Camille Lawson RN, BA, MEd (specializing in Hormones, Nutrition, Sexuality & Relationships)
As we enter into perimenopause our hormones fluctuate and eventually decline with menopause and as you can see from the lists in Part One of the possible symptoms with low hormone levels, getting our hormones balanced can really assist us in feeling like ourselves once again! There are a few options available to those who chose to treat low hormone levels. I do NOT ever recommend using synthetic hormones (HRT) such as Premarin and Provera, however, I DO recommend both natural supplements and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement (BHRT).
I personally use and recommend the femMED line of natural, quality supplements. In particular, many of my clients find Breast Health, Hormonal Balance and Menopause Relief have really improved the quality of their lives and helped balance their hormones while reducing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
I also use and recommend BHRT for those who would like to restore their hormone levels, naturally, working collaboratively with an Integrative Physician.
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy
- Definition: Exact replica of the hormones made in our bodies, molecularly “natural” hormones.
- No toxification of the liver and no adverse side effects if the doses are correct
- Suzanne Somers popularized them in her book, “The Sexy Years”; they were not used much in North America because of our reliance on pharmaceuticals
- All Bioidentical hormones originate from either soy or diosgenin (wild yam) plant sterols that are put through steps in a lab to become a hormone that is identical to the hormones manufactured by the body
- Compounding pharmacies are key to correct formulation after a thorough hormone panel is done
- Expect and insist on a collaborative relationship with your health provider!!! It is YOUR body. Be Your Own Advocate
- Be patient: it will take time to determine the exact right doses for YOU
- The goal is OPTIMUM health and vitality- nutrition, supplements, and exercise play important roles
Guest author: Camille Lawson RN, BA, MEd (specializing in Hormones, Nutrition, Sexuality & Relationships)
There is SO much for us to learn about our hormones! This is part one in a brief overview about their importance in our daily lives, how to keep them balanced and at the same time improve our sexual lives. Stayed tuned for parts 2 and 3.
There are over 50 known hormones in our body and they regulate cell function, influence cellular activity and are chemical messengers. They do this best when they are “balanced”. When hormones are NOT balanced, things happen in small or BIG ways. Imbalances occur due to internal and external factors.
- Made in ovaries, adrenal glands and some fat cells
- 3 types: Estrone, Estradiol, Estriol
- Formation of female secondary characteristics, stimulates endometrial growth
- Maintains skin and blood vessels, increases bone formation, involved with protein synthesis, coagulation, lipid (fats) function, sodium and water balance and gastrointestinal function
- Link between increased Cortisol levels (stress hormone) and increased fat cells which increases levels of Estrogens (can cause Estrogen Dominance)
Low Estrogen may cause: Any of these sound familiar?
- Brain fog
- Painful intercourse
- Recurring urinary tract infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal dryness
- Thinning of vaginal wall
- Low Libido
Progesterone…is a very critical hormone, often underestimated in importance!
- Produced mostly by the ovaries and adrenal glands
- Regulates menstrual cycle and maintains a pregnancy
- Assists in thyroid function, bone building, relaxes smooth muscle, anti- inflammatory, regulates immune response, reduces gallbladder activity, normalizes blood clotting, zinc and copper levels use of fat stores for energy, helps promote quality sleep!
- Regulates effects of estrogen
Low progesterone may cause:
- Anxiety & Sleep problems
- Difficulty handling stress
- Elevated Cortisol levels
- Estrogen dominant conditions
- Heavy periods
- Low bone density
- Water retention
- Abdominal weight gain
- Makes testosterone and estrogen
- Peaks in our late 20’s then decreases steadily
- Increased Cortisol levels (stress)cause a decrease in DHEA
- Considered to be anti- aging in some studies
- Essential to sex drive, maintains muscle, bones, skin, and the heart in women
- Produced mainly in the ovaries and much of it is converted to estradiol
- BCP decreases testosterone
Low testosterone/DHEA may cause: Yikes – check out this list!
- High Cortisol
- Loss of strength, stamina
- Low or NO sex drive
- Memory decline
- Muscle wasting and weakness
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
In my next post, I will discuss bio-identical hormone therapy and the role it can play during perimenopause and menopause.
Hello and welcome to this new and exciting FemMed blog on Libido and Sexual Health. In the upcoming months we will explore many many topics related to sex and sexuality, including sex drive, sexual arousal, stimulation, orgasm, sexual “hang ups” and concerns, sexual dysfunction, sexual communication….basically, everything you ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask!!! However, it is my hope that you won’t be afraid to ask questions in this blog. For far too long women’s sexuality has been a “taboo” subject. Many women have been afraid to speak out to their partners, friends and family, and maybe even their health care professionals about their sexual concerns– They wonder silently to themselves “am I normal…Is it just me…Do other women feel the same way as I do?” Let’s break this silence. My experience in working with clients has taught me that no matter what kind of sexual concern or question you have, you are definitely NOT alone. In this blog, I invite you to ask questions (no matter how wacky or off-the-wall they may seem to you) and share your experiences. Inquiring female minds want to know! Now let’s get started: Ladies, start your engines!!!