying and trailing off in the middle of my sentences, my doctor said, “Let’s try testosterone.”

finding balance

She gave me a prescription that I have mixed together at a local pharmacy—you won’t find this at your CVS  or Walgreens, etc, so do your research and find a pharmacy that does compounds—one you trust. I had to find a balance of how much worked for me—you should strive to feel your Best Self.  You want only to replace what has been lost and find that balance.

Of course, as I did, you absolutely must have a conversation with your doctor to find out if it is a viable option for you. What works for one may not work for another. We are wondrous biological machines that require care and respect.Out of curiosity, after taking testosterone replacement for almost two years, I stopped using it. At first I didn’t notice anything as I la tee dah’ed along. But then one day I noticed I felt “off.” The old foggy-head returned and I wasn’t “me.” I began using the compound again and Taaa Daaaa! All back to normal.

C.M. Harris

I’d planned on doing this blog post this week for quite some time now, so it was interesting to pick up my new copy of Oprah Magazine and read an article by author C.M. Harris titled “Not for Men Only,” where she relates how, due to breast cancer, she entered menopause a decade or so earlier than she expected. She writes, “Exhaustion. Excessive sleep. Aching bones. A 20-pound weight gain. Brain fog. Forgetting that sex can be fun.” And while not every woman will experience menopause in the same way, and while some of these “side effects of menopause” may be remedied by diet and exercise, sometimes we do need a little extra help. C.M. Harris did, and so did I.

finding strength

I was heartened to hear of someone else using testosterone and talking about it. I at first found it hard to admit, “I’m taking a male hormone! Wheeeee!” Even I at first wondered, “Will I grow a mustache, bulging muscles, and develop a deep voice?”—and since I already have a deep voice and can tend to be muscular when I work out hard, I was in Yikes mode when contemplating this therapy.

Of course these things have not happened to me. This compound is not like the testosterone you hear that athletes use, or anything near to that. Believe me, I wouldn’t take it if I were going to look and act like some weird altered version of me. Lawdy!

C.M. Harris wrote, “. . . I wonder, now that I’m back to wondering again: If a ‘male’ hormone can make a female feel like a woman, why are so few of us talking about it?”

BINGO! This was one of my favorite parts of the entire article. Testosterone made me feel more like a woman. More like the woman I was before menopause. It gave me back my best life. And, as she writes and I have often wondered, why aren’t we talking about it more?

I think it’s time to open dialogue about just what women are doing to feel better, even if it seems unconventional. And, as

Fierce women feeling strong!

well, to educate and to help each other to feel our best.

What about you? Ever heard of, or tried, testosterone therapy? What do you do to feel The Best You? Do you have anything to share? Tell us your experiences! And it doesn’t have to be only about menopause, y’all!


21 Responses to “Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses”

  1. Glynis Smy July 18, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    I entered menopause aged 35, and a total hysterectomy at 38 took care of any concerns about producing more children. I had HRT therapy but it drained me, so after 5 years, I ventured for natural support. I still follow that regime at the age of 54. I have not used the testosterone therapy, but hear many women say it works for them.

    • katmagendie July 18, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      It works well for me and is the only hormone I take. I tried estrogen cream once but it made me moody – didn’t like it.

      As natural as we can go is the best way!

  2. Jill of All Trades July 18, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    Gosh, I had never heard of that. Apparently, I’m “still” going through the stuff as of last month. Dang. I’m 56 years old and had to go out and buy the lady stuff. What the heck. Oh well. I choose not to do hormones either but so far I’m going through it all very well too. I agree that eating right and exercise has helped me to transition fairly smoothly. The testosterone thing though is a curious idea. I’m not sure I need that as I’ve always felt my testosterone levels were pretty high, chin hairs and mustache for example. Definitely going to talk to my doc in when I see her next.

    • katmagendie July 18, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      It’s worth checking in to if you are having symptoms as described! And the compound I use, 2%, is very very mild. A little dab’ble do ya *laugh*

  3. karenselliott July 18, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I tried a few things after the big M. I didn’t find any satisfaction from any of them. Hot flashes are the worst, though over the years, they have faded. Now, I just sweat when I’m meant to. I already have a bit of mustache (enter tweezers). And at 54, I have better biceps than most, but that’s from exercise. Yeah, push-ups!

    • katmagendie July 18, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      Yes, I like muscles! I don’t know for sure if the 2% cream I take would help with muscle mass over the long-term –just keeping my natural muscle that is, since we tend to lose muscle mass as we age – but I do resistance training to keep my bones and muscles young! :-D

  4. CM Harris (@flammablewords) July 18, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Great post, Kathryn! Glad to see people talking about it. I feel like a whole lot more could be written on the subject. The fact is Testosterone and Estrogen are HUMAN hormones. Both genders manufacture them to different degrees.

    • katmagendie July 18, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      I would love to do more research on this. I think more could and should be written – needs to be discussed.

      Not just about testosterone, but hormones and our bodies in general. We aren’t the women our mothers and grandmothers were – that’s a point I didn’t remember to make! So, relying on “the old ways” and “old thoughts” about menopause may not be right for us now.

  5. ddfalvo July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    You address a very important point with this post– hormone replacement is NOT one size fits all. My own OBGYN wanted to prescribe Premarin (I balked b/c I’m not into killing foals) but it turns out that an estrogen pill in the same-dose-for-everybody would have been very wrong for me. I don’t even need estrogen. The reason my hormones crashed is because I have a chronic immune disease the doctors failed to diagnose, all because it hit, full force, in my mid 40’s. Nice coincidence, huh? Hormones, I discovered, only masked my true source of trouble further. I would like to offer two pieces of advice to go along with your column– first, make sure your symptoms are truly from menopause, and second, definitely consider BIHRT (Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy) in a topical cream. The hormone cream absorbed through your skin bypasses the major organs which is what causes the cancer risks with regular HRT. And yes! With BIHRT you can tweak the correct doses of whatever is needed for estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Thanks for creating a great post to further educate and help women. :)

    • katmagendie July 18, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      I have heard about BIHRT and have wondered about it, but never remember to discuss it with my GYN. Perhaps because I’ve been feeling so good with what I am doing – but, could I feel better? That’s something I’m not sure until I actually am on the “other side!”

      I am sorry you were misdiagnosed – I have had that happen and it is frustrating.

  6. Jessica Nelson July 18, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Wow, very interesting! My mom is in pre-menopause right now and is trying some root that she likes a lot to help with symptoms. I’ll be keeping all this in mind anyway since I think my hormones have been on a riot for five years. lol

    • katmagendie July 18, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      I tried some kind of root – was it blackroot? I can’t remember but it made me have horrendous dreams and other side-effects – so even those “natural” treatments can sometimes be “non-fits” for us! What a balancing act this is. We must learn to “read” out bodies better and I suppose a little experimentation is in order.

      Definitely more information is needed for women if we can pull the pharm people off viagra and cialis and the like for a while – haw! I mean, what good does it do the guy to take all that if the woman needs something to perk up her energy/libido . . . Hello? Pharm researchers? Heelooooo?


  7. roughwighting1 July 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Great post – enlightening, informative, and humorous all at the same time. Thank you! It wasn’t that many years ago that women never mentioned the “M” word. So glad we all talk about it now.

    • katmagendie July 19, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      I remember when I was a kid how people whispered about it, as if it was a horrible disease that no one wanted, but women were sure to have – and once they had it, their life was OVER! . . . lawd! not any more! :-D

  8. Amberr Meadows July 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    I hope this really helps a lot of women suffering through menopause. You always have great advice on all kinds of stuff!

    • katmagendie July 19, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      *smiling* Thank you, Amberr! :-D

  9. Marina July 20, 2012 at 3:34 am #

    Hi Kat! I loved this, thanks! I went thru menopause a while back, can’t even remember when… Thought I would feel old and sad, BUT the “NO MORE PMS” was worth it! Not sure if I’m more tired… I lost weight recently (yaa me! From low fat diet and a little exercise that turned to more exercise with a few more fats thrown in..) and now the smaller me has much more energy, especially when I keep up my walking. And chocolate sometimes ;) When I feel tired I nap, a great hobby! I wanted to tell you I left a review on Goodreads for you. I know I have done some, but was in a mood to do more! I know you have so many good ones already… Hugs and happy Friday!

    • katmagendie July 20, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      Good for you for treating your body well, Marina! Yay! And I love a good nap :-D

      Thank you for the Goodreads love *smiling*

  10. silver price July 21, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I had my cervix and uterus removed in 82….they left my ovaries cuz they were fine….laughin……..of course that meant I get to go through menopause now. I will not do hormone replacement therapy….menopause is not a disease! Black Cohosh did nothing for me…..neither did evening primrose oil, soy products, acupuncture or any of the chinese tonics/herbs. You might give an herb called Royal Maca a try…follow the directions on the bottle. It totally stopped my hot flashes and night sweats and seems to have a positive effect on my sex drive…..I started out on 2 capsules a day and ended up needing 4 capsules a day to totally stop them. It took about 2-3 weeks for them to stop. Make sure you get plenty of calcium, Vit D, and magnesium in your diet….that would be leafy green vegetables…I am not a fan of supplements….I prefer to get all my vitamins and minerals by eating food…..I try to eat organic as much as possible….fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat. It will take about 6 months for you to finally get totally back to normal concerning the cramps, tired feelings, sex drive, etc.

    • katmagendie July 22, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      I’m glad Royal Maca worked for you!

      I too eat as much as I can from food and when I can I eat organic, as well. It’s readily available here in our stores and farmers’ markets!

  11. silver account August 5, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    The “testosterone rush” which gives insensitive males gut-feelings for tough-love and real-gusto is equivalent to “estrogen pumping” through the veins of hypersensitive women, whose intuitive feelings blend tender-heartedness with maddened moxie. Men’s most powerful appeal is their stolid gravity and staunch dependability; while women’s secret weapons, often augmented by scientific miracles and merciless indoctrination, are amazing anti-gravity and alluring dependency.

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