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Archive for April, 2007

Problems with Prometrium

Friday, April 27th, 2007

In the course of treating migraine headaches, PMS, depression, post-partum depression, uterine fibroids, menopausal symptoms and many other health problems, we use bio-identical or natural hormones as a major part of the program.  Of course, each problem is treated slightly differently with differing natural hormones, schedules, dosages and supplementary items.

Nevertheless, there is a common theme to treating women’s health problems and that theme is hormones - or more precisely, natural hormones.   For a variety of reasons, we prefer oral medications over creams as outlined in the websites migraine-headaches-information.com and www.DitchThePill.org .

One prescription medication keeps coming up in various emails and letters from women who have heard about Prometrium.  Prometrium is a prescription-only medication that is 100mg of unaltered progesterone.  Many women have complained about an endless list of side effects from Prometrium.  Here is why:

The problems with Prometrium are as follows:

  • Dosage - 100mg is a big dose for one pill
  • Schedule - Once daily dosages leads to peaks and valleys of blood levels
  • Bundled with bad pills- Mainstream doctors typical bundle it with other inappropriate prescriptions

 Taking a large dose of Prometrium one time a day is like getting shot with a cannon when all that is needed is a popgun.   The big doses jolt your body with large amounts of progesterone that circulate in the bloodstream for several hours and then it goes down to zero again.  The peaks and valleys of this dosage schedule is too hard for your body to handle.

Also, Prometrium is almost always prescribed by doctors who don’t have any experience with natural hormones.  It is frequently prescribed because of blood tests showing hormone levels to be “low”.  Typically, when labs are involved, multiple low levels are noted and multiple prescriptions are made.

This shotgun effect of prescribing Prometrium with some other prescription hormone (like Premarin or Climara) adds another variable of a second chemical that is bombarding your body.  We generally frown upon supplementing with any estrogen unless there are overt menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.

At the Women’s Health Institute of Texas, we prefer smaller dosages administered more frequently (twice daily is much better) to smooth out the blood levels of whatever natural hormone we are supplementing. 

We also prefer the simplicity theory to advocate just one hormone at at time and change nothing else.  If we do adjust multiple hormones, then we strictly use bio-identical hormones and stay away from synthetic, chemicall altered prescription hormones like Premarin.

The conclusion is that don’t let a bad experience with Prometrium discolor your opinion of natural hormones or of natural progesterone.  Dosages, schedules and competing prescriptions do matter very much in what you feel.

Andrew Jones, M.D.

Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas




Katie Holmes, Post-Partum Depression and Hormones

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

What do Katie Holmes, post-partum depression and hormones have in common?  Answer: All three are fundamentally based on hormones.

Why am I mentioning this in a column based on migraine headaches?  Because migraines are also hormone dependent.  Migraine headaches and post-partum depression and, for that matter, PMS, are all variations on the same theme.

The April 23rd issue of OK magazine featured a story on Katie Holmes, wife of Tom Cruise, and her difficulties of dealing with post-partum depression since the birth of their child, Suri.  The focus of the article was on the Church of Scientology angle whereby she was ostensibly forbidden to access to prescription drugs to treat her post-partum depression.

Although writing about “religious oppression” may sell magazines, the really sad part is that post-partum is extremely easy to treat and cure - usually within days.  Unfortunately, mainstream medicine has completely missed the boat on how to treat it.  Virtually all doctors prescribe anti-depressant medications, which almost always never work.

Anti-depressants rarely are effective for “regular” depression, much less post-partum depression.  If only doctors knew what was the cause of post-partum depression would they know what to do. The reluctance of mainstream medicine to accept natural treatment options continue to slow progress on what is a completely curable problem. 

I will be writing a new book on the subject of post-partum depression within the next two months and hope to have it released in the Fall of 2007.

The abridged version of my new book is that hormones, or more accurately, the lack of hormones, are the culprit behind post-partum depression.  Ditto goes for migraine headaches and for PMS.

The key is to supplement the appropriate deficient hormones and presto! - you have a new woman.  Migraines go away as does post-partum depression.  Keep in mind that both of these entities utilize differing hormones to some degree, but the theme is still the same.

Replace the deficient hormones and migraine headaches and/or post-partum depression go away  completely.  Simple and makes a lot of sense.  Women intuitively know this.

Andrew Jones, M.D.

Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas



Does Botox Help Migraine Headaches?

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Practically everyone by now knows what Botox is.  It is a paralyzing agent derived from a bacteria that produces botulism (botulinum toxin) that renders its victims without the ability to use its muscles.

Botox has been popularized by the aesthetics industry to help rid facial wrinkles.  It is also used in pain managment for painful spastic muscles.

In the last couple of years a number of doctors have been promoting Botox as a tool to help diminish migraines by injecting into facial, neck or scalp muscles to paralyze a muscle tension “trigger” for migraine headaches.

Anecdotal claims of significant relief abounds in the lay press for using Botox in this regard. 

I have no trouble with anyone getting better from any source.  If it helps, great.  The problem with this technique is that it simply addresses one of many potential triggers for migraines.  It does not address the underlying problem involved with migraine headaches.

The concept of “triggers” itself is controversial.  Nevertheless, an entire herbal industry is geared toward attacking various triggers for migraines.  Almost all of these are dubious with minimal degrees of success.

At the Women’s Health Institute of Texas, we prefer to go after the core problem that cause migraine headaches.  That core is an imbalance of hormones, specifically, sex hormones.

Identifying these hormones and replenishing them with bio-identical hormones in the proper balances are the keys to restoring health, and have met with great success in actually eliminating migraines.  Not only do we end up improving migraine headaches, we also end up improving other conditions like PMS and depression.

I am a great fan of Botox.  But your resources would be best served to use it for getting rid of facial wrinkles in aesthetic procedures.

Andrew Jones, M.D.

Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas


Age Affects Synthetic Hormone Risks

Monday, April 9th, 2007

According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the heart risks of traditional, synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may depend on a woman’s age.  The study found that the risks of heart heart attacks, strokes and breast cancers all went up as a woman gets older.

Actually, the authors simply reviewed the data from the infamous Women’s Health Initiative study that was prematurely terminated in 2003 because of the dangersous side effects from the PremPro combination.  The already published side effects of increased heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer was analyzed based on women’s ages.

Not surprisingly, the review found that all categories of risk went up with age.  Duhhh!

That this information made headlines recently should  confound no one.  The scary part is that birth control pills (BCP’s) contain about four times the dose of the same synthetic, chemicaly altered hormones that have been blamed for causing heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer in older women.

What traditional medicine is not telling younger women is that they are being exposed to high dosages of synthetic chemical hormones that is killing their elders.  The only thing that is protecting the younger women on BCP’s is simply their age. 

Youth has its advantages.  But why expose younger women to the same deadly chemicals? 

A medically sound solution to this has been explained in the website: www.DitchThePill.org describing the “Match the Pill” strategy.

The dangers of BCP’s has also been described in my website, Migraine-Headaches-Information.com .   Birth control pills are one of the biggest causes of migraine headaches in women worldwide.


Andrew Jones, M.D.

Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas