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  1. 1. Women’s Health Issues Menopause
  2. 2. Today’s presentation will target three aspects of the natural biological change we all know as Menopause <ul><li>The ‘Biological Breakdown’ of what’s occurring inside the body; </li></ul><ul><li>Common treatments to combat the symptoms commonly associated with menopause; and </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘Natural’ answer to our prayers. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Section 1: </li></ul><ul><li>The Biological Breakdown: What Is Menopause? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Menopause: The Biological Breakdown <ul><li>Menopause is a naturally occurring phase that takes place in every women’s life. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the point in which a woman experiences her last menstrual period, marking the end of a women’s reproductive ‘fertile’ years. </li></ul><ul><li>The general age for a women to enter this stage of her life is between the ages of 45 and 55. </li></ul><ul><li>Symptoms that accompany this phase change can commence gradually over a 2-6 year period before your menstrual period actually ceases. This period of fluctuating symptoms is called PERIMENOPAUSE. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Menopause: The Biological Breakdown <ul><li>As the production of estrogen (from the ovaries) slows down, hormone levels change. </li></ul><ul><li>The following are regular abnormalities that may accompany your menstrual period as Perimenopause begins: </li></ul><ul><li>Longer, shorter or irregular periods. </li></ul><ul><li>Lighter Bleeding. </li></ul><ul><li>Unpredictable and heavy bleeding. </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually, the hormone levels will decrease so that menstruation ceases completely. This is the point in which menopause is reached. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Menopause: The Biological Breakdown <ul><li>Here is a list of several common symptoms experiences during the perimenopause stage while your bodies hormone levels are adjusting. </li></ul><ul><li>Hot flashes </li></ul><ul><li>Night sweats </li></ul><ul><li>Aches and pains </li></ul><ul><li>Crawling or Itching under the skin </li></ul><ul><li>Headaches </li></ul><ul><li>Vaginal dryness </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced sex drive </li></ul><ul><li>Urinary Frequency </li></ul><ul><li>Tiredness </li></ul><ul><li>Irritability </li></ul><ul><li>Depression </li></ul><ul><li>Sleeping difficulty </li></ul><ul><li>Lowered self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Forgetfulness </li></ul>
  7. 7. Does Every Women Experience This In The Same Way? <ul><li>NO!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Some women have severe symptoms, while others have none. 20% reportedly have no symptoms. </li></ul><ul><li>Some women have early onset menopause. This can be caused by one of three ways: </li></ul><ul><li>Naturally, when the ovaries stop working. </li></ul><ul><li>Surgically, when a women has her ovaries removed. </li></ul><ul><li>Chemically, from chemotherapy/radiotherapy for cancer. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>“ OK! I know that my body is beginning to show signs that menopause is on the horizon… now what do I do?” </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Section 2: </li></ul><ul><li>Competing Treatments for Menopausal Symptoms </li></ul>
  10. 10. Menopause: Treatments <ul><li>There are two very exponentially different ways in which women can choose to combat their menopausal symptoms: </li></ul><ul><li>To adhere to a regimen of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT); or </li></ul><ul><li>To choose a natural approach that factors in the betterment of an individual’s quality of life and respect for her body. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Treatment: HRT <ul><li>This treatment, whose name has recently been amended to read, “Menopausal Hormone Therapy”, is essentially the administration of estrogen and/or progestin to a women’s body. </li></ul><ul><li>This estrogen is a welcome contributor to the reduction of hot flashes, night sweats and the onset of osteoporosis (an age related illness in which the bones become brittle and can break more easily). </li></ul><ul><li>NOTE: Osteoporosis is an illness that increases with age in both men and women, and there are lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce the likelihood of the onset of osteoporosis. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Treatment: HRT <ul><li>There are undoubtedly some minor benefits of this hormone replacement therapy, but it is vital to point out the side effects as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher's have found serious side effects and safety concerns amongst patrons who have adhered to this treatment of estrogen and progestin. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased Risks for: </li></ul><ul><li>Heart Disease </li></ul><ul><li>Breast Cancer </li></ul><ul><li>Stroke </li></ul><ul><li>Blood Clots </li></ul>
  13. 13. Treatment: HRT <ul><li>Some people are very concerned with the safety of prescribing to this regimen, and with good reason. </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners are suggesting that it be used in the lowest dosage possible and for the shortest duration. </li></ul><ul><li>With this said, there really is no agreed ‘lowest dosage’ to achieve the same results. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>First and foremost, it is necessary to stress the importance of how a women can help herself. </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy Eating </li></ul><ul><li>a. Eat plenty of fresh vegetable, fruits and grains. </li></ul><ul><li>b. Drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day. </li></ul><ul><li>c. Decrease the intake of caffeinated beverages. </li></ul><ul><li>d. Limit alcohol intake. </li></ul><ul><li>e. Eat high calcium, low fat dairy foods. </li></ul><ul><li>f. Include lean mean, fish and chicken in your diet. </li></ul><ul><li>g. Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) replace some natural estrogens lost during menopause, and may reduce symptoms, cholesterol and blood pressure. Good sources include soy, soy beans, tofu, whole grains and legumes. </li></ul><ul><li>*** It is important that the foods listed above, are consumed in their organic forms. This is because a lot of the phytoestrogens are stripped during processing. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>2. Regular Physical Activity – Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Avoid Smoking </li></ul><ul><li>4. Look After Your Emotional Health – Menopause may induce mood swings and irritability, as well as mild depression. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Have Regular Pap Tests and Breast Checks </li></ul>
  16. 16. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>In an attempt to avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy, naturopathic Physicians have suggested several lifestyle changes that could help combat some symptoms. </li></ul><ul><li>Hot Flashes can be managed by perhaps dressing in layers, carrying a fan and keeping your environment cooler. Also, since some food trigger these flashes, women can avoid spicy foods, hot beverages, alcohol, chocolate and caffeine. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>2. Vaginal/Genital Dryness can be managed by using water soluble lubricants during sex, as well as daily for added comfort. Embark on regular sexual activity (remember to be safe and responsible!) to encourage lubrication and promote healthier vaginal tissues. Avoiding hot tubs and saunas are wise, because these environments dry the vaginal tissues. </li></ul><ul><li>3. To Help Prevent Urinary Incontinence, do regular Kegel exercises. These are repeated contraction and relaxation of the muscles that cause urine flow. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>What About Herbs? </li></ul><ul><li>Some herbs have proven helpful in areas such as hot flashes, poor memory concentration, vaginal dryness, and irregular bleeding. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for herbs that have been standardized (every tablet you take has the same % of the active ingredient). </li></ul><ul><li>Start with one herb at a time, and monitor the effects that it has on your body, before you introduce other herbs. </li></ul><ul><li>A qualified naturopathic practitioner will be able to assist you in the various types of herbs that are available to you. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>What Are Some Of The Herbs? </li></ul><ul><li>Black Cohosh ~ This herb has received the most significant amount of testing on menopausal symptom relief. There are mixed reviews about this herb. It was once thought to mimic the presence of estrogen in the body, however studies have since proven the contrary. The most common menopausal symptom that was correlated with this herb was hot flashes. </li></ul><ul><li>Red Clover ~ This herb is often recommended for hot flashes as well, however panels of clinical trials have indicated that it might carry it’s own weight in side effects. The most troubling, being the damage done to hormone-sensitive tissues. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>Ginseng ~ This herb has hailed positive correlations between it’s administration and a reduction in mood symptoms and sleep disturbances. It also attributes to one’s overall sense of well being. </li></ul><ul><li>Kava ~ This herb has proven to decrease anxiety, but has no correlated effect on decreasing the severity or frequency of hot flashes. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Treatment: Naturopathic Regimens <ul><li>Natural Progesterone </li></ul><ul><li>In 1939, Russel E. Marker converted Disogenin from the ‘wild yam’ into Progesterone. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a fat soluble compound, and when taken orally it is largely effective at reducing menopausal symptoms, due mostly to the fact that it is flushed out of the body via the liver. </li></ul><ul><li>It has yielded the best results when the compound is absorbed directly through the skin. </li></ul><ul><li>Important to consider, on a molecular level, it is identical to the hormone found in a women’s body: Progesterone. </li></ul>
  22. 22. What is Progesterone? <ul><li>In the body, it is made by the corpus luteum in the ovaries, just before ovulation. It’s production increases rapidly after ovulation. It is also made in the adrenal glands. </li></ul><ul><li>Nescessary to prevent miscarriage because it sustains the fertilized ovum. </li></ul><ul><li>Progesterone also helps to produce other sex hormones including estrogens, but it also produces corticosteroids. These are essentail for stress response, sugar and electrolyte balance and blood pressure. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Intrinsic Effects of Progesterone <ul><li>Mild diuretic </li></ul><ul><li>Helps use fat for energy </li></ul><ul><li>Natural anti-depressant </li></ul><ul><li>Regulates Thyroid activity </li></ul><ul><li>Normalizes blood clotting </li></ul><ul><li>Helps normalize blood sugar </li></ul><ul><li>Normalizes zinc and copper levels </li></ul><ul><li>Maintains proper cell oxygen levels </li></ul><ul><li>Protects against breast cysts and cancer </li></ul><ul><li>Protects against endometrial cancer </li></ul><ul><li>Moisturizes the skin when used topically </li></ul><ul><li>Counteracts estrogen side effects </li></ul><ul><li>Restores Sex Drive </li></ul><ul><li>Builds bone and is protective against Osteoporosis </li></ul>
  24. 24. How Can Women Access Progesterone Today? <ul><li>Types Of Supplements </li></ul><ul><li>Transdermal (Creams and Oils) </li></ul><ul><li>Absorbed through the skin </li></ul><ul><li>Quickest distribution within the body </li></ul><ul><li>Great skin moisturizer </li></ul><ul><li>Can be applied anywhere on the body </li></ul><ul><li>Best absorption rate on thinner skin such as on the face or the inner thighs </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>2. Subingual / Buccal Drops or Oil </li></ul><ul><li>Absorbed through the ultra thin skin in the mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Drops are combined with Vitamin E Oil, and should be held in the mouth for a few minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Works quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Levels tend to fall between 3 – 4 hours, due to quick metabolizing, and excretion & absorbtion by fat. Thus, they need to be taken 4 times daily. </li></ul><ul><li>The oil can also be applied to the skin </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Capsules </li></ul><ul><li>Taken orally </li></ul><ul><li>These need to be administered in very large doses (100 – 200 milligrams) to compinsate for the 80-90% that will be excreted right away through the liver </li></ul><ul><li>Some women complain of ‘fatigue’ as a side effect with this form of ingestion. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Final Thoughts on Treatment <ul><li>Regardless of which method you choose, there are important things to take into consideration when choosing the treatment that works best for you. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to choose a health practitioner that you share a mutual respect with, have an air of clear communication and shared responsibility in the efforts being made for your well being. </li></ul><ul><li>Some important qualities to look for in a practitioner are their area of expertise, their accessibility for appointments, their ability to listen and empathize, and their willingness to involve you in the decision making process around your health care. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>Section 3 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nature Has A Great Wisdom That Humans Haven’t Been Able To Create Synthetically” </li></ul>
  29. 29. Why can’t my doctor prescribe progesterone to me? <ul><li>Progesterone isn’t prescribed by physicians or endorsed by pharmaceutical companies because it can’t be patented. There has been little research and it is difficult to get. </li></ul><ul><li>Pharmaceutical Companies have produced a synthetic version of progesterone, called progestin . </li></ul><ul><li>The problem that arises with this chemical manipulation is that when the “active ingredient’ is separated from the plant, side effects are created in the synthetic product. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Is Pharmaceutical Grade Progestin, as effective? <ul><li>Progestin comes with a plethora of warnings and side effects. Some of these include; </li></ul><ul><li>May Contribute to thrombohplebitis, pulmonary embolism or cerebral thrombosis. </li></ul><ul><li>Liver dysfunction, malignancy of breasts or genital organs and undiagnosed vaginal bleeding are other warning signs. </li></ul><ul><li>May cause fluid retention, epilepsy, migraine, asmatha and cardiac/renal dysfunction. </li></ul><ul><li>May cause or contribute to depression. </li></ul><ul><li>May decrease glucose tolerance; diabetic patients need careful monitoring. </li></ul><ul><li>Acne, Alopecia, cervical erosions, cholestatic jaundice, loss of teeth, nausea and insomnia are other adverse reactions. </li></ul><ul><li>*** Natural Progesterone has NO SIDE EFFECTS </li></ul>
  31. 31. Menopause Becomes A Disease… <ul><li>Dr. Robert Wilson (Concoctor of the 1 st Estrogen Replacement Therapy pill) created Premarin. He received money from the pharmaceutical industry to push estrogen to keep menopausal women ‘young’ and ‘feminine’. </li></ul><ul><li>He described menopausal women as dried up, cranky, sexless old hags and wanted them to use his magic pill. </li></ul><ul><li>This led to many magazines and newspapers covering menopausal symptoms as a curse that society needed to be relieved from. </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Truth <ul><li>Estrogen has been poorly researched, and it’s approval was based on a poorly conducted study of a small population of Puerto Rican woman, who took birth control pills. When estrogen was removed from these pills, they didn’t work as well. So synthetic was added. </li></ul><ul><li>20% had side effects, but it was dismissed as neurotic. </li></ul><ul><li>3 women died, but were not autopsied. </li></ul><ul><li>Side effects of estrogen were suppressed for the “greater good”. </li></ul><ul><li>This was now promoted as the “cure” for physical and psychological problems of menopause. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Obviously, Estrogen couldn’t be the sole ‘cure’ for very long, with the wealth of side effects it carried with it. </li></ul><ul><li>Progestin was combined with estrogen, and a treatment called “Hormone Replacement Therapy” {Recall from before} was born. </li></ul><ul><li>This course of treatment was reported as being able to prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. It has been since proven that is does not prevent Osteoporosis or Heart Disease. </li></ul>
  34. 34. HRT, Progesterone and Osteoporosis <ul><li>Hormone Replacement Therapy and it’s method of replenishing the body with Estrogen and Progestin, has been linked with preventing Osteoporosis. </li></ul><ul><li>Osteoporosis is a disease of EXCESS calcium loss. Basically, calcium losses are occurring faster than they are being added. </li></ul><ul><li>Osteoporosis is also an estrogen deficiency disease…INCORRECT. This is a fabrication of the pharmaceutical community with no supportive evidence. The damage done to calcium levels in the female body begins long before menopause induced estrogen loss. </li></ul>
  35. 35. HRT, Progesterone and Osteoporosis <ul><li>Osteoporosis begins in mid-30’s, where as estrogen levels are still high at this time period. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of bone mass is more a factor of lack of progesterone, which causes a decrease in new bone formation. </li></ul><ul><li>Adding progesterone actively increases bone mass and density, and can help to reverse osteoporosis. </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention is the best way to combat Osteoporosis. Through diet, weight bearing exercise, minerals and vitamin supplements such as zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. </li></ul><ul><li>(Notice the similarities between the ways to prevent Osteoporosis and the natural ways to combat Menopausal symptoms? It’s no coincidence. Healthy living is PARMOUNT. ) </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>Biomedical View: Menopause is an estrogen deficiency disease, and it must be treated with estrogen . </li></ul><ul><li>The truth is that menopause is a natural experience that occurs in EVERY women’s body. How can it be a disease, if every single female goes through it? </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>Most doctors try to push HRT on all menopausal women. </li></ul><ul><li>It hasn’t been proven that decrease in estrogen actually causes any or all of the perceived symptoms of menopause. </li></ul><ul><li>Furthermore, NO STUDY HAS EVER BEEN CONDUCTED (Up to and including 1996). </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, prescribing HRT is premature to our medical industries knowledge. It is a backward science. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s like calling a headache an ‘aspirin deficiency disease’” </li></ul>
  38. 38. We’ve Given You The Facts, Now What Will You Do? <ul><li>A proactive step would be to select a Naturopathic physician. </li></ul><ul><li>These individuals specialize in natural medicines. </li></ul><ul><li>They may prescribe changes to lifestyle, diet, and use of vitamins, herbs or homeopathic suggestions for symptom relief and disease prevention. </li></ul><ul><li>The best evidence that we encountered is that every women’s menopausal experience was unique, and relied on several external and internal situations. By knowing your body during this life change, and staying connected with it, Menopause can be a beautiful rite of passage that marks your entrance to another stage of your life. </li></ul>
  39. 39. References <ul><li>1. Lee, John R, M,D “ What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause – The Breakthrough Book On Natural Progesterone ” Warner Books, New York, NY. 1996. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Hudson, Tori M.D “ Perimenopause Naturally: An Integrative Medicine Approach ” June 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>3. Allina, Amy and Fugh-Berman, Adriane “ Natural Hormones – Are They A Safe Alternative? ” January 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>4. “Menopause Without Hormone Therapy: What Are The Alternatives?” July 1, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>5. “Hardy, Sarah “Making Informed Decisions” December 09, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>6. “Bio-Identical Hormones” March 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>7. “Do CAM therapies Help Menopausal Symptoms?” National Center For Complementary And Alternative Medicine. November 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>8. “Understanding Menopause” December 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>9. Alternatives To Hormone Therapy June 2006 </li></ul>