Category Archives: HRT

Quick Face Fix

According to some estheticians and dermatologists, the easiest way to achieve glowing skin that has lasting effects is with food. Eating foods that are low insulin and inflammatory triggers will help de- puff your eyes, help ease dark circles and red eyes, perk up tired, dull looking skin and overall give your skin a refreshed and naturally moister completion.

Dr. Perricone, Yale University School of Medicine, recommends a three-day diet of fish, preferably salmon, for its high omega content that will fuel your skin and plump it up ─ the quick fix to get ready for a special event.

What to try a three-day experiment? Eat only the foods below and let us know if you see the difference.

• Mixed fruits such as cantaloupe, honeydew, apples, oranges, pears and berries

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• Eggs ─ poached or omelet’s

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• Lots of leafy salad greens, red peppers, broccoli, broccolini, broccoli rabe, kale, spinach, etc. A healthy portion of vegetable should accompany most meals.

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• Avoid starchy foods like potatoes and cauliflower.

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• Fish anytime is a good food choice. I frequently will eat fresh fish for breakfast ─ no sides, just a piece of fish. Pure Protein is a satisfying way to start the day. It keeps my energy up and hunger at bay for hours.

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• White meat chicken

• No alcohol, pasta, rice, red meat, bread, sugary sweet foods and desserts, no salt or very little salt, no canned or prepared foods, no junk food, no soda or fruit juices, no cheeses and keep all dairy to a minimum.

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Keep in mind incorporating this way of eating with modification into your daily lifestyle will not only improve your skin, but it will also put your body on a path for healing and good health.

Maybe even put you on track to lose those pounds you’ve wanted to get rid of!

Let us know how you do in the comments below.

Till next time- Sabina.

Menopause Tips: Living in Rhythm

We live in a culture that idealizes youth and often conveys using hormone replacement treatments might slow the natural course of time, in spite of its known risks to women’s health. The idea of natural menopause is frequently all but ignored, and our culture is waging a war on the natural and inevitable process of moving forward with time and aging.

Being healthy is a practice just like anything else we participate in and a healthy menopause experience is within reach of every woman, menopause is a natural process you grow into ─ your body is built to experience the end of monthly cycles and go on living happily and healthfully on less estrogen and progesterone without submitting to harmful drug treatments such as HRT.ea870d_723ba6e5e89d4c88a498ef8f0848d5a1.jpg_srz_288_155_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

Menopause is meant to be the perfect ending to our childbearing years, and if you live a healthy lifestyle you already know the effects of menopause are less noticeable when you are happy and healthy, then your body just moves through its process in rhythm with your chemistry and timetable.
food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes (1)Simple dietary and lifestyle changes can repair and renew how you feel and look. There’s no secret to Menopause; it ’s a natural and normal part of being a woman.

There seems to be an underlying fear of menopause because it’s associated with aging. As we mature our looks, and our body get devalued ─ as a society our relationship with menopause and aging is in crisis because we are told health and beauty are only related to individual images and limited to certain ages.

I have worked in the natural health industry for the past 25 years. I have been a researcher, a counselor, a businesswoman and the founder and CEO of Solutions for Women, the company behind Femmerol, a product that helps strengthen your system during the hormonal change. Over the course of the past quarter century I have learned a great deal about what our hormones need to be healthy, and in balance to work with our individual and unique natural rhythm.

All prescription hormone treatments are manufactured steroids intended to imitate what women produce naturally. Unfortunately, these products do more harm than good; they are unable to address the underlying causes of imbalance or restore healthy hormone functions. They may treat symptoms for the short term only, but at what price to your health? And because symptoms tend to return after treatment is stopped, how long do you want to prolong just managing symptom control?umbrella

There are fundamental principles of being healthy ─ eating fresh whole food, getting adequate physical exercise and using your God given power to choose wisely and well, think constructively about your health, your life, and the world, even on their worst days. Nurturing from the inside and outside is not something reserved for a day at the spa; it’s a way to live every day. It’s a way of loving who you are.

One of the best ways to establish hormone balance is to be your menopause expert, listen to your body and live in rhythm with your internal clock. Most of us live by rhythms that are not our own. Our days are shaped by the demands of our environment whether they come from the people we love, or our work or everyday life, and it creates a physical and mental tug of war between our rhythm and the needs of others. What I have learned over the years is that no matter how chaotic the day I can still come home to my internal rhythm.

If you are unhealthy or unhappy, don’t ignore it or surrender and give up. Investigate what is going on. If you are worried about the effects of menopause and post-menopause or aging, ask yourself why? Whose voice are you hearing when you think about menopausal and aging?

The History of HRT Part 3: Is HRT Safe?

This is Part 3 of 3 on the history of HRT, please click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2.

Is there such a thing as a harmless hormone? That seems to be the question I get asked the most by women looking for answers.

Dr. Fugh-Berman, photo courtesy of Georgetown University Medical Center.
Dr. Fugh-Berman, photo courtesy of Georgetown University Medical Center.

“Even hormones made by your body can hurt you,” says Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, who teaches in the complementary and alternative medicine program at Georgetown University. “There’s lots of data that indicates women with higher natural levels of estrogen are at a higher risk for breast cancer.”

Bioidentical hormones have not been studied in clinical trials in the U.S., which frees promoters to claim that, among other things; Estriol is not only safe but may prevent cancer because it is weaker than the other estrogens.

The reality, any estrogen needs to be taken with caution.

Lena Rosenberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden
Lena Rosenberg of the Karolinska Institute  in Sweden

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For years, oral estriol was prescribed in Europe without the standard progesterone accompaniment to protect against endometrial cancer.

Then a study in Sweden revealed that taking one to two milligrams a day of estriol alone doubled the risk of endometrial cancer. In another study in Sweden of 5,000 women, published in February 2006, stronger estrogens increased the risk of ductal and lobular breast cancer. That’s really no surprise, but here’s what was — even low-dose oral estriol (about one milligram a day) doubled the risk of lobular breast cancer in women who took it for fewer than five years.

“We need more studies, but at this point.” Says lead researcher Lena Rosenberg, MD, of the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, Sweden. We cannot rule out an increased risk for breast cancer even with the less potent estriol.”

The History of HRT Part 2 : Modern Day

This is Part 2 of 3 on the history of HRT, please click here to read Part 1. 

HRT has been put through several clinical trials and observational studies since 2002. This is the scientific and medically known conclusion from all the data collected:

a) Steroidal hormones have been proven to increases the risk for breast cancer, blood clots and cardiovascular events.
b) Risks are greater than the benefit for some women.

Doctors are advised to prescribe HRT with caution.
Doctors are advised to prescribe HRT with caution.

c) Although the category of women HRT may have a minimal risk on has been narrowed down, it is still a shot in the dark because there is no exact science to follow.

d) Can causes weigh gain, water retention, depression, changes in mood and libido and other non-life threatening symptoms.

e) Doctors are advised to prescribe HRT with caution.

f) All manufactured hormone products are steroids and are not natural, including bio identical hormones.

g) It is believed by the FDA and WHI that the same dangers associated with standard hormone replacement therapy are also true for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, simply because they are the same steroidal hormones only in different proportions. Concerns over the lack of clinical data about the safety of compounded hormones as well as fears over the quality of these products has been highlighted by NAMS director Emeritus

Although the category of women HRT may have a minimal risk on has been narrowed down, it is still a shot in the dark because there is no exact science to follow.
Although the category of women HRT may have a minimal risk on has been narrowed down, it is still a shot in the dark because there is no exact science to follow.

Wulf H. Utian , MD, PhD, DSc(Med). An investigative report published in MORE Magazine showed that none of the 12 compounding pharmacy formulations tested contained the quantities of hormones prescribed. Ten contained too much of the prescribed estrogens and 11 too little progesterone, an imbalance that can allow overgrowth of the uterine lining and lead to cancer.

h) Due to the withdrawal effects of HRT it is recommended to be weaned off HRT. Symptoms may return or become worsened.

i) There is no guarantee how HRT will work or what it will do once absorbed in your body

The WHI study, which was a randomized placebo-controlled trial, showed that combined HRT (oestrogen plus progestogen) used by healthy postmenopausal women increased coronary events, strokes, breast cancer and pulmonary embolism, and decreased osteoporotic fractures and colon cancer.

MWS, which was an observational study of women attending breast screening clinics, showed that current users of combined HRT were twice as likely to get breast cancer as non-users and that the risk was greater than for those using oestrogen-only brands.

That’s all for now, make sure to come back Monday for part 3 of our series : “The History of HRT.”

 

The History of HRT Part 1 : 1899-1974

A short time ago, I received a call from a woman I’ve known for 25 years. As soon as I heard her voice I knew something was very, very wrong. With a shaky voice, and fighting back tears, she told me she has breast cancer and it was thought to have spread to her lungs.

Anne had been on and off HRT for years looking to help with her menopause symptoms.  She was hoping for a miracle in a pill, regardless of how I tried to help her, she just wasn’t into making lifestyle changes.

She passed away 4 months later at age 66. We will never know if Anne’s cancer was triggered by HRT, but all I know is it didn’t prevent it.

Over the last seventy years, millions of women in the United States were prescribed estrogen, but do any of us know all there is to know about this powerful hormone?

Endometrial cancer is a disease primarily driven by cumulative exposure to estrogen unopposed by progesterone.
Endometrial cancer is a disease primarily driven by cumulative exposure to estrogen unopposed by progesterone.

Barbara Seaman (1935-2008) an author, activist, journalist, the principal founder of the women’s health movement, advocating for women’s health called “the marketing, prescribing and sale of estrogen the greatest experiment ever performed on women. For all these years, they have been used for what doctors and scientist hoped they could do not for what they know the products can do. Medical policy on estrogen has been to “shoot first and apologize later” to prescribe the drug for certain health problems and then see if there is a positive result.”

Many of you may not know the history of HRT, but I think it’s worth knowing how it began and where we are today.

Biochemist Edward Doisy
Biochemist Edward Doisy

 

HRT History: 1899 -1975

In 1899 the Merck Manual featured the first product to treat “climacterica” also known as menopause. The name of the product was Ovarian and it was made from the dried and pulverized ovaries of cows.

In 1929 biochemist Edward Doisy at St Louis University, Missouri, treated menopausal symptoms with hormones that were isolated oestrogens from the urine of pregnant women.

 (Oestrogens are steroid hormones produced artificially for use in oral contraceptives or to treat menopausal and menstrual disorders.)

Canadian firm Ayerst launched a rival oestrogen product called Emmenin in 1934 but later replaced this with conjugated oestrogens obtained from the urine of pregnant horses, marketed as Premarin in 1942.

In 1939, a British biochemist published a formula for a cheap and powerful oral estrogen and within months scores of drug companies were working with the formula.

By the 1960’s doctors were observing that women on hormones developed breast and ovarian cancer by   alarming numbers.

In 1975, two case-control studies published in the same issue of the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that women taking oestrogen therapy were, at least, four times more likely to get endometrial cancer than those who had not used oestrogen, and that there was a 14-fold increased risk in women who continued treatment for seven or more years.

1976, a year after the endometrial cancer papers came research showing a link between unopposed estrogens and breast cancer.

 

After 1976 is where things take a turn for the crazy! Part 2 coming Thursday.

 

 

 

Are “Natural” Hormones Safe?

Is there really such a thing as a harmless hormone?
Is there really such a thing as a harmless hormone?

Is there really such a thing as a harmless hormone?  “Even hormones made by your body can hurt you,” says Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, who teaches in the complementary and alternative medicine program at Georgetown University. “There’s lots of data that indicates women with higher natural levels of estrogen are at a higher risk for breast cancer.”

Bioidentical hormones have not been studied in clinical trials in the U.S., which frees promoters to claim that, among other things; Estriol is not only safe but may prevent cancer because it is weaker

Medical journalist and writer Susan Ince.
Medical journalist and writer Susan Ince.

than the other estrogens. But any estrogen needs to be taken with caution. For years, oral estriol was prescribed in Europe without the standard progesterone accompaniment to protect against endometrial cancer.

Then a study in Sweden revealed that taking one or two milligrams a day of estriol alone doubled the risk of endometrial cancer. In another study in Sweden of 5,000 women, published in February 2006, stronger estrogens increased the risk of ductal and lobular breast cancer. That’s really no surprise, but here’s what was — even low-dose oral estriol (about one milligram a day) doubled the risk of lobular breast cancer in women who took it for fewer than five years.

“We need more studies, but at this point, we cannot rule out an increased risk for breast cancer even with the less potent estriol,” says lead researcher Lena Rosenberg, MD, of the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Excerpts were taken from Are “Natural” Hormones Safer? in More Magazine by Susan Ince.

Sometimes, we all need a little help.

Asking for help when you need it seems like a no brainer, a pretty straightforward obvious strategy for self-care.

In the scheme of life, as it is for many busy professional women we tend to be resourceful and show up prepared to take care of what we need to get done. Letting go and happily accepting or asking for help when we need it doesn’t come as naturally as it should. When someone offers to help me, I often find myself saying “no, I’m good, I got it”.

It's ok to need help, it makes us human.
It’s ok to need help, it makes us human.

I think most of us have a little bit of control freak ingrained into our psyche and we think the only way anything will get done right is if we do it ourselves. I’ve gotten better with experience, at accepting offers of help and asking for help when I need it but I have been guilty of a damn the torpedoes mentality, I got it under control and it’s full speed ahead.

I touched this with my face....
I touched this with my face….

As an example of how insane one can be, one day I was working in a colleague’s office and I volunteered to go get food and coffee. On my way back, my hands were full and I was now on the elevator packed with people. They were pushing buttons to their floor when I realized no one pushed the button to my floor. Instead of asking for help, I tried to push the button with my nose, when that didn’t work I used my chin. The guy standing next to me just laughed and looked at me like I was crazy and said “if you asked I would have done that for you.”

Asking for help and freely accepting it is important. It’s a good trait to have; when you ask for help and graciously accept it sends a message to your brain that you are worthy. It also gives people the opportunity to be kind.

Take care, stay well.

Sabina

Myth vs Fact : Hormone Therapy for Women

Hormones, hormones, and more hormones. Let’s get real about the subject. There is many myths out there when it comes to treatment, so on today’s post I will do my best to dispel some of the most common misconceptions.

Myth: Bioidentical hormone therapy is natural and therefore superior to CHT. (Conventional Hormone Therapy)

Bioidentical hormone therapy are derived from plant products but are far from natural.
Bioidentical hormone therapy are derived from plant products but are far from natural.

Fact: Hormones used in bioidentical hormone therapy may be derived from plant products such as yams, but they need to be commercially processed to become bioidentical and hence not “natural.” Many FDA-approved estrogen products including pills, patches, gels, sprays, and creams are, in fact, bioidentical products that may be derived from equine or other sources. The term “bioidentical” is not synonymous with “natural.” “Bioidentical” refers to the structure of the product, whereas “natural” refers to its source and processing. Bioidentical is a marketing term and not a medical term.

Myth: Compounded bioidentical hormones are better than CHT.

Fact: Compounding is simply a process of mixing different hormonal preparations. Compounded therapies may consist of FDA-approved as well as non-FDA-approved products. Compounded products cannot be individually FDA regulated because of the variation in types and proportion of hormones in each product.

"Hormone therapy should be individualized by symptom relief and side-effect profile and not laboratory test results."
“Hormone therapy should be individualized by symptom relief and side-effect profile and not laboratory test results.”

Myth: Custom compounding individualized to the patient using salivary hormone assessment is superior to CHT because it mimics the patient’s own natural hormone levels.

Fact: Individualizing hormonal therapy by monitoring hormone levels has not been shown to be efficacious. Salivary levels do not necessarily reflect tissue levels and can depend on time of day, meal times, and dietary intake. Women with similar salivary or serum levels of hormones may metabolize the hormones differently. Hormone therapy should be individualized by symptom relief and side-effect profile and not laboratory test results.

Estrogen products will not go away and they perhaps shouldn’t. But one can only wish as I do that they will be used sparingly and with a great deal of caution based on straightforward evidence and not one-sided journalism.

Let us hope.

Information obtained from Conventional Hormone Therapy or Bioidentical Medscape: Clarifying Myths about Bioidentical Hormones. Désirée A. Lie, MD, December 15, 2015