At Living Wellness Medical Center, we, as naturopathic doctors, specialize in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. In this blog post, we answer some questions we often receive from patients concerning menopause symptoms and bioidentical hormones.
Question #1: Is difficulty losing weight a menopause symptom?
Dr. Brouwer: Very commonly, yes. It really is. At menopause, our ovaries stop producing hormones for us in the quantities that they used to. So, if a woman’s estrogen level was 150 before menopause, it can drop as low as 5. With that dramatic reduction in hormones, it impacts not only ovarian hormones, but it drags down our thyroid hormone, which resets our metabolic burn rate at a lower level. This affects how easily we can lose weight. And when all these hormones go out of whack and shift around, weight gain is a common result.
Dr. Turner: I heard a fascinating statistic. A woman, having her period, burns almost 300 calories a day just having a cycle. So, to complicate the issue is when she gets to menopause, and she stops ovulating. She’s now got these extra calories that are not getting burned.
Question #2: What do you think of bioidentical hormones
Dr. Brouwer: That is a topic near and dear to my heart because I’ve done extensive education, since medical school, learning about hormones and bioidentical hormone replacement. It’s a very complex subject, and many doctors don’t take the time to study all the literature that’s out there to know about bioidentical hormone replacements. So, there are still many myths and fallacies that are spread around about a lack of safety using bioidentical hormones.
But did you know that women who use hormone replacement therapy have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who don’t? We preserve a function of our breast tissue and keep it working right, and it is less likely to grow those cancerous cells.
It’s very safe. I personally think, as a naturopathic doctor, that our bodies are designed to work with hormones, and they don’t function well once those hormones are gone. So, replacing them is the best preventive medicine that I know of.
Question #3: Do you go over all of the different hormones and routes of administration with your patients?
Dr. Brouwer: I definitely do. We spend a lot of time at the initial visits talking about hormones and what they do. Then, once we’re going to start a therapy, we talk about all the different ways to administer it. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of administration, so we need to know the patient’s tolerances and their health history to know which one is just right for them. It’s complex, but it’s a mystery that I love solving.
Want to Navigate Menopause with Ease? Watch Our Free Webinar Replay
Question #4: At what age should a woman start getting bioidentical hormones?
Dr. Brouwer: At the age that she starts becoming deficient, so there’s no set time. Early menopause is actually before age 40. So, any time from 40 on your hormones will be shifting and changing and heading toward that menopausal drop-off. I have some women that are even younger, in their 30s or 20s, if they’re using hormonal birth control, that’s throwing their hormones off so dramatically that I want to start some type of replacement or balancing program, even then. But as far as strictly menopausal bioidentical hormone replacement, I would say start checking around age 40 or any time your periods start to go off, and they begin to change. That’s an indication that it’s around the corner.
Are you curious about what some of your symptoms are and what our approach to might be to solving those symptoms for you? Call 480-588-6856 to schedule a FREE brief meet and greet with one of our naturopathic doctors.