MENOPAUSE HORMONES – Caution: Falling Hormones

Menopause Hormones

Your ovaries begin to age and as your years go up, your hormones go down. These inevitable changes in your hormones and natural decline of estrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come.

If You Could Change the Change

Estrogen depletion can bring on a combination of hormonal and biochemical fluctuations that can lead to changes in your brain and nervous system. You may experience mood swings, memory loss, problems focusing, irritability, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, stress, anxiety and depression. (Some researchers believe that estrogen depletion can affect your memory in a way that can impact your risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.)  Due to estrogen depletion, women are also put at an increased risk for cardiovascular issues, such as heart attacks, strokes, or other heart-related problems. After the age of 30, the creation of new bone cannot keep up with the rate of bone loss in your body. The estrogen depletion that comes with menopause results in an increased risk for low bone mineral density, osteopenia and osteoporosis. For 5-10 years after menopause, this bone density loss accelerates into a gradual weakening of your bones and can lead to an increase in the risk for fractures and other injuries. (Gimme a break.)

Hit or Myth

Myth #1:  Menopause begins at 50

Menopause begins at 50…or at 42…or 36…or 61. The average woman begins menopause at 52, but you may start your transition anywhere from your 30’s to your 60’s.

Myth #2:  Weight gain is inevitable in menopause

Weight gain is an absolute in menopause but you don’t have to allow it.

Myth #3: There’s no difference between natural menopause and “surgical” menopause

It’s critical for women to know that natural menopause and surgical menopause are indeed very different. When a woman undergoes a total surgical hysterectomy, she experiences an immediate and significant change in hormonal balance, literally overnight, instead of the slower transition of natural menopause.

Myth #4: The first sign of menopause is hot flashes

Despite the fact that menopause and hot flashes are almost synonymous in peoples’ minds, (and are also the topic of endless, tasteless jokes,) your first sign of menopause could be any of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular periods
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Cravings
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Low libido
  • Forgetfulness
  • Heavy menses

Myth #5:  After menopause, your body doesn’t produce hormones

No cold turkey, empty bucket, here…

Myth #6:  The older you are when you get your period, the older you’ll be when you go through menopause

For many women, just the opposite is true.

Myth #7:  Menopause only causes physical symptoms

Could you describe yourself as a “raving maniac” at times? Are you more irritable and anxious? You’re not alone. Many women experience unnerving changes in their emotions, memory, and concentration during perimenopause and menopause due to sudden shifts in estrogen levels.

Some Hot Flashes About Sex.

Send up the balloons…your vagina is NOT going to shrivel up like a prune. Your libido isn’t going on permanent leave. You can still get hot and we’re not referring to flashes. Your desire isn’t headed to the dumps. The vagina is a “use it or lose it” place, the act of intercourse stimulating blood flow to keep it healthy. Media makes it sound gross to have sex after 50. It’s beyond Millennial imagination. (Hint: they’ll get there before they know it.) So, ok, you might not feel as sexy as before. Tip: up the intimacy. Go for as many orgasms as you can get. Why not? You just might have to work a little harder for it. Yes, you might be a little drier, but bring on the lubes. There are tons of them. And consider this; no tampon, pads, IUD’s. No kids doing anything interruptus. Enjoy. Probably even more.

Pause to Hear This

When it comes to menopause, there are many types of estrogen replacement you might hear of: pills, patches, creams, suppositories and more. None work as well as bioidentical hormones. It’s important to know the difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic ones. Natural or bioidentical hormones are hormones made from a natural substance and are bio-chemically identical to human hormones. Synthetic hormones are not derived from a natural substance and not biochemically identical. Synthetic hormones were created by pharmaceutical companies in an attempt to mimic the effects of natural female hormones. Which creates huge differences in both efficacy and side effects. The most important thing to know is who to go to, to get the professional help you really need. Write this name down, right now: Stephen A. Goldstein MD, F.A.C.S. at Denver Hormone Health. With years of expertise and experience treating hundreds of perimenopausal and menopausal women, he is among one of few extensively educated and knowledgeable in BHRT specialists in the Denver area. You’ll begin to feel relief the moment you meet with him. He takes the time to listen and to talk about your individual symptoms and issues. Next, he does simple tests that tell him your estrogen levels. At which point he creates an integrated plan of hormones, healthy eating and exercise that will restore not just your estrogen, but what you need to feel as energetic and alive as you used to.

Call for an appointment now.

And be sure to keep the conversation going throughout your menopausal years.

PREGNANCY HORMONES – It Could Make You Sick a Lot More Than Just Mornings

Pregnancy Hormones

Ah, the ever-changing pregnancy hormones. They play about as big a role in the nine months of waiting for that little bundle of joy as do morning sickness and heartburn. It can be as complicated as some uninterpretable algorithm, so we’ll just stick to the basics. (As basic as they can be.)

Whoa, Baby…

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

What it does: HCG is the key hormone that’s present during pregnancy in the urine, which to your elation or at times, dismay, indicates, you are, in fact, pregnant. (Get out the dip strips and wait anxiously for the telling stripe or pink or blue.) In either case, HGG could be the culprit in nausea and vomiting.

Progesterone: this hormone does some very important jobs along the way: it keeps the uterus muscle relaxed and plays a role in the immune system helping the body tolerate foreign DNA (that is, the fetus.). It also leads to relaxation of the blood vessels throughout the body, prompting lower than normal blood pressure and occasionally dizziness, as well as all the not-so-fun gastrointestinal symptoms of pregnancy that include heartburn, reflux, belching, nausea, vomiting, gas, and constipation. Progesterone can also increase hair growth, albeit not the lustrous-toss-your-mane-back good kind — you may notice unwanted hair on your breasts and lower abdomen, for example.

Estrogen: this pregnancy hormone plays a key role in the development of the fetus, with several organs and other bodily systems in the fetus triggered into development by estrogen. The downside, elevated estrogen levels may also prompt spider veins, nausea, increased appetite, and skin changes including changes in skin’s pigment. (Where’s the glow, here?)

Oxytocin: oxytocin is the hormone that stretches the cervix and stimulates the nipples to produce milk.

Prolactin: this milk-producing hormone — which increases 10 to 20 times during pregnancy — has a tranquilizing effect. (Aaahhh…). Prolactin prepares breast tissues for lactation and the release of milk.

Relaxin is believed to be responsible for loosening up the ligaments that hold the pelvic bones together and for relaxing the uterine muscle, both in preparation for delivering your baby through the birth canal. During pregnancy women have 10 times the normal amount of this pregnancy hormone in their bodies. Oh, and another possible downer; (no more downers, please. This is supposed to be a glorious time.) You may feel that your ligaments are ‘looser,’ including your shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles, which can result in aches, pain, inflammation, and even clumsy tendencies. Actually, it can all feel like a pain, but just keep remembering the amazing moment your baby is put in your arms.

Bloating the Boat

Most women look at themselves and bemoan moan feeling fat. Their ankles swell, their backs ache. Well, it’s not just in their minds. Pregnant women retain fluids that alas, do result in swelling of the legs, feet, hands, and even face. (Puffy is definitely not pretty.) This increase in fluid retention is responsible for about 25% of the increase in weight that women experience during pregnancy. Additionally, most women experience changes in their sense of taste during pregnancy, having a higher threshold for strong sour, salty, and sweet tastes. Cravings. Constant cravings. (Hold the lettuce, bring on the Ben and Jerrys and pickles. And hot Cheetos, and dark chocolate pretzels, and salted caramel cheesecake…)

If Only I Were a Marsupial

Nine months of pregnancy seems like an eternity for women especially as they get closer to their delivery date. Have you ever heard anyone wax poetic about it?  An amazing alternative is the animal with the shortest gestation period-the marsupial, known to be just 12 to 13 days, sometimes as short as eight days. (Marsupial envy, anyone?) Just for an absolute hoot, take a look at some of these:

Mammal Average gestation period
Days Months
Armadillo 60 to 120 2 to 4
Baboon 5 to 6
Bear, grizzly 210 to 265 7
Beaver about 105 3 1/2
Boar, wild 115 3 1/4
Bobcat 60 to 63 2
Cat 52 2
Cattle about 238 9 1/4
Cheetah 91 to 95 3
Chimpanzee 230 to 240 7 1/2
Dog 53 to 71 2
Dolphin 10 to 12
Ermine about 28
Red Fox 60 to 63 2
Gerbil 21 to 28
Gibbon 7 to 8
Giraffe 453 to 464 15 1/4
Goat 150 5
Gopher 12 to 20
Guinea pig 63 2
Hamster from 15 to 37
Hippopotamus about 240 8
Horse about 11 1/2
Kangaroo 6 to 11 (in pouch)
Koala 34 to 36 1 1/4
Leopard 90 to 105 3 1/4
Lion 100 to 119 3 1/2
Llama 348 to 368 11 1/2 to 12 1/4
Mouse about 20 to 30
Panda, giant 125 to 150 4 1/2
Pig 101 to 129 3 1/4
Porpoise 183 6
Rabbit 30
Raccoon 63 2
Reindeer 210 to 240 7 to 8
Sheep 135 to 160 4 1/2 to 5
Shrew 13 to 24
Skunk 62 to 66 2
Squirrel about 40 1 1/3
Tiger 103 3 1/2
Walrus 15 to 16 including 4 to 5 months of delayed implantation
Whale, sperm 14 to 15
Wolf 61 to 63 2
Zebra 340 about 11 1/2

Guess you should feel lucky you’re not a sperm whale.

Your Other Perfect Pregnancy Hormone Partner

It’s shown that women whose husbands or partners take a big part in the whole pregnancy and are there for support in any way possible, makes it easier for the mom having the baby. But there is another kind of support that could be just as important for you; Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. And the physician most sought-after in the field is Stephen A. Goldstein MD, F.A.C.S. at Denver Hormone Health. In addition to years of experience and expertise, he routinely inundates himself with the latest technology, cutting-edge research and superior education available. When you become a patient, you receive his completely dedicated attention. With simple tests, he is able to target your condition and create a completely unique treatment plan for you. Dr. Goldstein will partner with you throughout every step of your journey, helping you achieve optimal health and helping you reach your fitness goals in a time that could often be trying.

Call for an appointment now.

It’s more than you could be expecting.

THE ESTROGEN CONNECTION – Estrogen is What, Exactly?

Estrogen

First, a primer: to some, it’s some “woman’ thing. Some do think of it as a hormone. But surprise, there is actually no single hormone called “estrogen”. Try plurals, here; estrogens are a class of hormones. There are three different forms of estrogens in the body: estradiol, estriol and estrone. (Close your eyes and try repeating.)

Although they are all pretty similar in function, they vary in potency. Estradiol is the most common type found in non-pregnant women of childbearing age, and its main function is assisting with the monthly egg release from the ovaries. Estriol occurs in abundance at pregnancy. Estrone, is the form found upon post-menopause.

It’s Everywhere, Doing Everything.

Estrogen, (as we’ll refer to it here for the sake of simplicity) isn’t just about the basics mentioned above. Consider this:

  • Your daily life affects your estrogen levels and needs-vigorous exercise or stressful situations make you use estrogen faster. When you sleep, when you’re ill, it all has an impact on your estrogen levels.
  • Estrogen can affect your sun sensitivity. (High SPF and no tanning beds, please.)
  • Estrogen has both a direct and indirect impact on the cardiovascular system helping stop the buildup of plaque in your arteries, for example. (Be still, my heart.)
  • Estrogen plays a role in brain function helping protect nerves from damage and possibly stimulate nerve growth. It can also delay memory loss. (What was that I just said?)
  • Even your eyes need estrogen, as low levels can cause dry eyes, blurriness and even a change in vision. (And you thought maybe it was just from a killer hangover.)
  • Estrogen has a big effect on your skin, improving collagen content and quality. (Wrinkle, wrinkle, little star.)
  • It even helps prevent bone loss. (Give me a break.)

Periods? Pregnancy? Post menopause? Just an itsy-bitsy part of the picture.

Get the Whole Picture

The fact is, people don’t know what they should about the hormones called estrogen. And like all hormones, they’re crucial to how your entire body operates. Because hormones send specific signals throughout your bloodstream, if the messages they’re carrying for your body to operate the way it should, a lot could happen. Or not. The most important thing to know about hormones, is that there is a safe and effective way to balance them. In the Denver area, Dr. Stephen A. Goldstein MD, F.A.C.S. at Denver Hormone Health is the expert in Hormone Replacement Therapy. Before anything, he will discuss estrogen in a language that’s easy to understand, and answer any and all questions you have. It is important to understand that hormone levels differ between individuals; what is normal for one person is not necessarily normal for another. That’s why testing for your individual levels is critical. The tests are simple, but the results are completely telling. Once he is able to see your hormone levels, he creates a tailored plan just for you. Because he’s there for you, wanting you to feel your best.

Call for an appointment now.

Unlike estrogen, he’s hard to replace.