The One Thing That Is Holding Me Back

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If you haven’t read My Last Chapter and you’re curious about how I got here, have a read before you continue. This topic is highly personal. I know that you will be gentle with my story and with others that choose to share their experiences in the comments. I hope that in sharing my experiences, the women in our community are encouraged to seek help, embrace healing and create beautiful lives for themselves.

It’s been 30 days since I began hormone replacement therapy. And, as much as I want to focus on getting my period back, there’s something at the base of it all that I think needs to be addressed first.

With hypothalamic amenorrhea (missing periods due to intense weight loss, exercising or a history of an eating disorder) comes low estrogen, with low estrogen comes poor bone formation.

The way I see it?

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If you are not having your period, and low estrogen is suspected to be the culprit, supporting your bones should be your number 1 concern.

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Whether your period has been missing for a couple of months, or a couple of years, a low estrogen state will impact the health of your bones. Estradiol, the primary estrogen in humans, helps to maintain bone density by stopping the activation of an enzyme known as caspase-3. Caspase-3 is the central player in initiating cells that aid in the growth and development of new bone and teeth. See: Science Daily

Basically? No estrogen, no new born formation. No new bone formation, weakened bones.

The first place women generally start to see the breakdown of bones is in the spine, hips and ribs. And, I don’t know about you, but breaking a hip while going down a flight of stairs isn’t on my list of things to do in this lifetime.

It’s been 5+ years since I’ve had this natural hormone coursing through my body. And, while the hormone replacement program that I’m on now is working to get my estradiol levels back to a safe level, those 5 years sans bone formation need to be addressed.

After doing a bit of research, I’ve come up with the holistic bone formation plan below. Many of the treatments I’ll be practicing are used for menopausal women battling with osteoporosis. Seeing as low estrogen, decreased bone formation, and porous bones is seen in menopausal women, it just made sense to take this route.

Here we go!

Supplementation

I wanted to find an all-natural, allergen-free, clean capsule-based supplement that would help build bone. One that would deliver at least 1000 mg of calcium per day, 500 IU of vitamin D, 400 mg of magnesium, as well as small doses of vitamin K, boron and silicon (which help the uptake of calcium in the body)

Here are my options:

  • AOR Vegan Ortho-Bone
  • AOR Bone Basics. What I like about this one over the vegan ortho-bone, is that it has glucosamine HCl which helps with the breakdown of various supplements while also supporting bone health. Also, the phosphorus and calcium (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite) are from the extract of bovine bone derived from Australian pasture-fed, free-range livestock.
  • Enzymatic Therapy OsteoPrime. What I liked about this, is that the supplement is organic, contains chelated nutrients (for better delivery) and has 5 different forms of calcium.

In the end, I chose to go with AOR Bone Basics because of the form of calcium that it delivered. See: Natural News

Another thing I may look into further down the road, is doing a herbal mixture calcium-rich herbs: nettle, parsley, dandelion leaves, kelp and horesetail. Also, a herbal mixture of estrogen-promoting herbs like calendula, ginseng, false unicorn root, sage and hops may work nicely, too.

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Dietary Changes

There are 3 dietary areas that I’m going to focus on:

  • Alkaline diet. An acid diet leaches minerals from the body. So, I’ll be reaching for foods that promote an alkaline state. Like root veggies, greens and lemon. See: Alkaline Sisters
  • Avoiding hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid). Low stomach acid decreases the bodies ability to breakdown foods and assimilate all dietary nutrients. I’ll begin every morning with a tall glass of water, following (20 minutes after) of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. This will stimulate my digestive juices!
  • Double up on the greens. Greens have vitamin K1 which converts osetocalcin into it’s active form. I’ll be eating greens at every meal. Kale, spinach and broccoli specifically.

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Activity

Weight bearing activities are a must for building healthy bones. The less inactivity, the better. But it doesn’t have to be all-out intense.

For mobility and muscle gain, Kevin and I are doing CrossFit at CrossFit 403, 3 times per week.

Lifting weights or doing calisthenics, are forms of resistance training. Whether it’s a set of weights, your own body weight, or weight machines, these types of workouts add stress to a sequence of muscles and bones, making your bones stronger as a result.

For a less intense exercise using body weight only, I’ve started practicing Moksha Yoga again (yay!). This time, at Calgary North Moksha Yoga.

A study reported in Yoga Journal found an increase in bone mineral density in the spines of women who did yoga regularly. Standing poses like Warrior I and II work the large bones of the hips and legs, while poses like Downward Dog work the wrists, arms, and shoulders. Both the Cobra and Locust poses, which work the back muscles, may preserve the health of the spine. And, all the balancing practice in class, help prevent random falls out in the real world. See: Yoga Journal

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Once I have a good handle on my bones, I’ll be looking at supporting the healing of my hypothalamic amenorrhea through nutrition. Then, I am hoping to switch to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy… but one step at a time.

I’d love to hear from you – do you have amenorrhea? Has your healthcare provider told you how important it is to focus on your bone health? Or, do you have issues with bone health?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. I am in a similar situation. I always had fairly normal periods until I was 39 and went on the Medifast diet. I lost 50 lbs. in 5 months and dropped 3 sizes. My period stopped while I was on the diet and returned for 2 months and then stopped again. Like you, I messed with all kinds of hormone replacement. i tried the patch with progesterone pills (had very low levels of both estrogen and progesterone), birth control pills and eventually bio identical hormones. The patch/progesterone combination caused me to gain 20 lbs. in 2 months and have 1 period. That was early in 2011. I stopped that and went without any hormones for 18 months. Tried birth control pills but no period came. Switched to bio identical hormones which was a disaster. He prescribed way too much estrogen vs. progesterone and I was basically in estrogen overdose (nausea, cramps, depression, etc.). My thyroid has caved in due to the hormone imbalance. The bio identical hormones helped me pack on 30 unwanted pounds. As a result, last October I had my first period on my own (stopped all HRT in March of 2014) in 4 1/2 years. Had 2 periods in a row and then it stopped because I went back on the Medifast diet to lose the weight. I have lost the weight but am once again without a period. I’m 45 so not quite too worried as menopause is probably less than 10 years away. I had a bone density test a few years ago and it was great. I’m a strong exerciser and have started more of a keto diet about a month ago. It seems to be working well as far as maintaining my weight. I feel pretty good overall, so I’m sticking with this one day at a time.

  2. Hi Leanne,
    What have your results been with taking the bio identical hormones?
    I’ve been on them now for 3 months and my hormones are starting to level out. My next concern is coming off them. Any advice I would greatly appreciate and thank you for sharing your humble story.
    Renae x

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