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

Bioidentical Hormone Restorative Therapy (BHRT) – Let’s Start At The Beginning.

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BHRT_Ipad

Not All Hormones Are Prescribed Equally

Not all hormone therapies that are prescribed and taken are created equally. HRT and BHRT are two very different therapies.

Unfortunately, all hormones in any form are considered a controversial topic. This, of course, would be due to the outcome of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study which was halted ahead of schedule, in 2002, after it was found that HRT (hormone replacement therapy), a combo drug of synthetic oestrogens and progestins commonly known as PremPro, increased the risk of both heart disease and breast cancer.

Since the WHI study, both synthetic and bioidentical hormones have been bundled together as ‘bad’ and disease-causing.

This, of course, is totally untrue.

The Importance Of Understanding The Difference Between HRT And BHRT

It is important for everyone to understand the difference between these two forms of hormonal therapies – synthetic and bioidentical – and to have the correct information, otherwise, we will never get over this misconception of bad meets bad.

The major difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that synthetic hormones (HRT) set-up new reactions in the body that it is unfamiliar with. In short, they declare war with our physiology (in other words, body-balance and health); they mess with it! This is largely due to the fact that they are synthetic and the body and brain cannot quite get around that fact. The body/brain set-up gets confused when something ‘non-natural’ is put into it.

The body doesn’t produce synthetic hormones, never has done, and never will do. I am wondering why then, should we replace our declining hormones with alien or counterfeit ones – ones that have never ever existed in the body? And ones that have been seen to create detrimental and lethal health issues. It just doesn’t make sense. Instead, we should be restoring the missing hormones with bioidentical ones, identical to those produced in the body. Ones that do not cause health issues but rather enhance our health.

Bioidentical hormones restore normal physiological pathways with optimal body response. In other words, they work, they make us feel well. They calm our symptoms’, and at the same time slow the ageing process. They create harmony within the body – not disharmony! That is because the body/brain set-up understands them with great ease.

Hormones – The Human Network of Health

Hormones are miracle molecules that are naturally produced (endogenous) in the body and keep us alive and functioning. They are precious – we have been blessed with them. If we want to remain healthy, vibrant, positive and young, we need to keep them in the body at the correct levels and ratios.

With age, our hormones decline. When hormones decline, our health, both physical and mental, also declines, leaving us in a weak position. Maintaining optimal hormone levels is key to keeping us young, beautiful and sexy. And it is the most independent factor for a healthy, strong and vibrant immune system. And for keeping our hearts, brains, bones, joints, and bodies functioning correctly…at optimal.

Hormone ratios are very important to body health and maintenance. It’s not just the levels of hormones that counts but the ratios between these hormones. Hormones ratios such as oestrogens to progesterone and cortisol to DHEA, which greatly impact our health.

Hormones are messaging machines that interact with each other to literally form ‘a human network of health’ – they are, in fact, what helps us ‘keep it all together’! With a decline, we begin to fall apart slowly but surely. This is when the first signs or symptoms of ageing become apparent: withered, wrinkled and thinning skin; loss of muscle tone; weight gain; low sex drive; low mood; aching joints – these are just a few from a long list of health issues that occur with a hormonal decline. Menopause, in truth, is the beginnings of the ageing process, like it or not. This, of course, is also valid for men – they don’t get away scot-free either. They suffer hormonal decline just as we do, but in a slower and more gentle way.

When we restore declining hormone levels with bioidentical ones, we ‘keep it all together’, slow the ageing process, hold off chronic disease, and regain and/or maintain our health. It is never too early to start – the sooner, the better. We now have an option.

Let’s Take a Look at Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are an exact copy of the hormones produced in the body, they act and are read by the body exactly as our own. They come from soya and wild yam, and other plant extracts that are biosynthesised in a lab to become an exact copy of the human hormone. We are so lucky to have these miraculous molecules within our reach these days.

They are life-giving molecules that protect and enhance our declining and maturing health. They do not challenge the body in any shape or form – they are safe and efficient 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.

I admit, there is no magic bullet for the so-called ‘fountain of youth’ but, if I were to tell you that bioidentical hormones were also the golden key to better sex, a leaner body and a more youthful skin, would you believe me? You’d better! Typically, women taking bioidentical hormones look and act 10 to 15 years younger than women who don’t. And did I mention weight loss and thicker hair too?

For Your Information

If you have read my book, “The Menopause Cure – Hormonal Health”, and/or checked out my website, you will have understood why it is important to restore your body with bioidentical hormones. And the huge benefits these natural molecules provide. Life is fun again!

If you are looking for a qualified BHRT doctor click this link,drop our team a message or email us – we’re ready to help.

Your health is our priority.

To Your Health 🙂 xx

Autoimmune Disease Explained

orangeimmunecells bursting outThe relationship between autoimmune disease and immune resilience.

These are very delicate times we are facing, especially with our health. And more specifically, because the coronavirus virus (COVID -19) has hit hard. To make things a little more clearer, we really need to understand the relationship between autoimmune disease and immune resilience. This, at least, may help people with autoimmune diseases feel a little more secure about the whole COVID-19 situation.

So, autoimmunity… and why does the body attack itself?

In my previous blogs I talked about immune tolerance and immune resilience. However, it’s important to understand that having an autoimmune disease doesn’t mean to say it will weaken immune resilience. But we’ll get to that later. First, let’s look at what autoimmunity really is.

Autoimmunity, to describe it in medical terms, is a disorder where the immune system erroneously destroys and attacks body tissue. Put simply, it is the immune system going slightly crazy (it’s gone into ‘tilt mode’) and mistakenly eats, destroys, and attacks body tissue. As an example, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, where the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland; or rheumatoid arthritis, where the body mistakenly attacks the joints. Other examples of autoimmunity are type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, alopecia, vitiligo, etc.

Under normal circumstances the immune system is able to tell the difference between foreign (nonself)cells and your own (self) cells. And protect against germs like bacteria and viruses, sending or releasing, an army of fighter cells, natural killer cells, etc, to attack the foreign invader.

When we look at autoimmune disease, however, the immune system erroneously thinks parts of the body, such as the thyroid, joints, skin, etc, are foreign. Your immune system is in ‘tilt mode’, and sends out, or releases autoantibodies that then attack healthy cells.


How does autoimmunity affect your chances of contracting an illness – viral, bacterial or otherwise?

Well, that depends. When we talk about autoimmune disease and immune resilience we need to look at how well your immune function is working in relation to your autoimmunity. To put it another way, different people may have the same autoimmune disease but either a higher or lower immune state. And in fact, autoimmunity can either heighten or dampen immune resilience.

As an example, some people with Hashimoto’s may have a high white blood count and some a low white blood count. Some may have different levels of natural killer cells, T-cell regulation, and B-cell activity, etc. Everyone is different, just because you have the same autoimmune disease doesn’t mean your immune status will be the same!

What this means is some people with autoimmunity alone may have a heightened immune status, meaning they have a high immune resilience. One way to tell if your immune resilience is strong is if you haven’t caught a cold or flu over the last 5 years or so. Even when, at the same time, heightened immune activity may exacerbate autoimmune attacks against bodily tissues. This may seem a little complicated but really it isn’t. A good way to look at it is, we should think of autoimmunity and the immune resilience as two functioning processes that can harm us or protect us. Autoimmunity is a disease which harms us, whereas immune resilience, which can be built or broken depending on your lifestyle habits. When immune resilience is strong we will be less likely to catch get ill. And less prone to chronic disease.

Do people with autoimmunity need to be cautious when taking botanicals?

Well, yes and no!

Let me explain. Because autoimmunity instigates such a diversity of immune responses in each and everyone of us that have it, we need to think before we start taking any herbs, medicinal mushrooms, or other botanicals that can influence the immune system. Of course, it is always best to speak with a qualified functional/restorative doctor before commencing any regime.

If we take a look at the immune-stimulating botanicals such as echinacea or maitake mushrooms in some autoimmune people, they can fire up the immune system and make their autoimmune symptoms even worse. Again, botanicals that actually delay or slow immune response, such as antibody production, can also make autoimmune people worse. We need to be very careful here. Talk to your qualified functional/restorative physician or doctor.

The best way to modulate the Immune system and improve resilience with autoimmunity

So, let’s cut to the chase. If you are one of those people who finds it difficult to balance your immune system, or measure chronic disease, your lifestyle picture should be looked at. As mentioned in my previous blog they make a world of difference. These lifestyle strategies include:

Of course, there are many other healthy lifestyle habits you can take on which help balance immune function. But just start off slowly and you’ll see, you’ll get there. The key is to understand how important your life is…and your health. We only get one shot at this, and we only have one body. You can’t buy a new one, it’s not like a car or fancy dress. Take care of yourself and learn to love yourself. Remember you are the best thing that ever happened to you 🙂

You can find previous blogs here:

Healthy Immune System – Healthy You

The Immune Reset

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

The Immune Reset

Hand Blocking Green Immune Cells Bursting out from Black background

5 Ways to support immune resilience and improve immune tolerance.

Click here if you missed my previous blog about immune tolerance and immune resilience. And where we spoke about how important it is to strengthen immune tolerance (when it is low) in order to support immune resilience, which in turn promotes a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

Below are the five lifestyle strategies I mentioned in my previous blog, that we need to follow to strengthen immune system health. And to make your life and heart full again. To make you healthy and strong. Here’s to a happy, healthy life. Of course, there are other strategies you can do as well, but these are your starters.

  • Good sleep
  • Proper diet and nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Physical activity at appropriate levels
  • Emotions

Good Sleep

One of the most neglected and misunderstood strategies to improve immune function, immune resilience and to avoid infections is good sleep. Certain immune system cells (natural killer cells and T-cells) that are used to fight infection are boosted and activated when we sleep. When we sleep the body repairs itself and we are at peace. When we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, it’s a sign that we have had adequate sleep. When we are grumpy and bumpy, groggy and cranky, that’s a sure sign we didn’t get enough sleep. The day ahead will be long. Adequate sleep is fundamental to a well-working immune system and immune resilience.

Go to bed early. Try to sleep at least 7 hours a night. It is well known that people who sleep less than 7 hours are more prone to heart attack. And 90 minutes before bedtime, turn off all devices and televisions. Let your mind breath…and relax. I know it’s easy to say go to bed early when all you want to do is watch some television or stay on your computer because you feel as if your day has been all work and no play. It seems unfair. But start off by doing it a few nights a week, try reading a book in bed for ten minutes to relax and wind down. You’ll soon see that you’ll get into the habit of it, and start feeling much better.

Remember that there is not a single tissue within the human body and not one process within the brain that is not enhanced with adequate sleep (minimum 7hrs per night), or in the other case, impaired without enough sleep (less than 6hrs per night).

Proper Diet and Nutrition

What is nutrition, is it simply food that fills us up without giving us any health benefits, or is it food that is overflowing with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, etc, that helps us grow, develop, renew, and stay healthy? You guessed it, it’s the latter.

If you look the word nutrition up in the oxford dictionary, it is the “process by which living things (including humans ) 🙂 receive the food necessary for them to grow and be healthy.” Without good nutrition we cannot possibly be healthy and we cannot possibly have a robust immune system.

This, I believe, is what most people in today’s world don’t understand. The foods we eat build us up or tear us down. They build our immune system and push hormone production – hormones, in turn, support a healthy and robust immune system and really improve our immune surveillance…killer cells at work!

So what should we do? Firstly, we need to cut out processed sugars, and concentrated sugars from your diet. That would include concentrated fruit juices, sweets, boiled sugar sweets, candy, etc. Anything that has a high amount of concentrated sugar in it needs to disappear from your diet. Plus they are empty calories that don’t provide you with any nutrition, at all!

We need to eat lots of colourful and varied fruit and vegetables which are high in flavonoid antioxidants, which really help our overall immune system strength. Another major helper is to diversify our microbiome. In other words, we want to have as many different healthy bacterial species in our gut. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy immune system. In fact, believe it or not, approximately 80% of our immune system is found in the gut. Eat multiple kinds of vegetables, but try to change the vegetable you eat. Don’t eat the same fruit and vegetable all the time…change them, this way you will really improve your immune resistance, by improving your gut microbiome.

Last but not least cut out inflammatory foods. Avoid such things as fried foods, processed foods, high floury carbohydrates (eg pasta, breads, pizzas), which cause insulin surges, make you tired (it’s the insulin surge that makes you tired), and they also deplete antioxidant reserves.

Also, avoid partially hydrogenated fats which deplete our antioxidant reserves – they usually come in packets or boxes. Read the labels on the foods you buy.

HYDRATION

Hydration…what is hydration? Again, in the Oxford dictionary hydration means, “The process of making something/somebody take in and hold water.” Water is the key word!. Drink lots of water throughout the day…drinking tea, coffee and alcohol can actually worsen the ‘hydration situation’ as these beverages act as diuretics, so we basically become dehydrated just from that. Please drink water and avoid sugary drinks. Another key to building immune resilience is to stay hydrated all the time. Don’t let yourself get thirsty.

When we are dehydrated the immune system goes into default, and we become more prone to infections. The immune system dysregulates and, interaction and communication (yes our immune system communicates…it talks to our body 🙂 ), and immune signalling becomes compromised. In other words, when we are dehydrated the immune system becomes less efficient. Another thing, dehydration impacts blood volume and can cause miscommunication (yes our body is talking again) between the lymphatic system and the immune system.

If you have an infection or feel you are about to get one, you definitely need to stay hydrated and drink (water!) all the time, as this helps clear the infection quicker.

Of course, you need to cut down on salt intake if you want to stay hydrated. High salt intake makes you urinate more often to try and get rid of the sodium and regulate osmotic pressure.

Physical activity at appropriate levels

Although this might sound strange the immune system communicates throughout the whole body – it has to, to enable us to have optimal immune function, and optimal immune resilience. So, throughout our body and throughout the trillions of cells we have in the body, we have different types of immune cells, from macrophage to antigen-presenting cells. What these cells do is test and sample whatever is coming into the immune system…so when a pathogen, viral, bacterial or other microorganism that causes disease, comes in, they check it out by sending an immune messenger. When a pathogen is detected they (immune cells) let the immune system know that it now needs to manufacture antibodies to protect it from this pathogen. T cells now need to switch on and our natural killer cells need to attack and deal with this infection. To achieve the best immune response this message has to reach the whole body as quickly as possible.

To quicken this process movement of any kind is important…but how much movement, when and how?

Movement promotes better blood flow, circulation, and lymphatic exchange of fluids. When you increase your heart rate, the blood flow and circulation enhances and when you pump those weights, and release and contract, it helps the lymphatic system to work more efficiently, and move fluids throughout the body at a greater speed. If you want to improve, support and/or build overall immune function, it is critical that you do some kind of movement/motion. However, the question is how much?

If you are healthy and have no immune challenges, strenuous exercise is fine, and can actually help release opioids, which have an incredible impact on immune cells like T cells, natural killer cells, and B cells, which of course, will strengthen immune system function and make it much more able to respond to any type of pathogen appropriately.

Instead, if you have an infection and are fatigued it’s best to slow down. Take it easy. High, intense exercise burns up antioxidants and reserves, which will really dampen our immune system. If you are not feeling too good or getting sick a brisk walk is just as good, it’s important not to fatigue yourself. Even a slow walk will activate your lymphatics and immune system function.

So, the key thing here is…

Any kind of movement, whether it’s high intensity or a gentle walk in the park, are critical to vascular dynamics (blood flow and exchange), to help push immune messengers throughout our body. If you want to improve your immune resilience and support tolerance, exercise, movement and motion are critical factors.

Emotions (Laughing and crying)

Really? Yes, really. These emotions can greatly impact immune resilience which help us to fight off infections and be less susceptible to infections that are going around.

Laughing actually triggers a release of opioids, that is of course, why we feel so relaxed and happy after a good laugh. As mentioned previously, opioids greatly impact immune system function by activating key cells such as T cells, natural killer cells and regulatory T cells that help the immune system to be more efficient in dealing with any type of pathogen. So, remember to laugh a lot and watch comedy films rather than tragedy. Laughing can have a profound impact on the immune system. ‘Be Happy – Laugh More – Stay Healthy’.

So what about crying? Hmm! Crying, believe it or not, this also helps us release opioids. For instance, in a critical situation or a crisis many of us cry. If you think about it we feel better after we’ve cried…it seems to relieve us somehow. When we start to cry opioids are released to act as a safeguard, and help dampen stress. In short, they help protect us from dealing with the stressor, which impacts the immune system.

So even crying significantly impacts the immune system by way of opioid release. Think about this next time you want to cry…just cry…and Be Happy!

I know we are all resistant to change, and yes, old habits die hard. But it’s your health we are talking about…it’s your life and the quality of it, no one else’s. Try these changes and see how it can change your life and your health. And if it helps to motivate you…these changes may even help you lose weight.

However, remember rebuilding a strong immune system doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. You need to be consistent…you need to stick with it. Make yourself a New Years resolution, even if it’s not New Year…who needs New Year to make a new resolution? Start now and your summer will be off to a super start. Remember, the longer you leave your immune system to breakdown the longer it will take to repair.

To Your Health

Jill 🙂

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.