Aging in Boca is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women in Boca often complain of a diminished sense of well being, chronic fatigue, and a loss of libido just to mention a few symptoms of hormone imbalance.
For many women there is a tremendous void in treatment of menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, mood swings and low or no sex drive are just the tip of the iceberg. Some earlier hormone imbalance symptoms of estrogen deficiency are frequent waking at night. Many others are present, including “mental fogginess.” A woman’s short-term memory retention may be dwindling and her concentration and focus isn’t as good as it used to be. Frequently, women may experience some loss of energy to the point that they actually slide into symptoms of chronic fatigue. In addition, women may experience some mood swings and irritability, and at the extreme may actually develop feelings of depression. With the loss of energy and chronic fatigue, females find themselves unable to exercise as much as in the past, or to recover as quickly when exercising. Women often find themselves increasing weight gain in spite of attempts at exercising. One hormone imbalance symptom that is not frequently discussed is the loss of sex drive and diminished libido. Not only is energy level and sense of well being diminished, but anticipation and enjoyment of sexual activity is waning as well.
Weight Loss Consequences, Physical or Emotional?
It might be tempting to get a quick fix for hot flashes, but consider a different perimenopause treatment besides hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT may be inexpensive and easy, but its long-term risks outweigh the benefits - not to mention that it will likely further aggravate the symptoms of menopause! This outcome occurs because HRT causes estrogen dominance, a condition where there is far more estrogen than progesterone in the body. On the other hand, products that are natural for menopause-related symptoms will provide relief from your symptoms without causing estrogen dominance.
How is estrogen dominance related to traditional perimenopause treatments?
Estrogen dominance was a term coined by Dr. John Lee, the first doctor who published shocking findings on the dangers of HRT. His research was premised on the fact that a woman can experience serious health problems if she has normal or excessive estrogen, but little or no progesterone to balance out estrogen's effects on the body. Progesterone inhibits estrogen's effects on the body, e.g. when estrogen increases fat accumulation and weight gain, progesterone burns fat for energy. For these reasons, Dr. Lee suggested that giving progesterone supplements would benefit menopausal women more than estrogen-only HRT. However, his work was shunned by the medical community despite mounting evidence against HRT and the damage it causes. It's easy to see why - when Dr. Lee's research first came out in the 1980s, everyone was still caught up in the hype of estrogen HRT pushed by pharmaceutical companies.
Despite what you might be led to believe, HRT promotes unopposed estrogen. Women these days are very susceptible to becoming estrogen dominant, even when they are menopausal. The beauty products and cosmetics we use are laden with xenoestrogenic preservatives - manmade chemicals that behave like estrogen when they enter the body. Cows and chickens are also fed estrogen so they can grow and fatten up faster. On the other hand, we aren't exposed to the same levels of progesterone. Taking HRT will only skew the balance of estrogen and progesterone, causing estrogen dominance and increasing the risks of various health problems.
Risks of estrogen dominance caused by medications for perimenopause
Below are just some of the risks faced by menopausal women when they take HRT.
Increased menopause symptoms
While restoring your estrogen levels might reduce hot flashes initially, it may also cause increased weight gain, poor sleep patterns, headache, anxiety, and depression if left unopposed.
Fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer
Researchers from Harvard University discovered that the longer your exposure to estrogens, the greater your risk of fibrocystic breasts (breast cysts) and breast cancer. In their Nurses' Health Study, a study that tracked the health of 70,000 women for almost 20 years, they discovered that menopausal women who used estrogen had a 30% increased risk for breast cancer than women who didn't take HRT. The risk for breast cancer was 40% more among women who took estrogen and progestin (a manmade progesterone). Those who were taking HRT for over five years had an elevated risk that increased with their age. The Nurses' Health Study supports early evidence that HRT plays a significant role in the onset of breast cancer, even if progestin is added to balance out the estrogen.
Studies show that an increased risk of blood clots among menopausal women is triggered by two things: cigarette smoking and the use of synthetic estrogens.
Gallstones and liver problems
If you have a liver disorder, then you should definitely avoid HRT; estrogen affects the function of the liver enzymes. Research shows that women taking HRT have twice the risk of developing gallstones that require surgical removal.
Four to eight out of every one thousand menopausal women will develop uterine cancer because of HRT. Although the risk of uterine cancer is decreased when progestin is added, research shows that progestin will place you at risk for breast cancer. Other risk factors like cigarette smoking, a family history of uterine cancer, and abnormal uterine bleeding will also increase the likelihood of HRT-related uterine cancer despite the presence of progestin.
Unlike the symptoms of menopause, which are temporary, the side effects of HRT may last a lifetime. Avoid these risks and consider making lifestyle changes or using natural progesterone or phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) for perimenopause and menopause relief.
Menopause Treatment Options
Are You Curious About Testosterone Therapy?
The subject of testosterone therapy has caught my attention lately. I had begun to study about it when about three or four months ago my wife brought me a bottle of testosterone capsules for a 90-day trial. She wanted to see if it would help me in my battle with afternoon fatigue and general lethargy.
I thought why not, it can't hurt. I wasn't desperate or anything, I was mostly curious about "Low-T" and wanted to experience for myself all these health claims that are flying around the media lately. For example, these TV commercials about the cure for erectile dysfunction were getting on my nerves. I am particularly dismayed by the couple in two separate bathtubs. What's up with that? (Sorry no pun intended).
Then a few days ago I got a call from a telemarketer, asking how my testosterone trial was going. I told him it was working great for keeping elephants out of my flower beds. As long as I was taking the capsules, no elephants had trampled my flowers. He was not impressed by my humor, and just wanted to get me to order more. Nope, I told him. I really couldn't tell any difference on or off the capsules. When he told me I needed more time for my body to adjust to the product, I ended the conversation. I know more about Low T after my extensive research than he seemed to know
On the other hand, someone is buying this stuff. In an article by Rachael Rettner, (published on line on MyHealthNewsDaily June 3, 2013, Copyright © 2013 TechMediaNetwork.com). Ms. Rettner says, "The percentage of middle-aged men in the United States taking testosterone to treat symptoms of low testosterone, or "low T," has increased substantially in recent years, a new study suggests."
For the last ten years, prescriptions for testosterone supplements among men over age 40 has been gradually increasing until today more than 3% of men in that age bracket have received some form of testosterone therapy. That is almost three times more than in 2001.
But does the stuff work? The answer is that study results have been less than supportive that it does. In fact, I found many so-called scientific studies that made all sorts of weird claims, but none were truly conclusive. It is like my-elephant-in-the-flowerbed comment. The obvious sarcasm is that if I did nothing, the elephants wouldn't bother me because I don't have any elephants wandering around my suburb. Scientific research cannot prove a hypothesis by the absence of symptoms.
Ms Rettner presented her most shocking comment when she quoted an editorial by Dr. Lisa Schwartz and Dr. Steven Woloshin, of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice: "the low T campaign [is] "a mass, uncontrolled experiment that invites men to expose themselves to the harms of a treatment unlikely to fix problems that may be wholly unrelated to testosterone levels."
"Before anyone makes millions of men aware of low T, they should be required to do a large-scale randomized trial to demonstrate that testosterone therapy for healthy aging men does more good than harm," they wrote.
By Dr. Luke Aaronson, PhD