Aging is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women of Broward often complain of a diminished sense of wellbeing, 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 wellbeing diminished, but anticipation and enjoyment of sexual activity is waning as well.
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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.
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What is the underlying cause of impotence, depression, fatigue, excess body fat and osteoporosis in an estimated four million American men? Low Testosterone.
Natural supplements can be an alternative to creams, gels and patches. Dietary changes are slower but have less side effects.
For men, testosterone and DHEA ( a precursor hormone for testosterone) diminish after the age of 40. Actually the peak age is 17 and then production slowly falls off for the rest of your life. It does not become noticeable until around 40 plus.
Your doctor can perform a simple test to measure your testosterone. Normal levels range from 300 to 1,000 ng/dl.
Talk to him - you may be able to get some changes going using what nature has provided.
Traditionally Asia's most prized herb for hundreds of years is Ginseng root. Most of North America's crop of ginseng is mainly shipped to China. Ginseng is supposed to increase blood flow.
Sarsaparill contains a testosterone-like substance. Most main stream physicians will tell you that it has no effect.
Saw Palmetto at 120-360 mg daily is supposed to reduce the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. (see Low Testosterone)
Diet and Testosterone
Adjust your diet to make sure you get the good stuff. Zinc, Manganese and Niacin (B3) are absolutely essential. Add pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
Milk Thistle is a good source of zinc and is very helpful to your liver.
Niacin is found in beef liver and brewer's yeast. If you go the beef liver route be sure it is grass fed beef. Use caution in supplements as Niacin (B3) in amounts over 500 mg may cause liver damage.
Of course, if you already have diabetes, glaucoma, gout, ulcers or any liver disease you must consult your physician before adding additional B3 supplements to your diet.
The FDA and traditionally physicians do not believe that DHEA supplements taken orally do any good. That being said, the suggested way to take DHEA is 2 weeks, discontinue for 2 weeks and then repeat. Taking this supplement daily continually is detrimental.
If you have read about Yohimbe and are tempted - use caution. This herb has been associated with panic attacks, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, headaches and dizziness. It is also bad for the kidneys.
Flavonoids (whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables) are protective in coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. Research is being done to determine if one flavonoid, chrysin, found in high concentrations in honey could inhibit the aromatase action that turns testosterone into estrogen. If it does work, that would increase the level of testosterone. If it doesn't work, at least you are doing good things for your heart.
How to Lose Weight by Eating Fruit
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a very important hormone, primarily produced in males via their testicles, and in smaller quantities from their adrenal glands. Females produce much smaller amounts of this hormone than men do, via the ovaries as well as adrenal glands. The importance of testosterone in the male body lies in how it controls the expression of sexual characteristics at different stages in the body's development, regulates sexual functions later in life, and assists in the generation of bone and muscle mass, among other functions it governs.
In healthy human males, testosterone levels peak in young adulthood, and naturally decrease over time, happening gradually and without sharp drop offs. However, some men's testosterone levels drop off suddenly, with significant and noticeable effects to their physical and mental well-being. This condition is known as "Andropause" (male menopause) or Low T. Judging by reports, it certainly seems to be on the increase.
Effects of Low Testosterone
Among the more severe and disturbing effects that low testosterone levels have on the male body, we find a decreased interest in sexual activity, erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis (weak bones) and a diminished sense of well-being. One or more of the above can easily threaten a man's sense of identity, opening the door to even more issues. Several at once can be devastating. These symptoms develop over time, so there won't necessarily be a clear before and after to refer to.
What Should I Do?
If you suspect that you are suffering from a decrease in testosterone levels, the first thing you should do is get a check up by a medical professional. There are several reliable lab tests that your physician can run to verify that you are suffering from low testosterone levels, as well as rule out other conditions that may present with similar symptoms.
You need to be candid with your doctor! We realize this can be an embarrassing subject, but your doctor will only be able to help if you give them a full picture of what's going on. The sooner you check up on this, and the more straightforward you are, the higher the chances of being helped.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
One of the ways to treat low testosterone levels is to introduce more testosterone into the body. Testosterone can now be manufactured commercially, and is available in different forms that, once applied in the proper manner, will go into the body increasing levels temporarily. Some of the more common forms that commercially produced testosterone comes in are gels, patches and injections.
The key part of this therapy is that it is temporary. Your body will not begin to produce testosterone in greater quantity on its own, but will instead now rely on obtaining it from the outside world. There are also some side effects involved (which are beyond the scope of this article), depending on the treatment and the dose, which should be discussed with your physician prior to selecting a product.
A better alternative, and one well worth trying, is to use a testosterone booster. Unlike testosterone replacement therapy, testosterone boosters do not introduce testosterone into the body. What they do is increase the body's ability to produce this hormone at higher levels, sometimes even at levels similar to before the condition started. Additionally, many of these boosters are made of all natural ingredients with proven ability to naturally raise testosterone production, and without many of the side effects that come with replacement therapies.
Since they work to recover the body's ability to produce testosterone, they also do not shock the body by introducing large amounts at any given time, as happens with an injection. There are many products on the market, though, and you will want to look at online reviews and other information to separate the wheat from the chaff.
More importantly, this does not relieve you of the need to talk to your physician. Remember there are other conditions which can cause similar, or identical, symptoms. You definitely do not want to be treating the wrong condition. A doctor's professional opinion, along with good lab work, is essential.
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