Westlake Physicians Weight Loss Center

Aging in Westlake is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women in Westlake 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.

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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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Theoretically,  menopause is not a disease.  Therefore, there is no cure.  Many women opt to forgo any treatment at all, and simply tolerate many of the symptoms associated with this normal transition.  However, for those women whose symptoms are so severe as to interfere with their quality of life, there are many options at their disposal.

Remedies may be implemented by the woman herself for the conditions associated with menopause.  For example,

Hot flashes: Several nonprescription treatments are available, and lifestyle choices can help.

  • Many women feel that regular aerobic exercise can help reduce hot flashes
  • Foods that may trigger hot flashes, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, should be avoided.
Heart disease: A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Weight gain: Regular exercise is helpful in controlling weight.

Osteoporosis: Adequate calcium intake and weight-bearing exercise are important. Strength training (lifting weights or using exercise bands in resistance training) can strengthen bones.

Certain medications are beneficial in reducing many of the signs and symptoms of menopause.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestin
  • treats hot flashes
  • reduce fracture risk by building bone mass
  • improve cholesterol levels
  • decrease vaginal dryness
  • estrogen and progestin combination associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer
  • estrogen alone associated with increased risk of endometrial cancer
  • increased risk of gallstones and blood clots
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • normally used for depression and anxiety
  • effective in reducing hot flashes
Clonidine (Catapres)
  • used to lower blood pressure
  • effective in reducing hot flashes
Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • primarily used for treating seizures
  • used to treat hot flashes
Megestrol (Megace)
  • short-term relief of hot flashes
  • not recommended as first-line drug
Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)
  • injectable
  • sometimes effective in treating hot flashes
  • may cause weight gain and bone loss
Several medication options are available for the treatment of osteoporosis during menopause.  They include:
  • Aldenodrate (Fosamax)
  • Raloxifene (Evista)
  • Calcitonin (Calcimar or Miacalcin)
There are natural remedies on the market which report to reduce hot flashes.  However, for many, the clinical studies are conflicting and inconclusive.  These include:

Black Cohosh

  • herbal supplement
  • German studies recommend limiting its use to six months or less
  • not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration
  • side effects include nausea, vomiting,  dizziness, visual problems, slow heart beat, and excessive sweating
Plant Estrogens (Phytoestrogens)
  • soy is an example
  • safety of soy in women with breast cancer not established
Other Herbal Preparations - avoid or take under supervision of health care provider
  • dong quai
  • red clover
  • chaste-berry
  • yam cream
  • Chinese medicinal herbs
  • evening primrose oil
There are several treatment options available to help alleviate the symptoms of menopause.  These treatments should be individualized for each patient.  As many of these methods are not without risk, they should be implemented and monitored under the guidance of a physician.

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