Managing Raynaud’s Disease With Testosterone

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Successfully treating women who have autoimmune diseases with testosterone pellets can improve their Raynaud’s disease.

Raynaud’s Disease (RD) or Syndrome is one of the diseases I learned about in medical school (40 years ago). As medical students typically do, we developed pneumonic devices  for remembering the symptoms of the many diseases that we learned in a day, and Raynaud’s disease was the easiest to learn—we called it “patriotic hands” because a patient’s hands would change over a short period of time to the colors of the American flag; white, blue and then red.  We were not making fun of this very painful disease, but trying to be able to recall it at a moment’s notice.

The disease Raynaud’s is caused by a vascular over-reaction to cold or stress which causes a person’s hands and feet to  go white and numb for as long as they are exposed to cold or stress, then change to the color blue which shows that the extremities are hypoxic (lacking oxygen from lack of circulation), and when they warm up they turn hot, red, and itchy as the vessels dilate and the episode is over.

Raynaud’s is found in women more than men, old more than young, and accompany those patients with another autoimmune disease, although you can have Raynaud’s without any other illnesses.

The first step for people with this disease is to have something with you to keep you warm in cold surroundings. In the winter you always need gloves/socks, and even long underwear, but this is an easy change to make in your lifestyle to save you pain and numbness.

Because I successfully treat women who have autoimmune diseases with testosterone pellets, I found over time that their Raynaud’s disease improved right along with their autoimmune disease. I investigated to see why this was so and it turns out that the treatments for RD include drugs that cause vasodilation, decreased vasoconstriction, those drugs that improve depression, centrally, and drugs that decrease inflammation.  Testosterone pellets do all of these things!

In those patients who took T pellets, but did not improve enough to stop their painful symptoms, I looked at their drug list and suggested they find alternative drugs to Beta-Blockers, Sudafed, ADD, and Narcolepsy medication and diet pills. All of these drugs make Raynaud’s worse, despite Testosterone therapy.

If they were not on other meds, I suggested they take blood pressure drugs in the class called Calcium Channel Blockers, Alpha Blockers, and vasodilators (Cozaar) unless they already had low BP.  If that was the case then using nitroglycerine cream to the base of the fingers when an attack occurred effectively vasodilated their blood vessels and stopped the attack.  Other drugs that help include Viagra, and Prozac.  

I prefer natural supplements to take the place of medication if possible so I suggest that my RD patients begin 2000 mg of fish oil a day, take ASA, or Cucumin which decreases blood clotting and prostaglandins, and stay hydrated. My favorite is Neo 40, a chewable Nitric Oxide that increases vasodilation and can be taken orally each day to prevent an attack.

If this disease becomes severe or blood supply is cut off to the extremity, then surgical sympathectomy (cutting the vagus nerve to that extremity) will dilate the blood vessels all the time, and stop the RD process.

I don’t want my patients to feel powerless in the face of a disease that is chronic. So while we attend to the hormonal balance and replacement we also try to treat any other chronic conditions that make their lives less than quality.  I start with T pellets, then Neo 40 and fish oil and after a few months if they are not better I try medications.  Once again, you should not be immobilized by this disease.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.  

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