A symphony orchestra is made up of many instruments that when put together correctly makes beautiful music. Just like in our bodies, for us to feel, act and look our best, our hormonal system must function and work together in balance. Human hormones are designed to work together. And if one is altered or deficient, it will affect the actions of all the other hormones.
It’s estimated that 3,500 to 6,000 women enter menopause every day in the United States. Menopause occurs when a woman has had no natural menstrual cycle for 12 months. Menopause can be the best time in a woman’s life. Most no longer have to worry about pregnancy and we’re usually young enough to still be sexually interested.
Menopause is a time when women get the opportunity to work on themselves, since we have been busy taking care of other people.
Most people will agree that in general women are staying at lot healthier and the new “middle age now begins at 60.”
However, if our “hormonal symphony” is out of tune, we can begin having symptoms 2-20 years ahead of time. This time in our life is called peri-menopause. A woman may still have cycles during this time, but they may become more irregular, bleeding changes, symptoms can be present and unpredictable and changes our quality of life.
Everybody’s body is unique and the symptoms of both peri-menopause and menopause can be similar. While some may experience no symptoms and sail right through, others may have symptoms so severe that it disrupts the quality of life and puts their careers, relationships and even their health at risk.
Some common symptoms include: hot flashes/night sweats, weird dreams, snoring and sore breasts, all the changes that happen “down there” like urinary tract infections, have to pee often and leak a little when you laugh, cry or move, vaginal dryness, itching and odor. Then there are the heart palpitations and rapid pulse, headaches, lower back pain and achy joints on top of unwanted varicose veins. Digestion issues like bloating, weight gain, feeling fat, indigestion and flatulence can make one lose their sexy and desire for intimacy. With the loss of sexual interest some experience painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness. If that’s not enough, some women will experience insomnia or other sleep disturbances, mood swings, irritability, depression, panic attacks or anxiety, dizzy spells, lack of focus or concentration and short term memory loss. What about dry skin or feeling like your skin is crawling with bugs so you itch all over? And finally the hair we’re losing on the top of our head seems to appear in other unwanted places like face and chin.
The “normal age” to go through menopause ranges from 35 to 55 years making it easily one half of our life without a menstrual cycle.
Until the last twenty years or so, the only available hormonal therapy in many countries has been synthetic hormone replacement like the birth control pill or IUD, patches, etc. Synthetic hormones are replacement hormones that do not have the same chemical structure we are born with.
For some, synthetic hormones work just fine and pose no risk. For others, this is not the case.
Natural hormone replacement therapy means using plant based hormones that are biologically identical to what the body should be making but isn’t or can’t. When viewed under the microscope, these hormones have the same molecular or chemical structure as the human hormones the body made before menopause.
The one size fits all approach doesn’t work. Each woman is unique and needs a customized and individualized approach. Natural hormonal therapy is the best way to replace hormones safely and studies have shown that women who use hormone replacement live longer than those who do not.
Remember each person’s hormonal response is unique as their fingerprints. How we may respond to hormone replacement therapy is related to our genetic profile, stress level, health condition – do we still have our ovaries or uterus, environment, nutritional supplementation, and what we eat.
Hormone replacement should be considered with a thorough understanding of how all of the human body’s hormones work with each other.
The science of today’s medicine is changing from the previous thought process of crisis disease management - where one agent caused a single disease that could be treated with one medication - to a new shift in understanding that human beings are complex and a wholistic approach restores balance and improves health and longevity.