Aging is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women of Palm Beach 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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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.
Treatment for Menopause
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.
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
- normally used for depression and anxiety
- effective in reducing hot flashes
- used to lower blood pressure
- effective in reducing hot flashes
- primarily used for treating seizures
- used to treat hot flashes
- short-term relief of hot flashes
- not recommended as first-line drug
- sometimes effective in treating hot flashes
- may cause weight gain and bone loss
- Aldenodrate (Fosamax)
- Raloxifene (Evista)
- Calcitonin (Calcimar or Miacalcin)
- 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
- soy is an example
- safety of soy in women with breast cancer not established
- dong quai
- red clover
- yam cream
- Chinese medicinal herbs
- evening primrose oil
Testosterone Replacement Therapy or a Testosterone Booster?
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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