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?

Why does BHRT Work for Everyone but Me?

We hear wonderful things about bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT), and those glowing reports foster high hopes ― but, sadly, sometimes the experience doesn’t live up to our expectations.

I’ve heard the above question many times, along with others:

  • How come I feel no improvement since taking the prescribed hormones?
  • How come I get more headaches?
  • How come my hair hasn’t returned to its full, healthy, shiny look, as promised?
  • How come my nails are still brittle and cracking?
  • How come I still suffer from mood swings, hot flushes and brain fog?
  • How come my breasts are tender? (A sure sign of oestrogen dominance)
  • How come this natural therapy doesn’t work for me? It’s just not fair!

How come, how come, how come . . . .?

Maybe the answer doesn’t lie in the fundamentals of BHRT. Maybe you just got the wrong doctor ― one who isn’t qualified in this specialty. The person you go to see may be a doctor, but if you experience no improvements or things get worse, then that doctor most certainly is not an expert in restorative medicine or bioidentical hormones.

It’s important to understand that bioidentical hormone therapy is a complex specialisation, and doctors need extensive training to practice it correctly. So the first thing you need to do is find a doctor with the needed knowledge, credentials and experience.

I can assure you that, when you are treated by a doctor trained and experienced in BHRT, it will definitely work for you, not against you. What is more, you will feel its enormous benefits almost immediately. Hot flushes will be calmed, foggy memory cleared, vitality and energy restored and enhanced, and positive thinking renewed.

In short, you will discover the old, familiar YOU, and most likely an even better version ― a better version because this is the time in life when we are at our best. We have everything. We’re experienced, mature, knowledgeable and at our peak intellectually. At this stage, only one thing can hold us back: our declining hormone levels!

Throughout life, we mature for the better through lessons learned and experiences gained. Who wants to lose their love of life, their vitality and/or their cognitive power at forty or fifty? It would be more than sad to let go of that experienced, sophisticated, intellectually mature woman you’ve become.

You don’t have to. You have an option: You can restore your hormones and get your life back. Life will be fun again.

What Happens Next?

Once you find your bioidentical hormone specialist, he or she will request specific blood testing to be done. Test results allow your doctor to understand the exact status of your hormones in order to prescribe the hormones you need in the specific amounts required to match your own personal physiological requirements.

Hormones have to adhere to specific hormone levels and ratios. If they don’t, harmony and balance within your body will remain elusive. The art of BHRT is finding that balance ― a balance that has meaning, the balance necessary to optimise your health status.

It isn’t something that can be done by just any doctor ― certainly not by a doctor who simply got up out of bed one morning and decided to become a ‘specialist’ in dishing out bioidentical hormones. Again, a true BHRT doctor must have extensive training and knowledge.

How Can You Be Sure BHRT Won’t Work Against You?

When prescribed correctly, your body is setup to accept these natural bioidentical hormones. On the other hand, HRT hormone molecules are synthetic and therefore cannot be effective.

Let me explain.

The major issue with synthetic hormones is that they are not like our own hormones. Because they are different in molecular structure, the body cannot understand, metabolise or excrete them easily. As a result, they cause a toxic build-up that increases cancer risk.

In contrast, bioidentical hormones are exact copies of the hormones we have in our bodies. Their molecular structure is the same.

Exact, not similar…

Exact. For this reason, the human infrastructure is ready and willing to accept these hormones. In fact, the body needs these hormones. The body knows what they are and recognizes them as their own.

If we think about it logically, of course bioidentical hormones will work when prescribed at the correct levels and ratios by a bioidentical hormone expert. Why wouldn’t they? They have the exact molecular structure as those naturally produced in our bodies ― only now, unfortunately, at lower levels because of our transition into perimenopause.

The truth is, to avoid the very uncomfortable, and in some cases debilitating symptoms we suffer in menopause, our hormone levels only need to be topped up and brought back into balance.

Symptoms such as depression, mood swings, headaches, hot flushes, weight gain, low libido, loss of confidence, hair loss, foggy memory, fatigue and more are, quite simply, withdrawal symptoms. In perimenopause, your hormone levels suddenly and quite drastically decline, leaving the brain and body very confused. Your body goes into a state of shock because it is missing those hormones it needs to get back on an even keel.

Symptoms are your body’s way of talking to you. Telling you something is wrong. We need to learn to listen to our bodies and restore those very precious missing molecules. Only when they are prescribed incorrectly will bioidentical hormones not work and potentially cause problems.

The key to successful BHRT is to find the right doctor ― one who is highly trained and experienced. When you find that doctor, it will work. Bioidentical hormones are safe and highly efficient when properly prescribed.

I can tell you from my own experience that restoring your hormones to their proper balance can give you back your happy, healthy self, free of debilitating symptoms. Best of all, you’ll learn that ‘the change’ in your life can be a truly positive change ― one that ushers in an exciting time of health, personal growth and productivity.

You can also understand far more by reading Jill’s book.

Bioidentical Oestrogen – Smooth Your Path Through Menopause

Smooth Your Path Through Menopause

When perimenopause arrives, it can turn your world upside down! It’s the first announcement that menopause is on its way, and even if you’re still having your periods, hormonal changes are going on. They can’t be seen, but they certainly can be felt.

In a worst-case scenario, hot flushes and night sweats arrive to disrupt your days and make sleep elusive. Fatigue becomes a constant companion and your brain feels wrapped in wet cotton wool. You may become more moody, more volatile . . . even slip into depression. And to make matters worse, the pounds seem to pile on, uninvited, and refuse to leave.

Who wouldn’t be depressed?

Up until that point, you probably hadn’t thought a lot about your hormones. Ever since puberty, they’ve gone along, unobserved and for the most part quietly doing their job in perfect harmony. But now their job is changing ― along with your life.

Let’s take a look at some of the culprits.

Meet the Oestrogen Trio

Many women think of oestrogen as a single hormone, but oestrogen is actually a general term that encompasses three distinct primary hormones: oestrone (E1), oestradiol (E2) and oestriol (E3).

During your reproductive years, oestradiol, which is secreted by the ovaries, is the most active of the oestrogens. It’s the predominant sex hormone and responsible for the characteristics that make you “feminine” ― sex organs, breast development and curvy fat deposits around the hips and thighs. It also plays a major role in your menstrual cycle and bone health.

At this stage, oestradiol is 12 times more potent than oestrone and 80 times more potent than oestriol.

Oestradiol keeps your uterine lining healthy and ― just in case ― prepared for pregnancy. If you become pregnant, oestriol, a weak oestrogen, steps in as the primary oestrogen and thickens the uterine lining, which provides blood to the placenta. Large quantities of oestriol are released for the baby’s well-being.

With menopause, oestrone takes over as the dominant oestrogen. Oestrone is a “danger” hormone because it carries the potential for increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer. For that reason, it needs to be monitored to ensure it remains in balance.

Menopause Disrupts the Harmony

Beginning with perimenopause (the onset of menopause), oestradiol begins a dramatic decline that often heralds the arrival of physical and emotional menopausal symptoms.

For many women, these symptoms include erratic moods, stress, inability to cope, frustration, sadness and, in the worst instances, severe depression and feelings of hopelessness. If a woman has hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, low libido and other physical symptoms, these feelings are magnified.

It’s estimated that between 8% and 15% of women going through menopause experience some degree of depression, which is most common during the perimenopausal transition to menopause.

Dr Dzugan is one of the few doctors who recognises the true source of this kind of depression, which is hormone-induced. Unfortunately, many doctors often treat their patients with antidepressants, which are inappropriate and drive the situation from bad to worse.

Antidepressants just don’t work, and typically the dosage is then increased with, again, no improvement. As Dr Dzugan has told me more than once, “In these cases, quite often, a second or third antidepressant is prescribed, along with mood-stabilising and anti-epileptic drugs.”

If you think there has to be a better way, you’re right.

Oestrogens to the Rescue

When you arrive at menopause, oestrone replaces oestradiol as the primary oestrogen. However, oestrone is a weaker oestrogen and can’t combat menopausal symptoms, whether emotional or physical.

There is, however, a solution.

Bioidentical oestradiol, in the proper ratio with oestriol, can restore your hormonal equilibrium. It has been proven to reliably banish hot flushes and other physical symptoms associated with menopause nearly instantaneously.

Bioidentical oestrogen therapy also boosts your serotonin level. Although actually a neurotransmitter, serotonin is known as the “feel-good hormone.” It fights depression, elevates mood and promotes sleep. What is more, it increases your production of GABA, a neurotransmitter with calming effects. It also raises endorphins, which act to control pain, ease stress, relieve frustration and even slow the ageing process.

What Else Do You Need?

Your endocrine system ― that is, your hormones ― act interdependently, and for them to function properly, you need each one in the proper quantity. In other words, they have to be balanced.

That means you will also need progesterone and testosterone.

Progesterone:

Although your oestradiol levels decline rapidly as you transition into menopause, progesterone levels may fall even faster, and by the time you reach full menopause, your progesterone may be as low as it normally is in men.

As a result, your oestrogen level may top that of progesterone, resulting in a condition called oestrogen dominance. That simply means you have too much oestrogen relative to progesterone.

Oestrogen dominance may also result from exposure to hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals that mimic estrogens. Because these chemicals create false oestrogens, they can also throw your oestrogen/progesterone ratio off balance.

Symptoms of oestrogen dominance include severe headaches, depression, anxiety, fuzzy thinking, water retention, weight gain and digestive problems.

Even more concerning, oestrogen dominance increases your risk of breast and uterine cancers, so it’s extremely important to restore your oestrogen and progesterone to the proper balance.

Testosterone:

Many women are unaware that testosterone is as important for women as it is for men. If you have low-T during menopause, you’ll have trouble with concentration and energy. Your muscles will become flabby and your bones brittle. Your sex drive and fantasy will be in “sleep mode,” and you’ll lack confidence and determination.

Women’s testosterone levels can begin to diminish as much as 10 years before full menopause.

Oestrogen and testosterone levels are closely related, and adding testosterone to your bioidentical hormone therapy may be needed to bring these two hormones back into sync.

How Do You Get What You Need?

It’s important to remember that bioidentical hormone restorative therapy is a complex specialism, and doctors need extensive training to do it properly. So the first thing you need to do is find a doctor with the needed knowledge, credentials and experience.

When you find your bioidentical hormone specialist, you’ll need to do testing. Testing is what allows your doctor to understand the exact status of your hormones so he or she can prescribe the hormones you need in the specific amounts you require.

I can tell you from my own experience that restoring your hormones to their proper balance can give you back your happy, healthy self, free of debilitating symptoms. Best of all, you’ll learn that “the change” in your life can be a truly positive change ― one that ushers in an exciting time of health, personal growth and productivity.

SOURCES:

Estrogens: E1. E2, E3. Rx Compound Centre.

Hormones and Depression in Women. BodyLogicMD.com

Studd. J. When is depression in women a matter of hormones? TotalHealth.co.uk. Aug. 17, 2012.

Mandal, A. Estrogen Types. News, Medical Life Sciences.

Menopause. Progesterone Therapy.

Peterson, D. Three Stages of a Woman’s Life Require Three Different Estrogens. Wellness Alternatives.

Pick. M. Estrogen Dominance ― Is It Real? Women to Women.

Testosterone Deficiency May Exacerbate Menopause. Testosterone and Menopause. July 14, 2014.

Perimenopause: What Every Woman Should Know

It is important that every woman in their 40’s is aware of the perimenopause and the changes it will bring. Even if you feel you are way too young to be thinking about the dreaded M word, learning about the P word will stand you in good stead.

If you understand the vital role hormones have in your health, emotions and overall wellbeing you will be much better prepared to deal with the perimenopause, menopause and ageing process in general.

So in the spirit of forewarned is forearmed, here are 5 things I wish someone had told me when I hit 40!

1. It starts at 40 not 50

Sorry, you probably didn’t want to read that. However, I cannot over emphasise enough how important it is to listen to your body in your 40’s when changes in your hormone levels begin to occur.

You probably know that menopause is when you have not had a period for 12 months. But… you may not know that the six to thirteen years leading up to the menopause are when some of the most difficult symptoms kick in. I’m talking; hot flushes, insomnia, bone loss, mood swings, brain fog, irregular periods, diminished sex drive, breast cancer and unexplained weight gain. This is called the perimenopause. It usually starts in your 40s, but can start as early as your 30s.

Although most women experience the menopause at around the age of 51, it’s very likely you will have suffered some perimenopause symptoms from your 40s onwards.

2. It’s your hormones

Menopause symptoms are your body’s way of signalling that something is wrong, that you have a hormonal imbalance. Hormones regulate every bodily function, from your heartbeat to weight gain. Without them we would slowly but surely fade away and die! Perimenopause is in fact, the earliest stage of this fading process.

In menopause, oestrogen(s) and progesterone levels decline drastically. These female hormones, that are so famous for fertility in our younger days, should not to be ‘left out in the cold’ once we reach menopause, as they are key hormones and play a vital role in bone health; protecting against osteoporosis. They protect our skin, keeping it healthy and glowing; brain function, protecting against dementia; heart health, protecting against heart attack; vaginal and urethral tissues, keeping our sex drive in ‘top’ form!

When there is an imbalance of even just one hormone, it will adversely affect the others and may result in any of several menopausal symptoms.

3. Test your thyroid

After your fortieth birthday, it is important to recognise the symptoms of low thyroid (hypothyroidism). Low thyroid complaints include; joint pain, allergies, carpal tunnel syndrome, high insulin, unexplained weight gain, fibrocystic breast tissue, hair loss, loss of libido, dry skin and headaches to name just a few.

In perimenopause, declining levels of oestradiol (a type of oestrogen) and progesterone (both known as female sex hormones), along with testosterone from our ovaries, may leave a woman with a ‘go-slow’ (underactive) thyroid. Declining levels of female sex hormones may cause thyroid issues such as hypothyroidism. However, these are not true thyroid problems, they occur because female sex hormones are low. When oestrogens and progesterone are restored to optimal levels, in the majority of cases, thyroid issues will be rectified, thus, there would be no need to supplement with thyroid hormones.

However, about 25 per cent of perimenopausal women have some kind of thyroid problem. In the majority of cases it is due to subclinical hypothyroidism which may progress into overt hypothyroidism. Both subclinical and overt hypothyroidism should be treated.

4. There is an alternative to conventional HRT

There is not a one-size-fits-all woman. Therefore, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all pill. We are all different, we all metabolise hormones differently, and our hormonal decline varies from woman to woman. Therefore, we need an individualised treatment. HRT is a one-size-fits-all treatment. Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) is tailored to the patient’s requirements. We are all different – would you go out and buy a size 14 dress just because your friend did, when you’re actually a size 12?

5. Don’t dread the ‘M’ word

Contrary to the conventional menopause stereotypes that we often see in the media, you can have a happy, healthy, strong and sexually vibrant life, well into your forties, fifties and even beyond. The key is to get the right information early on.

 

The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health. The book is available in good book stores and online at Amazon.

How to avoid becoming an invisible woman

The menopause is a time of change that can strip away your femininity and youthfulness, leaving you feeling like an invisible woman.

However, the hormonal turbulence that comes with the menopause can be treated entirely naturally as can all those nasty symptoms that come with it.

Restorative medicine can help you find hormonal harmony: it is now possible to safely and efficiently  re-balance your hormone levels with bioidentical hormones that avoid the risks of conventional HRT, helping you shine on into a new and liberating stage of life.    

What is it about the menopause that can make you feel invisible?

Ageism

Ageism affects everyone, but we women really feel the sharp end of it. Last year, Business Champion for Older Workers Dr. Ros Altmann found that “talent progression stops for women around age 45”. You only need to switch on the TV and work out the ratio of older male/female presenters and news reporters. Unfortunately, while older women have done more than enough to show they’re just as valuable to society (one might be in the White House by the end of the year), negative perceptions have been slow to change.   

Body image

Much of this ageism is tied up in body image – something that an untreated menopause can affect greatly. But, our changing body image also challenges our own perceptions of who we are. Hormones are the life-giving force for all  of our body’s systems, that even a slight imbalance can cause changes in the body that polish off our shine and leave us feeling a shadow of our former selves.

Weight gain

Especially common during perimenopause, weight gain is caused by a combination of a switch in our minor/major hormone production, and stress. Hormonal stress can affect the DHEA-to cortisol ratio, leaving us with cortisol dominance, and the body’s natural response is to store fat. And, if your thyroid functionality drops off, no amount of diet or exercise will help you re-sculpt your midriff, as your body will start turning calories into fat instead of energy.  

Skin

Our skin tells our story, whether we like it or not. You can blame thinning skin on declining oestrogen levels, and a  saggy skin on low testosterone levels. An imbalance in testosterone, in some cases, can even cause an inflammatory skin condition called rosacea. And, if your testosterone levels are too high, you might end up with your first bout of acne since your sixth-form prom.    

It doesn’t have to be this way. Fight back with restorative medicine!

Keep those feminine curves

For the first time in your life, diet and exercise just aren’t enough to keep hold of that fabulous figure. And, it all starts with your ovarian hormones. Here’s how your levels of ovarian hormones dictate the part of the body that will gain weight:

Hormone ratio: How it affects your body:
High ratio of oestradiol (E2) (a type of oestrogen) to progesterone Weight gain around the hips
Low oestradiol (E2) with normal progesterone, testosterone and DHEA Weight gain around the middle

Both progesterone and oestrogen decline in menopause and are vital to our overall health. Progesterone is the first to decline, and to a greater degree. When this happens it can provoke an oestrogen dominance setup, which is not a good place to be, as it can present various health issues, including breast and uterine cancer. When the ratio of both these important hormones are off course, an expert in restorative medicine can create an individualised programme to restore optimal function in the body and correct the ratio of both these hormones.

Once your hormones have been restored and re-balanced, the levels of stress on the body will decrease. It will also help to optimise the DHEA-to-cortisol ratio, assisting your body to store less fat, along with decreasing your body’s propensity to break down muscle and, to become insulin resistant. Once you find your natural balance, it all falls into place.  

Give your skin a radiant glow

There’s a little trick that I want you all to know. Oestriol cream (a type of oestrogen), topically compounded with antioxidants, will breathe new life into your skin. A natural concoction of ingredients, this wonder-cream can make your skin thicker, firmer and more plump, wrinkles shallower and pores smaller.

Your skin should regain its natural elasticity within 2 – 3 months, and develop a healthy, pinkish glow. Avoid petroleum-based products for a more youthful look. Also, you’ll need a prescription for this product, so get that doctor’s appointment booked in stat!    

While the years may keep ticking over, there’s no need to accept becoming an invisible woman as an inevitability. With restorative medicine, you can carry on enjoying your youthful looks, energy and feminine charms for years to come!

Find out how restorative medicine could help you find your natural hormonal 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.

 

How to increase longevity and slow the signs of aging

We’re pre-programmed to resist the signs of ageing and take every step we can to maximise our lifespan. But, with all the distractions of modern life, it’s easy to fall into bad habits that can slowly start to shave years off your life expectancy.

Fighting back against the ageing process doesn’t mean cutting out everything that you love, but with a few minor lifestyle changes you can re-discover your natural vitality and look forward to a long and healthy old age.

Here’s the key factors to consider and how you can naturally optimise your longevity:

1. Sleep

Sleep impacts on all of your body’s systems and a lack of it can double the signs of skin ageing according to a US study, as well as making us feel less attractive.

More importantly, it can be a real risk to our health, with a report from University of Warwick finding that people who sleep less than six hours per night are 12% more likely to die over a 25-year period than those who get the recommended amount of sleep. These deaths were often from heart-related conditions.

Most medical professionals advise that you aim to achieve regular, uninterrupted sleep sessions of six to eight hours per night in order to maintain optimal health and vitality.

2. Stress

Stress is often unavoidable, but could be wreaking havoc on your appearance and life expectancy.

Stress can damage our chromosomes and DNA, resulting in mutations that can increase your risk of overall immune distress, degenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s) and even cancer. A study by Harvard and Stanford Universities quantified that consistent stress could knock as much as 33 years off your potential lifespan.

To avoid this and stave off those grey hairs a little longer, ensure that your hormones are naturally in balance, optimise your diet, cut out contaminants (like alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes) and try to be mindful about what causes your blood pressure to creep up.

3. Diet

Diet is another all-encompassing factor that can impact severely on your health and wellbeing.

No matter how much you think you’re looking after your body, a bad diet can wreck your complexion and leave you looking pale and peaky. Your diet can also impact on your overall life expectancy, with coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes (which, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, can shave six years off your life alone) are among the most serious risks.

Start taking regular exercise, avoid consuming high levels of alcohol, and eliminate trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are bad and increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, they are so bad that some countries have banned them outright. They also interfere with the body’s ability to produce its own DHA (an omega-3 essential fatty acid). Fill your new diet with wrinkle-fighting antioxidants, whole and non-farmed foods, and ensure your vitamin intake is optimised.

4. Essential oils/serums

Even with a balanced diet and regular exercise, there are certain conditions or individual variables that can prevent us from absorbing the right levels of essential nutrients.

Essential oils and serums have long been used as a way of distilling the essence of integral elements to ensure that we can regulate our intake to match our unique bodily composition. Rather than being a direct means of extending longevity, essential oils will help to maintain your overall wellbeing, boost your immune system, improve skin quality, help you sleep and much, much more.

Once an expensive lifestyle option, you can now easily mix your own essential oils at home using ingredients like jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, pomegranate oil, vitamin E and lavender oil.

5. Genetic mutations

Genetic mutations and free radical damage are most commonly caused by toxic elements entering our bloodstream via our diets, alcohol or cigarettes.

Each mutation has the potential to turn cancerous, or cause degenerative diseases that could dramatically decrease your life expectancy. A study by Treatment4Addiction found that each cigarette was equivalent to 14 minutes off your life expectancy (10 years if you’re regularly smoking 20 per day). But, there are unseen factors too. A nutritional imbalance and the presence of E numbers and other contaminants in our diet might be slowly degrading your overall health.

With cigarettes and alcohol, it’s easy to know exactly what you need to cut out. However, knowing how to adapt your diet can be a little more complicated. Simply revise the ‘Diet’ section above and you can start off on the right foot.

6. Hormones

Our hormones are the oil that keeps our finely tuned machines in proper working order, but decline dramatically with age, often resulting in the onset of numerous degenerative diseases.

This decline is likely to signal that the menopause is now in full swing, complete with the range of unpleasant side effects that this transition brings. Later, your risk of cognitive degeneration, mobility issues and bodily changes (weight gain, wrinkles, hair loss etc.) will increase significantly. And, even if you try to fight back with synthetic hormones, you’ll be increasing your risk of breast cancer and other conditions.

An alternative is bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT) to help improve your life and protect your long and short-term health.

Conclusion

The further medical research advances, the more we come to understand that many aspects of the ageing process are not set in stone and can be avoided with intelligent lifestyle choices. Follow these simple steps and look forward to excitement and energy in your later years.

Natural hormones v HRT

Given the effects that follow a hormonal slump, it’s important for all of us to be aware of the facts before embarking on a treatment programme.

While the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has proclaimed synthetic HRT to be a safe treatment for those going through the menopause (in a study part funded by big-pharma giant Pfizer), there are still considerable questions about the health risks such as cancer and heart disease, and the treatment’s effectiveness.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) is an alternative and safe method to HRT. However, you must make sure that you chose an expert in this field if you want the best results and stay safe. Chose a qualified doctor!

Here is why natural or bioidentical hormones can help you rediscover your body’s balance:

1. Natural hormones are the right fit to be fully metabolised

Metabolisation of hormones in the body is like finding the right key for a lock. While synthetic hormones might be able to fit the keyhole they do not open the lock. Natural hormones, on the other hand, are the correct key to open that specific lock.

Whether hormones are naturally produced or received as supplements, the body automatically sweeps them into the circulatory system, flowing through an intricate network of capillaries until they find a cell with the right receptor.

Synthetic hormones such as progestins (fake progesterone, such as Provera®) and those derived from the urine of pregnant mares such as Premarin®, together known as PremPro®, have molecular compositions that do not fit into the lock-and-key setup in the body, they cannot correctly interact with the receptor sites. No one actually knows what happens to these molecules that do not ‘fit’ into the receptor sites. But what we do know is, it can take up to thirteen weeks to eliminate them from the body – these are chemicals that do not belong in the body and cause toxic by-products.

Natural or bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, are eliminated through the urine within one day – they are recognised, metabolised and expelled efficiently by the body, with no toxic by-product build-up.

Bioidentical HRT – a natural alternative for your body’s hormonal composition

Conventional HRT treatments are a one-size-fits-all solution. However, every woman (and man for that matter) metabolises hormones differently, so her (his) hormonal needs will be different! Bioidentical hormone restorative specialists will take the time to get to know your hormonal composition and prescribe a natural, effective treatment to restore your inner balance.

A link has long been established between HRT and heart disease, strokes and various forms of cancer. So although NICE has recently declared the treatment safe, both the compound itself and the dosage levels carry severe health risks that may be avoided with natural hormones.

With bioidentical hormone restorative therapy, the clinician will analyse the results of your blood tests and provide you with a treatment programme based on your specific hormonal levels to help restore your natural equilibrium, rather than just artificially inflating hormonal levels towards an arbitrary target. Your hormone levels will be monitored at regular intervals and the treatment tweaked to maintain optimal hormone levels, that correct the symptoms of the menopause, and at the same time, slow the ageing process.

Unlike synthetic hormone treatment – which is generally prescribed for a maximum 5-year programme due to health concerns with artificial compounds – natural hormone restorative therapy is a lifelong solution that offers you the possibility to maintain your health, zest and vivacity into your latter years.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy is a safe, effective and long-term alternative to conventional HRT treatment, assisting you in rediscovering your joie de vivre without having to worry about jeopardising your health. Find out how to get started with bioidentical hormone restorative therapy.

How attitudes towards the menopause and aging have changed

The menopause was once considered to be the first step on the road to becoming aged and less active. Not so today – now, modern healthcare techniques, lifestyle advances and a more equal social perception of mature women is making 50 the new 40!

These changes have filled our screens with female role models of a menopausal age that are living life to its fullest, such as actors Dame Judy Dench, Dame Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson, US politicos Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama, or TV personalities like Oprah Winfrey and Carol Vorderman.

Restorative medicine is the natural way to live younger

So, what can we put this paradigm shift down to? Restorative medicine has played a leading role in helping women live younger, and especially in dispelling some of the body myths associated with the menopause. No longer must women choose between suffering the full hormonal collapse of the menopause, or finding a quick fix with generic synthetic treatments that carry concerning side-effects.

You can now take your life back into your own hands, balancing your hormones naturally at a level that’s right for you, helping to reduce or remove a whole host of menopausal symptoms, including:

Keeping your hormones at the right levels for your body has also been shown to decrease the likelihood of health concerns associated with ageing, such as heart disease and strokes. Restorative medicine lets you maintain your natural balance by using compounds that are bioidentical to those found within the body, coupled with a healthy and active lifestyle.

What is the new model menopausal woman?

Now that you’ve found a way to look and feel fabulous, what can a new-age menopausal woman expect?

1. Rediscovering romance
When you combine the freedom of kids fleeing the nest and retirement with the supple frame, enhanced look and sex drive that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can offer, you’ve got yourself a recipe for love.

You can get back to spending quality time or holidays with your partner or, if you’re single, take up dating again with a new confidence and verve – changing social dynamics mean there are a lot of good 50+ dating sites now available.

2. Pursuing that dream
Whether you’ve always planned to set up your own business, write a book, or just want to indulge a new interest, the clarity of thought and mobility that restorative medicine can offer are key to maintaining your performance at its best. It is now common to see lists in Forbes of ‘50+ entrepreneurs’ – evolving social attitudes to age are giving mature women increased opportunities.

3. Getting fitter
Restorative medicine recommends putting your increased energy and improved health to good use by keeping fit. There’s now a whole host of gym classes designed specifically for women over 50, or you can give the young guns a run for their money in combined classes or running clubs too.

4. Being an inspiration
Whether you’re playing actively with grandchildren, or achieving something that will be respected by friends and family alike, the sharp wit and dynamic energy that restorative medicine can help you keep will prove an invaluable asset to all of your endeavours.

With so much opportunity to make 50 the new 40, why not find out how you can use restorative medicine to get the most out of your active and fulfilling later life?