Heidi Archer MD – Bioidentical Hormones Expert

BodyLogicMD of Potomac Falls and Vail

Browsing Posts published by Dr. Heidi Archer

I’d like to address two questions regarding progesterone which are asked frequently when I am discussing
Bioidentical hormone replacement with patients and with other physicians. I have patients who’ve been told, and colleagues who tell them, that “you don’t need progesterone because you don’t have a uterus” following a hysterectomy. Patients suffering from progesterone deficiency symptoms who haven’t had a hysterectomy are sometimes told not to go on progesterone because it will increase their risk of breast cancer.

On the first point, the hormone progesterone has many functions in the body outside the uterus. The “top three” symptoms my patients have at their initial consult attributable to progesterone deficiency are 1. poor sleep (including trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, inability to fall back to sleep after waking up during the night, and waking up feeling tired regardless of how many hours they have slept) 2. Anxiety (not necessarily related to any increased stress, and often described as “waves of anxiety or panic”). 3. Problems with short-term memory (“I go downstairs and forget what I went to get”. “I have more trouble remembering names and thinking of words”. “I am getting embarrassed when speaking in meetings at work”)
These are just the top three issues with low progesterone levels. Another huge impact of low progesterone in patients with or without their uterus is weight gain. Estrogen not adequately balanced with progesterone leads to bloating and weight gain in the abdomen and hips.

Clearly, progesterone deficiency is a diagnosis which merits treatment with Bioidentical hormone replacement in patients with uterus intact as well as those status post hysterectomy.

Next it is important to make the distinction between Bioidentical progesterone and progestin hormone preparations. Bioidentical progesterone is identical to the progesterone our bodies produce and may be used safely to correct progesterone deficiency and relieve the above symptoms. In contrast, progestins are different in structure from Bioidentical progesterone. They have some, but not all,of the benefits of Bioidentical progesterone but also some different functions and risks unique to progestins. Clinical trials have linked progestins to increased breast cancer risk. Research has shown that Bioidentical progesterone does not affect risk of breast cancer or decreases risk. This distinction is sometimes left out in the media and is so important to understand when deciding whether to seek relief from perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms of progesterone deficiency.

Once my patients and their other treating physicians discuss and understand the role of progesterone and the research behind the safety of bioidentical progesterone, we can agree on a treatment plan, achieving great, restorative sleep, relief from anxiety, sharp short-term memory and maintaining a healthy goal weight. That’s our goal at BODYLOGICMD: Living better. Longer.

I’ve always loved the name “BodyLogicMD” because I encourage my patients to take a logical approach to proactive healthcare. At the initial consult, this means taking time to understand what each hormone level means and linking it to symptoms of deficiency or excess, rather than just handing out prescriptions for replacement. Today, as my son and I head out on our bikes to enjoy Vail’s Oktoberfest; I thought I’d share a logical approach to weight management. I can’t stress enough the importance of balanced hormones and regular exercise to maintain our goal weights most easily; and these factors make weight management much more complex than just “calories in, calories out”. That said, it’s important to educate ourselves on just what makes “a pound of flesh” so here goes:

1. “A pound of flesh” equals 3500 calories.

2. Our “basal metabolic rate” is how many kcals our bodies use in a day- mine is 1364.

You can find yours by scheduling a body composition test at the office or get a less precise number by entering height and weight data on a metabolic rate app.

3. There are 7 days in a week.

4. 7 days/week times 500 calories per day = 1 pound

So here’s the “logic” part: to lose a pound per week I need to either consume 500 calories less per day OR exercise off 500 calories more per day, or a combination of the two. To gain a pound a week, I can overeat by 500 calories a day (wow, that would be 1864 calories of bratwurst and beer today!!!!) or go on bed rest eating bonbons to burn 500 less by being ultra-sedentary (sounds really boring). If I don’t bike and stick to my 1364 calories a day I can stay exactly the weight I am now.

I find these basics really helpful in weight management. I prefer to exercise more and not “diet” but you’ll be able to apply this knowledge in a way that suits you best to achieve your goal weight and stay there.

This is my very first “blog” and I hope someone out there finds it helpful. There is such an abundance of information out there from fad diets to countless supplements to exercise regimens all claiming to be beneficial to our health. I view part of my role as your bodyLOGIC physician to be constantly educating myself in what is available and what really works, and passing that LOGIC along to you. I hope this blog will be a great new way for us to communicate the logic. I also love that I have such a brilliant and proactive patient population and I have learned a great deal from you over the years. I frequently share knowledge I’ve gained from one patient with another with the same symptom or diagnosis. Blogging should be a great way for me to share those tips with many patients at once, and for my patients to share with one another.

I also think they are meant to be concise so I will “publish” now and look forward to your comments back. Please let me know what you’d like me to “blog” about and meanwhile. Prost/cheers to you all!! Have a wonderful weekend!


The information provided on this blog is for reference use only, and does not constitute the rendering of legal, financial or other professional advice or recommendations by the BodyLogicMD affiliated physician. This page is not for the use of diagnosing and/or treating medical issues.