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How Bio-Identical Hormones Can Help Women Before & After Menopause

How Bio-Identical Hormones Can Help Women Before & After Menopause

Do you feel tired 24/ 7? Are you so moody that your cocker spaniel is keeping his distance? Is your sex drive in the crapper?  Are you carrying extra weight you can’t seem to shed, no matter how much you diet? Does your energy level drag throughout the day? Are you mentally foggy?  Do you feel like you’ve lost your mojo and can’t get it back?

If you do, you may be tempted to think that the best part of your life is behind you, that growing older signals gradual and progressive decline, and that you have little control over how you feel.  But you are so not alone.

You’re not alone

Lanie felt the same way. In her thirties, Lanie was a firecracker who ran marathons, worked twelve hour days, needed no more than six hours of sleep to feel fabulous, enjoyed a rockin’ sex life, and felt at the top of her game. But gradually, things changed. When her alarm clock went off in the morning, she hit the snooze button three times before dragging her butt out of bed.  After being promoted at forty to a senior executive position in a thriving business, she found herself unable to work more than 7 hours- and then, only when she could sneak a little nap behind closed doors. Her normally lusty libido vanished, leaving her husband confused and feeling rejected.  She gained fifteen pounds over the course of four years, even though her diet and exercise regimen remained the same. She didn’t feel as sharp at work, which affected her job performance, and she feared that she was losing her edge.  She thought maybe she was going through premature menopause, but her periods were like clockwork, and she wasn’t having the classic hot flashes and night sweats she associated with menopause.

Lanie saw her primary care doctor, who ran a battery of tests, pronounced them normal, and diagnosed her “well.” She felt like she should have been relieved, but she wasn’t.  She was frustrated, disappointed, and feeling hopeless.  She showed up in my office, where I ordered a more complete battery of tests which revealed that Lanie’s thyroid gland was underactive, her adrenal glands were pooped out, and her sex hormones were lower than one might expect in a forty-four year old woman. I prescribed compounded thyroid hormone, supplements to support her adrenal glands, and small doses of bio-identical estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. I also invited her to start a practice of journal writing, spend more time cycling, talk to a career counselor, and read a few of my favorite inspirational books.

Reclaiming vitality

Six weeks later, Lanie came in for a follow up appointment, and when she saw me, she burst into tears. I asked if she was okay, and she said, “I feel fabulous. I’m just mourning the fact that I’ve been living half a life for years and I wish I had done this four years ago.” Lanie tries to credit me with turning her life around, but I just helped Laurie rediscover the vitality that has been lying within her all along. Because I held up the mirror to show her the gorgeous, vibrant woman she is, Lanie was able to see what she needed to do to reclaim her vitality.

As a gynecologist, it breaks my heart to see how many women suffer this way when we have so many tools to help them. But they don’t teach you many of these tools in medical school.  Before I started practicing integrative medicine, I worked my butt off in a busy managed care practice where I was expected to see 40 patients/day.  Trained at high powered academic institutions, I was brainwashed to believe what I was taught and didn’t open my mind to alternatives until I ultimately quit my job because I intuitively knew there was more we could do for women than a traditional medical practice was allowing me to offer.

Building the foundation

The doctor who dismissed Lanie because she was “well” could have been me back then.  I regret that I didn’t know any better, that many Lanies probably left my office crying and hopeless. What nobody taught me is that, by tweaking thyroid and adrenal hormones to keep them in the higher realm of the normal ranges, and by using low doses of sex hormones, even in younger women whose levels are low, we can optimize the foundation of the body. Doing so builds the foundation by helping women own all the facets of what makes them whole- their creativity, their spirituality, their relationships, their career, their health, their sexuality, their life purpose. By uplifting this foundation, we can help women give birth to themselves anew.

While hormones are only one set of blocks that helped Lanie build the foundation for other changes in her life, they performed a key role in helping Lanie get her mojo back. While she knew she had work to do in her personal and professional life to get back in touch with her verve, she didn’t have the stamina to do so.  Balancing her thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones fortified her to dig deeper into other aspects of her life, where real change can happen.

What hormone balancing has to offer

  • Improving energy levels
  • Assisting with better sleep
  • Allaying anxiety and/ or depression
  • Sharpening mental focus and memory
  • Easing healthy weight loss
  • Sparking your libido
  • Regulating menstrual cycles
  • Abetting hot flashes & night sweats
  • Improved vaginal lubrication
  • Better urinary health
  • Strengthening bones

We tend to think of “hormones” as something you don’t need until after menopause, but the truth is that many women’s hormones start to lag long before periods stop. And for some, just a little bit goes a really long way towards helping her reclaim her vitality.

Did you read about Lanie and hear a little voice inside yelling, “Me! Me! That sounds like me!” Pay attention. That little voice is the voice of your intuition, and it will serve you well to learn to listen.

If you think your hormones might be out of whack, find a doctor who knows how to think outside the box. We’re out there and love nothing more than witnessing the transformation of women who are unfolding from their cocoons, ready to spread their wings and fly.

Read more: Health, General Health, Gynecology, Menopause, Women's Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities - HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

55 comments

+ add your own
2:21PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

pls help me this problem about my sex,i have prblem is hurt is my vagina and have a blood after sex what can i do mavy i have cervix cancer. pls advice.

1:06PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

Thanks - this is interesting.

10:50AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

Women to Women (womentowomen.com) is very reputable and they will do phone consultations if you are too far to visit the office. Their first approach is usually herbal, diet, lifestyle but they also work with bioidentical hormones if that's what's called for.

7:13PM PDT on May 8, 2011

thx

9:31AM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

Frank... the whole Pharma industry is incredibly slow to test anything that works for women. I'm not surprised you can't find anything 'conclusive'... You WILL NOTICE that they've gone crazy making drugs so you can get/maintain your erection, though, haven't you? Because they knew every man over 40 in America would BUT SOME! $$$$$ Cha-ching!
Ladies, I did a 'bio-identical' testing process with my doctor, and I'm here to tell you that IT WORKS!!!!!! I was low in testosterone and progesterone, and it has made all the difference in the world! Don't listen to the 'Franks' of the world. They don't have a CLUE about women's health! (or they are pharma salesmen! lol)

9:55AM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

interesting...thanks

6:48PM PDT on Sep 10, 2010

Frank, why does it not surprise me that your link leads to a site that pushes generic drugs & down plays their serious side effects? such as accutane, cialis & viagra? Big pharma certainly would not want anyone going natural? It would cut into their profits...are you a pharma sales person of generic drugs?

6:29PM PDT on Sep 10, 2010

very interesting.

12:08PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

uh, Frank, is it?
First, you're not the right gender to be in this conversation, and second, I'm guessing you're under 45.
Most of us know that you don't stay on any kind of hormonal therapy more than 5 yrs. And, if I have the choice of taking something that comes from a compounding of natural plant derivatives rather than some chemical crap that involves the torture of horses, there's no choice.
Giving up one's youth is probably one of the most traumatic things you go through in life. Wanting to ease into it shouldn't be frowned upon. We all have to give in to some aging eventually. Unless you take the coward's way out, it will happen to us all.
But I doesn't need it to happen all at once. Or should one have to suffer through the symptoms so harshly when relief is available.
And for women, that change is much harsher. Your junk may shrink a bit and not work when the plumbing stalled. But a little blue pill makes it all better.
When a woman looks at a guy, and those feelings are not longer present, you go thru the 5 stages: (what were they again?) panic, fear, sadness, bargaining, accceptance. Or sum'tin' like that. And I'm a newlywed! I love my husband! I want to see him the same way I saw him 6 yrs. ago when we met. I want those feelings back. He deserves it! Men are different. Imagine if you looked at a hot lady and forgot what it was like to "wwwwaaaaaannnnnntt" her? It really sucks man!

12:02PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

uh, Frank, is it?
First, you're not the right gender to be in this conversation, and second, I'm guessing you're under 45.
Most of us know that you don't stay on any kind of hormonal therapy more than 5 yrs. And, if I have the choice of taking something that comes from a compounding of natural plant derivatives rather than some chemical crap that involves the torture of horses, there's no choice.
Giving up one's youth is probably one of the most traumatic things you go through in life. Wanting to ease into it shouldn't be frowned upon. We all have to give in to some aging eventually. Unless you take the coward's way out, it will happen to us all.
But I doesn't need it to happen all at once. Or should one have to suffer through the symptoms so harshly when relief is available.
And for women, that change is much harsher. Your junk may shrink a bit and not work when the plumbing stalled. But a little blue pill makes it all better.
When a woman looks at a guy, and those feelings are not longer present, you go thru the 5 stages: (what were they again?) panic, fear, sadness, bargaining, accceptance. Or sum'tin' like that. And I'm a newlywed! I love my husband! I want to see him the same way I saw him 6 yrs. ago when we met. I want those feelings back. He deserves it! Men are different. Imagine if you looked at a hot lady and forgot what it was like to "wwwwaaaaaannnnnntt" her? It really sucks man!

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