Bioidentical Hormones For Women’s Health
Hormone imbalances can occur at anytime during a woman’s lifetime, but most women experience imbalances during perimenopause or menopause. There are many symptoms that can occur with perimenopause, which typically occurs in the 40’s. When the first symptoms appear, such as insomnia, fuzzy brain, mood swings, hot flashes, loss of libido, increased PMS, and irregular menstrual periods, Dr. Lee offers the information and can begin the process for alleviating symptoms with the use of bio-identical hormones.
Menopause refers to that time in every woman’s life when menstruation ceases completely, and the ovaries’ output of estrogen and progesterone diminishes severely. In addition to signifying the end of a woman’s ability to have children, changing hormone levels affect the entire endocrine system. This is a process, which takes approximately 3 to 5 years. Menopause is considered to begin when a woman has had no periods for a full year. Although timing varies from woman to woman, menopause is generally complete in the early 50’s, but technically, it can occur anytime from 35 to 55. During menopause, most women experience symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal changes, urinary issues, mood changes, osteoporosis, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy helps women to replace hormones that are deficient, which can provide a multitude of benefits that can alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Some of these benefits may include:
Reduced Hot Flashes
The most common menopausal symptom is hot flashes, sudden sensations of intense heat. Some women break out with red blotches on the chest, back, or arms, sweat profusely, and also experience cold and shivering until their bodies readjust. While some women never experience hot flashes, some women endure them for up to 30 minutes at a time. Hot flashes are generally considered to be a direct result of changing estrogen levels and can linger for years. Hormone modulation can prevent or at least relieve hot flashes.
Improved Vaginal and Urinary Tract Changes
As hormone levels decrease, the walls of the vagina become thinner, dryer, less elastic and more susceptible to infection. This condition can also make intercourse uncomfortable. Tissues in the urinary tract can also change with the decrease of hormonal levels. Some women experience incontinence. Some women become more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Restoring hormones to optimal levels can make the vaginal mucosa thicker, more moist, more elastic, more resistant to infection, and healthier.
Rarely discussed, the loss of sex drive is another by-product of the menopausal experience. Women generally have 1/10th to 1/50th of the testosterone levels that men have. The waning of her pre-menopausal level of testosterone can be a contributing factor to a woman¹s loss of desire for sexual intercourse. Hormone modulation, including testosterone, can increase a woman’s sexual desire and enjoyment and help maintain normal body composition and energy. It also helps to maintain bone and reduce brain fog.
More Balanced Emotions
For some women, menopause heralds a period of enormous freedom. For others it is a roller coaster ride, with emotional peaks and valleys, and for many, depression becomes an all-too-frequent companion. Though certainly such factors as lifestyle, alteration of family roles, changing social networks, and “emptying the nest” play a large part in this, it is also safe to say that the loss of hormones contribute mightily to the emotional changes of post-menopausal women. Hormone modulation can prevent fluctuating hormone levels from making things worse.
Osteoporosis is definitely not just a woman’s disease. More men get it than prostate disease, according to Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women, Strong Bones. However, it is more common in women, and it is now estimated that one out of every two post-menopausal women will suffer some degree of osteoporosis. Those with a history of osteoporosis and those who are thin and fair skinned, and those who have smoked, seemed to be more at risk, but osteoporosis is a manifestation of estrogen insufficiency. It is a gradual, yet debilitating condition in which bones become fragile, thin, and prone to fracture. Building up bone density prior to menopause is the best strategy for osteoporosis prevention, but once menopause has occurred, the most effective therapy is hormone modulation. The National Institute on Aging has said, “Remarkably, estrogen saves more bone tissue than even very large daily doses of calcium.” Hormone modulation and optimizing nutrition with phytonutrients and supplementary calcium and Vitamin D, and weight bearing exercise have been very promising therapies.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is, by far, the number one killer of American women. It is responsible for over half of the deaths of women over age 50. After menopause, the incidence of cardiovascular disease increases. Smoking and a family history of heart disease increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but low estrogen levels make the risk much higher. As a direct result of estrogen deficiency, LDL (“bad cholesterol”) appears to increase and HDL (“good cholesterol”) decreases. What happens is that after menopause, fat tends to accumulate on artery walls, eventually clogging them. Early recognition, lifestyle changes, and hormone modulation have been shown to be very effective in reducing the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women. The Age Management Menopause and Beyond Program Can Help.
Traditional doctors tend to treat menopause rather than the person experiencing menopausal symptoms. Often, they don¹t even bother testing hormone levels, and simply prescribe fixed dosages of artificial hormones. The fact is that every woman is different, and each woman will experience this time of her life in a different way. Therefore it is important to take measurements before beginning any hormone program. This allows us to design a program specifically to fit the individual, rather than to treat some generalized concept of “menopause” which may not apply at all.