Find your "Hormone Sweet Spot".

Perimenopause

The New Midlife Crisis

Today I saw an article on Oprah’s website entitled THE NEW MIDLIFE CRISIS Why (and How) It’s Hitting Gen X Women.  These kind of articles intrigue me because I’m always waiting so see if anyone will “get it” and offer women a real solution to their nightmare midlife crisis. 

What this article isn’t addressing is the root cause of why this is happening (ovarian dysfunction and offered no real solutions. The truth is women are completely dependent on estrogen to keep their minds and bodies from spiraling into a decline of depression, anxiety, and malcontent, and if the ovaries are dysfunctional, they will not be able to produce healthy levels of estrogen. Dr. Pinkerton says these things are caused by perimenopause but doesn’t really get into what causes perimenopause or how to properly fix it. To be crystal clear, perimenopause is caused by declining circulating estrogen levels creating menstrual irregularity, and can happen to any woman at any age. This decline causes the menstrual cycles to peter out until a woman hasn’t had a period for over a year (menopause), which means her estrogen is in the tank. Estrogen affects every function in the female body right down to the core of every cell, and the longer a woman goes without healthy circulating estrogen, the worse she feels. Women spend 2/3rds of their lives estrogen deficient and the older they get, the longer they go without estrogen, the more rapid the mental and physical decline.

Estrogen is the hormone that allows a woman to cope, strategize, and have a sense of control over their lives, and keeping women deprived of estrogen is barbaric. We live in an age where women of younger and younger ages are experiencing perimenopausal symptoms because their dysfunctional ovaries were handed down by their mother and have never really known what it’s like to have healthy estrogen levels because when a young woman has menstrual irregularity, they are shuffled to the doctors office and put on birth control pills and anti-depressants, with no one ever addressing the ovarian failure at the cause. So in reality, women spend most of their lives never knowing how good they can feel had they had some decent circulating estrogen.

It doesn’t matter how many hikes a woman goes on, how many meditation sessions she has, or how healthy she eats, if she is hypoestrogenic, she will never feel good mentally or physically, and have behavioral issues.

It is well documented the importance of estrogen on the mind, body, and behavior of a woman. I’m again disappointed that no one is suggesting women address the ovarian failure and hypoestrogenism and restore their hormones back to performance levels to preserve the mind, body, behavior, and menstrual cycle. If we know what causes this miserable decline, why not fix it? There is no reason a woman should ever have to go through perimenopause or menopause, or the miserable drugs, surgeries and treatments conventional medicine pushes onto women.

What a depressing article, they offer no real solution when one exists for most women.

If you’re suffering with perimenopause and would like to see if you can reverse or avoid it, make a complementary 20 minutes consultation with me by clicking on the button below and we’ll see how I can help get you to your personal “Hormone Sweet Spot”.

Perimenopause via Tubal Ligation

Most women don’t get the memo they will go into perimenopause if they get a tubal ligation. Over the last nearly 15 years working in the field of Hormone Medicine, I’ve been talking to women (and men) about hormones and hormone replacement therapies. Patients typically schedule a consultation with me before considering hormone therapy and I give them the run –down on what they can expect, what their responsibilities are, and what it might look like for them overall so they can make an informed decision as to whether hormone therapy is right for them and what kind. In this initial consultation, I listen to every patient as they give me their history of illness, symptoms, treatments, and medications. With hundreds of patients in a hormone specialty clinic, both men and women are quite frank about how they feel and what other providers have said to them. As with any field of specialty, complaints from patients tend to be the same and consistent from patient to patient and our patients are no exception.

Recently my cousin Claire reached out via text and asked if she could ask me a few questions regarding her health and Hormone Medicine. After reading her text messages out loud to a colleague, we looked at each other and smiled. We hear the same things from woman after woman no matter what her age is saying the exact same things. We chuckle because it’s almost verbatim as if they were all reading off the same script. Below is 38-year-old Cousin Claire’s random text messages indicating how miserable she is and what she tried to do about it. It’s not uncommon for women who’re low in estrogen to lose the ability to fluidly articulate the magnitude of how crappy they feel but this is a perfect example…

“On 1/4/16 I woke up very sick with a bad cold. Must have been some sort of infection because it wouldn’t go away so by February I went to the Nurse Practitioner. I was given a Z-Pak and told it was some type of bronchitis. After the round of antibiotics I still felt like crap but a bit better in March.  

In April I noticed my front teeth felt funny. It wasn’t until I felt some pain that I took note my front gums and lip were actually swollen. My regular dentist looked and took pictures and said maybe it’s an autoimmune problem. Another dentist a week later looked and said go to oral surgeon. Oral surgeon looked and said autoimmune.

Now I had awful headaches and couldn’t hardly function a full day at work. Exhausted and ended up with several panic attacks. Very unusual for me. Went to cardiologist and I have a very healthy heart, no concerns. I was tested for leukemia but that came back negative. Phew….    

I went to women’s health specialist who said they had no clue, but didn’t think it was hormonal in nature. I asked because I had my tubes tied two years ago and had missed a period. That also is weird.  

I had several blood tests all of which I could scan and email to you. Some thyroid stuff off but rheumatologist said no lupus (I had positive Ana test and symptoms that matched) and no thyroid disorder.

Finally got a new primary and she sent me to an Ear Nose & Throat specialist. They said I had an enlarged thyroid and needed to see an endocrinologist.   My symptoms are odd and off the wall. Just had another abnormal period. That is the short version of it…  

My symptoms: 

  • Swollen red gums
  • Severe headaches
  • Muscle soreness/pain not from exercising
  • Exhaustion
  • Foggy brain
  • Frequent nausea
  • No appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Odd periods
  • Cramping to the point of feeling awful even when I didn’t have my period
  • Extremely dry, itchy skin

It feels like all the “specialists” I have seen think I’m crazy, except the dentist who believes me but can’t help me. I’ve been pushed from one person to another. My old primary told me this pain might be my new normal. I won’t accept it. This is not normal.

I think the exercise I do is the only thing keeping me from really getting too low. There are days and weeks that exercise is too hard and I can’t do it. But if I skip for too long my depression comes back too strongly. I’m obsessed with running and will at least do a mile if I can tie my sneakers. That is my happy place (that is when my chest pain – apparently fake – isn’t bothering me).”

It frustrates me how women have to deal with this like being on the exercise wheel of conventional medicine. The truth is doctors are purposely left in the dark with regards to what causes all these symptoms and what to do about it. The reality is every symptom, including her angioneurotic edema, is a result of estrogen deficiency.  When estrogen is right, none of these symptoms exist in our patients. As estrogen becomes healthy, each issue diminishes for most to nothing. Our modern medical model ships women from specialist to specialist as if we are all parts. There isn’t one function in the female body that estrogen does not affect so piece-mealing medicine doesn’t make sense. Every cell in a woman’s body depends on healthy levels of estrogen so when it gets too low, our body will fall apart all over the place, mentally, physically, and physiologically. If physicians were properly educated as to the true benefits of our main-sex hormones, it would be first-line therapy to check levels up front. Doing this would save time, money, medications, and mental and physical misery.

Tubal ligation will cause a woman to go into premature perimenopause within 1 to 3 years post surgery due to lack of blood flow to the ovaries.  Though tubal ligation does not directly affect estrogen production, reducing the blood supply to the ovaries will cause them to malfunction and not produce supercritical estrogen in health amounts.  Dysfunctioning ovaries under produce estrogen, if at all, leaving women estrogen deficient.   Women who are hormonally sound don’t feel the way Claire does. I tend to get a little giddy when I hear women tell me their stories because I know the impact their new hormone therapy will have on them over the next few months. They have no idea how much their lives are going to change. Their symptoms will go away and will feel alive again if done correctly. The greatest impact of intelligently administered hormones like Panacea|HRT is what it does to the brain of a woman. I can always tell by the look in a female patient’s eyes when she has plenty of estrogen running through her blood. It’s like the light goes back on.

If you’d like more information on how to get to your personal “Hormone Sweet Spot”, click on the button below and make a complementary consultation with me.

Perimenopause: The Beginning of the End

Over 15+ years of listening to patient after patient complain about the same issues, you get a good sense of what perimenopausal women go through on a daily basis. They are suffering in silence as no one is coming clean with what’s really going on with them. It’s not that doctors are withholding information, it’s just they too have been purposely left in the dark about the fate of women and what they go through after age thirty. I’m not sure why no one is connecting the dots to the mental and physical decline of women and estrogen levels. It’s really not rocket science. Most women know the crappy way their feeling has something to do with her hormones. Many patients tell me they always knew it was their hormones that were the problem but no one would acknowledge it or properly address it. Most women are told they have a chemical imbalance or that it’s all in their head and given prescriptions for a cocktail of psychotropic drugs and birth control pills.

If you’re over the age of 30, I don’t have to tell you how miserable you feel underneath it all, and if you’re in menopause, you know it only gets worse. Perimenopause is the beginning of the end. It is the initial transitioning phase leading into menopause. This process is called the climacteric though that word is rarely used; today women refer to perimenopause as one condition and menopause as the other but it’s really a process of declining hormones. Women who’ve suffered with PMS or PMDD will have a more miserable climacteric experience than women who did not. The reason for this is PMS, PMDD, perimenopause, and menopause is caused by the same thing, dysfunctional ovaries, which in turn create estrogen deficiency issues. In the 1957 article Sex Steroid Influence on the Aging Process by William Masters of “Masters & Johnson” [1] he states the ovaries are the Achilles heel of women. The truth is, women spend more of their lives without functioning ovaries than with them, and it’s only a matter of when and to what extent each woman will become a victim of estrogen deficiency [2]. We’ve seen this to be clinically true with all of our female patients.

The big miss doctors are not addressing is if we know women’s brains and bodies decline as estrogen does, why aren’t we addressing this issue as first line therapy at the doctors office? Why aren’t doctors taught how to properly restore main-sex hormones to healthy levels to prevent PMS, PMDD, perimenopause, menopause, and all the other mental and physical problems associated with estrogen deficiency women are told they have to live with? It was these questions I couldn’t get real answers to that made me start Panacea Sciences Foundation for HRT Research, a start up research foundation dedicated to the advancement of hormone replacement therapy medicine and education for doctors and mid-level practitioners. As it stands now, there is no place for physicians to get proper HRT training that teaches them intelligent HRT dosing and restoration. Panacea Sciences has developed a 4th generation HRT system called the Panacea Protocol using Panacea|HRT hormones to do this very thing. We developed clinical training protocols and will have two training summits next year in California starting in the early spring of 2017 that teaches clinicians intelligent HRT dosing and restoration. If you have a doctor interested in proper HRT training, email info@panaceasciences.com with your doctor’s information we can add them to our contact list when training registration begins. Make sure you put “Physician Training” in the subject line. If you need your hormones restored, ask your doctor to get trained the right way so you can get your life back.

If you’d like more information on how to get to your personal “Hormone Sweet Spot”, click on the button below and make a complementary consultation with me.


[1] MASTERS WH. Sex steroid influence on the aging process. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 74(4):733-42; discussion 742-6. 1957. [PubMed]

[2] Wilson RA, Brevetti RE, Wilson TA. Specific procedures for the elimination of the menopause. Western journal of surgery, obstetrics, and gynecology. 71(1):110-21. 1980. [pubmed]

Menstrual Migraines

Migraine is a common and often debilitating neurologic disorder that affects approximately 18% of women and 6% of men. Migraine prevalence is highest in women between the ages of 35 to 45 (Perimenopause), exactly during the time in her life when it is becoming more challenging for her to sustain sufficient estrogen levels throughout her menstrual cycle. Women who experience menstrual migraines typically link their migraines to a specific phase in the menstrual cycle. Menstrual migraines are typically characterized as worse and frequently less responsive to conventional treatment. They may occur as often as three to four times a week with a level of debility that may necessitate bed rest for days. The trigger for menstrual migraines is the fall in estrogen levels that occur just following ovulation, or just around the time of the period.

Headache is the most prominent feature of migraine and commonly associated with photophobia (sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to sound), nausea and vomiting. Following a severe migraine attack the migraine sufferer frequently experiences fatigue, irritability, impaired concentration, and muscle weakness.

Migraine is now recognized as a neurovascular disorder secondary to brain dysfunction with vascular consequences that lead to head pain. Low serotonin levels in the brain are believed to mediate constriction and dilatation of the blood vessels that trigger a migraine. As the blood vessels become inflamed with every heartbeat, blood passes through these inflamed and sensitive blood vessels and causes a throbbing pain sensation, resulting in the migraine symptom complex.

Dropping estrogen levels below optimal physiological levels triggers menstrual migraines. Estradiol has been shown to affect pain processing and pain sensitivity through its regulation of serotonin. Serotonergic agonists drugs, such as Imitrex, capitalize on this principle by activating serotonin receptors to stop a migraine attack. Sometimes migraines worsen or develop for the first time in a woman’s life after menopause. The reason is the same—declining estrogen leads to declining serotonin and reduction of estrogen’s anti-inflammatory effects on the blood vessels. The best solution for menstrual and menopausal-related migraines is to treat the underlying cause—declining estrogen levels.  Restoring estrogen levels that mimic a healthy reproductive woman typically eliminates migraines in women.  As long as a woman’s estrogen is sound, she may never have another migraine as long as she lives.

If you’d like more information on how to get to your personal “Hormone Sweet Spot”, click on the button below and make a complementary consultation with me.

15 Perimenopause Signs No One Tells You

The North American Menopause Society posted an article that was in Reader’s Digest on Facebook entitled 15 Signs No One Tells You Come Before Menopause. The Reader’s Digest article is written by Susan Jara quotes Ellen Dolgen as a menopause expert as to these “15 Signs” but falls short of really helping women how to address these issues. It’s articles like this that makes women think they have to suffer through perimenopause and menopause when in reality they do not.

1.  Breast Tenderness –Ellen Dolgen says it’s impossible to know when your breasts are going to begin throbbing and says that breasts will feel more lumpy but offers no real solution.  There are several reasons women get breast tenderness in perimenopause but the main reason is because they’re estrogen dominant. Estrogen dominance is an estrogen deficiency disease. I explain this in greater detail in my post “Estrogen Dominance or Deficient?”. Diet, medications, and low estrogen cause boobs to hurt and throb. When estrogen gets too low and a woman eats a high carb and sugar diet, normal estrogen will not detoxify properly out of the body and will store in fat. Sore boobs are brought on by low estrogen causing an estrogen dominance effect. Keeping estrogen in healthy reproductive ranges will eliminate sore and throbbing boobs and many other perimenopause signs. Lumpy boobs happen to women whose estrogen has fallen too low. The lower estrogen gets, the more lumpy and ropy breast tissue will be. To never have lumpy, ropey boobs again, keep estrogen in healthy reproductive ranges. In the long run, estrogen deficiency contributes to breast tenderness because there isn’t sufficient estrogen to induce the progesterone receptors. Without adequate progesterone receptor up-regulation, the progesterone isn’t able to down regulate the estrogen receptor therefore calming the proliferative effect of estrogen on the breast tissue. If you pay attention, your boobs will cycle right along with your menstrual cycle.

2.  Unexpected Bruising–Most people don’t expect to bruise but as we age, bruises come up all over our body when it doesn’t make sense. This article states that because women become clumsier in perimenopause, which leads to the increased bruising, and that fluctuating hormones makes skin thinner causing you to bruise easier. It’s not clumsiness that causes perimenopausal women to bruise easier, nor because our skin is thinner due to fluctuating hormones. Women bruise easier without trauma in perimenopause because their estrogen is dropping too low, and/or anemia (brought on by estrogen deficiency). Hormones aren’t fluctuating, they’re declining and when our bodies run out of the very juice that tells our brains we’re alive and well, then our body responds. One of the ways we respond is by our body’s inability to absorb nutrients from our food and supplements. One of the main nutrients our body loses when we lose estrogen is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is critical in our body’s ability to prevent bruising, and if a woman has a toxic gut, on medications or low in estrogen, she will bruise easily no matter how old she is.

3.  Dry Eyes–Dolgen got this right about declining hormones but didn’t offer a real solution to fix the problem. Dry eyes, like everything else in the female body will dry up when estrogen levels decline, as well as the ocular tissues. All tissues in the female body are designed to shrivel up and deteriorated as estrogen tanks. The lower estrogen gets, the more “raisin-like” we get from head to toe, in our brain and body. The best way to prevent or completely eliminate altogether is get your estrogen levels back into healthy reproductive ranges again. Women with healthy levels of estrogen do not have dry eyes. Dry eyes need not be one of the 15  perimenopause signs.

4. Chin Hair–Dolgen and the Northern Menopause Society says chin hair is an all-too-common symptom of perimenopause but offers no solution for increased facial hair and hair loss on our head. No matter how old a woman is, if her estrogen is too low, she will lose her hair. The longer she goes without estrogen will cause an increase of coarse facial hair on the chin and upper lip and a peach fuzz blanket on the sides of the face an jaw. This does not happen to women who maintain healthy levels of estrogen.

5. Heart Palpitations–This article says the studies show epinephrine and norepinephrine fluctuate causing heart palpitations in menopausal women which is the cause of heart palpitations. Clinically speaking, when working in a menopause and hormone clinic, I had the chance to witness hundreds of patients’ bodies and brains transform as they got hormone levels back to healthy ranges. One of the most common things women complained about coming in with low estrogen is heart palpitations and it’s one the most reversible symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. When we lose our estrogen, our tissues begin to shrivel up including muscles such as the heart. The walls and strength of the heart is compromised as estrogen declines. When estrogen is restored, the tissues rebuild and become strong again. Outside the brain, it is the heart that benefits the most from adequate levels of estrogen. Outside the brain, it is the heart that is the most compromised as estrogen declines. This deterioration process can be avoided completely is estrogen remains sound.

6. Urinary Leakage— Lower estrogen levels cause the lining of the urethra to thin, says JoAnn V. Pinkerton, MD, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). This is where there is a disconnect in modern medicine and estrogen deficiency diseases. We can find experts that tell us what causes the problem but they don’t offer any real solutions like don’t let your estrogen fall too low, or let’s restore your estrogen back to healthy levels to fix the problem altogether. When estrogen declines, all tissues in the body are designed to deteriorate and decay. Estrogen levels tell our brains and bodies where we are in our lifespan. When estrogen is low, no matter how old we are, our brains and bodies will decline. If estrogen remains in a healthy range, this declining does not take place like it would without estrogen. The best way to keep from peeing your pants when you laugh is keep estrogen in healthy reproductive ranges. You can get significant improvement or an elimination of urinary incontinence if you get your estrogen back.

7. Dry Skin— Less estrogen equals acne and dry and thinning skin for many women in entering menopause, which Dr. Pinkerton likens to “reverse puberty.” It’s also common to experience flare-ups or new cases of allergies and eczema during this time, adds Dolgen, whose swears by coconut oil for softer skin and smaller pores. While Ellen Dolgen swears by coconut oil, I swear by estrogen restoration. When estrogen declines in women, so does the moisture throughout our entire body, eyes, vagina, mouth, joints, poop, skin, hair, etc. No matter how much water you consume estrogen levels decide how much water our body will utilize and keep throughout. Some patients after getting healthy levels of estrogen no longer use lotion or other lubricants to rehydrate the skin because it’s no longer necessary. Low estrogen also contributes to low secondary hormones like thyroid. When estrogen and thyroid are low in women, it’s guaranteed moisture in the body is low. Allergies, eczema and psoriasis are also estrogen deficiency issues that do not exist when the toxic gut is cleaned and estrogen is restored.

8. Body Odor–This article states, “A drop in estrogen levels tricks your hypothalamus gland into thinking you’re overheated, signaling your body to sweat more.” This isn’t the case. It’s not sweat that makes you stink, it’s the lack of estrogen, circulation, and water that causes us to stink. Detoxifying our body and gut and restoring estrogen cleanses the odor our body produces. The lower estrogen gets, the worse women stink. The same holds true for men and declining testosterone levels. Our sense of smell also changes when estrogen declines. Old women smell like decaying flesh the older they get. This is an actual scent of the living decaying the physical body has when estrogen is low. If you gave an old aging woman estrogen, her body scent would change to less a decaying smelling odor and more sweet to our olfactory glands.

9. Migraines— Migraines may start for the first time, or worsen, when you start going through menopause because of new hormonal fluctuations, says Dr. Pinkerton.  Migraines only happen to women whose estrogen is too low. Women with healthy levels of estrogen do not get migraines no matter how old she is.

10. Vaginal Dryness— Sex-stifling vaginal dryness was one of the most difficult symptoms for Dolgen. “Your vagina takes a trip to the desert and takes your eyes and skin along with it,” she says. Lower estrogen levels cause thinner, drier and less-elastic vaginal tissue and decrease blood flow to the area. The result: vaginal dryness, itching, and painful sex. I recommend to never let your estrogen fall in the first place so this deterioration and dryness never happens. The walls of the vagina will not thin and be lubed up and receptive to sexual stimuli as well. Healthy estrogen levels allow a woman to respond to pheromonal messages stimulating a clitoral lubricating response in the vagina.

11. Hot Flashes–This article states that low estrogen levels contribute to hot flashes but offers no solutions as to how to keep estrogen levels up to prevent this in the first place. I discuss the Anatomy of Hot Flashes in an article I posted earlier. No woman needs to ever have a hot flash and every woman is susceptible no matter how old she is if her estrogen drops too low.

12. Weight Shifts–Though this article quotes Ellen Dolgen saying “A woman’s weight throughout her menopausal journey is impacted by five factors: hormones, diet, exercise, stress, and genetics”, she fails to tell women what those hormones levels should look like and missing a critical component of sleep that will dictate fat gain or loss. The reality is that it’s estrogen levels that dictate our shoulder-waist-hip ratio. Everyone knows the best way to fatten a sow is to take away her ovaries. A woman can exercise, eat healthy, and have good genes but if estrogen is in the tank, a perimenopausal woman will get fat and won’t be able to get rid of it as long as her estrogen is in the tank. That’s why it’s easier for younger women to lose weight than an older woman, assuming the younger woman is estrogen sound.

13. Irregular Periods–This article states that irregular periods are a nuisance but offers no solutions to work with. The truth is, no matter how old a post-menarche woman is, when her estrogen is low, she will have irregular periods. Irregular periods are a result of low estrogen levels and can be fixed if estrogen were properly dosed. No woman ever need to go into menopause at all if estrogen is kept at healthy reproductive levels.

14. Bone Loss— The less estrogen your ovaries produce, the more bone loss may accelerate. This can put you at a greater risk for osteoporosis, or bone thinning, which increases your risk of fracture. “You can lose up to 20 percent of your bones during the first five years of menopause,” Dr. Pinkerton says in this article. What Dr. Pinkerton doesn’t say is its estrogen that decides bone density and osteoporosis in women and can be reversed or prevented if estrogen were maintained at healthy reproductive levels.

15. Fuzzy Thinking–Like most of the 15 Signs in this article, cognition issues are a direct result of estrogen deficiency. Estrogen deficiency has the greatest impact on the female brain than anything else. Women without estrogen have a difficult time with cognition, memory, and “pulling up information” out of their head when estrogen is too low. The more estrogen declines, the worse it gets. This also greatly impacts a woman’s ability to cope and handle the things that come her way.

Every one of these 15 Body Signs No One Tells You Will Come Before Menopause is a direct result of estrogen deficiency. That’s what Susan Jara should’ve written, The 15 Things That Happen To Women When Their Estrogen Falls Too Low. If she had all the right information, she may have. 

If you’d like more information on how to get to your personal “Hormone Sweet Spot”, click on the button below and make a complementary consultation with me.

 

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