[HD: This is a guest post I’ve written for Britt Hermes, a former naturopath who became disillusioned with her profession. She runs a blog called Naturopathic Diaries, which she started “to expose naturopathic medicine and protect patients from the dangerous and incompetent practices rife in my former profession.”]
As a mid-late career endocrinologist, I’ve been counseling victims of quackery for years. Let’s not pretend like these patients have simply gotten suboptimal advice, or that they received an alternate – but equally valid – viewpoint. I am nothing if not brutally honest, and I’m telling you, these folks are victims.
I have realized that it’s extraordinarily inefficient to (re)educate the world one patient at a time, in my exam room. I’ve often thought I should start a blog to be a contrarian voice to all the histrionic nonsense found in the world of alternative medicine. So I finally did it.
I’m the first to admit that Hormones Demystified is not for everyone. In fact, I urge anyone who is very sensitive to avoid my blog. Or, if you are invested in your naturopathic care to the point of being completely closed off to any “Western” medical concepts, do not read my blog – it’ll just piss you off. But, if you aren’t convinced that you, your naturopath, and your chiropractor have it all figured out, then you might want to check out my writing.
Disclosure: I think Britt’s blog is brilliant, but that doesn’t mean Britt endorses anything on my blog. In fact, she admitted that even she was offended by some of my particularly raw humor. But, she must believe that I have something useful to offer her readers, because she published this guest post. So take that as an endorsement of the message, if not the (sometimes offensive) vehicle that delivers it.
I’d like to use this platform Britt has given me to help you understand why your naturopath and your endocrinologist agree on precisely nothing. The key is to appreciate the two critical pillars on which the practice of Endocrinology rests: Know Your Assay and Know Your Pre-Test Probability. Don’t worry, I’ll explain…
The rest of this post can be found at Naturopathic Diaries.
What’s your opinion of naturopathy? Have you had “shotgun” testing through an alternative medicine practitioner? How much did it cost? Are you a medical doctor who treats patients who see a naturopath as well? Does it drive you crazy?
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14 Replies to “Endocrinology vs. Naturopathy – Steel Cage Death Match”
Thanks for doing the post for Britt Hermes! I’m always happy to find a new anti-quack blog to act as a support group, since I seem to be plagued by running into alt med loons. Even some good, and well-educated (no innoculation I know, sadly) friends have tested my ability to keep a straight face. It’s extra hard when my primary takes little interest in my complaints and never bothers to inquire about my lifestyle, even though it is exemplary except for some relationship stuff. I know time is short for office calls, but a little personal interest could go a long way.
Bravo on your blog on Endocrinology vs. Naturopathy. I’m an MIT PhD (nutritional biochemistry with a minorin nueroendocrinology and post doc training in molecular and cellular biology). I have been a study director for the National Academies, and currently review evidence, mainly for the federal government, maintain a small clinical practice, and blog on nutrition misinformation in the news (nutritionskinny.com). I cannot tell you how many patients have been referred to me and how many times I’ve been asked to consult on patients whose chiropractors are convinced they have some exotic endocrinological disorder, based on the findings of spurious tests I would never have even considered ordering and could not possibly attempt to interpret clinically! Worst of all, the chiropractors feel perfectly confident in their abilities to treat these disorders, with various dietary supplements they themselves peddle, of course! In fact, I first discovered this phenomenon years ago when, as a postdoc, I was referred to a chiropractor for low back pain and was given a “diagnosis” of multiple endocrine disorders! Needless to say, I ran screaming into the night and took my backpain to my PCP! Please keep up the good fight!
Thanks, Sydne! I checked out your blog, too, and appreciate your dedication to dispelling nutrition myths. Strong work!
Thank you! I’ll be referring patients and readers to your blog!
Do you have any comments on compounded hormone creams vs Premarin.
That’s going to be a future post. There is so much wrong with the “bioidentical hormone” nonsense out there that I will need a couple thousand words to cover it. Stay tuned, Debbie.
I am an ordinary person who is so tired of all the naturopath/alternative/homeopathic stuff out there that people are misled with. I have a friend who I am very concerned about who sees a NP who has reduced her diet to almost nothing. R My concern is that she is dragging her 3 small kids into this and recently she told me she is supplementing them with cortisol!
Insert horrified face emoji here.
Given that endocrinology is your field, dear Dr HD, I don’t know if you are aware but in the field of pseudotreatment of autistic kids, I tend to guess, humbly, that you would also feel horrified about the tag team of Mark Geier (MD but stripped of his many licenses) and his son David Geier (no medically related credential to speak of) using Lupron to treat autistic kids:
I stumbled across this blog after seeing a ‘functional GP’ to see if she had any answers about my irregular cycles. I’ve just had a miscarriage too and have read a lot of (forum) information that thyroid can be to blame. Low and behold, she’s diagnosed me with hypothyroidism based on low T3 but normal TSH. Now the pragmatist in me is questioning her, I usually believe in evidence-based science. But when you miscarry you look for answers in all the wrong places. I’ve found a bit of solace here that its probably not my thyroid, its probably just shit luck, and as long as I’m healthy & happy there’s not much else I can do. So thank you for making my day. I look forward to spending the rest of the week reading every page on this blog!
I’m so sorry to hear about the miscarriage, Clare, but I’m glad you’re here and getting something out of this blog.
Have you had your prolactin level checked by an endocrinologist using the TSH test where you have an injection and then they check your prolactin level I believe 2 or 3 times? It needs to be done on day 3-5 of your cycle. My high prolactin was diagnosed by this test after GP and other specialists misdiagnosed me for 10 years of torture. I took bromocriptine as prescribed and had amazing results. When trying to get pregnant, I stopped the bromocriptine. The endocrinologist (who also specialized in fertility) also had me do check ups with him at the very beginning of my pregnancy. I was charting and knew early. My progesterone level dropped and I took progesterone lozenges (from the specialized pharmacy-compounded) for about 2 months. Many gynecologists do not check progesterone levels early and miscarriage can result.
A functional medicine doctor ruined my life!!! I was 39 yrs old when I went to him and I had just had my thyroid removed 3-4 months before. I’m also female. I had stumbled onto a thyroid blog and was convinced that “western” medicine would let me down. This functional medicine doctor gave me a super high dose of nature-throid. I have no thyroid so all the t3 in that medication made me impatient and angry all the time. I also had crazy diarrhea for 2 hrs after taking it every morning. This same doctor said I had low T. He also said that even though my estrogen was normal, I needed some. He gave me pellets of testosterone and estrogen. I felt like death!! I let him convince me that I needed all of this. I lost my hair due to developing male pattern baldness. Some grew back but I still have a big bald spot on the top of my head and bald spot scattered through my hair. Both my parents still have all their hair and they are in their 70’s. I started growing noticeable facial hair and hair was even growing out of my nose. My voice was also getting deeper. Every time I told them I didn’t feel good they would convince me that I just needed to be adjusted. I let them mess with me for two years. I can’t believe I paid them thousands of dollars to ruin my life. I finally came to my senses and stopped going to them. I stopped in January of 2017. I started seeing a regular endocrinologist. I no longer take hormones. Some hair grew back but still have a noticeable bald spot like a man. I just want to slap myself for falling for their BS!! I get so angry when I think about it!!