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Feeling Your Best During Perimenopause and Beyond

By |2024-02-01T16:40:26-05:00December 20th, 2023|Categories: Hormones|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Despite popular narratives, perimenopause isn’t just about hot flashes, night sweats, sex hormones, ovulation, and the natural transition to menopause. It extends beyond hormones to impact muscle mass, bone density, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, mood, skin health, sex, and more.

Perimenopause of course is a natural phase before menopause when a woman’s body starts shifting, causing irregular periods, mood swings, and other changes due to fluctuating hormone levels, marking the transition to the end of reproductive years. It’s like a rollercoaster ride for the body, with ups and downs, as it prepares for the next stage of life.

Hormone Imbalance Symptoms Graphic

In this post, I call attention to how low estrogen caused by perimenopause can negatively impact your health, and what you can do to slow and even reverse the progression of health conditions related to declining estrogen.

Addressing Muscle Loss

Muscle loss for women typically begins in one’s 30s or 40s and becomes more pronounced with aging. It’s a gradual process, and its progression can vary among individuals in response to numerous factors, including the person’s health history, genetics, exercise regimen, diet, and stress. A decline in estrogen levels during menopause (usually occurring in the late 40s or 50s) can contribute to the acceleration of muscle loss in women.

One important aspect of healthy aging is to avoid the loss of muscle mass or, even better, build muscle mass as you age. This is entirely possible to accomplish with the right combination of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), exercise, proper diet, and medication to stimulate growth hormone.

It’s no secret that as we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, but muscle is more than what meets the eye. It has a range of impacts on the body, including functional strength and independence, metabolic and hormonal health, bone health and prevention of chronic disease. Here are a few ways that muscle health impacts overall health: Continue reading…

Taking a Holistic Approach to Hormone Therapy

By |2022-08-15T22:52:43-04:00August 15th, 2022|Categories: Hormones|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

Many clinics — including conventional healthcare and those that promote themselves as “med spas” — offer hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women.

HRT, when part of a thoughtful treatment plan, can be a safe option for alleviating symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, as well as optimizing health. Having robust and balanced hormones slows the aging process and can help reduce the risk and slow the progression of chronic diseases associated with aging.

Unfortunately, the HRT often being offered by both traditional healthcare practices and med spas is typically a one-size-fits-all solution that overlooks other factors that may be causing or contributing to your health conditions or symptoms.

Graphic for hormone replacement therapy

Worse, typical HRT offerings overlook the fact that the body needs to be able to metabolize hormones effectively in order to maintain optimal hormonal balance. If the body is already struggling to metabolize its endogenous (internally produced) hormones, adding exogenous (pharmaceutical) hormones can do more harm than good.

In my healthcare practice, I take a more holistic approach to hormone replacement therapy — one that accounts for each patient’s diet, lifestyle, body composition, and overall health and that not only supplements hormone production but also supports hormone metabolism.

What we offer in my clinic is unique because we take a holistic approach to your health and the use of hormone replacement therapy as part of your doctor-supervised treatment plan.

Recognizing the Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

If you’re a woman around the age of 50, your ovaries are gradually producing less and less estrogen, resulting in a hormonal imbalance. You may start to experience hot flashes, anxiety, depression, mood swings, fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, wrinkles, brittle hair, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, tender breasts, weight gain, and poor sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy can Continue reading…

The Unintended Side Effects of Birth Control: A Doctor’s Case Study

By |2021-03-17T19:44:11-04:00March 17th, 2021|Categories: Hormones|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

If you’ve been taking birth control and feel bloated after eating, or have gained weight that is difficult to drop, or have been set back by sports-related injuries that happened years ago, perhaps this case study on the unintended consequences of birth control on women’s health is for you.

Meet Stephanie — a 24-year-old professional who came to see me with a concern about her digestion. Well, it turned out to be more than that, and as you’ll see, very much related to her use of birth control pills.

Stephanie’s most pressing concern was related to her constant bloating after eating, along with constipation. During her initial consultation, she also told me that while playing sports in high school she suffered a terrible ankle injury that required surgery and months of bed rest. During this time, this 5-foot, 4-inch young woman went from weighing 120 pounds to 183 pounds.

Stephanie’s pediatrician recommended a gluten-free diet to assist her with digestion problems and weight loss. As a result of following her initial doctor’s advice, she did manage to lose a little more than 20 pounds, but still wasn’t comfortable at 162 pounds.

So far, Stephanie’s scenario seemed pretty straightforward to me. This young woman, concerned about her weight, had experienced a setback due to a sports injury a decade earlier as a teenager. Since then, exercise and diet haven’t helped her lose weight, and now she’s stuck at 162 pounds.

More to the Story

One important lesson I’ve learned over the course of my 20-plus years in practice is that there’s usually more to the story leading up to a patient’s primary symptoms, and this was certainly the case with Stephanie. As we explored her medical history, including the information she provided on the functional medicine analysis form she completed prior to her initial consultation, I discovered some interesting and enlightening details: Continue reading…

Putting the Brakes on Your Allostatic Load

By |2018-06-07T14:54:59-04:00June 7th, 2018|Categories: Stress|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

To the uninformed, the term allostatic load probably sounds more like a setting on your washing machine than a symptom of stress, but if your doctor suspects allostasis, he or she is telling you that your body may be picking up the tab for your stress-filled life.

Allostatic load is a culmination of all the overtaxed pressures in your life, whether that be work related, the result of relationships, health fears, and even past traumatic events that keep cropping up despite our best efforts.

These issues are bad enough by themselves, but then you toss in a diet that features too much sugar or salt, a caffeine habit that keeps you jittery all day, 24-hour news reports that feature no good news, and what you end up with is allostatic load.

Allostasis is a process that includes the release of stress hormones and neurotransmitters within the body. Each of these stress responses take a toll on your physical condition, which in turn only adds to your allostatic load. The end result of this stress buildup? You become sick.

In recent years, many doctors and health practitioners have suggested diet and exercise as a holistic means of relieving stress. And on the surface, a strict diet can make perfect sense. Where it goes wrong — especially when your allostatic load is at a high level — is the accompanying increase in Continue reading…