A friend of mine sent me this article below, wanting to get my thoughts. Here is the article with my thoughts following:
By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
(CNN)If you’re one of the 40 million American women between the ages of 45 and 65, there’s a chance you could be having a hot flash right now. If your flushes are mild and infrequent, good for you. But if you are often going up in flames, then it could be time to check in with your doctor.
That’s because science is discovering hot flashes are much more than just a sweaty sign of menopause — their frequency or severity may also be linked to heart problems, stroke and cognitive decline later in a woman’s life.
A study presented at the 2019 conference of the North American Menopause Society this week found night sweats were linked to cognitive dysfunction in menopausal women, decreasing the ability to pay attention and perform higher-level thinking tasks.
Another found a direct link between the frequency and persistence of hot flashes and cardiovascular events later in a woman’s life. And here’s a startling finding: Another study found there’s even a link between childhood trauma and hot flash severity later in life.
“Having a hot flash is a much more significant event than providers actually appreciated for many years,” said psychiatry professor Rebecca Thurston, who directs the Women’s Biobehavioral Health lab at PittPublic Health.
“We’re starting to link these hot flashes to various different health indices and outcomes, including women’s cardiovascular health,” she said.
“What we found is that women with more frequent hot flashes when they entered into the study in their mid-40s had double the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure later in life,” said Thurston, who is presenting her findings this week at the North American Menopause Society meeting.
The results held true even when traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, were ruled out.
“We also found that women who had more persistent hot flashes over the course of the transition had increased risk for these clinical outcomes of heart attack and stroke, Thurston said. In fact, the study found these women had an 80% greater risk of cardiovascular events over the 20-year period.
An unusual risk factor
Another study presented at the conference found a link between a childhood history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse and hot flash frequency in mid-life.
“We found that women with a history of childhood physical or sexual abuse had more frequent, objectively measured hot flashes during sleep,” said lead author Mary Carson, a psychology doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh.
When the women were evaluated five years later, the study found those with a history of abuse showed an increase in hot flashes over time, Carson said, “while women who didn’t have this history of abuse showed decrease in hot flashes over time.”
We’ve come a long (hot) way, baby.
Not long ago, little of this knowledge existed. Science is finally starting to dig into why women melt down as a rite of reproductive passage. And that understanding is leading to a change in attitude.
“We felt that menopausal symptoms, hot flashes specifically, were just benign symptoms that women should just suffer through and that they only lasted a few years,” Thurston said. “We’ve really had this rapid advancement in the understanding of hot flashes just within the past decade.”
For example, science now realizes that some 75% of women have hot flashes during their menopausal transition. Frequent moderate to severe hot flashes can often last 7 to 10 years, on average, and less frequent or severe hot flashes can last even longer.
Cooling the heat
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, estrogen therapy, with or without progestin, is the most effective treatment for the relief of hot flashes and night sweats. After years of fear of hormone replacement therapy, doctors now say that a healthy woman between ages 50 and 60, with normal weight and no family history of breast cancer, could safely use a hormone to assist with their transition.
But there is no one-size-fits-all in the world of hormone therapy, so be sure to discuss the many options with your gynecologist.
However, women who begin therapy more than 10 years from the start of menopause have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and dementia.
There are many other options. Some antidepressants, such as paroxetine, can be used to treat hot flashes at doses less than what is given for depression.
An antiseizure medication called gabapentin and a blood pressure medicine called clonidineare can ease sleep problems and hot flashes.
Selective estrogen receptor modulators such as raloxifene act on tissues that respond to estrogen. They may help lessen hot flashes as well as pain during intercourse caused by vaginal dryness.
Some women swear by herbal supplements, such as black cohosh, soy and red clover, but studies on their effectiveness have been mixed. Since there are no federal regulations governing how supplements are manufactured, the Food and Drug Administration warns there’s no way to know the quality of the supplement you are taking.
“Then there’s a range of different behavioral approaches, such as cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness training that can help women manage their hot flashes,” Thurston said. “Now, this won’t get rid of the hot flash itself, but it can help manage its interference with your life.”
The government’s Office on Women’s Health says yoga, tai chi and acupuncture may help with sleep and mood problems, stress, hot flashes and muscle and joint pain. A 2013 study also found that hypnosis helped decrease hot flashes by 74% in postmenopausal women.
Future cardio risk?
When it comes to the link between hot flashes and future cardiovascular events, will treating the broken internal thermostat reduce a woman’s risk? Unfortunately, science doesn’t yet know that answer.
“How I conservatively conceptualize this work right now,” Thurston said, “is to consider hot flashes as telling you something about your underlying vascular health.
“At a minimum, it’s a marker. If you’re having lots of hot flashes, now is the time to engage in all those things you should be doing to take care of your cardiovascular health at midlife.”
That means if you smoke, stop. Get high cholesterol under control. Take care of any high blood pressure with appropriate medication. Keep your weight in check to avoid diabetes. Exercise regularly. And eat a healthy well-balanced diet.
And stay tuned. Science is working away on more options to ease the trauma of that scorching, sweaty, excruciating torment some idiot named a hot flash.
Our medical standard of care community is making progress in validating the changes women go through (starting at age 35) including periomenopause and menopause, but since doctors receive only about 4 hours of hormone education in medical school, their solutions for dealing with issues like hot flashes are sadly lacking. (And I might add, their knowledge base of nutrition and supplements is also negligible since this is not taught in medical school.)
At our Happy Hormone Cottage and our IHC in Centerville, our goal is to refill emptying hormone receptors that deplete with age (thus triggering issues like hot flashes) with Bioidentical Hormones made from plant-based powders, after cutting edge testing that provides a 15 page report on what is happening hormonally inside our bodies. This way, we can refill our hormone receptors with the actual Bioidentical hormones our bodies need to go the distance with a higher quality of life and most importantly, to prevent disease as we age.
In contrast, this article’s solutions are:
-anti seizure medications
-black cohosh, soy, red clover
-meditation and cognitive exercises
Such an interesting path! I’ve seen progress over the past 10 years of working in this arena. I like to think that in some small way, my little cottage has been and continues to be part of the grass roots movement empowering women to take charge of their journey to their best health naturally. ️
Having just read a common doctor assessment found within the interpretation of a Mindful Wellness scan, after the scan has been reviewed by 3 doctors, it is clear that from an Integrative Medicine Model, dealing with a report like this requires a multifaceted approach. When it comes to Proactive Preventative Healthcare, like what we do at our Happy Hormone Cottage, it is never just one thing that needs to be addressed. It is several strategies implemented to improve over-all outcomes.
Step One – Proper Hormone Testing
The first step is proper hormone testing. In this case, getting hormone levels in the blood is not adequate. At our Happy Hormone Cottage, we offer unique testing that looks at hormone levels of all 3 estrogens (estrone, estradiol and estriol), progesterone and testosterone, as well as how the body metabolizes the hormones. It also analyzes cortisol in the body that can identify adrenal fatigue and other adrenal issues. The most valuable testing, in our opinion, is dried urine strip testing through Precision Analytical Labs. This is a rather simple take-home test that requires 4-5 urine samples (wetting filter paper and letting it dry–so easy!) over the course of dinnertime one evening through 2 hours after waking the next day. The results are quite meaningful in that you can get a glimpse into how the liver is metabolizing each hormone. This is significant in that a great deal of research links the 4OH metabolite of estrone to breast cancer risk, as well as other significant estrogen issues such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breast disease. Identifying and attempting to modify how the liver is metabolizing each estrogen is critical.
Step Two – Lowering Inflammation
Step 2 is lowering inflammation. Inflammation is a process that activates several chemicals in the body that lead to chronic disease. Inflammation also up-regulates the liver to metabolize more of the 4OH estrogen. Many researchers speculate that inflammation caused by stress, food, toxins, infection, and over-stimulation of the immune system is the main cause of all chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. At our Happy Hormone Cottage, the most meaningful and successful way to reduce inflammation is to increase intake of omega 3 oils (fish oil) and decrease intake of omega 6 oils (vegetable oils, canola oils etc.) It is also vital to eliminate trans fats from the diet. Trans fats are found in nearly all packaged foods and have the greatest impact in increasing body inflammation. At our HHC, we carry the top-of-the-line omega 3 supplement. Not all omega 3 (fish oil) is created equally. If you are burping up your fish oil, this means it is rancid so your body is unable to absorb it. So investing in a high quality omega 3 is key. In the case of fish oil, as in many things in life, you do get what you pay for.
Step 3 – Reduce Intake of Sugars
Step 3 is to reduce intake of sugars. High intake of sugars is directly linked to diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. There is also a strong body of evidence linking sugar intake to increased risks of cancers. From a bio-chemical standpoint, cancer cells can only process sugar, whereas normal cells can process both sugars and fats to produce energy. Gaining ground is the high “good fat” ketogenic diet (80% of total calories) and the virtual elimination of all sugars from the diet. This eating strategy is effective in starving cancer cells and I believe should be adhered to by nearly everyone.
Step 4 – Exercise
Step 4 is to begin an exercise routine. Exercise paradoxically decreases inflammation. It also improves wellness, mood, blood sugar regulation, and heart health. Exercise also improves immune function by stimulating our natural killer cells that attack and destroy cancer cells.
Step 5- Reduce Toxic Load
Finally, step 5 is to reduce toxic load. Pay attention to chemicals we are all exposed to. Eat organically grown food. Cleaning aids, pesticides, cosmetics, hair and body products should all be examined for purity. There are a great many books written on the subject that you can consult. To me, the most important strategies would be to detox periodically, eat clean, take supplements that increase antioxidant levels (N-Acetyl Cysteine is probably my favorite supplement the performs this task) and reduce exposure whenever possible.
The current belief is that over 50% of us will get cancer in our lifetime. I find this statistic to be alarming! We have to take a proactive approach to prevention of disease and wellness. Consider acting on the above mentioned 5 steps to become a Warrior for your Wellness. Get your thermogram. Then call us at our Happy Hormone Cottage for women, to schedule your $25 60-minute consultation to get started on your journey to your natural hormone balance and your best health naturally. For more information or to find a happy Hormone Cottage location near you, go to www.happyhormonecottage.com.
How much are you willing to pay to prevent disease and live a higher quality of life? Is it the cost of a co-pay for a 15 minute doctor visit and then leaving with a prescription for a medicine to bandaid symptoms of an issue you are having? Does this sound productive to you? This is typically what happens in standard of care. May I remind you that being given a prescription to bandaid symptoms is in NO way related to finding and then fixing the cause of the disease or issue:
to name a few.
At my Happy Hormone Cottage, we reside in the world of Functional Medicine. What is functional medicine? It is the study of how the WHOLE body works together; and then the focus is on FINDING AND FIXING The ROOT CAUSE of disease and illness. To me, this makes so much more sense, especially in the long run… To keep us healthy, to prevent disease, and most importantly to live a higher quality of life. This is especially true when we understand that disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear. 10 years! So what to do? I suggest the first step might be to have a paradigm shift. To go from asking, “What will this cost me? and thinking “This is so expensive!” to “What do I need to do to fix my health?” and then “How can I maintain my health so I CAN have a high quality life full of health and vigor?”
My truth is that OUR HEALTH IS OUR BIGGEST WEALTH. We take it for granted. Until we get sick. If the sickness turns out to be a chronic condition, how much will it cost to treat it? I bet WAY more than doing the work to prevent it in the first place.
So what to do? Come and see us at our Happy Hormone Cottage, our Integrative Hormone Center (IHC), or our IHC for Men. Invest in our cutting edge testing for hormone balance, adrenal health and full thyroid function. Invest in our amazing genetic testing that truly digs deep into the chances of you developing specific life threatening diseases based on your genetic make up and family history. Then, meet with our medical personnel who are certified in genetic testing to go over the results, but most importantly to develop strategies that are ACTIONABLE to help prevent the diseases from manifesting….. or at the very least, to delay their inception. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend my money than to invest in my best health today so I CAN live a better, healthier tomorrow.
Someone recently wrote this in response to a FB post. I find this to be interesting and knowing what I know about the confusion surrounding HRT, somewhat understandable. I did write a book entitled, “Own Your Journey to Optimal Hormone Balance,” where I encourage all women to take charge of their journey to natural hormone balance for their best health naturally. This means one has to do the research and get educated on this subject, especially since doctors have told me they have had 4 hours of hormone education in medical school.
Let’s talk! HRT stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy. There are 2 types:
These are DRUGS made to act like hormones. They are NOT hormones:
Premarin (made from pregnant mare’s urine; conjugated estrogens; not made naturally in the human body; dangerous side effects as proven by the WHI study of 2002)
Provera (a progestin; also with dangerous side effects….see above)
Prempro (a combination of Premarin + Provera; in my opinion, one of the worst drugs ever created)
All birth control pills contain synthetic hormones
I don’t find this synthetic strategy anything to do with “hormone replacement” since our bodies don’t naturally make horse urine or synthetic progestins. True replacement is replacing our hormones with hormones created to mimic our body’s hormones. This is what bioidentical hormones do. Read on.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy aka BHRT:
BHRT is hormone therapy created to mimic the hormones in our bodies (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) that we no longer make enough of as we age, typically around age 35, and sometimes younger. Of course, adding radical hysterectomies into the mix with removal of the uterus and ovaries also depletes our hormones.
There are 2 types of BHRT:
-The one size fits most made by pharmaceutical companies:
Estrogen gels and sprays
Progesterone capsules called Prometrium that comes in 2 doses
The doctors who prescribe this type of bhrt do so mainly for the purpose of reducing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause: hot flashes, brain fog, fatigue, sleep issues, weight gain, low libido, anxiety, irritability etc.
-The customized bhrt created from plant-based powders and made for the individual in a compounding lab, typically after specialized testing.
Welcome to my world and the world of my Happy Hormone Cottage! We are a one-stop-shop that begins with a step one consultation ($25), extensive personalized testing that utilizes dried urine strips sent to a lab in Oregon where it is analyzed and we receive a 15 page report on each client, that also includes her cortisol. From this, our nurse practitioner meets with the client for an hour appointment to go over her test results and to create a customized bhrt strategy for her based on her test results and on her symptoms. Our compounding lab then creates the bhrt therapy for the client personalized just for her. She returns for a 30 minute appt at 3 months to evaluate progress and to make adjustments to therapy as needed. This hormone balance strategy of refilling hormone receptors is a necessary life long strategy to improve quality of life for the long haul.
**Our goal is not to just alleviate symptoms. Our goal is PERSONALIZED MEDICINE where we create bhrt creams from FDA-approved plant based powders in our own compounding lab TO REFILL DEPLETING HORMONE RECEPTORS (again, that deplete with age after age 35) to RESTORE HORMONE BALANCE for our best health naturally. Doing this allows us to not only alleviate the symptoms of a hormone imbalance discussed above BUT ULTIMATELY to PREVENT DISEASE. Which diseases that come with aging? Heart Disease, Dementia, Osteoporosis, Breast Cancer.
It is important to understand that our hormones play very important roles in our body. As we age and we no longer have enough hormones to do these jobs, we are ripe for the diseases mentioned above. Don’t take my word for it. Visit my “Readings & Resources” webpage found on my website at www.happyhormonecottage.com. Read Dr Jeffrey Dach’s book, “Bioidentical Hormones 101,” or Dr Uzzi Reese’s book, “Natural Hormone Balance” or the plethora of other books and studies on this subject. When I hear someone say that they have “opted out of hormone replacement therapy,” in my mind, they are opting out of protecting their heart, brain and bones. Understanding the very important role that hormones play in our body, knowing they deplete with age, and knowing we need to replace them is key. The analogy of “hormones are to women what water is to plants” sums it up nicely.
For more information, visit www.happyhormonecottage.com or call us at 513-444-6343 to set up a 60 minute step one consultation ($25).
23andMe, Ancestory.com, AncestoryDNA.com… we are being bombarded with the opportunity to Genetically learn, where we came from, who we are, why we are as we are… ets.. This is both exciting and revolutionary new field of scientific discovery.
Genetic testing also has major implications in terms of how we approach medical care. With new discoveries regarding the unique and individual variations of cancer, we are finding that certain genetic traits can affect both outcome and treatment strategies in chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and adjunctive therapies. As the innumerable number of the James Cancer Billboards proclaim there is noRoutine Cancer Our talented oncologists are quickly developing into expert geneticists.
Away from oncology, Genetic testing is being widespread in the arena of personalized individualizedmedicine Knowing certain gene variations can predict many things: How you will respond to certain medications and what dose of medication should you be given fall under the genetic subgroup called Pharmacogenomics. This area of genetics is somewhat black and white and has a relatively high level of predictivity and accuracy.
The other side of medical genetics is called Nutrigenomics. This area can be a little more subjective in terms of application. Nutrigenomics is looking at how certain genes can affect biochemical processes and how nutrition, diet, and lifestyle can affect genetic expression. Many companies offer testing that with their results is it possible to determine best strategies for diet, exercise, and overall health.
When implementing Nutrigenomics in predictive and preventative health, there are 3 main biochemical processes to focus on, Methylation, Detoxification, and Inflammation.
Methylation is the biochemical process of adding a Carbon and 3 hydrogens (methyl group) to various chemicals in our body. Methylation is used in over 250 biochemical processes in the body. The most notable functions include
repairing DNA Damage
improving immune function
rebuilding cell walls (membranes)
increasing energy production within our cells (mitochondrial function)
clearing out dead cells and repairing damaged cells
Nutrigenomic testing can determine how well the body methylates. Certain gene variations can decrease methylation by 75-80%. This can lead to such things as increased cancer risk, fatigue, inability to fight infections, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome genetic variations in methylation by identifying the variations and bypassing the biochemical processes with proper nutrition and supplements.
Poor methylation also decreases production of glutathione. Glutathione is the most important substance the body uses to detoxify and remove harmful substances from the body. Nutrigenomic testing can determine how well glutathione is conjugating and detoxifying harmful chemicals and carcinogens. Poor detoxification can increase risk of asthma, auto immune disease, cancer, and dementia. The goal is to determine overall detoxicification, and develop strategies to improve this process and decrease risk of disease (or slow onset of disease).
Nutrigenomic testing can predict levels of inflammation. Genetic variations can increase ability to express inflammatory chemicals that can increase risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart attack, auto immune disease, and dementia. Current belief is that inflammation is tied to the initiation of most cancers as well.
Determining overall levels of inflammation and genetic variations that can affect the expression of inflammation is critical to predict overall health. Implementing strategies such as reduction in inflammatory foods (trans fats, sugar, omega 6 oils, animal fats, and processed foods) increasing low inflammatory foods (overall reduction is carbohydrates, omega 3s, fish, cruciferous vegetables, anti-oxidant fruits (berries) and olive oil) as well as proper supplementation: high dose omega 3s, standardized curcumin extract, quercetin and vitamin c, CBD oil, and resveratrol) is vital in prevention of disease.
Other important genetic variations Nutrigenomic testing examines include:
mitochondrial function (energy production)
ability to process and utilize vitamin d
histamine response (allergies, eczema, and food intolerance)
blood clotting risk
salt sensitivity and risk of high blood pressure
lipid and triglyceride metabolism
liver metabolism related to pesticides and estrogen-like substances
Nutrigenomic testing would most benefit individuals suffering with migraines, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, unresolved thyroid issues, ADD and ADHD, Autism, Metabolic syndrome, allergies, dementia, family history of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and anxiety, depression and mood disorders and women taking hormone replacement therapy.
Jeff Hogrefe, R.Ph., AFAARM graduated in 1987 from Ohio Northern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy, and received specialized compounding training at the Professional Compounding Center of America (PCCA) in Houston, Texas in 2004. At PCCA he was trained in both sterile and non-sterile compounding and he regularly attends continuing education seminars. In addition, Jeff has specialized training in asthma, diabetes care and complementary IV therapies. For the past several years, Jeff has been studying with A4M for his degree in Functional Medicine. In the fall of 2013, Jeff received his Advanced Fellowship in Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Regenerative Medicine. He continues his affiliation with A4M (Academy of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine) by serving as a Diplomate. In the winter of 2018, Jeff became certified in nutragenomic testing. He is currently in a 2 year program with cancer scientist, Dr Mark Rosenberg, dealing with innovative and Integrative screening and treatment of cancers. Jeff has a passion for helping men and women prevent disease and live a higher quality of life. Most recently, Jeff became certified in genetics and genetic testing in 2018 through Biologix and in early 2019 with DNA Life. He is currently teaching a class on genetic testing with DNA Life through Cedarville College for medical professionals for CE credit.
I find it fascinating when women try all sorts of techniques to alleviate symptoms of a hormone imbalance i.e. aging issue: hot flashes, weight gain, fatigue, low libido, sleep issues, anxiety, brain fog, osteopenia, osteoporosis, thinning hair, vaginal dryness. I’ve heard it all: juicing, all sorts of supplements, herbs, essential oils, and the list goes on. None of these finds and fixes the root cause of our hormone imbalance, which happens to all women as they age, typically past age 35. Our truth is that to solve a hormone imbalance issue, one must refill our depleting hormone receptors with actual hormones. Say what??
Did you know that at my Happy Hormone Cottage we actually create our customized, compounded Bioidentical hormones made in our onsite compounding lab to refill our hormone receptors. Why? Because our hormone receptors deplete as we age beyond 35, and it is our responsibility to keep them refilled as naturally as possible. Our choice is Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bhrt) with hormones, made from plant-based powders, that are created to mimic the hormones our bodies used to make but with aging, no longer make enough of what our bodies need.
Here’s the thing- our hormones are really important. They are responsible for many, many jobs in our body:
>Estrogen, for example, performs over 300 jobs in our body. The main ones are to protect our heart from heart disease and our brain from dementia.
>Progesterone is our “joy of life” hormone that decreases starting around age 35, and is responsible for sleep, reducing anxiety and depression, reducing aches & pains, lessening sugar cravings, helping to prevent breast cancer by balancing estrogen, and other important tasks.
>Testosterone helps build new bone to prevent osteoporosis, helps memory recall, energy and libido (when we also address adrenal fatigue.)
Years ago, we would be dead by now. Today, as we are living longer and longer, it is imperative that we recognize and acknowledge the importance of refilling our hormone receptors as we age, so we can:
-Feel our best
-Go the distance with a higher quality of life.
So when we go to our doctors (most tell me they have had 4 hours of hormone education in medical school) for our check-ups and we have a conversation about our hormones and hormone (aging) issues:
Weight Gain, etc
It is important to remember:
-doctors know what they know
-we know our bodies and how we feel
-we MUST own our journey and think for ourselves
We have permission to think for ourselves and make informed choices that serve us in our best interests. Become a warrior for your wellness. Do your research. Talk to other informed women who are clients of ours. Visit www.happyhormonecottage.com and then give us a call at 513-444-6343.
I recently reread this interview with Suzanne Somers and was struck by its relevance today-15 years later. This article was published October 2004. I had my radical hysterectomy in the spring of 2004. Thanks to Suzanne’s incredibly knowledgeable books and the innovative work of my compounding pharmacist husband, I began using my bioidentical hormone replacement therapy that year, and opened my Happy Hormone Cottage 5 years later, in 2009. The rest, as they say, is history. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to help thousands of women from all over the country during the last 10 years rebalance their hormones naturally for their higher quality of life. I can’t wait for the next 10 years!
I’ve taken the liberty of sharing Suzanne’s interview with Life Extension magazine below. The only major development that we have adopted since this interview took place in 2004 is that we now use cutting edge DUTCH (dried urine test comprehensive hormones) instead of blood for the amazing amount of information it provides.
Aging can be brutal for men and women alike. Women often experience weight gain, diminished sex drive, hot flashes, memory loss, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Aging men likewise ex
perience a loss of energy, stamina, and sex drive.
After years of being thin, fit, and full of energy, actress and best-selling author Suzanne Somers encountered what she calls the “Seven Dwarfs of Menopause”: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried-Up. Rather than live the rest of her life feeling cranky, tired, and irritable, Suzanne set out to discover how to regain her mind, body, and life. Her search led her to bioidentical hormones—natural hormones that mimic the hormones produced in our bodies, which are almost completely lost with aging. With recent medical research pointing to the dangers of synthetic hormone replacement therapy, growing numbers of women—and men—are searching for natural alternatives to relieve the symptoms of menopause and andropause.
Having regained her health and happiness, and determined to spread the word, Suzanne has written a new best-selling book, The Sexy Years: Discover the Hormone Connection. In it, she describes her own research and experiences, shares the expertise of leading doctors in the field of women’s and men’s health, and offers practical advice and tools to help aging women and men turn their lives around. Suzanne recently sat down with Life Extension’s William Faloon to discuss her book and how bioidentical hormones have enabled her and others to approach the second half of life with joy and anticipation.
William Faloon: Suzanne, let me start by saying how enthused we are that you could join us and share your message about the life-altering effects of hormone replacement therapy.
Suzanne Somers: I’m privileged to be able to put this message out because I think it’s so important. It changed my life so much, I feel it’s something that others need to know about.
WF: I had the same personal experience at the age of 44. I was testosterone deficient, and I began using testosterone cream and Arimidex®, and my life just totally turned around.
SS: My son is 40, an athlete, in great physical shape, he eats right and works out, and he has a great business. He found out that he was testosterone deficient. He just kept saying, “I’m losing my energy.” I sent him to my doctor. She did his blood work and discovered he was low in testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone. Now, after hormone replacement, he feels amazing.
WF: Many of our members are aware of hormone replacement therapy. What’s significant is that you’re now promoting it in a way that I think everyone will understand it—unlike all these scientific books that may be over some people’s heads.
SS: I’m fascinated by physiology and always have been. I’ve been able to take the medical reports and put them into what I call “easy speak,” so we all can understand it. This information is so important, but it can seem overwhelming if it’s not explained well.
WF: It’s easy for you and I to comprehend it, yet medical doctors tell me, “Well, I don’t know how to read a hormone profile blood report, so therefore I won’t prescribe hormones.” To which I say, “Gee, the reference ranges are right there in the report, it’s not that difficult.”
SS: One of the things I uncovered in researching this book is that all doctors, including gynecologists, have only had approximately four hours of instruction in the whole hormonal system. A nurse called me on the air the other day and said, “I just finished your book, and I agree with you. When I was in nursing school, we had only four lines in our textbook relative to hormones.”
Today’s technology, which is fantastic, will keep us alive to 90 or 100 years old, but science has not made plans for our quality of life. I love the idea of living to be 90 or 100, but I don’t want to be senile or have Alzheimer’s or a weak heart or type II diabetes or tubes up my nose or be in a wheelchair.
This book was the most advantage I’ve ever taken of celebrity. I used my name to call everybody, and all the doctors I interviewed took my calls and were so forthcoming. What they all told me is that they feel that hormonal imbalance is at the root of every human ailment and disease.
Before we start doing surgery and giving out drugs, the first thing that should be done is to take a hormone panel, see where the hormone levels are, know what normal levels are for that person’s age and gender, and restore them to balance. This applies even to a toddler who a doctor would normally put on Ritalin®. There are so many children on Ritalin®, it doesn’t seem right. They should test the blood of small children and see if the reason they’re so hyperactive or have ADHD is due to a hormonal imbalance. Short-term hormone therapy is not a drug and it’s not anywhere near as harsh as Ritalin®.
WF: So you feel the benefits of hormone replacement are not limited to aging women and men?
SS: The same thing applies for teenagers with raging hormones and alarming suicide rates. The doctors predict that in the future, if your teenager’s are acting wacky, you’ll take them to a hormone specialist, do a blood test, check their hormone levels, and restore them by stabilizing their moods and chemicals.
It also applies for women who give birth. When they cut that umbilical cord from us, all our progesterone leaves us. Progesterone is our feel-good hormone, and that is what postpartum depression is all about. Just look at the case of someone like Andrea Yates, the woman who drowned all five of her children. Maybe she was schizophrenic and heard voices and that was it, but it could also have been that she was so depleted of progesterone that she became delusional, which can also happen.
For menopausal women, hormone replacement is obvious, and for andropausal men, it’s obvious. I don’t know if people know this, but we women lose 90% of our hormones over a two-year period. It’s such a dramatic change.
WF: We appreciate how often you emphasize the critical importance of blood testing.
SS: Yes, absolutely. This is not guesswork or haphazard. Hormonal balancing can’t be too much or too little. Even with bioidentical hormones—which are real hormones, as opposed to synthetic hormones that are not real hormones but are drugs—you don’t want too much or too little. Because when we were young and produced a full complement of hormones, we had a steady stream of just the right amount coursing through our bodies 24 hours a day. At my age, when 90% of my hormones left me over a two-year period, what my doctor did was take my blood work, see where my levels were, prescribe a bioidentical prescription from the compounding pharmacy, and put back exactly what I needed. When that happened, the quality of my life came back in a way that was better than it had ever been. To be in my metabolic prime with these bio-identical hormones, and then to add to it the wisdom and perspective that comes with aging, it’s about as good as it gets. It’s better than being 20, 30, or 40.
WF: What age were you when your hormones were restored?
SS: I went into menopause on my fiftieth birthday, literally at my fiftieth birthday party. I’ve been on hormones for seven years. They’ve absolutely changed my life and my husband’s life. I am so easy to live with because I’m hormonally balanced. I truly wake up happy almost every morning of my life, feeling joyous. It’s not a stoned feeling or a false good feeling like an antidepressant would give you, it’s just balanced joy.
WF: Feeling young in and of itself is a wonderful effect.
SS: Yes. For example, lets say that you’re a man on your fiftieth birthday. You’re feeling good, virile and energetic, your muscles are cut and defined, you’ve been working out, you’re in good shape, you can lift things that other people can’t, and you’ve got your creative energy, vitality, and sexual drive. Now, imagine if I said to you that starting on your fiftieth birthday, you’re not going to sleep anymore, because there are no hormones to regulate your body temperature. It feels like the worst fever you’ve ever had, off and on, all day and all night, which makes it impossible for you to sleep. You’re going to forget everything, because there are no nutrients going to your brain. You’re going to cry a lot because you haven’t been sleeping. You’re going to fly off the handle because your chemicals are so out of balance that you aren’t in control of your temper. You’re going to bloat, even if you’re not eating anything. Your ankles and wrists are going to be swollen; in fact, your whole body is going to be kind of swollen and uncomfortable. And you’re going to lose your sex drive.
If you said that to a man, he’d look at you like you were crazy. Yet women go in with these complaints and our doctors tell us we have to “tough it out.” “Tough it out” is not a medical remedy; it means just live through this suffering while you’re in a constant state of deterioration. It’s not just that you feel bad, but also that the nutrients provided by hormones to all of your bodily functions and organs are draining out. Therefore, there’s a shutdown of all those systems and organs. Young people don’t get the diseases of aging because they make a full complement of hormones. Older people have the diseases of aging because of the drain of hormones. Aging is a loss of hormones.
WF: We’ve reported on a new study showing that testosterone deficiency is an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. That means that if you do everything else right—eat right, exercise, keep your cholesterol down—low testosterone by itself will dramatically increase your risk of having a heart attack.
SS: And here’s why. Testosterone is not only a sex hormone, but also a hormone that is essential for both men and women. But testosterone is also an anabolic steroid. Anabolic steroids build bone and muscle, and the heart is the largest muscle in the body. There are more testosterone cell-receptor sites on this muscle than any other muscle in the body. As we lose our testosterone, our hearts lose their pumping power. The more testosterone you lose, the less pumping power you have, and coupled with that comes a loss of vitality and energy, and other degenerative issues. Don’t forget, men also require estrogen and the correct ratio of estrogen to testosterone for their maleness. When they start losing testosterone, they start overproducing estrogen. As estrogen overproduces, it diminishes a man’s ability to perform sexually.
Every doctor that I talked to, including brain specialists, told me that too little estrogen in men and women is now being linked to Alzheimer’s disease. To prevent Alzheimer’s, we need an environment of balanced hormones, including estrogen, for the protection it gives your brain. That’s why the 83-year-old woman named Eve who I interviewed in my book, who has been on bioidentical hormones now for 20 years, is as sharp as a tack. She told me, “I have to drive my friends everywhere, they can’t remember anything. I get up every morning and dance to Roy Orbison or the Beatles while I’m making my bed. Then I go to exercise class.” I asked her, “What about sex?” She said, “I don’t have sex because I carried a torch for my husband for so long that I took myself out of the market. But I have sexual feelings. If the right guy came along, I would be ready. The problem is, men my age are so low on testosterone that they wouldn’t be able to handle me.”
I am wanting to get some information on your hormone replacement. I have tried the pellet and I started getting hair loss and my body hurts. How do I get my hormones regulated again? Thanks for your help.
I hope you have visited my “Pellets-A Second Look” webpage found on the home page of my website (near the top) at www.happyhormonecottage.com. It explains why we do NOT believe in or endorse pellets. They are a good money maker for the pellet manufacturer and the doctor, but they offer a world of hurt for the recipient. When we know better, we do better.
You can call us at 513-444-6343 to set up a phone consultation ($25) to learn what we do and about our Optimal Hormone Balance. What makes us different is that we are a one-stop shoppe with our cutting edge testing methods, nurse practitioners and compounding lab. We make our bioidentical hormone creams from plant-based powders in-house, and we have our own adrenal support formula (proprietary blend) to repair exhausted adrenal glands. In addition, for those with thyroid issues, our 10-point thyroid panel is innovative, and coupled with our thyroflex machine that checks the function of the thyroid at the tissue level of cells where it matters most, our thyroid clients actually feel better. We have options to create bioidentical thyroid medications so our clients are not just put on Synthroid or Levothyroxin with the dose being cut in half or doubled after blood work with a 2 part blood draw. Really? How is this even considered helpful? No wonder thyroid clients coming to us for the first time have suffered needlessly. I will also add here that our clients with Hashimoto’s also feel so much better with our Hashimoto’s Protocol.
We operate in the world of Functional Medicine with the focus being on finding and fixing root cause. Our clients are very happy. Out-of-state clients can do everything over the phone and at home, but they must come in to see us annually in person.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Give us a call.
I would be so grateful if you would answer a question that I have been unable to find the answer to online.
How long can I expect dht-related hair loss to continue after testosterone implantation? My first two rounds of pellets went fine. I began losing a significant amount of hair 24 days into this third round of pellets. I am now 50 days in. I am desperate for the excessive hair shedding to stop. I have been exercising pretty heavily to try to accelerate the burn out of the pellets. I am taking saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil and biotin and am using a dht blocking shampoo. Should my hair loss symptoms be expected to stop at the 12-week mark (or sooner with daily cardiovascular exercise)? Or does the dht stay in your system beyond the testosterone pellet burnout? Not knowing when this will end or how bald I will get is sheer torture. Any information you can provide would be beyond appreciated.
Dear Pellet Sufferer,
If you haven’t already read my webpage “Pellets…..A Second Look” found on the home page of my website at www.happyhormonecottage.com, please read to find out why we do NOT recommend pellets for women…..ever. They are a good money maker for the doctor and the pellet manufacturer, but they offer a world of hurt for the recipient.
In your case, your testosterone is traveling down the “5 alpha reductase” methylation pathway which converts your testosterone to dht for male pattern baldness and hair loss. This should stop and slow down after 3 months from the date of insertion, although I can not guarantee this. Everyone is different in how they respond after hair loss from pellets. Your hair will hopefully grow back. Keep doing what you are doing in terms of saw palmetto and biotin. Unless you like the balding look, I would suggest no more pellets. I often wonder why there are not (more?) class action lawsuits against these pellet manufacturers and the doctors who implant them.
At my Happy Hormone Cottage and our Integrative Hormone Center here in southwestern Ohio, we are all about hormone balance and the refilling of our hormone receptors (that deplete with age) for relief of hormone imbalance issues that occur in all women past age 35; but ultimately for help with the prevention of disease as we age: dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer. We use DUTCH (Precision Analytics Lab with Mark Newman) dried urine strip testing (blood work doesn’t provide valuable information…just a number) to determine HOW our hormones are working (methylating) inside our bodies and then we customize a compounded Bioidentical hormone cream strategy that we make at our compounding lab from plant based powders. To learn more, visit my website at happyhormonecottage.com. To set up a step one phone consultation ($25) you can call us at 513-444-6343. We have women coming in from all over the country (both pellet victims and nonpellet victims) to see our nurse practitioners and then return annually to continue therapy for their best health naturally.
Wishing you all the best.
We recently had a gal drive in from Missouri to our Happy Hormone Cottage at our new Integrative Hormone Center in Centerville, Ohio. We understand that she could go anywhere and probably NOT get her needs met. She could go to any ob gyn and be told a plethora of different things. We have heard it all! She could be offered different “strategies” and medications, have her head filled with untruths and misinformation from uninformed doctors who, although wonderful people, have had approximately 4 hours of hormone education in medical school…none of whom would find and fix the root cause of her issues. Even worse, she could go to any hormone center and be offered pellets because they are a darn good money maker. But our HHC? We began in August of 2009 in an 1800s cottage built by Abraham Lincoln’s cousin, Nathan. I had no template, no business plan, very little electricity (!), no running water….just the authentic desire to help women by educating them on their body for their best health naturally. I got my employees organically as they were my satisfied clients, and we grew organically. Our tiny cottage exploded over the past 9 years to 5 HHC’s in 3 different states and from an educational facility to a medical facility that grew into a women’s AND a men’s health center. We recently (July 2018) bought our own building to house our IHC (Integrative Hormone Center) & Pharmacy that includes our HHC, our men’s health center now called “IHC for Men” and our compounding lab to become a “one stop Shoppe” still with 2 satellite HHCs in Mason and in Vandalia. We have done this IN SPITE of losing a lot of money in 2015 when Express Scripts sent us a letter informing us that they would no longer cover compounded therapy. Many compounding labs and independent pharmacies have closed. Jeff laid off almost his entire compounding staff and just kept going, working 18 hour days to stay open so we could continue to serve our community. In addition to this, he went back to school to get his Advanced Fellowship in Functional Medicine BECAUSE we could find NO Other Doctor to help our men and our women. So WE did it. At great personal sacrifice. So when someone travels in to our Happy Hormone Cottage or our new IHC, she has no idea what we have been through to get where we are. I have come to understand and believe that it is truly a privilege to work with us. We don’t waste our clients’ money using harmful pellet “therapy.” We don’t spout untruths from medical school funded by big pharma. We tell her the truth based on studies and books from the past 20+ years. We help her to the very best of our ability with integrity and care. We take her journey personally and lose sleep over her if she struggles. We discuss her at home and personally connect with her….even on a Saturday or Sunday. We do not quit on her or fail her. Every client we have matters to us and we walk our talk every single day. THIS is WHY women are making the informed decision to become a client of the Happy Hormone Cottage.