Apr
23
2023

Help with Menopausal Symptoms

At the 30th A4M Conference mid-December Dr. Anna Cabeca lectured about “Help with menopausal symptoms”. A4M stands for “Conference of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine”. It is a yearly event at the Sand Conference Center of the Venetian Palace in Las Vegas. The following is a summary of the very detailed lecture by Dr. Anna Cabeca.

Definition of postmenopausal symptoms

Dr. Cabeca’s detailed title for her lecture was: “Menopause: Hot flashes, brain fog and vaginal dryness; 3 symptoms women don’t have to experience.”  The first thing to remember is this detailed list of symptoms of menopause:

  • Hormones are disbalanced
  • Unusual behaviors and moodiness
  • Gaining weight (accumulating fat)
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of willpower
  • Sleep disturbance: can’t sleep or sleeps all the time
  • Brain fog and memory problems
  • Lost your “edge”
  • No sex drive
  • Aging rapidly
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid problems
  • Hysterectomy (to remedy excessive periods)

Hormone changes with menopause

To clarify, there are major hormone changes with menopause as follows. To explain, at the age of 35 progesterone suddenly experiences a major reduction, which completes by the age of 45. In contrast, estrogen levels remain high until the age of 40 when it, too is reduced to background activity by the age of 50. In fact, at this point estrogen production is still more than progesterone synthesis. This is the basis of what is called estrogen dominance.

In general, symptoms of estrogen dominance are: PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, vaginal dryness, brain fog, irregular periods, less libido, missing or increased periods, bone loss and sleep disturbance.

To emphasize, the production of male hormones, DHEA and testosterone, slows down around the age of 30 and reaches a low plateau around the age of 45. This explains, for example, the lack of sex drive mentioned above. In addition, it is also partially responsible for brain fog, tiredness, hair loss and unusual behaviors and moodiness.

Perimenopause and menopause increase risk for diabetes

By all means, there is a clear relationship between age and the risk of developing diabetes in both males and females. But it must be remembered that the hormone weaknesses in combination with weight increases can also trigger diabetes.

Head-to-toe patient work-up

There are two parts to a patient’s work-up, a thorough assessment and a patient’s education.

The patient’s assessment includes:

  • Energy, mind, spirit
  • Hormone balance
  • Inflammation
  • Assessment of diet and nutritional intervention
  • Gastrointestinal health and digestion
  • Detoxification
  • Structural investigation

Surely, another key point is that patient education is important to be successful in the multiple step intervention to normalize the metabolism, shed excessive weight and help the patient to refocus.

Comments to the patient’s assessment

Indeed, the display of energy in a patient is closely related to hormone balance. Notably, when hormones are measured and they are out of balance, this usually explains the multiple symptoms. It is important to realize that inflammation is measured with the high-sensitivity CRP blood test. This test measures the level of inflammation. Initially, the level may be 30, but with weight loss it often normalizes with values of 2 or 3. At the same time weight loss stabilizes blood sugar (indicated by an initially high, but later normalizing hemoglobin A1C) and diabetes can completely disappear. Frequently, an analysis of the diet often shows that the patient is eating too much sugar and starchy foods.

Faulty nutrition, heavy metals and osteoporosis

In addition, many patients also eat too much meat and processed meat products, which leads to elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, introducing more vegetables and fruit reduces lipids in the blood. Certainly, patients’ blood tests often show high levels of heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium. This can be chelated out with intravenous EDTA. Often 6 treatments at weekly intervals will rid the body of these toxins from pollution and the consumption of fish that has high mercury content.

Structural investigation of the bone with bone density measurements can diagnose osteoporosis. An initial remedy for this is supplementation with 5000 IU of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 200 micrograms daily.

Low carb diet can help rebalance body metabolism

People who are overweight or obese get metabolic changes in their blood that physicians call metabolic syndrome. It raises blood pressure, often leads to elevation of cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugars and also causes inflammation. A diet like the Mediterranean diet can help stabilize the metabolism. Dr. Anna Cabeca recommended a ketogenic diet, but from my reading a Mediterranean diet will achieve the same. In addition, a ketogenic diet carries a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. For this reason I cannot recommend a ketogenic diet. The end result is an improvement of organ function, improvement of blood tests and less reliance on medications. Our body simply performs and functions better.

Fasting improves mitochondrial health

Mitochondria are small particles inside the plasma of all the body cells. Their functioning is essential for our energy and for cell metabolism in all of our organs. The energy, which is produced by the mitochondria is stored in a small molecule, called adenosine triphosphate or ATP.  I discussed earlier that heavy metals must be removed from the body by chelation therapy. One known effect of heavy metals is the poisoning of mitochondria. A person who has high blood levels of heavy metals in the body complaints of low energy and brain fog. After several intravenous chelation treatments, the energy returns and the brain fog disappears.

The fasting mimicking diet of Dr. Valter Longo is another tool to reactivate mitochondria.

Bioidentical hormone replacement

Many postmenopausal women require some help with regard to their hormonal balance. There are doctors who specialize in this area. They order a baseline panel of hormones. If there is a lack of progesterone, they order bioidentical hormone replacement, a hormone cream that the patient applies herself to the forearm or abdomen. Hormone saliva tests must show a ratio between progesterone and estrogen of 200 to 1 or higher. Many women have too much estrogen in their system relative to progesterone. By balancing this hormone ratio, the risk of getting cancer from estrogen that is not in balance experiences a significant reduction. The patient will also feel more energy and sleep better.

Help with Menopausal Symptoms

Help with Menopausal Symptoms

Conclusion

Menopause does not have to be the dreaded time in a woman’s life, when her periods stop. With a bit of attention to her nutrition, her hormone balance and other symptoms the physician can help her experience none of the symptoms. It will require some hormone and other blood tests. It may also require some detoxification with intravenous EDTA infusions. At the end that postmenopausal patient will feel energy again, clear up her foggy brain and sleep better. In addition, the woman will regain her sex drive and feel more energy. The physician treats estrogen dominance by adding progesterone cream supplementation. This also assist with regard to sleeping better.

It does take the effort to have all the necessary blood tests and saliva tests to establish deficiencies. A physician who has experience in anti-aging medicine will be of important help to bring a menopausal patient back on the road to wellness.

Mar
11
2023

Hormone Imbalance can Impact Health

Dr. Erika Schwartz spoke at the 30th Anti-Aging Conference in Las Vegas about “hormone imbalance can impact health”.  The talk was scheduled early in the morning on Dec. 10, 2022. She pointed out that when hormones are in balance people have energy, they sleep well, they have normal sexual functioning and they are fertile. But in contrast, when hormones are not in balance, their weight goes up, they suffer from fatigue, depression, and anxiety. In addition, they often have skin and hair changes, changes in menstrual regularity, acne, infertility and decrease in libido. Finally, they may have problems in building muscle mass, women develop vaginal dryness and men erectile dysfunction. However, people also can develop autoimmune conditions and various cancers.

Symptoms of hormone imbalance at various ages

Teens

Most importantly, acne is an embarrassing, but common symptom. Depression, PMS, mood swings and headaches are also very common. By the same token, weight gain occurs frequently from faulty diets (fast food, lack of vegetables and fruit and sugary soda drinks).

The twenties and thirties

The birth control pill interferes with the normal function of LH and FSH resulting in lack of ovulation and infertility. Other symptoms are bloating, constipation, weight changes, libido changes and postpartum depression.

The forties and fifties

Mood changes and irritability, weight problems, menstrual changes, and changes in sexual desire are typical for this age group.

The sixties and over

Hot flashes are common in this age group, but they can start in women from the age of 50 onwards. Other symptoms are night sweats, insomnia, skin and muscle changes. Many diseases of the aging occur like diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, degenerative and autoimmune diseases.

Diagnosis of hormone imbalance

The doctor takes a detailed history about exposure to environmental pollutants, the birth control pill in women and medications. In addition, the doctor wants to know whether the patient consumed meat from animals that were treated with antibiotics. Next the physician inquires about physical changes, symptoms of hirsutism, menstrual

irregularities and infertility. There are three steps to diagnosing hormone imbalances:

  1. Listen to the patient and inquire about the subjects just mentioned.
  2. Order extensive laboratory tests including hormone levels.
  3. Review all of the medications and supplements the patient is taking.

How do hormone imbalances affect our bodies? They affect our mental health, our sleep, brain function, libido, energy, weight, digestion (leaky gut), joints and the immune system.

Two clinical examples about hormone imbalances

Dr. Schwartz gave two clinical examples showing how correction of hormone imbalances led to normalization of the hormone imbalance.

Example 1

A 17-year-old female complained about acne in her face, had no periods, was fatigued and had migraine headaches. She was in senior high school and wanted to look and feel better before graduation. Her periods started at age 12, but were irregular. Her physician started her on the birth control pill at age 14. Within one year she stopped having any periods and also started getting hyperpigmentation in her face. Dr. Schwartz noted that she had no allergies and that she did not take any supplements. She took Estarylla (ethinyl estradiol/ norgestimate), a BCP formulation and Excedrin for migraines. Her ferritin level was 12 (11 to 307 micrograms per liter is normal for women). TSH was 5.16 (normal now 0.5-2.5). This meant she was borderline iron deficient and also mildly hypothyroid.

Diagnosis and treatment plan

Dr. Schwartz diagnosed a hormone imbalance. The treatment schedule consisted of stopping the BCP, start a low dose 30 mg NP thyroid in the morning. In addition, the doctor prescribed adrenal support pills and low-dose iron pills with vitamin C. The doctor also addressed lifestyle and self-awareness issues with the patient. 4 months later she was seen again and had regular periods, no more migraines and she felt more energy. The face pigmentation was gone and she felt great.

Example 2

A 42-year-old woman presented to Dr. Schwartz with psoriatic arthritis, weight gain, problems sleeping, brain fog and irregular periods. Her last menstrual period was 6 months ago. Her doctor had recently placed her on a statin drug and put her on the BCP Mirena. This is a progestagen releasing IUD placed in the uterine cavity, which was given to her in an attempt to regulate her periods. She was divorced and a mother of 3 children. At work she was a business partner in a high stress law firm. Personally, she was trying to date, but has been unsuccessful so far. She would like to lose weight and gain more energy. What she was hoping for was that her doctor address her overall health.

Medication and blood tests

She did not have any allergies. Her medications consisted of Rosuvastatin 10 mg daily and Mirena for the last year. As supplements she took Turmeric. Blood tests showed that her hemoglobin A1C was 5.7, the vitamin D blood level was 17 ng/mL (very low). The TSH level measured 1.29 (in the normal range). Estradiol blood level was in the lower range, progesterone level the same. Finally, her testosterone level was low as well. The other blood tests were all normal.

Diagnosis for this patient and treatment plan

Dr. Schwartz diagnosed hormone imbalance due to natural and environmental factors.

She ordered Mirena to be removed and to stop Rosuvastatin. Instead, she started the patient on vitamin ADK ( a mix of vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin K)– 5000 IU daily. She also started her on Omega3 1000mg daily. In addition, she discussed a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and sleep issues (7-8 hours every night) with her.

Hormone replacements

As blood tests showed a low estradiol level, she started her on Estrogel, a form of estrogen. She also started her on progesterone tablets (Prometrium) 100 mg at bedtime as well. This keeps progesterone and estrogens balanced. As her testosterone was on the low side, she started her on Testosterone cypionate 100 mg/ml (0.4 cc per injection) intramuscularly once a month. Dr. Schwartz also started adrenal support, 2 capsules in the morning. Further she was told to start 3 capsules of NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Supplements) daily and 5 units of Semaglutide subcutaneously weekly. The latter medication helps the pancreas to release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.

Follow-up at 6 months

The doctor reassessed he patient after 6 months. She had developed increased self-awareness. She lost 30 pounds and she slept for 7.5 hours most nights. Her energy level has increased and she improved her dietary choices. She had started regular work-outs. Overall she was now happier at work and at home with her children. She feels now more like an age of 25, and she has been starting to date.

General remarks about hormone imbalance

When hormones are in balance, we are healthy. Hormones can get out of balance at any age; the examples above involved 17 and 42 year old patients. Keep in mind that it is impossible to have optimal health without balanced hormones. Dr. Schwartz said that the more pieces of the puzzle you address, the more likely you are going to truly help improve quality and quantity of life. Lifestyle factors that must be addressed are:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Stress Management
  • Sleep
  • Breathing
  • Mitochondrial and cellular integrity
Hormone Imbalance can Impact Health

Hormone Imbalance can Impact Health

Conclusion

Hormone imbalances occur frequently when our lifestyle factors are slipping. Often untoward side effects of medication are also contributing to the hormone imbalance. The holistic doctor takes a thorough history, examines and takes blood tests including key hormone tests. When imbalances of hormones are detected, this has to be addressed with supplements and hormone replacements. At the end the hormones balance each other and the patients’ abnormal symptoms disappear. It only takes a few weeks before the patient will feel normal again.

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Oct
24
2020

Irregular Periods are Linked to Premature Deaths

A review in CNN describes that irregular periods are linked to premature deaths. This review is based on the original publication in the British Medical Journal published on September 30, 2020.

Essentially, the researchers followed 79,505 premenopausal women without a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes for 24 years. The researchers recorded 1975 premature deaths. The definition for a premature death was someone dying before the age of 70. There were three age groups that the researchers followed separately for 24 years.

  • ages 14-17 years
  • 18-22 years
  • 29-46 years

The most common causes of death were 894 from cancer and deaths from 172 strokes and heart attacks.

Death rates after 24 years for the three subclasses just mentioned

The researchers noted that there were differences in survival for different age groups. But there were also differences in survival for irregular periods versus prolonged intervals between periods. Crude mortality rates for 1000 person years of follow-up for women with normal versus irregular periods were as follows.

Normal periods                                  Irregular periods

14-17 age :  1.05                                            14-17 age:    1.0

18-22 age:  1.23                                            18-22 age:    1.37

29-46 age:  1.0                                              29-46 age:    1.68

Women with a cycle length of 40 days or more had a higher mortality rate. The researchers compared this to women with a normal cycle length (26-31 days). Here are the data in detail for two age groups at the outset of the study.

Women with a cycle length of 40 days or more                 

Age 18-22:    1.34

Age 29-46:    1.40

Heart attacks and strokes followed these death statistics closest.

Discussion

The researchers concluded that teenagers and women in their middle-age were at the highest risk. This risk was for premature mortality, if they had irregular periods or a cycle length of 40 days or more. There was also an association between irregular periods and a prolonged cycle length and type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and coronary heart disease. In addition, mental health problems were also related, the study said.

Dr. Adam Balen, a professor of reproductive Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals in the UK said: “Young women with irregular periods need a thorough assessment not only of their hormones and metabolism, but also of their lifestyle so that they can be advised about steps that they can take which might enhance their overall health”.

Too much estradiol in women and men can cause cancer

In this context it is interesting that other studies have shown that unopposed estradiol may be the culprit for both irregular periods and larger intervals between periods. When estrogen is elevated in females, irregular periods can result. Unopposed estradiol can cause breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

In males who also have a small amount of estrogen in their blood, it is important that a larger amount of testosterone balances the two hormones. Otherwise there is a risk of prostate cancer.

In addition, cardiovascular disease has been described as a side effect of standard hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women with synthetic hormones.

The good news is that treatment with bioidentical hormones can treat these abnormal periods. This eliminates premature mortality and in many cases prolongs life.

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Conclusion

Researchers followed 79,505 premenopausal women without a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes for 24 years. They found that there is a linkage between irregular periods and premature deaths. There were three age groups that the researchers followed. Some of them suffered from irregular periods and others had periods that were 40 days or longer apart. The researchers recorded the premature mortalities. At an age of 29-46 there was a 68% higher mortality in women with irregular periods. The scientists compared this to women who had regular periods. In addition, women aged 29-46 with a cycle length of 40 days or more had a 40% higher mortality.

Estrogen dominance could explain premature deaths

The researchers compared this to women with a normal cycle length. It is possible that women who died prematurely were having too much estrogen in their system, which can produce cardiovascular disease and cancer of the breast, uterus and ovary. Further studies need to clarify the mechanism behind irregular periods and why a cycle length of 40 days or more causes mortality.