When I first started to write this book, the headlines were filled with news of the trial of Andrea Yates, the woman who struggled with postpartum depression and eventually drowned her five children. Although I think Yates’ problems went well beyond postpartum depression, it was a major factor in her breakdown. This is a very real condition that causes untold misery to new mothers. Fortunately, it is easy to treat. Susan B. found a solution to her postpartum depression by balancing her hormones. I hope her experience will be instructive to other mothers, particularly breastfeeding mothers, who can avoid the side effects of psychogenic drugs by taking this approach. I’ll let Susan tell you what happened:

Depression has been a problem in my family for a long time. My mother and sister and I seemed always to be depressed when I was growing up. Eventually my mother committed suicide, when I was 16 years old. Along with our depression went low metabolism, and, in my case, I can’t remember when I wasn’t battling my weight. I ate normal amounts of food but I was always fat. Once, as an adult, I got so fed up with always being fat that I went on this rigorous program, exercising three hours a day, six days a week. I did slim down, of course. But it was impossible to keep up that kind of schedule. As soon as I slacked off even a little bit, the weight came right back on. At the age of 45 I had a child. The moment she was born, I went into a massive depression. It was difficult caring for the baby because I didn’t feel any of the joy of motherhood but I still had all of the daily responsibilities. One day I was talking to my doctor about my depression, complaining a bit about how being over-weight contributed to my overall feelings of hopelessness. She told me about other patients of hers who had taken off weight by going to Dr. Platt. I decided to go see him, figuring that slimming down would be one way of improving my situation. Little did I realize it would be the solution to my depression, too. I was a size 20 when I went to see him. I weighed 190 pounds—it was hard just moving around with that much weight on my 5’3” frame. At first I just went on the diet and held off taking the hormones he had recommended. After a few months I lost 22 pounds. At that point Dr. Platt said I had to start progesterone and thyroid. So he started me on both of those and, my God, what a difference it made in my mood! It was an incredible difference. I feel like I’m a different person today, like a person I haven’t seen in about 10 years. Two months after starting the hormones I was able to start weaning myself off my prescription anti-depressants. With the progesterone and the thyroid medication, I had lots of energy and a whole new outlook on life. The other beneficial thing was what it did for my skin. My skin looked so much better after I started the progesterone. It became more radiant, which is a great thing to have happen at my age. I used to have all of these skin tags on my neck, and about a month after I started the progesterone they all disappeared.

Ultimately, it took me ten months to lose about 60 pounds and get down to a size 4. I must have gained a lot of muscle mass, because I don’t weigh 105 pounds like most size 4 women. I weigh 137 pounds. Of course, with more muscle mass my metabolism is much higher than it used to be, so it is that much easier to maintain my weight while still eating the foods I love to eat.

Susan B. is typical of the many people who have fought obesity their entire life not because of an eating problem but because of a hormone problem.

I believe the only cause for postpartum depression is low progesterone.

Susan had the classic history of someone with a low progesterone level who becomes estrogen dominant and depressed. I believe the only cause for postpartum depression is low progesterone. In the second and third trimesters the placenta pours out progesterone, which is why women feel so good during this time of their pregnancy. But after the baby is delivered, progesterone levels go down. For most women, once they start ovulating again, their bodies begin producing progesterone and their moods lift. But Susan was low in progesterone to begin with, and she was in her 40s, when hormone levels are on the decline anyway. So she had no source of progesterone. Her low progesterone caused high insulin levels—the  number one cause of obesity. Low progesterone also led to an increase in estrogen—another hormone that creates fat. Low progesterone leads to depression and other psychological problems.

She also had the standard symptoms of an under-active thyroid: her skin was dry, her nails didn’t grow well, she was easily fatigued, and so on. Her blood tests bore out this deficiency. Her low thyroid contributed to her depression, too. The thyroid has a tremendous influence on the metabolism of every cell of the body, including the brain cells. Helping Susan was a very simple matter. As soon as her hormones were balanced she regained a zest for living. The weight loss made her feel even better—it was a particularly sweet reward for a woman who had spent half a lifetime struggling with obesity. I hope you, the reader, are beginning to understand the importance of hormones when it comes to health. Susan’s case is another example of a deficiency of hormones creating havoc with one’s health and illustrates the importance of being pro-active with your own health care. For the most part, you cannot expect the medical community to come up with answers it is ill-equipped to find.

As many of you are aware, actress/model Brooke Shields wrote a book detailing her experience with severe postpartum depression. Her advice to women with this problem is to avail themselves of anti-depressant medications. She has been on multiple talk shows reiterating this advice. What she is proposing is the classic, standard medical care approach: take a Band-Aid (drug) for your problem. It is my understanding that Ms. Shields utilized in vitro fertilization to get pregnant. The number one reason why a woman cannot get pregnant is a low progesterone level. My understanding is that she did not have morning sickness, the occurrence of which I would have expected. After her delivery, her progesterone level might have dropped to non-existent levels, which could have precipitated her severe postpartum depression. Using natural, bio-identical progesterone might have eliminated the need for in vitro fertilization and prevented postpartum depression. In fact, giving her progesterone would have eliminated her depression almost immediately. There is an ironic twist to this situation. Many of you might be aware that actor Tom Cruise, who I understand is a practicing Scientologist, advised Ms. Shields to take a more natural approach for her depression—healing with prayer, and so on.

Interestingly, Tom Cruise has said that he has a problem with ADHD—a condition I feel is also caused by a low progesterone level. So both of these well-known actors have the same hormone deficiency, in my view, yet neither of them is aware of it.

Excerpt from my book “The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones” – Chapter 6. Names were changed in this true story to protect identity.