The Importance of Commitment and Patience with BHRT

I recently received an email from a relatively new client whose hot flashes are now gone and who is experiencing brain clarity once again, as in no more brain fog (two symptoms of a hormone imbalance) which she says are “HUGE!”  But because she is having some energy issues and her libido is still nonexistent, she is considering stopping therapy. My initial response to myself was “really? Why would she do that when her body is responding to treatment and she is doing better?” Then I recognized that this is where the education of natural hormone replacement therapy comes into play, along with realistic expectations, commitment and patience.  Read my response to her below:

Hi Darlene,

Let me share some information with you on natural hormone therapy and its goal, so you can make the most informed decision for your body. What BHRT (bio identical hormone replacement therapy) is about is REPLACING depleted hormone levels that deplete with age. This depletion of our hormone levels is the cause of disease. So when we can measure your existing hormone levels with valid testing (saliva and blood spot) and then replace in your body what it no longer makes for itself, then we can focus on WELLNESS.  This sort of goes against current standard of care, which is about band aiding symptoms; while WE are about finding the cause of disease and treating that.  I’m not sure about you, but by the time we already have a disease, it’s kind of late to try to prevent it, isn’t it?
I’m not sure what your expectations were when you came to us, but to have no more hot flashes and clarity of thinking is a big deal.  It does take time to replace low/depleted hormone levels, that begin to deplete around age 35. The lower they are when you begin therapy, the longer it takes. I urge you to also be sure you are taking your adrenal vitamins daily, since massaging and healing tired adrenal glands is key in improving libido. This process takes about 8 months. But I always ask the question, “How long has your libido been missing?”  The answer is typically longer than 8 months. So your expectations for natural hormone therapy need to be realistic. Finally, achieving hormone balance and taking your supplements we gave you a strategy for is critical in positively impacting your energy level as well. The valuable piece in all of this is that WE provide you with a strategy. But you are the one who needs the commitment and patience for our program to work.
The bottom line for me for you is, where else can you go to achieve your best health naturally/ where your body’s biofeedback drives therapy and determines the best course of action? I contend that if our healthcare practitioners had a viable strategy for us that worked to prevent disease, while at the same time, eradicating our symptoms of a hormone imbalance AND focused on wellness, we would go to them. But health care in our country is focused on drugging for the masses to band aid symptoms. Personally, I believe we deserve better. But it is up to each of us to make that decision for ourselves.

Do You Have What It Takes??

Do you have what it takes to:

-think for yourself

-to question current standard of care

-feel better by choosing a more natural path that your dr may not be familiar with

-remember “Condemnation Without Investigation is the Height of Arrogance”

-understand the role of your doctor is to reduce symptoms of your health issue….not necessarily find the cause

-to say “NO!” when your doctor offers you an antidepressant or sleeping aid for a hormone imbalance issue (sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, no joy of life, fatigue, low libido, weight gain)

-to say “NO!” when your dr suggests writing you an rx for an estrogen product (spray, gel, patch) and hormone levels have NOT been checked

-understand the difference between saliva testing and blood serum testing to check hormone levels

-get the information (HHC) on natural hormone balance -understand the significance of hormones in your body.

-understand hormones deplete with age, so to remain healthy, we need to replace them naturally (bioidentical hormone replacement)

-be assertive with your doctor when you need to be

-disagree with him when you need to

-stand up for yourself -take charge of your journey

-be willing to do what it takes to feel better in spite of common misconceptions

-decide to try something different (more natural) when what you are doing with your doctor isn’t working and you aren’t feeling better (if women were better, they wouldn’t be coming to see me)

-recognize ego when you see it and proceed on a different path anyway

-realize that there are a lot of myths & untruths out there, (guess where they come from??) but not let those deter you from discovering the truth

-realize your doctor is bombarded constantly with myths about bhrt. The truth is out there (see HHC website)

-know that what we do has been done in Europe for 30 years

-know there ARE studies, a lot of studies, on bhrt (see HHC website)

-realize that if you DON’T take charge of your journey to anti-aging and disease prevention, you are setting yourself up for failure.

-understand that by the time you have a disease, it is too late! Health is something you need to be proactive with.

-understand it is up to you to direct actions for your own health: eat smart, work out, reduce stress, take the right supplements, have a strategy for maintaining your health, replenish depleted hormone receptors

-understand the role of insurance. It was never meant to direct our choices for health care

-do you have what it takes to DO what it takes be proactive with your health so you can remain healthy?



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What’s a few HOT FLASHES among friends???

Let’s talk hot flashes! Hot flashes have been the butt of many a joke for ages! Most women OF A CERTAIN AGE get them and they are synonymous with menopause—the other word that causes snickers among the masses in our culture. But for aging women, they are no laughing matter!  So what are they and what can we do about them?? (beside stab our husbands and coworkers in the neck when we feel one coming on…..)
Hot flashes can signify a hormone imbalance between estradial and progesterone. We begin to lose our progesterone around age 35 when our ovaries begin to age. Progesterone is responsible for uninterrupted sleep, keeping depression and anxiety away, elevating our mood, preventing sugar cravings, as well as aches and pains and, most importantly-balancing estrogen levels to help prevent breast cancer.  When our estrogen levels also begin to deplete, but at a SLOWER rate than our progesterone, women become estrogen dominant. This means we have way more estrogen than progesterone. This hormone imbalance can result in hot flashes. But take these hot flashes seriously. Not only are they annoying and plenty uncomfortable, they also inform us that our hormones are no longer balanced, and that we DO have an excess of estrogen in our bodies. So what does this mean? Well, did you know that estrogen is a FAT STORER? Show me a menopausal woman who doesn’t have the extra 25-30 pounds around their middle and I’d like to meet her! Estrogen dominance puts weight ON because estrogen is a fat storer. Estrogen dominance can also cause brain fog. But most importantly, unopposed estrogen can increase the risk of breast cancer. So if women become estrogen dominant as they age, and these hot flashes become a way of life because of this dominance, what do we do?
Traditionally, women with hot flash issues go to their traditional-thinking doctors for help and guess what these well-meaning doctors do?? They do NOT check hormones (in God’s name….WHY NOT??)!! They, instead, prescribe an estrogen patch or even worse, oral estrogen! But wait! Didn’t I just say that women have hot flashes because they already have too much estrogen?? That’s right! So WHY do doctors slap more estrogen on us?? Because that is all they know how to do for hot flashes! I must say this is a step up from the horse pee we used to get prescribed to us (and many times, still do today!) But it is not good enough! Our first line of defense for hot flashes is progesterone! Why don’t doctors prescribe it? It can’t be patented, so drug companies can’t make money on it. So drug reps aren’t  pushing it. Guess what they ARE selling? Yep-the estrogen patches and oral estrogens! (By the way, literature suggests there is a strong link between oral estrogen and the increased risk of blood clots.) Nice, huh?
We also recommend a little estrogen topical cream to replenish depleted levels as we age (they just don’t deplete at the same rate as progesterone) and this restoration of our hormone balance is what eliminates our hot flashes!
So when I see a woman fanning herself as she is having a hot flash, I see a woman who is storing 25-30 lbs of excess fat, probably has brain fog, has an increased risk of breast cancer and because she is low in progesterone, she is probably also NOT sleeping, so she is exhausted. Do you know what fatigue indicates? Lack of libido! Tired women do NOT WANT SEX!
Do you see why I want to educate women and empower them to learn a different, healthier way to attack their hot flashes?? It is NOT the estrogen patch! It is replenishing their depleted hormone levels with bioidentical hormones that are compounded specifically for them (yes, they are a prescription from a doctor) and dosed physiologically. This isn’t rocket science! This just makes sense! Visit my website at to learn more.


I just flew home from my Happy Hormone Power Hour in St. Augustine, Florida and had a wonderful time. I was very interested to hear each of the participant’s response when I asked them, “What is your interpretation of what HRT is?”  Every woman there, without exception, replied, “Oh, HRT is that bad stuff that causes health risks like cancer.”  I wasn’t surprised, but continue to realize that MY biggest contribution in this area is EDUCATION!  If you listen to nothing else, please hear this: the “bad stuff” that has the serious health risks like breast cancer associated with it: premarin (horse pee), provera (progestin-synthetic progesterone) and prempro (premarin + provera)….these are DRUG SUBSTITUTIONS. These are drugs MASKING as hormones. I call these drugs DST (drug substitution therapy). HRT is Hormone Replacement Therapy which is what we do in our compounding lab at our Piqua Medicine Shoppe. We compound hormones that are bioidentical to the hormones found in your body. So we check your hormone levels first to see which ones are depleted,  and then we customize these hormones for your body! This is HRT-hormone replacement therapy. Actually, it is BHRT-Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. You can rest assured that when you hear someone on tv talking about HRT, they most likely mean the “crappy stuff” (premarin, provera, prempro) that are actually drugs. The reason I am ALL about educating women (and men) on this concept is that this mislabeling has given hormone replacement therapy a bad name. It is just important to understand the difference. It is the drugs masking as hormones, the DST (drug substitution therapy) that is the on-going controversy. I hope this knowledge aids YOU in your understanding.

Angry at Katie Couric

There was a TV Nightline report with Katie Couric Tuesday night that finally proved that all the synthetic crap-oh, I mean drugs manufactured by drug companies that mimic hormones: Premarin (horse pee), Prempro (Premarin + Provera), Provera (synthetic Progestin) really do increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. The “Women’s Health Initiative” of 2002 already proved this. Unfortunately she used the term Hormone Replacement and summed it all up by saying “All Hormone Replacement is Bad.”. I got some angry emails and a phone call yesterday from some of my clients (angry at Katie Couric) because she:
-used that terminology
-didn’t mention customized BHRT or even BHRT
The problem is one of semantics. Those drugs are hormone substitutions-not hormones. The uninformed woman will be confused. She may think what WE do at HHC is also bad. This is why education is so important. MY clients know the difference. Why don’t intelligent people like Katie Couric?

At the end of Katie Couric’s special news report, she ended with the message that “it looks like women will just have to suffer through the symptoms of menopause!” This ignores a couple of important points:
1) Symptoms of menopause are actually signs of a hormone imbalance and are NOT just a menopause issue. We have clients from 19-89
2) The real reason to use customized BHRT actually is to prevent disease. When one’s body is depleted of hormones, it is ripe for disease. Disease occurs before symptoms appear. Replacing depleted hormone levels with customized BHRT can help prevent breast cancer, dementia, osteoporosis and heart disease. Why wouldn’t a woman pursue the truth?

The truth is that BHRT bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is NOT cancer-causing. BHRT is made by drug companies in one-size-fits-most dosing. Doctors who prescribe this often DON’T check hormone levels before prescribing and many only prescribe the estrogen BHRT-most often the estrogen patch. They don’t also prescribe Prometrium ( progesterone). My issue with these mass-produced BHRT products is that because the drug companies use blood serum data, where the hormone levels are already depleted by the heart, they make their estrogen products way too strong. They put way too much estrogen in their patches, gels and sprays. Unopposed estrogen in any form can increase the risk of breast cancer.
What WE do at the Happy Hormone Cottage is CHECK HORMONE LEVELS FIRST (using accurate saliva samples from your body that test hormones at the tissue level of cells) and then we write recommendations for EACH woman’s hormone balance based on HER levels. We also always recommend progesterone. Every woman I work with has estrogen dominance issues already, so why would I give her just more estrogen without checking her levels, while totally ignoring her progesterone?? It boggles the mind! Oh, let me guess……this isn’t taught in medical school!! This is why education for EVERY woman is critical. Go to to read more. Become empowered for YOUR journey!

What A Great First Year!!!

Congratulations to the Happy Hormone Cottage as we celebrate our one year anniversary! I can’t believe how much has happened in just one year! In June, we opened our second satellite office in Rahn Fountain Place at 5450 Far Hills Avenue for follow-up consultations.  This was right after we began working out of Sycamore Hospital on Thursdays with one of our practitioners, Dr. Rosalind Jackson, OB/GYN. We do both initial consultations, as well as follow-up consultations there. On Wednesdays we work with an area doctor in Kettering. I work at Dr. Chris Diatte’s office, Beckett Ridge Family Practice, one day a week handing out therapy to his clients who have come on board with customized hormone replacement therapy. Finally, this coming October 1, we are opening another satellite office at Rahn Fountain Plaza for initial consultations. We will continue to work out of our cute little cottage in the heart of Centerville, but we just need more room! With the volume of women and men we are servicing, and all the files, supplements and employees….all nestled together cozily in the space the size of a walk-in closet (!), we are excited about our upcoming expansion! Although I will miss not snuggling quite so much with our employees and clients.  🙂

This past year, I have presented a Happy Hormone Hour a month, where I go around to different groups of women (and a few poor men!!) and educate them on what we do, and give them the skinny on customized hormone therapy. I really enjoy speaking, educating and engaging my audiences. I usually bring food and materials to hand out, and answer a lot of questions! I am always honored and excited to speak to these groups. Anytime I can save women from being put on drug therapy for a hormone imbalance, I am happy to do it! This past year I have spoken at doctors’ offices, people’s
homes, church basements, law firms, Curves, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and a golf event among others. In October, I will travel to St. Augustine, Florida to present a Happy Hormone Power Hour to the Fountain of Youth Spa and Laser Center.  I am waiting for an invitation to come from Hawaii! (kidding) I also enjoy our monthly Happy Hormone Coffee Hours where I get to dialogue with women on hormone imbalances and natural treatment strategies.

I have been honored to have been asked to speak at the ZRT lab national convention last October in Orlando. I have been invited back next July 2011 to speak at their national convention in Portland, Oregon.  I think their interest lies in how we have managed to so successfully bring the education and research on natural hormone balance to so many people. Honestly, I believe what we do is critical. We take the knowledge of respected doctors, scientists and educators and make it useful and applicable to the people. But it is more than that. Truly it is all about our passion. We are ALL about middle-years men and women. We have their back! We are the place that listens, respects and validates. We educate and empower. More importantly, we don’t believe that drug therapy is the answer to a hormone imbalance. We know that checking hormone levels with saliva testing (through ZRT labs) and then crafting a treatment strategy just for that individual with natural compounded hormone therapy is critical.

We have developed a successful 3-step program:
Step #1  Initial Consultation at the cottage or a satellite office (Get Tested)
Step #2  Meet with Lyn, Director of the cottage, to hand off the customized therapy (Get Treated)
Step #3  Meet with Pharmacist, Jeff Hogrefe, RPh at your 3-month mark to evaluate how you are doing, and tweak the therapy as needed. Jeff meets with patients at our satellite office at 5450 Far Hills Ave., Suite 208 in Kettering by appointment only! Call the cottage at 513-444-6343 to schedule. (Get Better)

We partner with Holten Wellness Center to help women and men lose weight and get in shape. We partner with Robin Gentry, holistic health counselor, who has programs customized to individuals on eating better, losing weight and becoming healthy. We partner with area practitioners to get the best people working with us on our team. And guess what? It doesn’t stop there. At the cottage we are also all about relationships, so we follow-up with our clients every month with a phone call or an email. We are accessible Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. (Thursdays until 7:00 p.m.) There is no way our clients can’t get better. All we ask is a positive attitude, realistic expectations, commitment to the program, and communication.  Our passion is helping people live their best life naturally!


Seniors Get It

I had a fun experience at a recent Happy Hormone Hour at the Beavercreek Senior Center! I met with close to 50 women (and 2 poor men!!) between the ages of 55-90 and just had the best time. Several of them came into the room yelling, “Is this the hormone room??!!” or, “Do you think I will look just like you when you’re finished??!!” or, “Bring those hormones on!!”  (no pressure!  LOL!!) I really enjoyed speaking with the women and answering their questions. I think it finally hit home how far we are from the way we used to do things back in a simpler time, when one of the guests asked me about compounding “back in the day.” It is true. Compounding was how we used to make medicine customized for each patient and dosed for that individual. Do you know what happened in the mid 1900s to change the face of that? The inception of drug companies! After that, dosing medication for the masses became the way to go! I don’t think that’s a good thing! Why would I want to take the exact same therapy and dosing as every other woman? Aren’t we all different and unique? Especially in the area of women’s health with sex hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid. I want my OWN therapy made just for MY body that will meet MY body’s needs. Anything less than that just doesn’t make sense! I also drove home the point that it is no longer okay to visit your practitioner and just accept every word as law. Since when have we given up any opinions about our own bodies? When did we lose our voice? When did we stop being heard?? It is way past time to take our power back and become educated and empowered to take charge of our own journey. I think doctors appreciate intelligent conversation and respect our choice to stand up for our own bodies. You have permission to dialogue with your doctor about YOUR care. I did a recent blog about current standard of care and how it isn’t always the best option. In fact, just the opposite. I talk with women ALL day EVERY day and never cease to be amazed at how many of them just blindly accept their doctor’s word as law and don’t explore holistic options. You have no idea how many 20 year olds I meet on a daily basis who have had a hysterectomy! In their 20s! And when I hear the reason why…..because it is the “standard of care,” I just cringe! Come on, people! We are beyond this now. We are BETTER than that! Visit our Resources/Reading” page to become educated. If you haven’t read Natural Hormone Balance by Uzzi Reiss or Ageless by Suzanne Somers or Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson….it is time to start! Keep me posted on your journey. I have your back!

If you would like more information or want to take your power back (!), come join me for my next Happy Hormone Hour on September 15, at 6:30 our newly remodeled Piqua Medicine Shoppe. PMS presents a Happy Hormone Hour! Kind of has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? See you there!



The Happy Hormone Cottage and the Three Myths

Once upon a time in the Heart of Centerville was an adorable little cottage where a team of stunning patient counselors lived! They were terribly busy helping women and men navigate the muddy, muddy waters of hormone imbalance by educating them on the strategies for natural hormone balance through customized natural options. Everyone was happy learning new strategies that didn’t involve antidepressants and drugs(!) and women left the cottage feeling validated and respected, AND feeling better than they had in years.
One day it came to the attention of Lyn, the director of the tiny little cottage, that somewhere in the land, 3 myths were being perpetuated. She got fed up and in a fit of energy, burst forth with these 3 “myth busters!”

Myth #1 “Compounded Hormones Are Not FDA Approved”
The FDA’s job is to approve manufactured drugs for the masses. WE customize therapy for one individual. So WE are strictly regulated by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.
**HOWEVER, each of the following hormones we use ARE FDA approved: Testosterone, Estradial and Progesterone.

Myth #2 “Insurance Doesn’t Cover Compounded Therapy”
Actually most insurance companies DO cover not only the cost of compounding, but also reimburse for the cost of the saliva testing, as it is considered a billable lab fee.

Myth #3 “Commercially Made BHRT Products Will Produce The Same Results”
Good luck with that! Commercially made BHRT products are “one-size-fits-most”. so the dosage can not be adjusted, we can not customize for the individual, so therefore expectations are not met.
For example, Prometrium®, the commercially-made Progesterone capsule comes in only two doses: 100mg and 200mg. Prometrium® is dissolved in peanut oil and only lasts in the body for 6 hours. On top of that, the dosage can not be adjusted, so when the patient gets unexpected results, adjustments can not be made. The commercially-made Estrogen products on the market (the patches and gels) are developed by drug companies based on blood serum data. When one uses blood serum hormone levels, the levels have been depleted by the heart so they are very low. The result is that the drug companies make their products with WAY TOO MUCH ESTROGEN to compensate for these low levels. IF they would use saliva test results, where the hormones are being measured at the tissue level of cells, maybe their products would be dosed accordingly. Giving too much Estrogen to an already Estrogen dominant woman does not make sense and may actually increase the risk of breast cancer. Also, some of these products were approved by the FDA after only a 12-week study.
Bonus Myth #4 “Compounded Topical Hormone Therapy Increases The Risk Of Blood Clots”
Actually, oral Estrogen has been shown to increase the risk of blood clots. We have several studies that show there is no risk of blood clotting with topical hormone replacement therapy.
Once these myths and untruths were addressed across the land, Lyn, her Happy Hormone Cottage and all who came to get tested, get treated and get better lived happily ever after!
The moral of the story is to always, always think for yourself. Do the research! It’s out there! Become educated and empowered to make the right choice for YOU!

The Happy Hormone Cottage is Bursting at the Seams!

It looks like we made it through another grueling winter! Luckily, at the cottage, we have been so busy, we haven’t really noticed the winter! AND, with our female population of women stopping by who are having hot flashes, who notices the cold?? We actually sit around and glow! 🙂

We just celebrated our 6-month anniversary at our little Happy Hormone Cottage and I am just amazed at our growth. I really had no idea when we began our free resource center for women at the end of August, that we would experience this much growth this quickly! It just goes to show we must simply dream bigger! Since opening, we have established relationships with 30 area practitioners in the greater Dayton area, who partner with us in this area of compounded natural hormone replacement therapy. Since we launched our website in August, 744 women receive our monthly email Wellness Updates AND we have gone from 6 free consultations a week to 23 consultations a week. Even more interesting to me is that fact that now that our clients are feeling better, have more energy, and are sleeping better, they are bringing their husbands into the cottage for their male menopause (andropause) issues!! Luckily, my husband Jeff Hogrefe RPh, works with these men on Saturday afternoons and takes them off-site to a nearby location for their meetings. It is just too much for the men to step into a “happy hormone cottage” with grace and dignity! They are much happier meeting at an alternative location and talking over health issues with another guy, who has compassion for men in this area.

Finally, we just finished a $200,000 renovation at our Piqua Medicine Shoppe and Compounding Lab that includes a brand new state-of-the-art compounding facility. We are proud of the fact that we are listed in Suzanne Somer’s last 3 books as THE compounding pharmacy of choice in Ohio and we are proud to stay at the top of our game! Our clients’ health and well-being is our greatest treasure!

Have a great month! I hope to see you soon at one of our Happy Hormone Coffee Hours on Wednesday mornings, a Happy Hormone Hour, or a local health event like the Miami Valley Hospital South free Women’s Health Seminar that is being held Tuesday evening, March 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Check my website’s events page for information and updates!

By the way, you can now schedule a consultation online!  Visit and click on Make an Appointment!