Definitions & Terms
Andropause – is the male Identical of menopause. As a result of aging, the male body often suffers from low testosterone which has naturally been depleted. Often men suffer needlessly from testosterone deficiency either because the condition goes unrecognized or simply because men are timid about addressing and discussing a loss in their vitality. Early symptoms of andropause can be as subtle as decreased energy levels, loss of muscle tone and a less frequent desire for sexual intercourse. Further symptoms can include weight gain, pot or “beer bellies,” mood swings and irritability, forgetfulness, enlarged male breasts and even ED (erectile dysfunction).
Bio-identical hormones – Bio identical hormones are compounds that have exactly the same chemical and molecular structure as hormones that are produced in the human body.
Depression – It has been reported that declining or fluctuating hormone levels in addition to chronically high levels of stress hormone can all lead to depression. Women are, therefore, especially vulnerable to depression starting during perimenopause and lasting into late menopause. Frequently hot flashes and depression occurring with estrogen deficiency are treated with anti-depressants. These drugs are used to ease the flushes and depression, but why treat the symptoms when you should be treating the deficiency? Studies have shown that women developing depression in the first few months of menopause responded well to hormone replacement without using antidepressants.
Diminished muscle tone – declining testosterone levels result in muscle cells with smaller fiber size and therefore less strength. With the decrease in muscle mass, there is an increase in body fat. Testosterone replacement can improve muscle strength, stamina, vitality, and general sense of well-being.
Dry skin – Estrogen is known as the great moisturizer! Menopause and the declining levels of estrogen are directly linked to signs of aging. As the face has many estrogen receptors, low estrogen often shows itself through wrinkles, dry skin caused by less productive oil glands as well as thinner, looser skin due to less collagen production.
Estrogen – Estrogen is a hormone produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Men actually produce estrogen from conversion of testosterone, although this is an extremely small amount. Estrogen protects against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and memory disorders. It protects against vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections. It prevents symptoms of menopause and improves overall well-being.
Hormones – Hormones are molecules that are synthesized and secreted by specialized cells often localized in endocrine glands. Hormones are released into the blood stream and exert biochemical effects on target cells. Hormone action is determined by the presence of specific hormone receptors located either on the cell surface or intra-cellularly in the target cells. Hormones turn on the cellular machinery and therefore cause increased metabolism, increase in protein synthesis, increase in cellular repair, and increase in cell replication. All aspects of aging are influenced by hormones. As we age cellular receptor sites become less sensitive to stimulation by hormones, thus requiring an increased amount of hormone to affect a cellular change. This is precisely why people need optimal levels of hormones. (N. Rouzier).
Hot flashes – Women describe their experience in different ways. Symptoms range from feeling flushed, sweaty, hot and cold, or feverish. Many say they literally feel like the heat is coming from the inside of their bodies and that this fluctuation in temperature can come in a flash or can last for days on end. The hot flashes occur when blood vessels open widely, letting more blood flow to the head and neck, causing heat, redness, and frequently perspiration. Sometimes it occurs at night (night sweats); followed by a chill causing the lady to grab for a blanket she had kicked off moments ago. These hot flushes/flashes are usually over in a few seconds, but they always arrive unexpectedly and at the most inconvenient times. They are triggered by falling estrogen levels.
Insomnia – Sleep occurs when body temperature begins to fall. Heat is lost through the skin and we become drowsy. Shifting hormonal levels during the night upset the mechanisms our bodies use to regulate our body temperature and as a result, we no longer obtain a good night’s sleep.
Irritability – Hormone imbalance will often cause irritability, headaches and sexual difficulties in both men and women.
Low sex drive – The decline in sex drive (libido) continues steadily from approximately 30% of 30-year-old women to 50% of 50-year-old women. Women who are having normal periods in their 40’s and 50’s may still be 50% low in testosterone levels compared to 30-year-old women. Testosterone is the hormone of sexual desire. Decreased desire for sex is caused by an imbalance in the hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Menopause – Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility and a natural biological process, not a medical illness. It is a phase in life where the body begins to change, which puts you at risk for certain illnesses.
Mental ‘fogginess’/poor focus – Waking at night and poor focus; these two symptoms are linked together because poorer quality sleep interferes with rapid eye movements (REM) during sleep. REM is critical to all sorts of thought processes such as problem solving and short-term memory. Going without adequate sleep over time can impair these cognitive functions, leading to a decreased ability to focus and concentrate as well as a decline in memory.
Mood swings – It is normal for menopausal women to be easily upset. Estrogen levels sometimes fly up extremely high and then crash down very low. These types of hormonal shifts will often precipitate mood swings, as well as irritability, headaches, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, and sexual difficulties.
Osteoporosis/bone loss – Osteoporosis is a chronic degenerative bone disease. Studies show that by their 40’s both women and men are losing bone at a rate of approximately 0.5 percent a year. We now know that a declining level of sex hormones plays a significant role in the development of bone loss and osteoporosis.
Progesterone – Progesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries and is used in nature to balance estrogen. Progesterone stands for pro-gestational or the hormone of pregnancy. It is absolutely necessary for the initiation and maintenance of pregnancy. Women in menopause lose progesterone, which protects against uterine cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.
Synthetic – man-made: not of natural origin; prepared or made artificially.
Testosterone – Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the sex drive of both men and women. In women, testosterone is produced both in the ovaries and the adrenal glands and is an important hormone for normal female sexual development. In men, testosterone can stop the physical decline that robs them of their energy, strength and libido. Testosterone can restore muscle tone and improve stamina. It can restore healthy sexual excitement and desire, which in turn, results in an improvement in mood and overall well-being.
Urinary leakage – The vagina, bladder, and urethra all have estrogen receptor sites. These receptor cells are very sensitive to falling levels of estrogen. The bladder becomes more sensitive to many stimuli, resulting in an increase in the urge to urinate. In addition, low testosterone results in diminished muscle tone, making it harder to control the muscles that allow you to hold back the need to urinate.
Vaginal dryness – vaginal thinning and dryness often accompanies perimenopause and menopause. Estrogen is the great moisturizer for the skin, hair and eyes, and in fact there are estrogen receptors in the bladder and urethra, and if this is dry, you will get some mechanical friction and irritation, resulting in bladder leakage. Replacing missing hormones will relieve vaginal dryness, reduce bladder leakage, and improve the quality of your skin and hair.
Weight gain – Starting as early as 10 years before menopause, hormone levels decline. These hormone changes often result in an increased craving for sugar. During these menopausal years, the woman’s body is making less estrogen and her body tries to find hormones in other places such as fat cells. As fat cells generate estrogen, the body begins storing more fat. At the same time, the woman’s body is losing testosterone which leads to declining lean muscle. Since lean muscle is responsible for burning fat, the more muscle lost, the more fat will be stored and the more weight gained.