"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Website for Menopausal Women!

Hi everyone, I just received notice that there is a new forum for women to discuss and share menopausal issues ---it's over at Menopausal Chit Chat ---- I signed up and have already shared some of my favourite books on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Check it out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Helping Your Husband Understand Perimenopause

Since I am single, this is one issue I did not have to deal with, but so many women who write to me tell me that their husbands are less than sympathetic with their menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes. This morning I ran across this article from Xomba.com----it has some "ways" to make your husband more empathetic to your hot flashes.

'Gaps' found in lactose intolerance

From APP.com (article originally published in USA Today)----a brief article on lactose intolerance and how it can affect bone health. Click here to read the article-----

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Plan ahead when changing doctors

From Cleveland.com------some good tips on covering your bases when changing doctors (which a lot of us have had to do to get good hormonal care). Click here to read the article.

Changes During Menopause Increases Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Check out this article from ScienceDaily.com---nothing really new here, it's been believed for many years that estrogen protects women from heart disease when they are younger (premenopausal), so it stands to reason that as a woman ages and loses estrogen (not all women lose most of their estrogen----I'm a prime example as I am estrogen dominant) their chances of cardiovascular problems increase. Balancing your hormones (bioidentically, of course, and under the care of a practitioner who knows what he/she is doing) goes way beyond alleviating menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, fatigue, etc), hormones affect every system in the body.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Low Vitamin D Levels Raises Blood Pressure

From NaturalNews.com------one more possible side effect of adequate Vitamin D levels! I've been taking 5000 IUs for about 4 years now (and boy, this winter it has sure helped with holding off Seasonal Affective Disorder----in relative terms, we've had a rough winter in NC), and my blood pressure is fine (I used to take medication for it, but not anymore.)

Tiger Woods' Bizarre Behavior Could Be Linked to Hormonal Imbalance, Says SimplyAgeless411

It had to happen (I'm actually surprised this is the first time this has come up)----Tiger Wood's behaviour is now being attributed to a hormone imbalance. My only comment is if he gets his hormones bioidentically balanced and then speaks openly about it---well, let's just say we're going to suddenly have a lot more practitioners to choose from! Click here to read the article from PRNewswire.com.

Friday, February 19, 2010

All set for the day?

Adrenal fatigue is real (and I've got the blood work results to prove it)---and it affects a growing number of citizens of all nations. I'm guessing the incidence of adrenal fatigue has risen dramatically in these last two years with all that has gone on in the world. This article from TheHindu.com gives a brief overview of adrenal fatigue, and a few suggestions to help you reduce the level of stress in your life.

I have a couple suggestions to add:

Relaxation tapes/CD's, or in my case, I found some great relaxation programs to listen to on my IPod. I am using ones right now by Andrew Johnson (search it on ITunes), he has a very mild Scottish brogue, and it really helps me to settle down.
Make time in your day, even if it's just for a few minutes, to just sit quietly---do nothing---let your mind relax (this takes practice).

Learn (there are a number of resources on the Internet) to breathe deeply. Some doctors suggest it even helps reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. I know that when I take the time to really be conscious of my breath, it helps me to not tense my back muscles so much, thus relieving some of the fatigue in my back.

Get a hobby! I picked up my knitting again about five years ago, and my life has never been the same. It helps to relax me when I am stressed, my hands are busy and when I am knitting I don't eat (junk food), and I have even made new friends knitting----I'm in two knitting groups and it's a lot of fun to sit and talk and knit (some knitting groups even refer to themselves as Stitch 'N Bitch!). In the spring and fall, I also like to visit gardens and take pictures, which I then turn into notecards. Here's a few of the pictures I took about a month back at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Orchid Conservatory:

Doesn't just looking at those pictures make you feel a bit more relaxed? Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Study: Happiness Good for the Heart

This article is all over this morning --- I saw it in the Charlotte Observer. Click here to read...and then get out there and experience a little happiness today!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lab Tests That Can Tell You What’s Going On With Your Hormones

Talk about serendipity---I just had two people email me in the last two days about the saliva vs. blood testing. This article from MenopauseTheBlog.com has good information on the subject---click here to read the article.

Sleep yourself skinny: It's not only leaving us shattered and ill. Experts say too little shut-eye is making us fat

Lack of sleep as a contributing factor to obesity is not a new concept---it's been well known for years. I know in my own case (pre hormone balance) that I would get so upset and anxious about laying awake for hours that I would get up and eat (something unhealthy) just to comfort myself. this article from the DailyMailOnline.com has some good recommendations for sleep hygeine, as well as some information on the research. Sleep has been a struggle for me because of chronic pain issues (back pain from a bad car accident), but it sure has improved since I went on BHRT. A recent "find"-----I have an app for my IPhone that's a sleep meditation---by Andrew Johnson. He has this very mild Scottish brogue that I find very soothing. Best $2.99 I've spent this year.....drop me an email if you want more information about it. Make it a great day---the sun is out here in NC, but oh, it's still too cold----come on spring!

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Recommendation: Why You Need More Vitamin D

I'm a big fan of Dr. Andrew Weil, he has a common sense approach to medicine and he comes across as someone you can trust. I was pleased to see this article featured in TheHuffingtonPost.com --- Dr. Weil has increased his recommended daily dose of Vitamin D3 (which is not really a vitamin but a prohormone) to 2000 IU's daily, up from 1000 IU's daily. As always, talk to your doctor about this, and if needed get your levels checked (most insurances will pay for it, but check with your carrier). For the record, I have been taking 5000 IU's daily for about 4 years, I feel great, no side effects.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Is A Normal TSH Level ?

Oh, man, if I had a $1 for every time I have been asked this question ----- check out this article from HealBlog.net-----and for the record, my last TSH level was .155.......I'm a happy camper!

More Die of Heartbreak, More Often than You Might Think

This morning I'm including an article from True/Slant.com ------ on how emotions can affect our health. Carefully read the fourth paragraph on how heartbreak can cause a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. This can in turn lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

(sigh) It's a good thing I take Vitamin D3----

Because this is what I woke up to this morning (ok, I know, a lot of places have it way worse than this, but good grief, I live in NC!) Without a doubt the Vitamin D3 has helped me get through the winter sans problems with Seasonal Affective Disorder ---- this winter has not only been colder and snowier than most, but also gloomier. Usually even if it is cold here in the winter (average temp in January gets down to about 52) it's sunny---and that's fine with me, that's what sweaters are for! I'm in for the day----which isn't the end of the world, but I am really hoping to make my movie/lunch day tomorrow----two days in and I get a little nuts! I'll post a "real" post later today, but just wanted to tell everyone to stay safe and warm---and keep in mind that spring will be here in 35 days. Thank goodness.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Resveratrol and CoQ10 Supplements Are Popular—But Unproven

My usual caveat with this article from USNews.com ----- discuss with your healthcare practitioner what supplements are right for you and your particular health concerns. I take both Resveratrol and CoQ10 under a doctor's supervision.

Chocolate May Have Benefit Against Stroke

I had to share this article from MedPageToday.com ----- have a great Valentine's Day, everyone!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is your doctor a criminal?

From CNN.com ---- you have all heard me (ad nauseum) tell you how important it is to check out any new doctor --- check his/her board certification status by going to ABMS.ORG (American Board of Medical Specialties) and also checking out his or her status with his state medical board. This article added an important layer to add to your search, it states that you can go to the Federation of State Medical Board site, pay a $9.95 fee, and check out to see if your doctor is in trouble in ANY state, not just the state where he/she is currently practicing. A few doctors lose their license in one state, but move to another state where they may have a license and continue to practice. Scary, isn't it? I'm not trying to scare you unnecessarily ----- most doctors are really good people, but particularly with a new medical protocol like bioidentical hormones, sadly there are a few practitioners out there who are taking advantage of vulnerable women. Be aware.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big Ow awareness campaign

Oh, my God, the title of this article made me laugh----but it also got my attention and so it accomplished its goal! Canada is launching The Big Ow campaign----the big "OW" being vaginal atrophy. As a woman ages and her estrogen levels decrease, vaginal dryness and atrophy become relatively common. It saddens me that so many women feel they cannot talk to their doctor about it (I'm really lucky, I can talk to my doctor about ANYTHING)---but I know from my email correspondence that many women would sooner suffer than discuss the problem or treatment options with their healthcare provider. I use a little estriol cream intravaginally, and it works great. Estriol is the weakest of the three forms of estrogen, so it's safe to use --- in fact, I am so estrogen dominant it's the only form of estrogen I need.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Estrogen-Only HRT May Increase Risk Of Asthma After Menopause

From RedOrbit.com ----- the important piece of information to take away from this article is that the increase in asthma risk is for those women taking estrogen alone ----- it is absolutely critical that you have a balance of estrogen and progesterone. As always, talk this over with your doctor/healthcare provider.

Do You Have a Good Enough Reason to Exercise?

This article from Aripot.com popped up on my newsfeed just after I got home from the gym this morning----when I read it, I realized how true it is for many people. I exercise not only because I know it is important to my health overall, but because if I do not exercise, I will not be able to stay independent and mobile (I was in a severe car crash in 1992 and have had 15 surgeries to get put back together). Read the article and ask yourself ---- what reasons do you have to exercise (or not exercise)?

Could a Man's Midlife Crisis be Hormones?

Yes, it could! I haven't posted an article lately on andropause (male menopause), but it's an important subject, and a real health concern for men. My own doctor (in his late 40's) takes bioidentical hormone replacement, so I know he takes andropause seriously. Check out this article from Artipot.com by clicking here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How To Eliminate Migraines And Headaches In Less Than A Week

I've featured articles by Dr. Mark Hyman before (he writes for the HuffingtonPost.com), and today's article has some great information about relieving headaches.....something that I know from reading email from my blog readers is a big problem for a lot of women. I sure wish I knew back in the day what I know now about hormonal balance. I used to have absolutely terrible headaches the first couple days of my period----I used to buy Excedrin Extra Strength in huge bottles at BJ's or Sam's Club. Even after I had my hysterectomy in 2002, I still had bad headaches off and on, but since I went on progesterone cream ----- no more headaches!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sex over 40 - and beyond

From AllAboutYou.com---some good information about how to integrate the peri/menopausal body and mood changes into your sex life. Good timing --- Valentine's Day IS coming up (wink)!

Menopause Is the Ultimate Sleep Challenge

Oh, man, no kidding! I literally would sleep less than three hours a night (and that was WITH Ambien) back before I went on BHRT. It drove me crazy, and I know I am not alone. The hormone therapy really helped with the sleep issues, and I also now take 10 mg melatonin at night. As always, check with your doctor first before you start something new, even a supplement can interfer with medications/hormones, so it's best to be safe. Check out this article from the HuffingtonPost.com ---- have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Heart palpitations and menopause

In honour of Wear Red For Women's Heart Health day----an article from BellaOnline.com on heart palpitations and menopause, and how to distinguish them from a more serious heart problem (and always, it's better to be safe than sorry, if you suspect something is wrong or you just don't feel right, get medical attention IMMEDIATELY!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This Friday is National Wear Red Day

This Friday is National Wear Red Day

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Adrenal Fatigue…Do I have It?

I'm not endorsing the Bioveda Health Center listed at the bottom of this article (I don't know anything about it), but I thought this article on adrenal fatigue was important to share. I have adrenal fatigue (chronic pain from a car accident), and I am finding that being more aware of my stress level and being more proactive in managing it does help some, as does Cortisol Manager (supplement) by Integrative Theraputics. The Corisol Manager has really helped me curb sugar cravings, they aren't completely gone, but better than it was! If you think you may be affected by adrenal fatigue, be sure to check out the book Adrenal Fatigue--a 21st Century Syndrome by Dr. Wilson.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Aging: Menopause Slows the Brain, Temporarily

This is likely not news to anyone who is in menopause right now ---- check out this article from the NY Times ---- but the good news is that any loss of cognitive function in menopause seems to be only temporary.

Just a reminder----

The Holistic Health Network of Charlotte is presenting a guest speaker on Tuesday, February 2 on bioidentical hormones. Here is the information that I have, the presentation will be in the Bobcat Room (next to the cafeteria on the basement floor) of Presbyterian Hospital (main hospital) in Charlotte. I am the newsletter editor for the Charlotte Holistic Health Network, and I will be at the meeting.....if you do attend, please be sure to introduce yourself! Here's the information from the newsletter:

On February 2, we invite you to join us at 6:45 pm to hear Donna Caine Francis. She will tell us about her book: Managing Menopause Beautifully and how the use of natural remedies, bio identical hormones, holistic health solutions and other natural treatments can bring relief of distressing symptoms. Donna is an author, a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Sex Therapist and has a private practice in the Lake Norman area.

Meeting the Heat

If you ever wanted to know why you are having hot flashes/flushes----check out this article from the NY Times. I sort of wonder, however about the hot flashes being caused by declining estrogen -- my estrogen levels are still at premenopausal levels, but I started having horrible hot flashes about 7 years ago. They got worse after my hysterectomy. Progesterone cream was magic for me----started using it on a Wednesday, by that Saturday I was done --- completely done --- with hot flashes.