In a departure from my usual posts on writing and publishing, I’d like to make a recommendation of Dr. John Carrozzella of Florida Hormones and Wellness in Orlando Florida.
My work as a copywriter for SMART Growth Marketing creates an ongoing opportunity for me to discover new industries and professions, and hone my persuasive writing skills. A few months ago, I wrote copy for Dr. C’s (as he’s known by his patients) digital marketing campaign, which included an informative eBook on Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
In 2002, I discovered the benefits of bio-identical progesterone cream through Arbonne, which became the solution I’d been seeking for most of my life. But until I wrote the eBook with medical information provided by Dr. C., I had no clue about the widespread impact of hormones and hormone deficiency on every aspect of health and well-being — from heart disease to diabetes — not only menopause or anything relating to sex. Having spent decades seeking alternatives to synthetic hormones, e.g. the pill, the panacea most gynecologists prescribe for irregular periods and other female health problems, I welcomed the discovery of bio-identical progesterone, which regulated my cycle with no harmful side effects.
Even back in the day at the age of 19, I remember challenging the doctor who explained that Provera, a synthetic version of progesterone, would not solve my problem, but would instead create a “false scenario” in my body so I’d get a period every month. “What’s the point of that? And why can’t we solve the problem so my body functions the way nature intended without putting synthetic garbage into it?” I remember asking.
I’m paraphrasing slightly, but I intuited at a young age that nothing good could come from taking synthetic hormones that failed to address and correct the issue — and worse, had the potential to inflict more harm over time. So began my decades-long journey from doctor to doctor, with the same frustrating results. Eventually, I learned to smile, say “thank you” and take the prescription for the pill, then rip it up as soon as I left their office.
Years later in 1998, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a complex condition that affects women in various ways. In most cases like mine, it’s not obvious by looking at someone’s physical appearance that they even have PCOS, which is characterized by acne, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, excess facial and body hair, and — as the name suggests, ovarian cysts. For me, it began with a strange outbreak of cystic acne on my chin (something I never dealt with as a teenager), prompting my first visit to a dermatologist, who took one look at me and declared, “I’ll give you something to clear up the acne, but this is a hormonal problem. You need to go back to your doctor and get to the bottom of it.”
I took his advice, which led to a referral to the Fertility and IVF Center of Miami in the spring of 2000, where a specialist determined I had simple ovarian cysts and endometriosis. After my outpatient procedure, the doctor handed me a prescription for the pill, which I accepted and never filled. By then, I knew it was pointless to engage in debate on the topic. Thankfully, the acne and the simple cysts cleared up and dissolved on their own, and once I discovered Arbonne’s natural progesterone cream, I experienced regular cycles. Problem solved. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to a few months ago. The acne on my chin returned with a vengeance, though this time it was not cystic. However, it recurred in an endless cycle, creating redness, discomfort and itching. Combined with the onset of insomnia, which is especially difficult for a deep sleeper like me, and low energy levels, I realized it was time to book an appointment with Dr. C. I called Jody, his Chief Operating Officer and former partner in SMART Growth Marketing, to start the process, which began with detailed blood work, followed by an office visit with Dr. C. to review the results and decide on a plan forward.
I spent about 30 minutes in his office, during which he explained that PCOS is a complex problem involving sugar metabolism, progesterone, thyroid, and androgen sensitivity. He noted that PCOS people tend to have insulin resistance but since my blood sugar was really good (72), that was not the case with me. While I was not a “clear-cut” case, Dr. C said it was rare for him to see patients who were 50 pounds overweight, with significant acne, noticeable hair growth and spots on their skin, high testosterone, zero progesterone levels, and a blood sugar of 120.
He also explained that other things can mimic PCOS, including gluten sensitivity. Not only does gluten play a role in skin manifestations, it is the number one reason people have autoimmune thyroiditis, a condition my blood work also revealed, along with a B12 and vitamin D deficiency.
I appreciated his thoroughness in not only explaining the causes and cures for my health issues, but in prescribing a course of treatment that incorporates medical-grade supplements, a gluten-free diet, bio-identical thyroid and progesterone, and Spironolactone for its secondary effect of blocking testosterone from the skin.
During our conversation, Dr. C was forthright, knowledgeable and open to answering my questions. He took his time, explained everything clearly, and made me feel as if my concerns were important. I wish every doctor practiced medicine in the same way, where they consider the unique needs of each patient and create an individualized protocol to solve their specific health issues. In six weeks, I’ll return to determine if we need to make any changes to this regimen, based on blood results. It’s another example of Dr. C.’s attentiveness to detail and concern for his patients.
It was definitely worth the drive to Orlando from South Florida to spend some time with Dr. C. and his wonderful staff.
For more information, visit www.hormonesandwellness.com.
And don’t forget to take the BHRT quiz.