Many patients call in asking for Bio Identical Hormones, seeking relief from the dreaded menopausal symptoms such as: hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, decreased libido and irritability.
Yes, I do use Bio Identical Hormones in my practice and YES they often help alleviate many of the symptoms often associated with menopause. However, some of us are not candidates for hormone replacement therapies and some of us do not want the risks associated with their use. Alternatively, many other natural therapies many be utilized with outstanding results.
As our bodies approach menopause, our ovaries naturally decrease their production of two very important sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Lack of these hormones is what brings on many of the menopausal symptoms. Luckily, our bodies have another gland that helps us pick up some of the hormone slack as we approach and enter menopause. Our adrenal glands take over some of our sex hormone production as the ovaries fail. Our adrenal glands also produce several other hormones, including those that regulate our stress response, such as cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine).
Unfortunately, most of us live high stress lives, we work, take care of our families, eat poor diets, without enough sleep or exercise! We often rely on stimulants like caffeine to keep us going. This means we are always taxing our adrenal glands (where adrenaline – needed for our stress response- is produced). After a while, our adrenals may become ‘fatigued’ and hormone production is decreased, exacerbating our symptoms. Additionally, the hormone cortisol is produced in our adrenal glands. Cortisol raises under stress conditions and if it remains high, it can inhibit sleep, increase carbohydrate cravings and prevent weight loss.
Naturally, making sure our adrenal glands are healthy is a good first step in treating menopausal symptoms. Fortunately, many natural products, namely herbs (botanical medicine) and vitamins nourish the tissue of our adrenal glands and often, patients experience a complete alleviation of symptoms and do not need Bio Identical Hormone therapy.