Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

All over the internet, you will see information about BHRT. It will sound like the panacea for all ills. I call this “All Hormones All of the Time”. The body has a rhythm and timing. Hormones are up at one time in your life and down in others. BHRT is a tool not a panacea. Some women and men need support for their hormones other do not. If you are having symptoms that seem hormonal, it should be investigated. Often the issue is not your hormone levels it is the way you detoxify or metabolize your hormones. At 3rd Opinion we use a variety of test to determine not only your hormone levels, but the balance and metabolism of your hormones. Not every problem is solved with hormones -if it were that straight forward it would not be so controversial. Most people are not interested in hormones; they are interested in feeling better, having more vitality and looking youthful. That may require hormones or it may require something different. At 3rd Opinion we strive for balance: physiologic balance, metabolic balance, detoxification balance, nutritional balance, social balance and activity balance. If your physiology needs hormones, fine. But if not, let’s find the real problem and fix it.

Endometriosis
DESCRIPTION: Endometriosis is a common and often painful disorder of the female reproduction system. It is estimated that 10-15 percent of women in their reproductive years suffer from the condition.

How does endometriosis develop?
In this condition, the tissue that normally lines the uterus, called endometrium, becomes implanted outside the uterus, most commonly on the fallopian tubes, the ovaries or the tissue lining the pelvis. The endometrial tissue outside the uterus responds to the menstrual cycle the same way as the tissue inside the uterus—it swells and thickens, then sheds to mark the beginning of the next menstrual cycle. When the tissue outside the uterus thickens, it has no where to go, resulting in pools of blood that lead to inflammation and, eventually, scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes, interferes with ovulation and/or causes cysts.

Allopathic medicine has not identified a cause of endometriosis. One theory suggests that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen where it implants and grows. Natural medicine has identified a link between the hormone estrodial and the development of endometriosis.
With female-related conditions, an estradiol excess (which can occur by taking oral contraceptives or other synthetic forms of estrogen) often is found to be part of the patient’s physiology. Knowing that the development of the disease may be closely linked to this factor, natural medicine practitioners always address this excess in treating endometriosis.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pain. The pain usually begins a day or two before the menstrual cycle begins and continues during menstruation. There can be occasional heavy periods or bleeding between periods, pelvic pain during ovulation, sharp deep pain in the pelvis during intercourse, pain during bowel movements or urination, and possible infertility. Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of endometriosis but they do not address the root of the problem. Discover why we believe that natural medicine treatments are the best way to treat endometriosis.

Menstruation Disorders:
DESCRIPTION: Menstruation usually starts at puberty and ceases at menopause. The levels of female sex hormones in the body determine these two stages in a woman’s life. The menstrual cycle itself is also governed by a combination of hormones, all of which are produced at varying levels throughout the cycle. Many conditions or disorders may occur when these hormones are out of balance. These conditions include irregular menstrual periods; amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual periods for at least three months; menorrhagia, menstrual periods that are heavier than normal; dysmenorrhea painful menstruation; and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in which a woman can have symptoms such as cramps and bloating in the days leading up to menstruation.

How do menstrual disorders develop?
The causes of menstrual disorders are unknown, although most disorders are triggered by the action of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Often the disorder is brought on by factors such as stress or depression, excessive exercise, extremes in weight, or a more serious underlying condition impacting the female organs such as the uterus, ovaries or cervix. In addition, with menstrual disorders, an estradiol excess (which can occur from environmental toxins (endocrine disruptors), by taking oral contraceptives or other synthetic forms of estrogen) often is found to be part of the patient’s physiology. Knowing that the development of the disease may be closely linked to this factor, natural medicine practitioners always address this excess in treating these conditions.

What are the symptoms of menstrual disorders?
Depending on the disorder, different symptoms will occur. Most menstrual disorders include tenderness of the breasts; bloating caused by retention of fluid; mood changes, including feelings of tension, irritability, depression, anxiety, and fatigue; difficulty concentrating; headache; abdominal pain; muscle stiffness; disruption of normal sleep patterns; unusual food cravings; nausea; cold sweats; lightheadedness; and hot flashes.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of menstrual disorders but they do not address the root of the problem. Discover why we believe that natural medicine treatments are the best way to treat menstrual disorders.

PMS
DESCRIPTION: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a term commonly used to describe a wide range of recurrent symptoms a woman experiences seven to ten days before her menstrual period begins. The condition affects approximately 1 in 3 menstruating women. In 5 to 10 percent of these women, the symptoms may be severe enough to disrupt their lifestyle. PMS can appear at any time between puberty and menopause, although it is most common in women during their 30’s and early 40’s.

How does PMS develop?
In allopathic circles, no one knows exactly what causes PMS. Estrogen excesses, progesterone deficiencies, environmental toxins (endocrine disruptors) vitamin B6 deficiencies, an excess of the hormone prolactin and altered glucose metabolism are among the many different theories that attempt to explain PMS. Chemical changes in the brain may also be involved. A complex interaction of neurohormones such as endorphins and serotonin and other brain chemicals may trigger PMS. Stress and diet also are linked to the symptoms of PMS. High stress and a diet full of high fat and salt with low vitamin intake seem to aggravate the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of PMS?
The list of potential symptoms associated with PMS is long. Most women with PMS will experience only a few of these problems. About 7 percent of women suffering with PMS have a form called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in which the symptoms are so severe that it has its own psychiatric designation.
The most common physical and emotional symptoms associated with PMS include weight gain from fluid retention, abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, tension or anxiety, depression, crying spells, mood swings and irritability or anger, appetite changes and food cravings, joint or muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, headache, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

Menopause
DESCRIPTION: Menopause refers to any of the changes a woman experiences either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period. Although the average age at which American women cease having their periods is 52, some women will begin to experience menopausal symptoms as early as in their 40s or even 30s.

How does menopause develop?
The natural processes leading up to menopause begin very early during a woman’s life. The pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain, signals the production of several hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. These hormones cause the lining of the uterus to thicken and shed throughout the course of a menstrual cycle. During childhood, estrogen and progesterone levels gradually increase to a point that triggers the onset of a young woman’s first menstrual cycle.
During the years before menopause, levels of progesterone typically decline, while estrogen levels remain stable or even increase, resulting in a low progesterone-to-estrogen ratio that is also referred to as “estrogen dominance.” Many of the early menopausal symptoms that women feel are due to this estrogen dominance. Menopause technically begins after a woman has not menstruated for 12 consecutive months.

What are the symptoms for menopause?
As women approach menopause, their menstrual periods become irregular. The periods become either closer together and/or further apart. Other common symptoms include achy joints, hot flashes, changes in sexual desire, inability to concentrate and recall things, extreme sweating, frequent urination, sleep disruption, vaginal dryness, mood changes, night sweats and conditions commonly associated with PMS. A woman may have one, some or none of these symptoms. Hormonal changes during menopause also contribute to osteoporosis.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of menopause, but they do not address the root of the problem. By addressing the normal underlying hormonal physiology of menopause, as natural medicine treatments do, the symptoms associated with it may be alleviated permanently.