Aging in PBG is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women in PBG 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.
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For many women, the prospect of facing menopause brings great fear and apprehension. It is a time in life where reproduction ends, and for some women, leaves them with no way of identifying what their future life's purpose will be. Many women recall with not so fond memories the experiences of their mothers and grandmothers as they faced menopause with few of the hormone replacement help methods, which are available to females today. We have all heard the horror stories of hormone imbalance: night sweats, mood swings, etc. and are certainly not looking forward to the time when we too will be facing these unpleasant hormone deficiency side effects that often go hand in hand with perimenopause and menopause.
However, countless women today are seeking new ways to cope with the unpleasant hormonal changes, which so often accompany the onset of menopause. In the past, women have relied upon synthetic hormone replacement treatments which have been rather hit or miss in terms of their effectiveness. With the release of the Women's Health Initiative study, proving some synthetic hormones to be more harmful than good, women feared hormone replacement therapy all together. What most women didn't realize was that the WHI study neglected to disclose that their researchers did not use bio-identical hormones but only synthetic hormones. Although initial confusion about HRT was created, women are now searching for alternatives to hormone replacement and discovering a new safer solution which is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT.
Although BHRT is an age old remedy, countless doctors and their patients are just learning of this option. If you are wondering why doctors are just learning of BHRT, there is a simple answer. Bio-identical hormones aren't patentable because they are in their natural form, thus pharmaceutical companies don't do studies on them. However, BHRT is in the forefront of anti-aging treatment and for many doctors the newest method for helping cure much that ails the menopausal woman. Different from conventional methods of hormone replacement therapy, which seeks to have women ingest synthetic or chemically altered versions of naturally occurring hormones, BHRT offers a more natural fit for the body. BHRT offers women plant based hormones that have the exact chemical and molecular structure as hormones that are produced in the human body. Unlike synthetic hormones, BHRT isn't alien to our body thus BHRT is received well with virtually no side effects.
BHRT is allowing many women to address the multiple concerns and health issues which rapidly face women who are actively going through the stages of menopause. The doses of BHRT are designed for each individual patient and are not a one-size fits all recipe. With bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, there is the recognition that each woman is different, therefore, her hormone treatment must be individualized to meet her very specific needs. Physicians who are advancing the use of bio-idientical hormone replacement therapies for their patients will first work with a woman to discover if she is actively in the perimenopause / menopause stage. Not only will the doctor need a complete physical history, but he or she will also need a patient's most up-to-date medical information which will in turn aid her in determining the specifics of each individual woman's case. At this point physicians who use bio-identical hormone replacement therapy will take blood, and from the blood results, can determine in which hormonal areas the female patient may be struggling.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy then calls for each hormone supplement to be compounded and dispensed in a manner which will be most effective in treating the specific hormone levels of the female patient involved. This type of customization of medicine ensures that an individual's specific concerns are addressed and that the menopause symptoms, the ones that are most bothersome to the patient, will be actively treated and brought under control.
There are many who are vocally singing the praises of BHRT. Numerous followers in the healthcare profession, particularly those who deal with women's health and their concerns, are ecstatic over these remarkable developments in the treatment of menopause. Many are finding their patients happier and healthier than they have seen them in years; furthermore, they like that bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has virtually no known side effects unlike synthetic hormones. BHRT seems to reduce the risks of blood clots and strokes, which can be so prevalent with the use of traditional hormone replacement therapy, and there are fewer concerns over cancer rates. Actually, in well known medical journals, researchers have reported that the bio-identical hormones, estrogen and testosterone, are not only safe but also have a positive impact on some diseases like osteoporosis and prostate cancer.
While many healthcare providers are still citing the lack of FDA approval, BHRT seems to be making quite a mark in the world of women's healthcare. For too long, women have been subjected to the toils and troubles that menopause can bring. With the advent of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, the many concerns of patients and doctors are disappearing, as the hormone treatment continues to produce positive results and prove itself effective with even more patients. Numerous women are now able to approach this new stage of their lives feeling healthy and happy, ready to conquer the many unique and rewarding challenges and dreams that will come in the remainder of their adult life.
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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.