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Apr 12

Debunking Common Myths About Menopause

Menopause is a natural process that affects practically all women at some point in their lives.

Though menopause is a very common occurrence, not every woman will experience the same symptoms in the same way. Because of these differences, there are a variety of myths and misunderstandings about menopause that persist.

Today we’re debunking some of the most common myths surrounding menopause. Five of these menopause myths include:

1. Menopause is just a phase.

Even the definition of menopause is often misunderstood.

Technically, menopause is the point at which a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. Up until that point, she is pre-menopausal, after that point she is post-menopausal. Once a woman is menopausal, she will remain menopausal for the remainder of her life.

The average U.S. woman is 51-years-old when she officially becomes menopausal, and remains menopausal for 30 years. So is this just a phase? I don't think so - it is a significant portion of a woman's life!

A recent study showed that menopausal symptoms lasted an average of 7-12 years. Even the duration of symptoms doesn't meet my idea of "just a phase!"

2. If your mom was miserable after menopause, you will be too.

While it is true that women tend to have the same onset of menopause as their mothers, lifestyle plays a significant role in menopausal symptoms. There is much you can do nutritionally before menopause strikes to help minimize symptoms.

Phytonutrients, phytonutrients, phytonutrients! This means vegetables, and lot of them.  It is especially helpful to eat dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, chard, and broccoli.  Low intensity exercise, such as walking or yoga, can also be helpful to minimize hot flashes and night sweats.

We also have better treatment options with bio-identical hormones than your mother had. There's no reason to suffer through menopause just because your mother did. Research your options. And we really hope that bio-identical hormones (and our practice in particular) is your choice for menopausal treatment!

3. The earlier you start your periods, the earlier you’ll hit menopause.

The average age of menarche (the onset of menstrual periods) in the U.S. is currently 12.4 years old. In women born prior to 1920, the average age of menarche was 13.3 years old.

Yet the average age of onset of menopause in the U.S. has been 51 years old for decades. So there is no correlation between how old you were when you start your period and the age you will be when you start menopause.

The only somewhat accurate indicator? Genetics!

Women tend to go through menopause around the same age that their mothers did. However, that isn't very accurate either...

4. Blood tests are the gold standard to test hormone levels.

Hormones that are produced in a gland are released into the bloodstream. Hormones that are NOT produced in a gland (produced in fat, converted from other hormones, etc.) are NOT released into the bloodstream; these hormones are released directly into the tissues of the body. Therefore, a blood test shows the hormones that the ovaries (or other glands) are currently making.

After menopause, what are the ovaries producing? Little to nothing. This is exactly why we use saliva tests to look at hormone levels. Only 35-50% of a women's estrogen is made by the ovaries, leaving 50-65% of estrogen coming from elsewhere in the body.

To determine hormone imbalance, and if we've achieved the correct re-balancing of hormones, we need to know how much hormone is in a woman's tissues, so saliva testing is the best method to determine this.

5. Hormone replacement is dangerous.

When hormones are employed, starting with progesterone-only therapy can be a gentle and often effective treatment, although there are many cases when estrogen is of absolute benefit.

Unfortunately, the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) findings of increased incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer have caused many women to falsely believe that they must choose between the risk of heart attack or cancer and living with symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irritability, and more.

The WHI study was done using oral conjugated equine estrogen and medroxyprogesterone acetate, which is not the same thing as bio-identical progesterone. The general public, led by the medical community at large, does not typically differentiate between these hormones (conventional HRT) and therapies that employ bio-identical hormones (BHRT) such as estradiol and progesterone.

When hormones are given in physiologic doses, and in correct ratios, the risk profile is profoundly different. Knowledge is power and accurate expectations about menopause and the real risks and benefits of the many treatment options available will have profound impact not only on individual women, but may help to correct the spread of misinformation.

Do you have a hormonal imbalance? We can help.

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your symptoms.

In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness. We can then correct these imbalances using bio-identical hormones, nutrition, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Apr 05

It's our Birthday

Happy Birthday to Abundant Life Health Care!

 

 


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Mar 07

Is Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy Safe?

When considering treatment for the relief of menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms, women understandably seek out solutions that are safe and effective.

Often called natural or human-identical hormones, bio-identical hormones provide women undergoing the changes of menopause with safe and effective relief from their symptoms.

Bio-identical hormones are identical in molecular make-up, shape, and structure to the hormones that are naturally created in the human body. Alternative hormone therapy medications like Premarin and Provera use chemically-altered or synthetic hormones that do not match the hormones found naturally in the human body.

On the other hand, since bio-identical hormones are chemically identical they are also inherently compatible. This allows them to be easily absorbed and utilized by the human body.

What Is The Process?

Your clinician will work with you to identify your specific hormonal needs and develop a treatment plan. The process goes like this:

  1. Your hormones are measured via a saliva test so that your clinician can identify any hormonal deficiencies.
  2. Next you’re prescribed a specially formulated compound of bio-identical hormones to restore balance within your body and relieve menopausal symptoms.
  3. Your prescription is filled at a local compounding pharmacy that is convenient for you, whether you live in Boise, Nampa, Twin Falls, or other areas.
  4. Hormonal levels are monitored through periodic testing. This information helps your clinician revise the prescription as necessary.

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your test results or your symptoms. In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness.

The most effective way to diagnose hormone imbalances is through saliva testing. This gives us the most accurate snapshot of the “active” hormone levels currently in your body. Based on the plan developed between patient and provider, these test results will assist our provider in prescribing the appropriate treatment and ideal dosage using bio-identical hormones.

Abundant Life Health Care works with many local compounding pharmacy right here in Boise.  We also work with compounding pharmacies throughout the Treasure Valley and beyond. Our providers prescribe individualized doses of bio-identical hormones to correct any underlying hormonal imbalances and these individualized treatments are made specifically for that patient by the compounding pharmacy. These treatments often include creams, triturates, troches, and capsules.

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Feb 15

Should You Try Bio-Identical Hormones for Menopause Treatment?

It’s a common belief that hormone replacement therapy should be the go-to solution for women suffering from the estrogen deficiency associated with menopause. Many women understandably begin to research natural and safe methods to alleviate their symptoms. 

While hormone replacement therapy can make a world of difference for many patients, not all hormone sources are created equal. That’s why we frequently recommend bio-identical hormones for their safety and effectiveness.

What is Different About Bio-Identical Hormones?

Often called natural or human-identical hormones, bio-identical hormones can provide safe and effective relief from menopausal symptoms. Bio-identical hormones are identical in molecular make-up, shape, and structure to the hormones that are naturally made in the human body. This is why bio-identical hormones are effective; their compatibility with the human body allows them to be safely absorbed and effectively utilized.

This stands in contrast to hormones like Premarin and Prempro, which are made from conjugated mare urine. While each of these contains natural hormones from horses, ultimately they are not bio-identical to humans. Any typical HRT drug like Provera and the combination drug Prempro, that list ingredients such as progestogens, progestins, or esterified estrogens are also not bio-identical.  The names may sound similar, but their molecular structure is very different.

Compatibility is important because the cells in our body respond to a specific hormone structure. When hormones that aren’t bio-identical are used, some patients may experience a variety of side effects ranging from minor to serious. Bio-identical hormones are exactly the structure of human hormones, and this is why they work effectively without the accompanying range of side effects.

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

The most effective way to diagnose hormone imbalances is through saliva testing. This gives us the most accurate snapshot of the “active” hormone levels currently in your body. Based on the plan developed between patient and provider, these test results will assist our provider in prescribing the appropriate treatment using bio-identical hormones.

Abundant Life Health Care works with a local compounding pharmacy right here in Boise. Our providers prescribe individualized doses of bio-identical hormones to correct any underlying hormonal imbalances and these individualized treatments are made specifically for that patient by the compounding pharmacy. These treatments often include creams, triturates, troches, and capsules.

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your test results or your symptoms. In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness. 

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Jan 29

Hair Loss in Menopause: Why It Happens, What You Can Do

When women undergo the hormonal changes of menopause, everyone expects the common side effects of mood swings, sleep loss, and especially hot flashes. It can be surprising to discover that for some women, hair thinning can occur during and after menopause.

When women’s hormone levels decline naturally over time, the protective effects of female hormones can also decline. Depending on your genetic risk and sensitivity, androgens can progressively weaken your hair follicles and cause some form of hair loss. 

There are other contributing factors to menopausal hair loss and it is important to identify and treat the root of the problem, rather than symptoms alone.

Menopausal Hair Loss Contributing Factors

While declining hormone levels may be the most obvious culprit, there may be other factors in play. These can include the following:

  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Certain autoimmune disorders
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Unmitigated stress
  • Genetic predisposition

It’s understandable why preventing hair loss is important. For many women, hair is an important part of identity, confidence, and self-esteem. When loss of hair impacts your self-esteem, it can certainly have psychological effects like depression, anxiety, or social withdrawal. 

There can be a financial cost, too. Many women spend hundreds of dollars (or more) trying various shampoos, scalp treatments, and supplements which claim to stop and reverse hair loss.

No matter what is causing your hair loss, there are options and solutions available to you. Abundant Life Health Care will work with you to identify any hormonal changes or to determine if there are other underlying causes for your hair loss and help you regain your confidence.

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

When suffering hair loss, it’s important to identify the root of the problem rather than simply treating symptoms. While hormone replacement therapy can relieve symptoms of menopausal hair loss, we have found great success at correcting hormonal imbalances using bio-identical hormones, nutrition, dietary supplements, and positive lifestyle changes. 

Self-care is always important and can help you manage your stress as you find solutions to your hair loss. It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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