The Secret Female Hormone was written to answer the requests (daresay demands?) of Kathy’s patients, who wanted to share their experiences of successful treatments with a little known “secret” female hormone that changed their lives. These patients wanted to have a way to get the medical information into the hands of the doctors who told them to give up and that they were just old. Kathy wanted to tell all women her own story of victory over hormone deficiency hell, and how replacing the hormone testosterone changed her life. She wants to share what is currently a secret remedy to the symptoms and diseases that accompany aging, so women will have hope that they can get their lives back just like she did. The Secret Female Hormone exposes the simple treatment that brings quality of life, health and sexuality back to women over 40, and bares the reasons women have been kept in the dark up until now.
Why do the effects of testosterone get overlooked for women?
Testosterone is perceived as a “male” hormone because men make ten times as much as women, but women make it and require it just as much as men do. The reason it has been withheld from women is twofold: the belief that testosterone is only the property of men is a misconception that has been retold over and over again in the training of doctors without basis of fact, and secondly because medical research money is unequally spent on men and their diseases, the specialties that take care of women generally are not interested in them after they are post fertility, and because pharmaceutical companies have an easier time passing a drug for men through their testing than a drug for women. Basically the way women are “mis-treated” in medicine can be easily illustrated by comparing the number of commercials for testosterone and ED drugs for aging men on television, with the absence of any medication to alleviate the same symptoms for women who are aging. In America it is not uncomfortable to discuss erectile dysfunction on television, but it is unheard of to mention libido, or orgasms in women on TV. The Victorian era is still alive and well in the US when it comes to women over -40.
Testosterone for women is a secret only because the American College of Medicine, and OBGYN do not teach their doctors about the current research that substantiates the replacement of testosterone for women, and in fact are rarely interested in the libido of women at all. The current medical community that calls the shots is generally male dominated (women were a very small minority in the 80s when Dr. Maupin went to medical school, and they are still calling the shots) and are much more serious about seeking solutions to male loss of libido than they are women’s. New breakthroughs in the areas of gender medicine are calling attention to the reality that women have been overlooked in many areas of medicine, pharmacology, and research. Testosterone is one of the important hormones that need attention if women are to have a quality life after 40, and this book brings that attention into focus.
How did you uncover the condition of testosterone deficiency?
Kathy found it by accident. As her own hormone declined and she began to suffer from the symptoms (loss of libido, weight gain, insomnia, depression, fatigue, migraines, loss of muscle mass) that most doctors told her were just part of getting older for women. Her condition worsened when her ovaries were removed at hysterectomy for endometriosis. She continued to work but have a very poor quality of life and other doctors, endocrinologists and psychiatrists all told her that there was nothing wrong with her, but would not accept that diagnosis. She researched in her own specialty, OBGYN and looked into estradiol and progesterone that made her no better. Alternative therapies were not successful either. She was told over and over what her patients tell her they are still told; that she would have to live with it and get used to being old. By the grace of God, she prayed and met Dr Gino Turtera, a doctor from California, who was able to introduce her to testosterone replacement with subcutaneous pellets. It worked so well for her personally, that she received training and began to specialize in this treatment area.
What are some of the long term effects of testosterone loss?
Testosterone is a hormone that keeps the systems that perform beautifully in our youth, like our thought processes, our mood, muscle mass and strength, and sexuality working beautifully. The first hormone to become deficient in the aging contagion is testosterone and over time the deficits, allow the systems to malfunction. This is much like not maintaining our car and failing to put oil in the engine, rotating the tires and leaving the tires on after they are threadbare. Over time, diseases begin secondary to the loss of this single hormone. Among these issues are frailty, muscle loss, obesity, loss of libido (which can lead to depression and anxiety), osteoporosis, immune disorders, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease and diabetes. Testosterone is the critical hormone which, if replaced, can prevent or delay considerably the onset of the common disorders and diseases of aging that eventually confine us to wheel chairs and nursing homes. Because medicine has successfully extended our life expectancy, it makes it necessary for us to extend our health span too so we are not drains on society. All of us will age and die, but we believe that by replacing testosterone we can live life to the fullest and remain active and engaged until the end.
What are some of the common myths and misconceptions of hormone replacement therapy?
You will hear that testosterone replacement therapy causes cancer, heart attacks and strokes, and some women ask me if it will make them a man! There is no scientific evidence that proves any of this, but research done over ten years ago by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) made that claim that “hormones” cause breast cancer, but they were referring to a synthetic progestin, Provera, not estradiol or testosterone, so they confused the public and unfortunately doctors who did not personally read the study. The conclusions misinterpreted from the research has been debunked as erroneous, but the damage has been done by the media and the “common wisdom” that was created by the headlines attributed to this erroneous conclusion. Interestingly even the beliefs of the ACOG—the group that sets the guidelines for OBGYNs—has been running scared with inaccurate information and tells there doctors not to replace estrogen or testosterone. Today there is a great deal of research that has been done that shows that hormone replacement therapy can help women avoid the diseases of aging, regain their libido, lose weight, stay mentally acute and productive for many years.
How do the questionnaires in the book determine your individual needs?
These questionnaires help a woman identify whether or not she is suffering from a specific group of symptoms that indicate testosterone deficiency syndrome. If a woman is suffering from these symptoms she may have the courage to seek out testosterone replacement instead of all the myriad medications that treat only the symptoms. These questionnaires give our readers the information that allows them to speak with their doctor as an informed participant in their own health care decisions. They will help determine which of several hormones might be out of balance and identify the tests she will need to take to know for sure. We hope these questionnaires will help women examine their symptoms themselves.
What are your top tips for dealing with mood swings, low libido and maintaining healthy relationships?
Healthy relationships begin with good health and are enhanced with good communication skills. In the book we talk about couples that suffered from losses in both these areas, and encourage our readers to live a healthy life style. Learning to talk about and confront the emotions, hurts, and fears that happen in life by talking them through with your partner is a critical skill. Talking, reality testing, and caring are all skills that can be obtained through determined efforts. The book identifies some training suggestions for individuals and couples. This is especially important when dealing with wounds that occur around the loss of sexual attraction that come from lost libido. As one recovers libido and urges come back, negotiations for recovering active sexual relationships that are mutually satisfactory are very important.
Why are the real patient stories so integral to the book?
Patient stories are integral to making the book come alive. We did not want to write a scientific text book for physicians because women patients are the people who asked for a book they could share with their friends, sisters and mothers. They are also the people who desperately need testosterone replacement and reading patient stories about women who experienced TDS support our readers and help them grapple with their own symptoms.
We wanted to write a book that would help women recognize themselves and say “that sounds like me!” “Maybe I am not crazy after all!”. We feel that real stories from real women can say this better than we can and are pleased that our patients allowed us to use their stories. These stories give color and vibrancy to the scientific and data driven parts of the book. We use them to help walk the line between readability and informative writing.
For example, this past week I saw two women who had come to see me as a follow up 4 months after their first testosterone pellet treatment. The first woman was a 50 year old attorney, who looked completely different from her first visit. She said, “I didn’t tell you at my first visit but I was considering suicide if you could not help me because I was experiencing severe depression and my life was miserable.” She told me, “I knew that you would be compelled to admit me to a psychiatry ward, but now I am here to say that I am miraculously better.” Replacing my hormones gave me my life back.
My second patient the same day immediately told me that she was so much better that she was able to lose weight, and stop taking her antidepressants, as well as her migraine medicine, and she felt like she did in her 30s, and she was 58. She thought it was amazing because she had seen so many doctors who told her that there was nothing wrong with her. She was living proof that she had something wrong and now was better. She finished her soliloquy and finalized it by saying,”To think that I almost killed myself before I came to you.” I was hopeless and had no motivation and I thought I would lose my marriage because I had no sex drive. It is all better now. I can’t imagine I thought of taking my life!”
What is next for you?
Next for us is the promotion of the book and the development of protocols that will help any interested physician to learn the treatment of patients with testosterone replacement. Dr. Maupin wants to train them so they can spread the word and pass it on. We are working on an affiliate training process and a data base of physicians so that we can help our readers find doctors who embrace testosterone replacement therapies for all the right reasons.