There comes a point in our lifespan where the hormones biologically begin to slow down production and we begin to consider hormone therapy. When our body senses the slowing of stressors in our crazy lives, it has no need to keep up with the high demands of life. While this is a good thing, the decrease in quantity of the hormones results in a potpourri of symptoms. While more intricate endocrine pathways are being discovered, the global hormonal function remains constant. We feel fantastic when all hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, adrenals, insulin) are in a synchronized balance.
We all know the body WILL change. We may long to feel like we did in our 20’s. I am here to tell you, we can feel even better. There truly is no great mystery to understanding aging. Mid–life and menopause doesn’t have to be the “dreaded” era. In fact, if approached correctly with love and patience, it can be some of the best times of life.
Another thing to keep in mind is that hormonal changes don’t occur just in women. Men can experience the same degree of symptoms. We’ve all heard and some have experienced these symptoms. The symptoms of hormonal changes are extensive and exhaustive. Most of which we are all well aware.
The only thing that needs to be understood is SYMPTOMS OCCUR BECAUSE OF HORMONAL IMBALANCES. Each hormone plays a role in contributing to various symptoms. So how do you know if hormones are right for you? Before answering, ask yourself, “Are your symptoms debilitating enough that it is affecting quality of life?”
If the answer is yes, then hormones maybe what you need.
Hormone supplements are not a forever thing. You may only need them for a certain duration when life feels off balance. The goal should be to use the lowest dose possible for the shortest time possible. Do not depend on only hormones to help you. Stay committed to healthy nutrition, regular exercise and optimal sleep.
If you do choose to begin hormone therapy, continue to work towards creating a healthy lifestyle so that you may begin the process of weaning off of the hormones as soon as the body is able to hold its own.
What are the pros and cons to beginning Hormone Replacement Therapy?
- Alleviates hot flashes and night sweats
- Helps with vaginal dryness
- Helps maintain or restore bone strength
- Improves sleep
- May aid in weight loss
- Possible cardiovascular benefit but evidence is still unclear
- Possible decrease risk of colon cancer
- Helps in restoration of skin, hair, and nails
- Improves mental clarity and mood
- Small increase risk in breast and uterine cancer
- Increased risk of DVTs
- Slight increase in cardiovascular disease and strokes (The WHI study found a 29 per cent increased risk of coronary heart disease in those taking combined HRT)
- Small increase in gall bladder disease
The decision to start HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) should be well thought out. Having an extensive discussion with your physician can alleviate any anxiety about the uncertainty of hormone therapy. Each case is unique with varying factors. Listening and honoring your body will lead you to the right decision.
Remember, the minute you decide to start HRT, do everything you can to get off of them as quickly as possible. Use hormones as a crutch, not a permanent companion.
These truly can be the best years of your life! Aging is inevitable. Aging gracefully is optional. That is why I never tire of this topic. Embrace this passing cloud of inconvenience because the rainbow is waiting on the other side.
Who knew the benefits of exercise far exceed the results of weight loss? Here we are, three weeks into the New Year. The smells of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the endless aroma of cookies, are slowly dissipating leading us to the once theoretical promises of resolutions which are now lurking at every turn. What was an empty parking lot at the gym is now abustle with fitness enthusiasts trying to fulfill a promise they think they should be keeping. But why? Where is the motivation?
According to a Nieslen Survey done in January 2015, weight loss continues to hold the number 1 ranking on all American’s New Year’s resolution list. But aside from weight loss being the most obvious benefit to exercise, there are many others benefits just as important that remain in the shadows. So what are they?
- Enhances all five senses. Most of us who love to workout do so with music. Tempo and “rhythm response,” which is how the body moves to the music, helps determine the extent of endorphin release. Research has shown songs with an average of 120 bpm stimulate a cortical response and transmit electrical activity to the motor and sensory components of the brain. This triggers the release of serotonin, dopamine, and all other feel good hormones. The production of these hormones allows each of the 5 senses to become responsive to stimuli.
- Reduce visceral belly fat. Belly fat, also known as “bad fat”, has made its way into mainstream conversations. What really is belly fat and why is so important to lose it? Some fat is needed to insulate and protect the vital organs from trauma. Too much belly fat triggers the release of adipokines, a dangerous inflammatory hormone that is the culprit in many diseases. Risk of metabolic disease increases in men with waist circumference greater than 40 and women greater than 35. Doing endless number of sit-ups won’t fix this. Healthy food, ample exercise, quality sleep and peace of mind can help control your belly fat.
- Improves healing. “Inflammation is one of the fundamental underlying causes of almost all chronic disease, including certain cancers,” says Mark Hyman, MD. Inflammation causes an elevation in cytokines which is a direct result of sedentary life and poor eating habits. Exercise also aids in the removal of bacteria from the lungs with increased respiration and flushes carcinogens through urine and sweat. This leads to the production of white blood cells which helps create more antibodies. This response aids in restoring cellular homeostasis and optimizing cellular healing and repair.
- Improves sexual function. A 2003 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that men over 50 who were physically active had a 30 percent lower risk of erectile dysfunction compared with those who were sedentary. In women, exercise has long been known to balance estrongen:progesterone ratios. Known as the natural “feel good antidepressant”, exercise plays a vital role in improving self-image and self-confidence, thereby leading to happy times behind close doors.
- Solidifies friendship. This is not one we hear often, but let’s stop and think for a moment. If you are a fitness fanatic or are happy exercising in moderation, you reap the benefits of what exercise has done in your life. Those friends in your exercise circle keep you accountable, just as you do for them. When the body is healthy, the mind is calm. If the mind stays strong, the heart is joyful. If the heart feels happy, so do you! Next time you hesitate to go the gym, just remember you have a friend who gets it.
The benefits to exercise, clean eating and healthy lifestyle are endless. With the crazy time-restricted, gadget filled, world we live in today, we lose our priorities and in the process we lose ourselves.
Taking one hour 4-5 time a week to take care of yourself is the MOST UNSELFISH thing you can do! So exercise at home or join a gym, but take care of you!
Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on holistic care and good health maintenance. For more information on healthy eating habits and achieveing and maintaining OPTIMAL health, CONTACT our office today to schedule your appointment. You can also learn more by following Dr. Raman on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.