Menopause and Aging in WomenSome conventional doctors tend to treat menopause rather than the person experiencing menopausal symptoms. Often, they don't even bother testing hormone levels, and simply prescribe fixed dosages of artificial hormones like Premarin. 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 you, rather than to treat some generalized concept of "menopause" which may not apply to you at all.
The Female Hormone Evaluation
The Female Hormone Balancing Program begins, like all our programs, with an evaluation. This may include:
What effects can I expect from the Hormone Program? The reality is that the reduction of a woman's hormonal output results in changes that can seriously affect her physical and mental states of health as well as her prospects for longevity. Here are some of the most common symptoms of hormone decline, and the kinds of changes that can be expected with the Hormone Program.
The most common menopausal symptom is hot flashes, sudden sensations of intense heat. Some women break out with red blotches on the chest, back, and/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 decreasing estrogen levels and can linger for years. Hormone modulation can prevent or at least relieve hot flashes.
Vaginal/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 and some women become more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Restoring hormones to optimal levels can make the vaginal mucosa thicker, more moist, more elastic, and healthier.
Loss of Libido
Rarely discussed, the loss of sex drive is another by-product of the menopausal experience. Women generally have 1/10th to 1/20th of the testosterone levels that men have. The waning of her pre-menopausal level of testosterone can be a contributing factor to a woman's 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.
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 contributes mightily to the emotional changes of post-menopausal women. Hormone modulation can prevent fluctuating hormone levels from making things worse.
Heart disease is 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.
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 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 have been very promising therapies.
Hormone replacement therapy began in the 1940's and has been refined considerably over the past sixty years. While there are still contraindications for some women (e.g., those with history of breast disease and uterine cancer), many physicians feel that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Much of the medical field agrees that hormone therapy:
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