The Question Is…Does Menopause Ever End?

MatureHealthyFemale_lying on bedIn short, NO! The menopause never ends. It’s just the beginning.

It always astounds me when I hear women say, “I’m over the menopause.” That’s because in reality, the menopause never ends. It’s just the beginning.

Yes, the more disruptive symptoms, such as hot flushes/flashes, mood swings, weight gain, depression, sleep disorders, and others, do subside as our body adapts to the new hormonal environment (one of low hormone production). Incredible but true – our body adapts to this situation. But the more serious and deleterious issues just keep on chugging along. What do I mean by that?

Let’s take a look.

The Three Stages of Change

There are three phases of menopause, hmm…maybe four if we count premenopause (before perimenopause and menopause! 🙂 ) When we are still considered to be in our reproductive years.

All three have a name because all three exist.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the ‘symptom stage’ where we get all cranky and become another person really. Or the majority of us do anyway. Not the person we used to be. We don’t feel good. This is the stage in which our body is suffering from a sudden and drastic loss of female hormones. Our body is now in a hormonal revolt and is determined to let us know by way of symptoms.

Basically, our body is in hormonal-starvation-mode, it is suffering withdrawal symptoms. The body needs its hormones back to allow us to function correctly and rid us of all those life-destroying issues. And to allow us to return to the ‘us’ we once were.

This is when we should start thinking about embarking on a programme of bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT). Imagine the peaceful and symptom-free life you would have!

Perimenopause usually lasts from 5 to 10 years, starting at about age 45. This is an approximation of course. It can start before, last longer or start later and finish sooner. Everyone is different.

Menopause

Menopause is the, ‘you no longer have a period and haven’t had one for over 12 months. 1 year, in other words’, stage. And where your symptoms start to ease. Our body is becoming used to living without hormones. It has adapted, even if it doesn’t want to, it has to.

When we are born, we are born with 1 to 2 million undeveloped eggs in our ovaries and, by the time we reach puberty and start menstruating, approximately only 300,000 immature egg cells (or follicles) remain. Following this, an average of 600 follicles die per month, which are not replaced. By the time we reach menopause, there are no eggs left. As eggs are the main producer of female hormones, this is why we slowly become deficient (in female hormones).

Menopause means the end of our reproductive life as we know it. You can no longer make babies. We have no eggs left and without eggs there will be no oestrogen production and consequently, this leads to no more progesterone production either.

Believe it or not the brain doesn’t like this scenario, it likes to think we are still reproductive. Yes, it may sound crazy but it’s true. The brain gets confused and thinks we are of no use anymore. It believes we are only here to reproduce. Biologically speaking we are here to perpetuate the species (of course, we know better :)). We know we still have a lot to give. Unfortunately, though, the brain isn’t convinced about this. Luckily, we can now do something about it…we have an option. BHRT is that option.

Bioidentical hormones, ‘the miracle molecule’, help reset the brain into thinking all is well again. They kind of trick the brain. Life will continue as before, or maybe even better than before! Even if we are no longer capable of making babies. Hormones nourish the brain and the body and keep it working at optimal.

Post-menopause

So what happens after menopause, when symptoms of perimenopause have subsided and we no longer have a period? Does this mean the menopause has ended, that everything goes back to normal and life just starts all over again? Was the perimenopause just a hiccup? Was menopause just a message telling us we could no longer reproduce? Not exactly.

Yes, it is true that the majority of menopausal women find that symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, sleeping difficulties, mood swings, etc are transitory. And last only as long as it takes the body to adapt to the lower hormone levels. But don’t kid yourself, the menopause is not over. There are other menopausal health issues that are happening within the body. We are talking post-menopause here.

In fact, more important and permanent changes such as drying and thinning skin and vaginal membranes, dry eyes, foggy memory and a decreased urinary tract tone, to name a few, are the next step in this body-change. Basically, this is your body breaking down, sad to say but true. This is your body talking to you. You need to listen to it and take action. We do have a choice now, an alternative…an option!

As time passes, other developments such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, cancers, diabetes, and cognitive problems all become more apparent. All of these health issues are known as age-related diseases. They are related to ageing and hormonal loss. Our repair molecules are missing. Hormones play a critical role in repair and regeneration because they are the most comprehensive messaging machine in the human body.

They are the human network of health. They are what keep us in one piece. They are what make us work. With missing or low levels we will feel it. In truth, low hormone levels put an enormous stress on the entire body. Imagine putting petrol in a diesel car…same concept. It won’t work very well. Chug chug! Then it grinds to a halt.

With low hormone levels the body cannot repair or regenerate itself as fast as it once did, and certainly, will not function properly. It will start to ‘chug’ and slow. You see this every day on the streets. Just compare a young woman of 20, in her prime, to a woman of 50, then to a mature woman of 80. Do you notice the ‘chug syndrome’?

This is what happens to the body post-menopause. You don’t feel it like you feel the initial symptoms in perimenopause because it’s moving so slowly, but the body is giving us other indicators now. Your body is struggling. It’s running on low. It’s in breakdown mode.

I am not saying that bioidentical hormones stop us from ageing totally, we all age and we all die. But they definitely slow and ease the ageing process. We age more gracefully. They make us feel and look good. They help us avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort. We can choose how we want to age. In illness or in health. We can hold back age-related and chronic diseases…honest we can. We now have a new template for change. Let’s embrace this change, this new way of ageing. We no longer have to accept the traditional way of ageing, we CAN make ageing good.

We can choose whether to take bioidentical hormones or not. They are truly the key to optimal health and optimal ageing.

Please don’t kid yourself that the menopause ends. Just because your symptoms have subsided does not mean you are no longer in menopause. In fact, as you’ve now understood, you are seriously in menopause…big time. The trick is to keep your body, brain and immune system strong. All of which bioidentical hormones do.

Why am I telling you this?

Why? Because I truly want to help you understand that we DO NOT have to sit quietly and suffer the symptoms of menopause, or in the long-term, the consequences of post-menopause (body breakdown), which brings with it turmoil and the age-related diseases mentioned above, and many many others.

When we restore our hormones we can avoid the symptoms of perimenopause, curb chronic disease, and slow the ageing process. Isn’t that just great. This is for real. I know it myself. I see and feel it every day. I could not live without my hormones. I am vibrant, energetic, focused, positive, happy, sensual, sexy, and enjoy the things in life I always did.

I am sixty-one this year but my biological age is 45 years. How’s that for trumps? I have been on bioidentical hormones for more than 12 years now. I love my life! Embracing BHRT was the best thing I ever did. I am happy and look forward to even better things to come every single day.

I am straight and upright, not bent and crooked. My body is strong, and my mind is the best it has ever been. I am living the optimal life. You can too.

My last tip of the day

If you are considering taking bioidentical hormones (BHRT) make sure you go to an expert. Hormones are safe and work efficiently when prescribed by an expert doctor. BHRT, if not followed and prescribed correctly, can be just as detrimental as synthetic hormones. It is important to find a doctor qualified in this sub-speciality. Always check him/her out! Ask where and who trained them.
Bioidentical hormones aid us in ageing with style, grace, vibrancy and energy, and in maintaining that easy movement of youth. That clarity of thinking, sexuality, sensuality, and zest. What more could you ask for? When we are healthy, feel and look good, each stage of life is wonderful.

For Your Information
If you would like a more in-depth look at menopause, how your body works and exactly what BHRT is check out my book, “The Menopause Cure – Hormonal Health”. I know you’ll enjoy it. It’s an easy read and life changing. Live your life to the fullest.
If you are looking for a qualified BHRT doctor click this link, or drop our team a message or email us – we’re here to guide you.

Your health is our priority.

To Your Health 🙂

Jill xx

Why Are You Not Taking Bioidentical Hormones?

Peri_wordswhite abckgrouI often ask myself why every menopausal woman (including perimenopausal and postmenopausal women), isn’t on bioidentical hormones. A therapy known as bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT). To me it is a phenomenon that just doesn’t fit. Something is wrong here. I’m perplexed, considering the immense benefits they can give you, both short-term and long-term.

Is it because they don’t know enough about this therapy? Is it because they’ve been conned into thinking it is dangerous or, that they just don’t work. Of course they work!

Could it be because they have never heard of them before? It is true that we don’t often hear people, including doctors, debating or talking about bioidentical hormones in Europe. And when we do it’s usually negative, strangely enough. Even if it has existed for over 30 years in America.

That’s basically a long-term study right there for you. We need studies to give us scientific proof, facts, and truths. Long-term studies are the best for bringing out the truth and to see if the subject in question is valid or not, whether it be a medicine or a plastic implant for joints. This long-term study on BHRT, that I put before you is definitely a resounding YES! It works. And how it works!

To give you a better understanding of bioidentical hormones, and body physiology, let’s take a quick look.

Hormone Decline

Hormones decline with age, starting at about age 30. The decline is slow until we reach about 40ish, let’s say 45, where the majority of women enter menopause. And where there is a sudden and drastic drop in female hormones. This phase is known as perimenopause, and usually lasts from 5 to 10 years. Perimenopause is where women begin to suffer symptoms, due to the hormonal decline, such as hot flushes/flashes, mood swings, brain fog, aching joints, sleepless nights, weight gain, and many more, that I am sure you are all aware of.

When our hormones decline many women lose themselves…or at least I did. I was no longer the person I had once been. I lost my lust for life, my positivity, my stamina and Jill herself. She was gone. She has of course since returned, and better than ever. Thanks to BHRT.

When there is a hormonal imbalance, havoc erupts within the body and trouble begins. Basically, when hormones decline it creates problems within the endocrine system (where hormones are made) and follows on to other body systems, including immune, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. You may have noticed you don’t digest foods as easily as you once did. That’s a sign (or even symptom)…listen to it!

If you want to be healthy, both physically and mentally, and continue to be healthy you need to optimise and balance hormone levels so as to support optimal physiology. Hormones are vital for repair and are the most powerful agent in the regulation of optimal physiology. Physiology simply refers to a healthy, well-functioning body and mind.

What Your Local GP Usually Has to Say

When symptoms occur and perimenopause hits, women usually go to their local GP and ask if they are in menopause…of course you are. Your age suggests it and your symptoms are telling you you are.

Your GP will most likely offer you HRT (synthetic), antidepressants, and sleeping tablets. Pat you on the back and tell you, all will be ok, and that it will pass. Hmmm…I’m not so sure about that! In fact, it doesn’t pass, hormonal decline only gets worse.

Your symptoms will pass once your body has adapted to its new hormonal environment…low hormone production. But hormonal decline doesn’t go away unless you do something about it…like restore them. It only gets worse. We are now moving towards total degradation and chronic disease, but that’s for another discussion.

Your symptoms by the way, are actually withdrawal symptoms, due to lack of hormones (hormonal decline). It’s a hormonal revolt. It only makes sense the body is going to suffer if it is missing the major messaging molecule. Yes, hormones are our messaging machine. They make us or they break us, simple as that.

Bioidentical Hormones And What They Can Do For You

What are bioidentical hormones? Why are they so good…GREAT really?

Bioidentical hormones are biologically identical to the hormones that are produced in our body. They are identical in molecular structure – hormone replicas. They come from soya, wild yam and other plant extracts. This is one of the reasons they are so well accepted by the body (because they are exact in structure), and therefore, can be used just as our own hormones, for regeneration and repair.

Importantly, they make us feel great…fantastic in fact. They give us our life back. They are miracle-molecules. They nurture the brain and feed the body. One way of looking at it is, they are the body’s endogenous (made in the body) food. When perimenopause is upon us we are in hormonal- starvation mode. Do we really need this when we can restore them so easily?

Hormones are the essence of life itself. They regulate every bodily function: sleep, growth, blood pressure, heartbeat, breathing,– without them we would simply die. They control muscle tone, build bone, make us fat or thin, maintain correct levels of sugar in the blood and tissue, control women’s menstrual cycles, make men males, rule the passage of time and the voyage into menopause.

They make us happy or sad, they make us cry or laugh, they are us. They give us beautiful skin, nails and hair or vice versa. When hormones decline our skin begins to wrinkle and sag before its time. Hair loses its shine and thickness, and nails start to crack and become brittle, or even become soft. That is just a few examples for you.


Hormones and Immune System Support

Another major benefit of optimal hormone levels is they support our immune system and its function. When hormones decline so does our immune system.

We are the ones that make the choices which strengthen or weaken our immune system. Our immune system is the protector of our health and vitality, which enables us to feel good both physically and emotionally. If our immune system is weak we are less able to handle stress and more susceptible to illnesses. When our immune system is suppressed over a long period, we are definitely more likely to suffer from far more serious diseases such as breast cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and more. I am protecting my protector. You? A major component of having a strong immune system is restoring hormone levels.

In short, without optimal levels of hormones our body slows down and becomes inefficient. We then deteriorate at a great rate and age at a faster speed.

Why do that to yourself?

Take this opportunity to live your best life.

If you would like to know more please read my book, “The Menopause Cure – Hormonal Health

To your health

Jill

Supplementing for Optimal Health: When ‘Getting By’ Isn’t Enough

I remember when I took my first baby steps into the world of dietary supplements. I was overwhelmed! My knowledge level was at ground zero (or less) ― and to say I had a lot to learn is at best an understatement.

Thankfully, I worked closely with a wonderful restorative doctor, Dr. Sergey Dzugan, who had the patience to explain things and answer my many questions. He is still my mentor today.

Among all that I learned about supplements, the following three lessons stand out as really important for anyone interested in exploring how vitamins and minerals can exponentially improve their health and quality of life.

How Much Is Enough?

My supplement education began with understanding that I had to let go of some erroneous preconceptions.

I had always thought that if my vitamin and mineral levels measured at the Reference Intake (RI) (or, in the U.S., the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA) levels, then all was well. I must be healthy!

What I learned is that those numbers are averages. They don’t apply to everyone.

But more importantly, while those levels might technically prevent a deficiency, they aren’t sufficient. It is well known in the ‘world of restorative medicine’ that they are not enough to optimize cellular function and inadequate levels mean you’re always operating at less than your best.

Moreover, sub-optimal vitamin and mineral levels that persist over a long period of time can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and premature death. All those diseases we so dread. Diseases associated with old age.

These are diseases that, with optimal levels of vitamins and minerals, we can avoid.

Did you know, for example, that if you go for 30 to 40 years without enough folate for optimal function, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease will double? It’s a great incentive for folic acid (folate) supplementation.

You can blame a lot of long-term degeneration on nutrient-poor diets ― diets high in carbs, sugar, and processed foods. But even the supposed ‘good’ food we get is all too often inadequate to meet our nutrient needs. Grocery stores are filled with GMO (genetically modified organism) foods . . . foods grown in nutrient-depleted soil . . . foods produced by plants sprayed with poisonous pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

Some foods fail to give us needed nutrients, while daily exposure to environmental toxins, as well as certain drugs, deplete our bodies of what essential nutrients we already have.

It’s up to us to restore nutrients up to our level of need.

LESSON 1: Most people today, despite test results saying they’re within ‘normal’ range, don’t get all the nutrients they need from food. Research tells us they’re likely to be deficient in one or more vitamins. Consequently, almost everyone needs to supplement in order to build a strong foundation for lifelong health.

Which Supplement to Buy?

Another important thing I learned is that you can’t assume just any supplement will provide your body with the raw materials it needs to thrive. But which ones to buy?

Confronted with a massive wall of shelved vitamins, minerals and herbs, how can you tell which ones may truly be judged excellent? How can you avoid wasting your money on supplements that don’t help you? Or worse, cause harm?

It feels like walking through a minefield! The choices are seemingly endless, and there’s almost no government regulation to ensure product quality, safety and efficacy.

In the UK, most supplements are regulated not as drugs but as foods by the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health (FSADH). They’re regulated as a medicine only if the manufacturer makes a medical claim ― in other words, after it has caused harm. The same is true in the US.

Before a supplement company brings a product to market, it is not required to:

  • Do clinical studies to verify that it does what it’s claimed to do
  • Test the product to verify that it’s safe
  • Meet standards of purity for ingredients
  • Ensure that labels accurately reflect the product’s actual contents

When supplements randomly taken from the shelves of stores have been tested for quality and purity, many labels have proved shockingly deceptive.

In one US study, the New York State attorney general’s office tested dietary supplements from four major retailers. Around 80% of the samples tested didn’t contain so much as a trace of the herbs listed on the label. Many consisted mostly of cheap fillers ― powdered rice, vegetables and houseplants ― that weren’t even listed on the label, and one contained powdered wheat, to which many people are allergic, even though its label said the product was wheat- and gluten-free.

Charges filed included mislabeling, contamination and false advertising.

The sad thing is, this wasn’t just a one-off. Because quality and safety regulations are lax to non-existent, this kind of deception is common in both the US and the UK. In fact, studies in the UK indicate that many supplements are contaminated with banned and often dangerous substances. Unfortunately, low price often equates to low quality.

LESSON 2: Buyer beware.

How Do You Know You’re Really Getting the Goods?

This is your first step towards securing your health . . .helping yourself to perform at your peak and prevent disease.

The best advice I can share is to buy from a reputable source ― a source that has a thorough knowledge of supplements, knows the importance of adequate active ingredients and understands their role in proactively achieving optimal health.

In the meantime, bear in mind that most women need to take:

  • A high-quality multivitamin
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D3
  • Omega3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

The market is overrun with poor-quality products, so please be aware that it is important to know what you are looking for. Look for supplements supported by:

  • Basic science and clinical trials
  • Credible 3rd-party analysis and testing
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
  • Commitment to content integrity (freedom from contaminants, preservatives and chemical agents commonly found in low-quality products)

LESSON 3: Working with an experienced restorative medicine doctor, buy supplements from companies that are backed by science and adhere to good manufacturing processes.

At Menopause Woman, we carry only products that meet the most exacting standards of purity. All our supplements observe GMP guidelines, which is your guarantee that they are consistently controlled and produced according to quality standards. They also comply with the EU Supplement Directive, adopted in 2002.

All our supplements have a long record of safety and efficacy. You can be assured that our products are made with ingredients sourced to meet the most stringent qualifications for quality, satisfy your highest expectations and deliver reliable, scientifically proven support for your health.

SOURCES:

  • Dr. Mark Hyman Takes the Guesswork Out of Vitamin Supplements. The Daniel Plan.
  • How to Choose a Quality Vitamin Supplement. Black Bear Naturopathic clinic, PC.
  • O’Connor, A. New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers. New York Times. February 3, 2015
  • Safety of contaminated vitamins and nutritional supplements can’t be left to consumers. The Conversation. May 5, 2015.
  • 10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements. Consumer Reports magazine. Sept. 2012.
  • Warner, B. To Trust or Not to Trust? What’s in Your Supplements? HealthyBalanceMD.com.

Hair Growth Supplements – What Are They?

Must-haves for your Hair Loss Arsenal

With age, and especially with the disruptions to your hormones that come with menopause, your hair can take a real hit. It can grow dull and lifeless. Even worse, you can begin losing more than the typical 50-100 hairs a day.

A LOT more!

How much money have you spent on products that promise to put a halt to your shedding hair and regrow your long-lamented, disappearing locks? And how many of them have failed to stop still more hair from being whooshed down the drain?

The answer just might lie in treating the problem from the inside. Certain hair growth supplements have specific properties that can tackle the causes of hair loss at the site of the problem. In addition, hair care products made with natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals can give your hair the nurturing it needs and deserves.

Vitamin C: Not Only to Keep Colds at Bay

It’s wisdom that’s been passed down through generations: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can help prevent colds. Today, however. vitamin C is gaining in reputation as an amazing anti-ageing ingredient in advanced skincare formulations.

 

But in supplement form, it’s equally potent as a defender against hair loss ― and for one of the same reasons: collagen.

Collagen: Vitamin C is one of the most effective ways to boost your production of collagen, an antioxidant and protein that is equally important to a full, healthy head of hair it as it is to smooth, firm skin.

In the 1700s, it was discovered that citrus fruits could help prevent scurvy. It wasn’t known why at the time, but the magic ingredient was eventually identified as vitamin C. Scurvy is actually caused by a vitamin C deficiency that disrupts the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and connective tissues in the skin.

Hair loss is a proven sign of vitamin C deficiency. Supplementing with vitamin C supports the production of collagen, which is a hair-building protein.

Tyrosine: Vitamin C is needed for the production of tyrosine, an amino acid essential to coping with stress as well as maintaining the structural integrity of your hair follicles and the hair strands they produce. Tyrosine is a precursor of epinephrine (adrenaline), a stress hormone that helps prevent three types of stress-induced hair loss: alopecia areata (hair falls out in round patches), telogen effluvium (excessive, diffuse thinning of hair) and trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling).

Antioxidant properties: Free radicals ― unstable molecules that attack and mutate healthy cells, causing destructive inflammation ― are created in the process of producing energy from food. Vitamin C combats free radicals and helps prevent them from damaging your hair.

DHT Inhibition: DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is produced from the male hormone testosterone, is the chief cause of androgenic alopecia (diffuse thinning), a common cause of hair loss. DHT produces a specific protein that blocks the reception and activation of papilla cells, which transport nutrients to cells in hair follicles. Blocking papilla cells effectively ‘starves’ hair follicles and prevents hair growth.

Studies have shown that vitamin C not only inhibits this destructive protein ― it also increases a growth factor in papilla cells that can lead to a reversal of hair loss.

Vitamin E: Antioxidant Heavyweight

Vitamin E’s greatest claim to fame is as an antioxidant, cleaning up the damage caused by free radicals’ attacks on other molecules and preventing propagation of more free radicals. This protects the hair, along with other tissues and organs, from further mayhem.

Because free radical damage is ongoing, vitamin E (e.g., Vitamin E – Hi Gamma Formula or Vitamin E Complex) is an ongoing need.

Specifically, supplementing with vitamin E helps to stabilize the structure of hair follicles and lower the rate of hair loss. It also increases capillary growth, aids in transporting nutrients to hair follicle cells, and promotes accelerated hair growth and repair of damaged hair shafts.

Two More Ways to Get Your Collagen

Colladivine by Natural Energy is a high-powered collagen hair growth supplement, providing three types of bioactive collagen, plus zinc citrate, another important hair nutrient.

 

Collagen is an important catalyst for the repair and growth of hair, as well tissue throughout your body. It strengthens not only your hair but your skin, helping to prevent skin aging, minimizing fine lines and improving skin texture.

Original Silica by Eurohealth is a component of collagen that’s everywhere in your body ― in your skin, your nails, your muscles, your bones and, yes, in every hair on your head.

 

One major way that silica helps with hair loss is its ability to help re-balance your sex hormones. An imbalance in the hormones, such as occurs with menopause, is a major cause of hair loss and thinning hair.

Another factor is silica’s alkalizing properties, which help ensure mineral nourishment of hair follicles, which your hair needs to grow and thrive. It improves hair texture and helps prevent breakage.

TLC for Your Thinning Hair

The importance of feeding your hair with restorative nutrients that strengthen it and promote growth can’t be overstated. But tender loving care is important, too. Most shampoos and conditioners ― including many marketed as hair-healthy ― are loaded with ingredients ranging from those that actually harm your hair to those that endanger your health.

Just because a product is labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural,’ don’t automatically believe it. Read the fine print!

There are too many culprits to name here, but for starters, don’t buy anything made with:

  • Sulphates (sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate), which are linked to cancer
  • Parabens, a hormone disruptor linked to breast cancer and premature puberty in girls
  • Phthalates/Fragrance, also a hormone disruptor, linked to early onset puberty, asthma and possibly cancer.

These and other chemicals can strip away natural oils from the scalp and damage hair follicles. They can make the scalp dry and itchy, and even cause or exacerbate hair loss.

Look for ingredients that come from sources found in nature ― for example, those used in chemical-free shampoos and conditioners such as Tabitha James Kraan’s Amber Rose and Golden Citrus Organic Hair Cleansers.

 

These use no chemical detergents, are anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal and they don’t strip away your natural oils. They moisturize, restore and protect your hair, leaving it with beautiful body and shine.

There’s no question ― saving your hair from unbalanced hormones, rampant DHT, out-of-control stress, or just plain age can be a real battle. But attacking it with the right hair growth supplements and natural hair care products can put you on the winning side, restoring your hair to its former fullness and vitality.

SOURCES:

Daya, S. The Best Kept Secret For Healthy Hair, Radiant Skin and Strong Nails. Victoria Health.
Harriman, D. L-Tyrosine and Hair Loss. LIVESTRONG.com
Hourglass, PJ. Who Discovered How to Prevent Scurvy? The Pharmaceutical Journal. Mar. 30, 2011.
Shampoo: What to Look For, What to Avoid. Ecology Center. June 6, 2012.
Vitamin C for Hair Loss ― How It Helps. Progressive Health.

Hair loss, Hormones and How To Regain Beautiful Hair

In preparation for the Big Change she knew was coming, my friend Isabella did a lot of reading. She learned that all in all, despite its reputation, menopause can be an exciting time of life ― a time of growth and self-exploration (not to mention freedom from inconvenient and sometimes painful periods).

Having always been a ’think-positive’ person, Isabella took it all to heart and bravely faced the onset of menopause with the attitude of setting forth on an exciting new venture.

Until she realised she was losing her hair.

Isabella’s hair had always been her glory, but after every wash and blow-dry, more of it ended up on the bathroom floor. Week after week, her hair became thinner and thinner. Finally, her nearly-bare scalp was on plain view for all the world to see, and as her ponytail became ever smaller and wispier, the always-optimistic Isabella grew increasingly depressed.

Isabella wasn’t the first woman to experience dramatic hair loss as she embarked on this life transition. It also happens at other times of hormonal upheaval. For example, after pregnancy.

When a woman is pregnant, her oestrogen levels soar, and her hair may become dramatically longer, thicker, fuller and shinier. However, after giving birth, her oestrogen levels plunge. The shedding and resting periods of her hair’s growth cycle lengthen, and she experiences hair loss, which, thankfully, is usually temporary.

Although it often catches women by surprise, menopause, too, brings hormonal changes that disrupt the hair growth cycle. Nearly half of all women experience menopausal hair thinning.

What Do Your Ovaries Have to Do With Your Hair?

Your ovaries produce oestrogen and progesterone. When you’re premenopausal, their levels, as a general rule, are at their peak and (oestrogen more directly than progesterone) help keep testosterone at its correct level and within safe ratios. But with the onset of menopause, your ovaries begin to shut down, and your oestrogen and progesterone levels drop, setting in motion a process that can lead to thinning hair.

You don’t normally have a large amount of testosterone. But as oestrogen and progesterone diminish at a greater and faster rate relative to testosterone, your testosterone gains in comparative strength. When that happens, more testosterone is converted into a potent androgenic hormone, DHT, via an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase.

We now have an increase of DHT. The increased DHT production wants to kill your hair, literally.

DHT attaches to receptor cells in scalp follicles and causes them to shrink. That’s a near-death sentence for healthy hair. Hair will thin, although in women it rarely results in completely bald patches.

Stressed Tresses Are Unhappy Tresses

High levels of stress, along with anxiety and depression, are a common manifestation of the mood swings frequently experienced by women during menopause. It’s also among the most common symptoms associated with menopausal hair thinning.

The growth cycle of hair has four phases:

  • Anagen: Growth phase, lasting 2–6 years
  • Catagen: Short phase (approximately 2–3 weeks) when the follicle shrinks a bit
  • Telogen: Inactive phase
  • Exogen: Hair falls out

The average woman has 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on her head at any one time, in all different phases, and she loses around 50–100 a day. Dermatologist Kurt Stenn, author of Hair: A Human History, believes that very high stress levels disrupt the growth cycle, prematurely halting the growth (anagen) phase. The hairs all go into the resting (telogen) phase and then, after a three-month delay, fall out (the exogen phase) at around 10 times the usual rate.

This hair-loss pattern has been shown with mice after being stressed by loud noises. It has also been demonstrated with rhesus macaque monkeys who were found to have cortisol (the stress hormone) dominance.

Interestingly, declining hormone levels are one of the primary causes of continuous physiological stress. This in itself puts both the body and the brain under an incredible and continuous stress load. If you’re highly stressed and menopausal, it’s a very bad mix. Your overall stress will then be exacerbated, both physically and mentally.

Stress mutes hormones, which will sequentially affect your female hormones, testosterone production, and DHT production. The amount of DHT production in the body from day to day depends on the amount and balance of testosterone.

Unfortunately, losing your hair is upsetting and kicks many women’s stress level into overdrive, which compounds the problem.

How To Restore Hormones For Beautiful Healthy Hair?

Because menopausal hair loss is so linked to hormonal disruption ― hormone imbalances associated with the end of fertility ― it’s a signal that you need to see a restorative medicine doctor who is fully trained in bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT).

Your restorative medical doctor will test your hormones to assess their status and prescribe naturally derived hormones that have exactly the same molecular structure as the hormones made in your own body.

You can read all about Hormonal Health in Jill’s book, ‘The Menopause Cure‘.

The right hormones in the right doses will retune your hormones ― bring them into the optimal ratios needed to restore their hormonal balance… as well as a full head of beautiful, healthy hair!

SOURCES

Beck, J. Why Stress Makes Your Hair Fall Out. The Atlantic. Mar. 2, 2016.
Causes of Hair Loss. American Hair Loss Association.
Gottfried, S. Hair Loss, Hormones and How to Regain Your Luscious Locks. Dr. Sara Gottfried MD.
Hormonal Changes ― Female Hair Loss. Medic8.
Menopause ― Female Hair Loss Guide. Medic8.

Oestrogen – Should you take Pills or a Gel?

When the oestrogen/progestin (synthetic progesterone) arm of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study abruptly shut down back in July 2002, women were shocked . . . stunned. It wasn’t only the study’s participants. It was equally devastating to the millions of other women around the world taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), thinking they were doing something good for themselves.

The sudden knowledge that they might be risking coronary heart disease, breast cancer, stroke or pulmonary embolism so terrified women that many immediately quit their hormones, cold turkey.

Then in February 2004 came the aftershock: the oestrogen-alone (oestrogen replacement therapy, or ERT) arm of the study shut down when it became apparent that it not only failed to prevent heart disease ― it increased the risk of stroke.

Besides shock, fear and disappointment, the WHI failure sparked enormous confusion over the use of hormones to ease the transition into and through menopause.

Today, we understand a great deal more about hormones, and we have the option of bioidentical hormones (BHRT), but we still have confusion, especially about what kind of oestrogens to take. Sublingual drops? Patches? Pills? Injections? Pellets? Vaginal ring? Transdermal gels and creams (which are preferable and safer)?

It’s enough to make you dizzy! But to try and clear up some of the confusion, and to make things a bit simpler, I’m going to focus on only one question: Of the two most popular oestrogen-delivery systems, which is best ― oral (pills) or transdermal (applied to the skin)?

Oral oestrogens are used in ERT and HRT, and transdermal oestrogens are used in bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT), along with other natural hormones, such as progesterone.

But first, let’s clear up what makes ERT/HRT oestrogens different from BHRT oestrogens.

ERT/HRT vs. BHRT Oestrogens: What’s the Difference?

The most common form of ERT is Premarin®, a conjugated oestrogen obtained from the urine of pregnant mares. HRT, most often marketed as Prempro®, is a combination of, once again, horse oestrogens, and progestin, a synthetic substitute for progesterone.

Both come in a fixed-dose pill form. And they’re synthetic. That means these oestrogens are not of natural origin. They don’t replicate your own oestrogens ― they’re chemicals that merely imitate the natural hormone. They can’t function in your body the same way as the oestrogens created by your body.

To work properly, hormones have to bind with specific target receptor cells in your body, like a key in a lock. The synthetic form of hormones can’t completely bond with receptors because the key does not totally fit. Because of this, they can’t work as they should, they confuse the body, and therefore, can predispose you to cancer and other diseases.

On the other hand, BHRT oestrogens, like all bioidentical hormones, are derived from wild yam and soy plants. They have exactly the same molecular architecture as the oestrogens produced in your own body. That means they are fully equipped to do everything that your own ‘homemade’ oestrogens do ― including binding to receptors.

And as we will see, ERT/HRT and BHRT oestrogens are metabolized in completely different ways, which makes a world of difference in their safety and effectiveness.

What’s the Scoop on Oral Estrogens?

Unfortunately, what we’ve learned about oestrogens post-WHI has not attracted publicity anywhere near that surrounding the study’s sensational, premature end. As a result, many women are unaware of these advances. Nonetheless, we’ve gained a great deal of useful knowledge since then.

For one, we’ve learned about what happens when you swallow oestrogens in pill form ― specifically about what occurs in your body physiologically and how it affects the metabolism of the oestrogens you ingest.

Once you swallow an ERT/HRT pill, it makes a beeline for your liver. It passes through the gut, where it undergoes preprocessing. From there, it goes into the large portal vein and then on into the liver. There, it’s metabolised before it circulates throughout your system.

This route means that oral oestrogens enter the liver much more directly and in a much more concentrated form than the natural oestrogens created in your ovaries. With oral oestrogens, your liver is hit with a dose of around 1,000–2,000 micrograms of oestrogen instead of 100–200 micrograms.

It’s no exaggeration to say this is an overload that can stress the liver.

The effects of oral oestrogens can be erratic and unpredictable, varying with the dose and the individual. Oral oestrogens may:

  • Increase or decrease the synthesis of various proteins in the liver, either raising or lowering levels of blood-clotting factors, testosterone, oestrogens and thyroid hormones, potentially resulting in blood clots, strokes, blocked hormone function, elevated blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and suppressed thyroid function
  • Produce unwanted products of metabolism (metabolites) that increase risk of oestrogen-sensitive cancers

Initially, oestrogen-only fixed doses were set at high levels in order to relieve vasomotor menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. However, these doses have been shown to be excessive, causing adverse effects such as weight gain, water retention, fibrocystic breasts and the much more serious risks of breast and uterine cancers.

Later, when progestin (synthetic progesterone) was added to the horse oestrogens (as in Prempro), the uterine cancer risk lessened, but breast cancer risk increased, along with risk of blood clots, stroke and gallbladder disease.

What Makes BHRT Transdermal Estrogens Different?

Bioidentical transdermal oestrogen therapy comes in the form of a compounded (individually mixed) gel or cream that is applied topically. The dose is tailored to your test results, which show what is needed to restore your oestrogens to their optimal and proper levels.

Instead of being first metabolised by the liver, transdermal oestrogen acts exactly as the oestrogens produced by your ovaries. That is, it is transported through the bloodstream, reaches its target tissues, attaches to oestrogen receptors and is then metabolised in the liver. The liver is the end point, not the starting point. We are following nature here.

That completely alters how transdermal oestrogens works. Compared with oral oestrogens, BHRT transdermal oestrogens don’t:

  • negatively impact liver protein synthesis
  • produce unwanted metabolites that raise cancer risk
  • increase your risk for blood clots, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, etc.
  • have unpredictable effects or
  • stress your liver

It is also worth noting that oestradiol produced in your ovaries is easily eliminated in urine within one day, whereas synthetic oestrogens can remain in your body for up to 13 weeks before elimination. Your body is designed to metabolise your own oestrogens and, in this case, bioidentical hormones which are an exact copy of your own, NOT horse hormones.

And the Winner Is…

In the United Kingdom and the United States, HRT oral formulations of oestrogens are more frequently prescribed than BHRT transdermal formulations. Why this is so is unclear, but it’s high time to clear up the confusion.

Hands down, transdermal oestrogens are far safer and more effective!

True, ERT and oestrogens found in HRT have been studied much more extensively than BHRT oestrogens but much of that research leads to the conclusion that these synthetic hormones are not something you want to put in your body.

The clinical evidence on BHRT oestrogens is persuasive and mounting: Transdermal oestrogens have a far stronger safety and efficiency profile than oral ERT/HRT oestrogens. It’s not even close.

In the end, it comes down to one thing. To avoid risk of chronic disease and other health problems, the molecular structure has to be the same as that of your natural oestrogens. The same holds true for progesterone, which should always be taken with oestrogen to ensure maintenance of the correct ratio.

To make sure you’re prescribed BHRT transdermal oestrogens (together with progesterone), make sure to work with a doctor specially trained in restorative medicine and bioidentical hormones who understands why this form of oestrogen is preferable.

SOURCES:

Estrogen Pill vs. Estrogen Patch ― Which Works Best? Virginia Hopkins Test Kits.
Gillson, G.R. and Zava, D.T. A Perspective on HRT for Women: Picking Up the Pieces After the Women’s Health Initiative Trial ― Part 1. International Journal of Pharmacological Compounding. Vol.7 No. 4, July/August 2003.
Liu, B. Is transdermal menopausal hormone therapy a safer option than oral therapy? Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). 2013 Apr. 16; 185(7): 549–550.
Which Type of Estrogen Hormone Therapy Is Right for You?

Male Menopause Classes: Are They A Waste of Money?

You may have seen a Daily Mail article reporting on classes being given to members of the emergency services to help them better understand and aid co-workers going through menopause.

The piece tends to align itself with Tory MP David Davies, who is quoted as saying that the classes are a ‘waste of money’. The Daily Mail seems to think that everyone is fully aware of the symptoms, consequences and struggles of menopause, and should simply get on with their work.

I think otherwise. We all – middle aged women, young women, men, workers, bosses – can stand to gain from a little extra education where menopause is concerned.

Middle aged women can truly benefit from a work atmosphere that is understanding and accepting of an important but often distressing part of life. In fact, Dr. Hannah Short says that ‘Up to 10% women consider quitting their job as a result’. How can we allow women to reach that point of discomfort?

The Daily Mail article states that around 3.5 million women of menopause age are currently in work. That is a large figure, and surely bosses must understand that 350,000 women leaving their jobs would leave a huge hole in their productivity and ability to operate.

As these classes will include male and young female co-workers, there is the potential to better educate those unaware of menopausal symptoms and how to help female colleagues experiencing them. This should create a more empathetic working environment, and prepare young women who often do not fully appreciate how much of a struggle menopause can be until it is upon them.

Perhaps most importantly though, these classes could go a long way to helping remove some of the stigma that exists around menopause and create a conversation we should all be having.

My advice – keep yourself informed and don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences!

 

Male birth control side effects are not funny

Recently, news outlets have been reporting on the termination of a clinical trial studying male birth control. Many were quick to accuse the men taking part in the trial of being ‘wimps’, but is this reaction perhaps a little over zealous and unfair? I think that the larger issue is one of what we are willing to put our bodies through and whether we can ignore what they are telling us.

This injectable drug uses a combination of synthetic hormones: Progesterone [known as Progestin] and Testosterone. Using long-acting injectable forms of these hormones suppresses the production of sperm. The results were – it cannot be argued – very successful: there was a 96% rate of success in preventing pregnancy among couples whose male partner was taking part in the trial. And yet despite this return the independent safety panel which ultimately halted the trial still had cause for concern, enough to stop the study before completion.

It is not a question of can these men hack the side effects of this new birth control injectable drug, it is a question of whether or not it is safe. Side effects reportedly include depression and mood disorders; along with muscle pain, increased libido, and even infertility.

Infertility

That is a big one. Not to be taken lightly.

Side effects are a warning sign, a message that the body is suffering. Why on earth would men want to take such an injectable method? Just as women suffer side effects from the birth control pill, such as weight gain, water retention, acne, heightened breast cancer risk, so should these men suffer from side effects too?

The injection has not been tested sufficiently and for a long enough time to know the true outcome of this drug. As one of the authors (Dr Mario Philip Reyes Festin, MD) of the study outlined: “more research is needed to advance this concept to the point that it can be made widely available to men as a method of contraception”. This would mean that more research needs to be done to make sure it is ‘adequately safe’.

Prof Allan Pacey at the University of Sheffield also offered an opinion, saying that “the fact that so many side effects were observed in the men who were taking part in the trial is of concern. For a male contraceptive to be accepted by men (or women) then it has to be well tolerated and not cause further problems”.

Both the birth control pill for women and the birth control injectable for men use the synthetic form of hormones. We have already seen the drastic side effects the birth control pill has to offer women. Clearly these synthetic forms of hormones do not belong in the body.

My personal opinion would be to stay away from it boys.

Stress-busting tactics to reverse menopausal mood swings

There’s so much about the menopause that can totally disrupt your life. The decline in female hormones, at that time, can put a continual and incredible stress load on the body, which can go on to effect the Cortisol-to-DHEA ratio. When DHEA levels are low in comparison to cortisol we get a ‘cortisol dominance’ setup that can bring with it a host of health issues including weight gain, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

With the added stress of today’s hectic lifestyles– as stress blunts hormone production – it’s  the perfect combination for a fatal storm. The decline in sex hormones, along with an imbalance in the Cortisol-to-DHEA ratio, can make menopausal symptoms more pronounced, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats

What are the short and long-term stress-busting methods to help you through the menopause?

1.   Improve your diet

You really are what you eat; look after your insides by ingesting friendly bacteria from probiotics and fermented food (mainly vegetables), and you’ll experience improved brain functionality, feelings of wellbeing and mood control. This means setting aside time to cook and eat at your own pace.

2.   Don’t rely on unhealthy habits

You might get a momentary buzz from alcohol, smoking or caffeine, but they will make you feel worse in the long-run. Alcohol is a natural depressive, while smoking and caffeine throw off your body’s natural sleeping and eating patterns. All are associated with negative physical health effects.

3.   Exercise

Your body releases endorphins as you exercise, reducing pain perception and enabling a feeling of euphoria. It blocks the physical effects of stress too, those that exercised less frequently were found to experience 37% more physical symptoms during stressful times.

4.   Take a walk

Countryside residents have been found to  have a better cortisol-to-DHEA ratio than city dwellers and therefore suffer less stress. Getting back to nature – even for a 10-minute walk – can help you re-assess and gain a greater sense of perspective.  

5.   Take up a hobby

Whether it’s an existing passion or a long-held wish to learn samba, a hobby gives you time to be yourself and can take your mind off the cause of the stress. It’s a great way to socialise, and is the perfect way to set and achieve more personal goals.

6.   Socialise

Loneliness is major stressor, and prevents you from talking through your problems. Chat with people you see on your daily rounds, and attend community events to broaden your support network. Best of all – volunteer and de-stress by helping others.

7.   Make ‘me time’

Life’s all about balance, and sometimes you just need some me time. Meditation is now universally accepted as an effective stress-buster. It doesn’t require anything special, just sit quietly for 10-minutes and try to shut out the madness. Or, spoil yourself a little with a hot bath, yoga session – even a massage!

8.   Breathe right

It’s a natural process that goes on 24/7, so it’s easy to forget that breathing control can regulate physiological and bioenergetics mechanisms, oxygenating your body and settling your nervous system. There’s a technique called ‘Buteyko’ that can help you restore a normal pattern.

9.   Change your psychology

Some self-reflection is needed before you truly take control of your psychology. Optimists are better at dealing with stress. Unleash your inner optimist by making a list of all the things you’re thankful for – there’ll be more than you think! Here’s some other ways you can improve your psychology:

  • Adjust expectations
  • Say ‘no’
  • Express true feelings
  • Avoid stressful people/situations
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Manage your time
  • Accentuate the positive

It doesn’t have to be this way; fight back with restorative medicine and find the long-term solution

All of these methods will help you realign your emotions and let normal service resume… temporarily. The only way to truly take your stress levels by the reins and achieve long-term oneness is to naturally re-balance your hormone levels.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy lets you use natural compounds to overcome the symptoms of the menopause, without the health risks associated with synthetic HRT. Bioidentical hormones are organic compounds that are an exact copy of the human hormone, enabling them to function in the same way. 

Once your hormonal levels have returned to their natural levels, you can say ‘goodbye’ to the symptoms of the menopause and ‘hello’ to a more youthful, healthier you.

With my book, find out how you can take your first steps towards re-discovering natural balance.

What is the male menopause?

Men have long thought that they had dodged the hormonal countdown with a simple mid-life crisis. A new hairstyle, sports convertible and some festival tickets, and they are sorted with no obvious symptoms of hormonal deficit. Unfortunately, guys, it’s not quite that simple.

Testosterone, a steroid hormone and androgen is generated in higher quantities in men, than in women. Men lose their testosterone over a period of 30 years, starting at about aged 30, whereas women lose all their sex hormones within a 5 year period, which would account for women‘s hyper-acute symptoms.

Although not as widely discussed as the menopause, perhaps because men’s symptoms are more insidious due to the incremental and less drastic decline, the andropause (or, ‘male menopause’) has been recognised for centuries as a period in men’s lives when a shift in hormones results in significant physical, psychological, social and sexual changes.

What are the symptoms of the male menopause?

Unlike the menopause, the andropause does not mean the end of a man’s reproductive ability, which can often last into their 80s. However, the hormonal shift is marked and comparable to that experienced by women, resulting in a whole range of undesirable symptoms.

As with the menopause, the decline in hormone levels is indicated by different symptoms as testosterone, along with other hormones, levels continue to drop off. The first thing you are likely to notice is a blunting of your libido, potentially leading to erectile dysfunction and symptoms of impotence. Muscle wastage and a diminishing of strength come as testosterone levels fall further, resulting in a lack of energy and ability to concentrate, depression, mood swings and even diabetes.

How restorative medicine can combat the andropause

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a safe and efficient alternative to synthetic HRT, that corrects and optimises body function by rebalancing hormones, with the use of bioidentical hormones, a molecular structure that is an exact match to the hormones produced within the human body, together with specific vitamins and minerals that all interact with each other.

Certain foods we consume can enhance testosterone and are often known as aphrodisiacs. Low and declining levels of testosterone will inhibit sexual desire. Zinc is an important mineral for men’s libido, and is a proven enhancer of this hormone. Oysters have high levels of zinc, and for the vegetarian…baked beans and nuts. These sexy foods boost your libido. Exercise is, of course, paramount to enhancing testosterone levels as well. Together with bioidentical hormone restorative therapy, and a healthy and active lifestyle, you can restore your body, your quality if life, your libido, and slow the ageing process – all without the adverse side effects associated with a synthetic treatment.

What effect will it have on my symptoms?

An effective BHRT programme overseen by a qualified restorative medicine doctor can correct the symptoms associated with andropause, restoring your sex-drive, giving you clarity of thought, an enhanced mood and can even reduce the risk of more serious secondary conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

How is it different from chemical-based medicines?

Chemical-based hormonal supplements cannot be correctly metabolised by the body, making them toxic and liable to cause or exacerbate other conditions, such as certain cancers, heart disease or sleep apnoea – hence, the longest treatment programme with these methods is just five years.

Unlike the synthetic hormonal therapies, BHRT programmes are geared towards using compounds suited to each individual patient and their unique hormonal blend. And, because of their exactness in molecular structure, bioidentical hormones can be prescribed and taken for a lifetime, with no adverse side effects. That is the beauty of this medicine, we can have optimal health even into our golden years, which then become our platinum years.

How do I investigate restorative medicine?

First up, you’ll need a comprehensive guide to restorative medicine and BHRT that you can use as a reference when considering dietary or lifestyle changes.

If you require medical advice, you should speak to a doctor who knows about restorative medicine and can design a BHRT programme tailored to your specific needs.