Hormones are often maligned and misunderstood. They’ve got a long rap sheet that includes teenage acne and acting out, PMS, and of course—the full gamut of unpleasant symptoms that sometimes accompany perimenopause and menopause.
But without them, we wouldn’t grow or reproduce. We wouldn’t think, breathe, walk, or sleep. Hormones, in fact, are needed for every function the body performs. They make the heart beat, regulate blood pressure, repair cellular damage, and keep cancerous cells from growing. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.
In short, hormones are our bodies’ software. A computer doesn’t function unless its battery is charged and its software is loaded, and the same is true of the body. Naturally, as our bodies age, they produce less of the critical hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, leading to sickness and loss of vitality. But the good news is, we can bring those hormones back to youthful levels when we make healthy lifestyle changes and intelligent use of bioidentical hormones.
As I explain in my new book, Radiant Again & Forever, bioidentical hormones are not the same as synthetic hormones like Premarin that were once—and are still—routinely prescribed by some doctors. In my early career, I was one of them, but my patients and I did not like the effects. They gained weight, felt bloated, and didn’t feel any better while on these medications. I stopped prescribing them altogether almost 15 years before a 2001 Women’s Health Initiative study showed a marked increase in incidences of breast cancer, heart attacks, dementia, blood clots, and strokes among women who took artificial hormones.
Here are a few things I’d like you to know about your body’s software, and what you can do to keep it running smoothly, no matter your age, using bioidentical hormones:
1. Test; don't guess.
It's essential to keep hormones balanced at youthful levels. How do we do this? It all starts with simple blood work. Ask your doctor to check your levels, and if warranted, customize a regimen of bioidentical hormones just for you. (The ability to customize is one of many advantages of bioidenticals.)
2. Just like some software programs, synthetic hormones are an outdated medical technology.
It doesn’t make sense that so many doctors still prescribe them when there’s an alternative in bioidenticals. Bioidentical hormones are derived from soy and yams, and they’re made in high-tech labs to be molecularly identical to the ones your body makes.
3. After 30 years of prescribing bioidenticals in my practice. I can vouch for their safety and efficacy.
Not only have I seen thousands of women regain their youthful radiance and energy, but I’ve also found breast cancer occurrences to be 60 percent below average. And in this time, I’ve only seen three women experience heart attacks, none of which were fatal.
Should you and your doctor decide to pursue a course of bioidentical hormones, remember to be patient. Although some women see results right away, for others, it may take several weeks and dosage adjustments along the way. Finally, don’t forget to talk to your doctor about nutritional and other lifestyle factors you can address to make your body software "reboot" even more effective.