Part 6 of the Series: Aging and the "Pauses of Life"
Menopause - The Decline in Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, and More
Did you know that once menopause begins, the rest of the "pauses" quickly progress, as the imbalances feed on each other? Consequently, your health breaks down. The roll down the hill goes faster and faster, especially if our brains aren't in good shape. The imbalances in the estrogen-progesterone ratio can feel chaotic at best.
When estrogen production flags, the other "pauses" cascade. Loss of estrogen can create: changes in bone density, leading to osteopause; Heart pump failure, triggering cardiopause; Increased risk of breast cancer, triggering immunopause; Loss of memory and other cognitive deterioration, triggering electropause, and other "pauses." You can find out more on the other pauses in other blogs (beginning October 2016).
Most women are caught unaware by menopause. Despite scrupulous efforts to counteract the combined effects of gravity and aging, her arms have probably been getting progressively flabbier since around age 30. In fact, the typical woman begins losing muscle mass starting around age 25, while weight begins to climb. The unpleasant changes ahead are linked to shifting hormonal tides within the female aging body.
I often use the analogy of a boulder dropping into a still body of water to describe how these changes affect everything from mood and concentration to memory and quality of sleep. Imagine a boulder dropping into a calm, deep body of water, representing your 22-year old self at peak reproduction health. There are ripples, slowly spreading out, heading inexorably for the distant shore. As they approach that shallow shoreline (representing you, at about age 50) they gain strength and height, eventually crashing against the shore with tsunami force. The gentle swells and expanding ripples represent the years of perimenopause between about 22 and 50. The devastation of the tsunami represents menopause hitting with full force.
"Freak Outs" and Other Symptoms
Along with hot flashes, the following symptoms can be experienced during menopause:
The fall of estrogen and progesterone cause a cascade of rising blood sugars and lower mental activity. Women begin to feel both hungry and tired so often, they eat more junk food to stay alert and they exercise less. The good news is that we now have the ability to give low dosages of natural hormones that will transform not only the way you feel but the way you look.
GABA and serotonin agents can stop the "freak-outs" many women experience as a result of declining estrogen levels. This occurs because you're losing progesterone, the hormone that keeps you calm. Without progesterone, many women experience a general "sinking" feeling. With the right treatment, this feeling will go away.
If your hot flashes and other symptoms are severe, you may need to let your doctor know - estrogen-containing products can be a most effective treatment.
Progesterone to the Rescue
Progesterone is a medical gift. It's a natural mood balancer, stress reliever, and brain calmer, and it squashes cortisol (our stress hormone). It is a natural diuretic, antidepressant, antioxidant, and a precursor of cortisone and necessary for survival.
By taking natural estrogen and other bioidentical supplements, you can turn back the clock. While there's no medication that will stop menopause from occuring, you can trick your brain into thinking it is 50 forever.
The only way menopause can be successfully treated is by imitating the body's own mechanisms, which means replacing the hormones that the body naturally has lost. By maintaining and increasing hormone levels, you can restore your health and even reverse the symptoms that have been affecting you. Natural hormones have been found to be capable of doing this without causing negative side effects.
You can also strengthen your overall health by supplementing with vitamin D. Typically I prescribe 5,000 units per day as a natural brain builder.
My Rainbow Diet will allow you to control your weight and stop the cascade of illness associated with obesity. It's remarkable how carrying as little as 10 extra pounds can significantly affect your overall health. Keep your meals full of colorful fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
And discuss with your doctor about taking these code-breaking hormones:
Hormonal Treatment Brain Code Action
By understanding the intricate neurochemical relationships among organs, the brain, and the body's various systems, it is possible to marshal appropriate lines of defense against detrimental aging. These include lifestyle modifications, nutrition and supplement therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement, and if needed, prescription medications to help women achieve optimal health and minimize the ravages of "normal aging."
For more information or help, call us at PATH Medical to make an appointment. Early detection is always key towards better health.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.