Integrative Health Blog

Menopause and Perimenopause:  An Integrative and Preventive Medicine Approach

Posted by on Thu, Jun 06, 2019

Menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of periods resulting from the loss of ovarian follicular activity. Menopause is 12 consecutive months with no period, and this is only known with certainty in retrospect.  Perimenopause is the two to eight years preceding menopause and one year following the final menses.

Interestingly, we women begin life with all the follicles we will ever have! Throughout our lives, through ovulation and apoptosis (the dying off of cells), we lose follicles. Women experience menopause when the follicles in their ovaries are exhausted. Think of it as the cycle of the ovaries- first they are asleep, then at birth they wake up, and once they have served their purpose, they go back to sleep again.

In industrialized nations, menopause usually occurs between ages 48-52, with the mean age in the U.S. at 51 years. Menopause occurring in a woman under the age of 40 is considered premature menopause. Factors that can affect when a woman goes into menopause are genetic factors, environment, lifestyle, and systemic diseases, and an integrative and preventive medicine approach takes these factors into consideration. Genetics plays a key role as a woman’s age at menopause is associated with her mother’s menopausal age.

Symptoms and Concerns of Perimenopause and Menopause

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Tags: menopause, hormones, womens health

What Do The Bearded Lady and Bruce Willis Have in Common?

Posted by on Mon, Oct 26, 2015

High DHT levels, more than likely. 

Believe it or not, what is believed to cause Male Pattern Baldness is often a cause for hirsutism, or facial hair growth, in women. DHT is a sex steroid and an androgen hormone that is formed from the conversion of testosterone into a more potent form instead of converting into estrogen.  An enzyme, 5α-reductase, synthesizes DHT in the adrenal glands, hair follicles, testes and prostate in men and in the ovaries in women. It is responsible for growth of the prostate in males and the beginning of puberty in females. Excess levels can cause balding (androgenic alopecia) and in women it is likely to cause thinning of the hair on the head and excess hair growth in the pubic region, breast area, or on the face. Excess amounts can also lower libido and cause acne.

The role of hormones

DHEA is the precursor to testosterone and is often high in conjunction with high testosterone or high estrogen, but in some cases neither testosterone nor estrogens are high while DHEA may be elevated. This could indicate that there is an imbalance in the ratio of the two and the body is attempting to correct it.

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Tags: hormones

Balance Your Hormones Naturally

Posted by on Mon, Jun 15, 2015

Hormones play an important role in your life every day.

They are your body’s chemical messengers, traveling in your bloodstream to tissues and organs. They play a role in your growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood. If you doubt the power of hormones and their ability to affect everything from mood, to weight, to bowel health – ask the nearest pregnant woman if she’s noticed any difference in these areas. Or, just for fun, ask the nearest 13 year old girl!

Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries. 

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Tags: thyroid, hormones, adrenal fatigue, integrative health, holistic approach

Do You Suffer from Estrogen Dominance? Take the Questionnaire

Posted by on Mon, Feb 04, 2013

Estrogen Dominance and adrenal fatigue are very similar in their symptom presentation.
Symptoms may include:
                                       weight gain
                                       hot flashes
                                       poor sleep

Most women who have one tend to have the other to some degree. Most estrogen dominance is due to insufficient progesterone and therefore there is low cortisol production.When the adrenals are stressed, the increased need for cortisol depletes the progesterone levels used in making cortisol. As more progesterone is shunted to make cortisol, less is available to balance the estrogen.
Another common reason for low progesterone levels is an anovulatory cycle, a menstrual cycle in which there is no ovulation. Without the ovulation there is no corpus luteum to make additional progesterone for the cycle. The lowered progesterone level leaves us with an excessive estrogenic effect due to deficiency of progesterone. In summary, fixing adrenal function and estrogen dominance go hand-in-hand and it is therefore important to test for both and treat accordingly.
Direct help to the adrenals indirectly helps improve the estrogen-progesterone balance by allowing more progesterone to be available to offset the estrogen. More progesterone has a calming effect and may help with sleep which further helps the adrenals.
Fixing estrogen dominance can be done with chaste tree, black cohosh or progesterone. The use of natural hormone therapy must be monitored by a physician to restore the hormonal balance.

Take Dr. Rind's
Estrogen Dominance Questionnnaire

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Tags: hormones, estrogen dominance, adrenal fatigue

Estrogen Dominance Doesn't Mean What You Think

Posted by on Mon, Mar 05, 2012

Many women have heard the term ‘estrogen dominance’ (ED) but are not sure of the meaning.

Estrogen Dominance is a term every woman should be familiar with. PMS, infertility, post menopausal symptoms, and breast cancer often relate to ED.  Estrogen Dominance doesn’t mean that a woman is high in estrogen. Rather, it means that the estrogenic effects are stronger than the (counterbalancing) progesterone hormone balancing effects. If we think of the analogy of the body as a car, the estrogen would be the accelerator (stimulant) and the progesterone  (calmer) would be the brakes. We could have too little ‘accelerator’ function and still be crashing into cars because our ‘brakes’ are even weaker.

DEFINITION: Estrogen and Progesterone work with each other either as opposites or as complementing hormones. Estrogen is a stimulant (anxiety, insomnia, cellular proliferation at breast, uterus etc) and Progesterone is a calmer (patience, sleep, inhibits cell division). They also complement each other (Estrogen decreases bone loss while Progesterone promotes bone growth) and  testing and balancing hormones is important as we age and hormone levels fluctuate.

What is Estrogen Dominance?

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Tags: hormones, estrogen dominance

Estrogen Dominance and PMS

Posted by on Tue, May 31, 2011

by Cathlene Scoblionko, NP

So, for some of us it might be the day before the period starts and for others the whole preceding week.  Most women know when their period is coming because things change; breasts get tender, the temperature outside fluctuates constantly, husbands become more annoying, our feet swell, thinking becomes cloudy but emotions are front and center.  These are but a few of the many PMS symptoms that can occur.  There are plenty of web sites that will offer to show you an extensive list of symptoms.  You can google “estrogen dominance symptoms” and get plenty of hits. 

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Tags: bioidentical hormone replacement therapy/BHRT, hormones, estrogen dominance