Female Hormone Balance, From Maiden to Fertility to Revered Elder:
Women’s monthly hormone cycles make themselves known in obvious ways. Missed periods, excessive bleeding, disruptive mood changes or cravings, infertility, or sadly even downright pain, are hard to miss. Restoring hormone balance and rhythm can have profound benefits for well-being, fertility, and overall health throughout the reproductive years of a woman’s life cycle.
During “peri-menopause” (five years before and five years after the last menstrual cycle), as the ovaries are preparing to go dormant, the ideal pattern is a gradual tapering-off, with a missed period here and there, and then peaceful cessation of menses, with no drama and no upset — and then, welcome to revered elder status! Sadly, few of us are so lucky. Surgical menopause (hysterectomy) is especially harsh, but even without surgery, the hormone fluctuations at this time of life can cause unexpected misery. Besides bleeding disorders which can be life-threatening in severe cases, it is common for the brain itself to become inflamed when deprived of its accustomed hormone cocktail, leading to “brain fog” (difficulties with memory, concentration, focus) and emotional unsteadiness. Estrogen deprivation can also affect the brain by causing embarrassing tearfulness, as if the “off switch” for weeping had been taken away; not a pretty picture for a professional woman trying to hold her own in a meeting. Diagnosis is simple with a take-home saliva test kit from ZRT Lab.
Bio-identical hormones — real human hormones, not horse estrogens and not synthetic progesterone caricatures — when prescribed skillfully, will provide safe relief from hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, brain fog, lost libido, dried-up skin, and much more. Sometimes relief and well-being can be found with herbs, nutrition, and lifestyle improvements. Every woman deserves to find her own unique answer.
The #1 best-selling prescription drug for several decades was Premarin, the commercial hormone blend targeting menopausal women. Premarin and Prempro fell from grace a few years ago when it was revealed that they actually worsen heart disease. This is just one of many reasons to favor real human (bio-identical) hormones over their synthetic mimics. The names of these two drugs tell the story: Premarin is made from PREgnant MARes’ urINe, loaded with horse estrogens, some of them similar to human estrogens, but some of them 10 times stronger than human ones. Prempro adds synthetic PROgestin, a bizarre mimic of real human progesterone that is infamous for causing mood disorders due to brain inflammation.
Birth control pills contain synthetic progestins, as well. There is a prevalent confusion about the difference between synthetic progestins and real human progesterone. Please be aware that real human progesterONE is bio-identical and typically quite beneficial, while artificial progesTINs have partially similar and partially opposite effects in the female body. “I am reminded of the 1960′s commercial that said It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature,” says Dr. McKay, “because the effects of synthetic progestins can be so paradoxical, including lots of brain effects.” Birth control pills suppress women’s own hormones so much that natural libido often disappears as well. This is not a side effect that most women would willingly accept, if only they were fully informed. There is no valid one-size-fits-all answer here, and a well-informed discussion every few years is essential to good health and a great quality of life.
Please call Deborah McKay, N.D. directly at 800-775-4902 Ext. 164 to schedule your initial appointment, discuss your symptoms and decide on a course of treatment for your specific needs.
Congratulations on taking charge of your health and we look forward to speaking with you!