Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Perimenopause/Menopause Interview notes

Perimenopause is the time period where the body’s hormone balance is changing; menopause actually marks the one-year anniversary of the cessation of menstrual cycles (menstruation). Most menopause formulas are actually targeted at perimenopause symptoms.

The recent clinical evidence for, and availability of, products that don’t contain soy, isoflavones, or phytoestrogens should greatly help those who won’t or can’t use products containing those components. This now opens the perimenopause category to those who were previously shut out.

This is a strong category but with a lot of competition among products and claims that inevitably leads to some confusion; not only among consumers but for some store personnel, as well. Product information from manufacturers can either clarify or confuse, depending on the message that they’re trying to send: are they trying to tout their own product as better than everyone else’s, or are they accurately representing the science and trying to provide real consumer choice?

Vitex (Vitex agnus castus), or chaste tree berry, contains small amounts of Agnusides, the active component of chaste berry. Chaste berry extract has been researched to corroborate traditional usage for supporting healthy female hormonal levels during menopause.

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) root is a traditional herb for female hormonal support, but has not been historically used for perimenopause/menopause.

Ipriflavone (7-isopropoxy-isoflavone) is a natural-identical soy-free isoflavone (bioflavonoid) that supports bone health, helps maintain healthy bone density, and supports post-menopausal calcium metabolism.

Natural Progesterone Skin Cream typically provides 20 mg of Natural Progesterone USP per use. Look for products with no artificial colors or fragrances that are paraben-free. Synthetic progesterone is not nature-identical.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is an herb that has been traditionally used by Native Americans to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and other female complaints.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is an herb particularly rich in biologically active compounds called phytoestrogens that are recognized for their role in the support of healthy estrogen levels.

Soy Isoflavones are naturally occurring phytoestrogen plant compounds (Genistein, Daidzein and Glycitein) that are particularly concentrated in soybeans and which support high or low estrogen levels.

Pharmaceutical Drugs, including synthetic forms of female hormones, have side effects that may contraindicate their use since they are isolated synthetic substances, so many women prefer to avoid them. Since the normal change of life is not a disease state, the use of traditional natural substances to manage health makes sense to most people.

Women need to carefully review any label cautions and interactions, as well as the usage suggestions, to avoid any known interactions with medications. Even if no interactions have been noted, caution should be used when adding any new substance, however natural, to a medication regime.

People often mistakenly think that all estrogen compounds are alike. However, phytoestrogens are plant-based food compounds found in virtually all legumes that are about 1,000 times weaker than the usual circulating body-produced estrogen forms. That difference and the source makes plant estrogens much safer. Even soy isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens, have some key differences from endogenous estrogens formed in the body: much like cruciferous vegetables, soy isoflavones may actually prevent the conversion of estrogens into harmful forms (like 16α-hydroxyestrone), promote their breakdown by Phase II detoxification, and increase their excretion in the urine.

Another myth is that symptoms of perimenopause can all be treated the same. Everyone’s hormone levels are unique and complicated, so not every product will work for every person. Some trial and error may be required, and some consumers elect to have their hormone levels checked to help them choose which products are most likely to be right for them.


Wendy Colley said...

Acknowledging your last paragraph, and that the doctors I have consulted with will not test hormone levels and would just refer you (me) to a hospital consultant who prescribes HRT without any tests done on a "let's see if this works" basis irrespective of possible side effects, where would one go to have these hormone levels tested, without going to a private doctor or to great expense through a nutritionist? I am currently spending a large amount of money taking/using most of the above-mentioned supplements and cream and while symptoms are greatly relieved, I am still suffering considerable effects of peri-menopause. Your comments would be most welcome. Thanks Wendy

Arizer Solo said...

great read. thank you for sharing this.

Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA said...

Sorry, if you can't find a doctor to help test for your needs then you have to experiement on yourself. Let your doctor know what you are doing. Perhaps a compounding pharmacist who works with local doctors can suggest one to you, if you have that kind of pharmacy in your area. Otherwise, you may have to research symptoms on the Internet from reputable non-commercial sources to learn how things work for various symptoms.

parvez said...
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