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Many female patients of mine exhibit symptoms that may occur from imbalanced hormones; Insomnia, Anxiety, Weight gain or difficulty losing it, Hot flashes/Night Sweats, Fatigue and Lethargy, PMS, painful breasts, Headaches associated with their cycles, Memory problems and Depression. Some of these symptoms can be from serious medical problems. But my patients have typically already seen their MD, had blood tests along with other tests and been told "you're fine" or "it's what you have to expect at your age" or "it’s not serious so let me give you a prescription for it".
It's important to rule out medical problems but when they are ruled out and you get an answer like those above, it may be time to go somewhere else. It's NOT fine or normal or something you should just cover up with pills. I've blogged in the past about some of the different causes for women's hormone imbalances; xenoestrogens and toxins in the air, food, cosmetics, beauty products, birth control pills, having adrenal exhaustion etc. Today I'm discussing beauty/skin creams.
Because these products are listed as "Cosmetics", they don't go under the close scrutiny of the FDA (Federal Drug Administration). For example, many companies add Progesterone to their creams. They are allowed to make Progesterone up to 4% of the product and they don't have to even list it on the label as an ingredient! How is that POSSIBLE?????? Often, the increased levels of Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone that are in many creams don't show up in Serum blood tests. It's also easy to be contaminated by anyone who's using creams with hormones in them. I've treated a number of women who had very high levels of Testosterone and after serious problems were ruled out, it was discovered that their husbands were using creams with Testosterone in them and they were absorbing it through skin-to-skin contact. Also, if you do use skin creams or straight hormone creams, ALWAYS wash your hands very well, especially if you're touching or taking care of children. Even small amounts can affect a child.
Many of these substances are transported more through the lymphatic system than the blood supply so they don't always show up as accurately in a blood test. That's why it's so important for women who have any of these symptoms to do a saliva test if they're not getting the healthcare results they deserve. In the last 5 years there has been much more acceptance in the Western health care system about the scientific credibility of saliva tests for an increasing variety of conditions. Even some insurance companies are now covering their cost. They're usually cheaper, less invasive and less painful, while typically being done in your own home. Here's some information about saliva testing from my website.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
The other day, a middle-aged woman who was seeing me for general fatigue and insomnia complaints, noted that she had been recently diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This was now her identity. She had a "disease" and her "treatment" was a series of pharmaceutical drugs that aren't specifically made to "cure" or even treat CFS. The treatment protocol isn't specific either; some Doctors prescribe antibiotics, some suggest antidepressants, some say anti-anxiety meds, and some use anti-inflammatory drugs or blood-pressure meds.
I'm not saying that people shouldn't take medications they've been prescribed. But they will NEVER cure this or any other autoimmune disease. Here's a list of common autoimmune "diseases" with the percentage of increase of that disease since 2000 and the percentage of everyone with the disease that is female.
Disease———————increase in 10 years————————percent women
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome—1000%——————————————-90%
Look at these numbers!!! The numbers shown an overwhelming majority of women make up these diseases. Thousands of pages on the internet say the same thing; it's an autoimmune disease that is from someone's immune system being compromised. The immune systems are weak and susceptible. And billions of dollars are being spent trying to find the "magic pill" that reduces or takes away the symptoms but no company is trying to figure out what's causing all of these increases. Most of those diseases are only diagnosed if a number of different symptoms come together. It's often not "scientific" at all and a person could go to one Doctor and get the diagnosis while another one would tell her she doesn't have it. No one is lying here; it's just that the diagnosis of all of these "diseases" can be so subjective and arbitrary.
More and more studies show that the systemic part of the diagnosis is the most important. You have to fix the system that is compromised. Which one is compromising the immune system? That could be the Adrenal-Hormone, the Gastrointestinal and/or the Liver-Detoxification Systems. Exhausted Adrenals, Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut), Toxic Livers from medications, environmental toxins and lifestyles can all be a part of it.
There are so many environmental and dietary toxins already but if you add synthetic hormones, birth-control pills, cosmetics and beauty products in, you've got a lot more specific to woman. Why aren't women demanding answers? Why aren't they angry that something like this could get so out of control? Why aren't people with these diseases being told to detox, change their diets, check their GI tracts? Unfortunately in the age of specialists, most Western medicine doesn't look at the entire system, just one thing at a time and then refers them out for someone else to look at a different one. Don't put up with it. You shouldn't stop what you're doing but you can add other things on until maybe you no longer need those previous suggestions. Take charge of it because no one else will.
Women of Fabulously 40,
Back in April of 2010, I wrote a blog about a test that's now available to check a woman's Estrogen ratio. It's called the Estronex test. There is a ratio of "Bad" Estrogens to "Good" ones and the lower the ratio is, the less potential there is for breast, uterine and other Estrogenic cancers. This is not some weird, wacky suedo-science; this is seriously researched, reproducible information accumulated from scientists in the areas of medicine, alternative health, cancer centers and in particular, OB/GYN health care. The wonderful aspect of this test is that a person can change the ratio herself at home and help decrease those chances for possible occurrence or return. Depending on what the test shows; things like DIM, Resveratrol, Glutathione, Grapefruit, Ginseng, cruciferous vegetables and B vitamins can bring those ratios back to normal and help improve your odds toward maintaining or recapturing your health.
Things that can increase the "Bad" Estrogens are; birth control pills, Diabetes, Obesity, Xenoestrogens and diets high in processed-sugars. Xenoestrogens(“zeeno-estrogens“) come from meat or produce grown using hormones or pesticides, vehicle exhaust, plastic products and cosmetics and beauty products. And if you're around any of these things for a living, your likelihood of having higher amounts of them is greater. These are bad for everyone but women get bombarded with a lot more of them on a daily basis.
The cost of the test is $179 and the cost of the supplements usually runs from about $60-$100 a month. You follow the program for 3 months and then retest. Insurance often doesn't cover it. Over the years in practice, I would talk with patients about their health and money always came up. The same person that wouldn't think twice about having the repair guy come out to the house to fix the wash machine and even put the bills on a credit card, hesitates about that same money when it come to their health. HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH???? I tell any patients that if they have a history of Estrogenic cancers or have it in their family, they should find out this information.
I wrote this article again because I was shocked as to how few women showed even an interest. Yet, I've heard from a much higher number of women contacting me about cancer walks, events and other similar fundraisers. These groups do important work and I know the people involved care very much. I know hundreds of thousands of women and men have had their lives touched by these diseases. And maybe sometime in the future, some one or some company will find a "cure". But here we have a test that can show someone some of their present risks and then show them how much they've improved those risks. Here's something that is an active step towards possibly tangibly changing someone's odds right now. So let's take advantage of that. Take charge of your own life! Contact me with any questions.
In an earlier Fab40 blog ("ESTROGEN: Is it good or bad?" 4/28/10), I covered how Estrogen needs to be metabolized and processed by the body to decrease the potential for Estrogenic cancers, especially Breast. You want less 16-OH estrogens, which increase cancer risk and you want more 2-OH estrogens, which can reduce cancer risk. I previously mentioned what can cause those bad ones but now let's look at some things you can do in your own life to help get rid of them and increase the good ones.
Diets with less fat and carbohydrates and more protein decrease bad estrogens. One of the better proteins, Soy, has been given a bad rap and many health practitioners generalize about it not being good for you because of it's estrogen connections. The actual studies show that soy-milk and soy protein-powder drinks DO increase your estrogen levels but it's the good 2-OH kind. One of the absolute best things for helping to balance your estrogen metabolism is something called Diindolylmethane or simply DIM. This natural phytonutrient is found abundantly in plants but especially the ones in the Brassica family. Those would be broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts. Rosemary is an herb that in studies was shown to have drastically improved 2-OH while decreasing 16-OH estrogens. Flaxseed does the same thing.
Those things help metabolize the estrogens but you also need something to help get them out of your system before they recirculate and become more dangerous to you. That's where D-Glucarates come in. Foods that have high levels of this are squash, zucchini, pumpkin, melons, apples, strawberries, cherries, plums, pears, blackberries, beans, soy, lentils, peas and chickpeas. If you've had Breast cancer problems before or if it runs in your family, you might want to supplement your diet with some extra D-Glucarate to be on the safe side. Also make sure that you're not offsetting the great benefits of these specific fruits and vegetables by eating only store-bought ones that have lots of pesticide and chemical residues. Spend the extra money on organic fruits and vegetables. YOU'RE WORTH IT!!!!! Don't be passive with your health. Take charge of it.
I usually write something about hormones or specific health conditions but this month I'm going to address a different kind of issue that comes up with my patients. Over the years, a number of middle-aged female patients have complained to me that they feel "invisible" as they age. Whereas, in the past, they regularly got wanted and often unwanted stares, smiles and comments as they passed by complete strangers. Now they notice being unnoticed. They say that anyone under 40, man OR woman, is busy looking at each other with those same stares, smiles and comments. Any man over 40 is looking at women under 40 and any women over 40 are looking at the three other demographics. So they have to periodically check a reflection in a store window or rear-view mirror to assure their mere existence.
Don't fret ladies, men over 40 look at everyone and everything. Sure we look at women under 40 but we also look at women over 40 or big, loud trucks or cheeseburgers or a herd of cows or whatever is on channel 356. You ever look at a herd of cows for any length of time? They don't do ANYTHING!!! Nothing!! They stand and chew. You can be 3 feet in front of them laughing, screaming, jumping up and down (and believe me, I have before) and you might as well be a rock. Even if they look at you, they seem to be looking through you. Doesn't matter, guys will still stare right back, for just as long and just as vacuous. Remember those old cowboy movies where all the cowboys sit around staring at the big herd of cattle; cows and cowboys staring back and forth for hours with absolutely nothing going on? That's us.
We see you and we love you. Just because we look at some attractive woman on the street who's young enough to be our daughter, DOESN'T mean we want to be with her. What would we talk about anyway? What would we say when they're getting ready to go out on the town at 9:00pm and we're trying to decide if we should stay up for our favorite TV show at 10:00pm or just go to bed and record it? Let men have their fantasies that they think they want but believe me, it would scare the hell out of most of them if they got it.
When we're young and unsure of ourselves, we all want someone to "complete us", so opposites attract more easily. When we're older and more sure of who we are, we want someone that's more like us. That not only goes for personality type but age groups as well. So remember that the more you see yourself as vibrant and interesting, the more others will also. Relax and enjoy yourself.
As some women get older, they suddenly start having problems with their hair thinning or actually losing it. A woman's hair can be such a personal part of the way she sees herself. The final straw that's sent many women into my practice was them seeing more and more of their hair in their brush every week. Some of this is a natural part of aging but oftentimes it's very premature. Two of the major causes can be stress or progesterone levels.
The irony here is that one of these causes can directly increase the likelihood of the second cause. Sustained or reoccurring stress exhausts the adrenal glands, which then directly lower the progesterone levels.
Low progesterone levels can also be from having “estrogen dominance“. This can increase androgens, which are the male side of the hormones. This higher level of hormones can cause the natural hair loss that is more commonly associated with males. This can be confusing because most women know that as they age, their estrogen levels go down. But what they don't know is that, relatively speaking, their progesterone levels can drop even more. So they end up with something called "estrogen dominance".
That estrogen dominance can be for a variety of reasons.
Estrogen in Birth Control pills
Estrogens in skin creams and beauty products.
Xenoestrogens; which come mainly from items made with petrochemicals. These can be in the air, your water, food and more hair and beauty products. Pesticides and herbicides, growth hormones fed to fatten up animals, as well as plastics and PCBs contain them also. These mimic real estrogens, are highly fat-soluble and not very biodegradable. So they accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals and humans, are hard to excrete and are taken up by the estrogen receptor sites in the body. They then interfere with your body's natural biochemistry. Too much estrogen can be dangerous to your health.
The resulting low progesterone in this estrogen dominance can bring on a lot of symptoms that women may see as "normal" because so many woman have them; weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, water retention, breast tenderness, infertility, low blood sugar, uncontrollable weight gain and vaginal dryness. Unfortunately these are "typical" but certainly aren't "normal". A saliva test will show what the levels of your adrenals and hormones are and if they're exhausted or out of balance. You can then take safer kinds of hormones and hormone precursors, natural supplements and a different diet to balance those levels. Keep more hair on your head and less on your brush.
I treat patients from all over the United States so if you have any questions, contact me @ www.drmichaelmadden.net