The Menopause Cure Hormonal HealthJuly 2016
By Laurie Mathena
The new book, The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health, provides an in-depth guide to restoring health, vitality, youth, brainpower, ideal weight, and sex drive to women facing perimenopause and menopause. Author Jill D. Davey, who collaborated with Sergey Dzugan, MD, PhD, shares how the use of bioidentical hormone restorative therapy can help women have a happy, healthy, strong, and sexually vibrant life in their 40s, 50s, and beyond. In this interview with Life Extension Magazine®, Jill discusses some important highlights from The Menopause Cure.
LE: Is suffering through the symptoms of menopause simply a fact of life for women?
JD: We have become used to accepting aging and menopause as a normal process—accepting getting fat, a diminished sex drive, suffering hot flashes and night sweats, being unable to sleep peacefully anymore, sudden brain fog and senior moments. Accepting becoming ill, feeble, weak, and depressed. Accepting heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, and more. We do not have to accept this anymore. There is an alternative, a safe method to redress all menopausal symptoms, and the disease they now call aging, along with all of its age-related diseases.
LE: You believe that an alternative can be found in restorative medicine. Can you explain what that is?
JD: Restorative medicine views our body and health in a complete sense; a whole body approach. Being of optimal health is what we are looking at. Being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually connected—the hormonal network along with internal organs and systems functioning at maximum efficiency. Restorative medicine looks at prevention, not only cure, by keeping things in balance.
At a basic level what I am saying is that restorative medicine corrects and balances instead of suppressing and hiding those niggling symptoms, which will, at a later date, become something not so very nice.
The overall goal of restorative medicine is to prevent these symptoms ever occurring by keeping hormones balanced, synchronized, or, let’s say, in harmony with the use of bioidentical hormones, vitamins, supplements, and minerals, all of which are important for a long and healthy life. Restorative medicine approaches the body with true health and prevention in mind.
LE: There has been a lot of controversy about hormone replacement therapy over the years. What distinguishes bioidentical hormones from synthetic hormones?
JD: Bioidentical hormones are not pharmaceutical drugs. They are biologically identical to the hormones that are produced in our body, identical in molecular structure, hormone replicas. They come from plant extracts that are bioengineered in a lab to become an exact copy of the human hormone.
Synthetic hormones are completely different from bioidentical hormones. A synthetic hormone is a substance that is not found in nature, rather, it is reinvented from nature so as to be patented.
The drug Premarin® is a horse estrogen. It is derived from the urine of pregnant mares. Some people may, mistakenly, believe that because of this, it can be classified as being natural and is safe. This is not the case. Although Premarin® does contain estrogens natural to humans (e.g. estrone), it also contains estrogens natural to a horse (equilin, equilenin). What is our body going to do with these horse estrogens? We are not horses. Premarin® is not bioidentical to human requirements.
Unlike natural or bioidentical hormones, synthetic, alien, or pseudohormones cannot be metabolized safely and efficiently without producing toxic byproducts in the body. The fact is that the body has an inbuilt system that metabolizes bioidentical hormones easily.
Synthetic hormones are foreign compounds that are never actually produced inside the body. Bioidentical hormones are natural to the human body and provide many health benefits.
LE: How can balancing hormone levels through the use of bioidentical hormones help some of the key complaints of women going through menopause?
JD: We’ll start with the most superficial of things, the skin. Quite suddenly and drastically after menopause our skin seems to shrivel up and become paper-thin, wrinkles deepen and become more apparent. There’s no stretch anymore. The skin becomes drier and we bruise more easily and heal less quickly. These changes in the skin are partly due to a decline in estrogen levels. Balanced estrogen levels help keep skin from aging so drastically. By simply replacing with bioidentical estrogens when there is a decline we can maintain and even erase some of the years of aging skin.
Another common symptom of menopause is “leaky bladder” and pain or difficulty in urinating. This syndrome is due to a weakened muscle in the bladder and urethra. The overall health and strength of these muscles is largely dependent on balanced estrogen levels and when there is a low estrogen level, we get the leak! Estrogens help restore normal blood flow to the tissue and muscles that sustain and regulate the urinary tract. Restoring our body with bioidentical hormones can very easily treat, and even prevent, this common problem.
Unexpected weight gain is very common in perimenopause. One of the reasons we gain weight in perimenopause is because there is an imbalance of hormones. That hormonal environment is usually one of high insulin, along with low estrogens and thyroid function. We cannot lose weight if we have high insulin or if our thyroid is dysfunctional. When we have low thyroid it doesn’t matter how much we diet or exercise, the weight will NOT come off. Our body cannot metabolize the food we eat effectively, turning calories into fat instead of using them for energy. Women with balanced hormones are less likely to gain weight than those without.
LE: One question we hear from a lot of readers relates to sex after menopause. Can bioidentical hormones help women maintain a healthy sex life during and after menopause?
JD: The majority of women at this stage of their lives will be disinterested in sex. This is because our sex hormones are declining. We are entering perimenopause, and menopause and postmenopause don’t get any better. Both estrogens and progesterone are needed to maintain women’s sexual organs in a normal and healthy condition. Testosterone is needed for sexual desire, arousal, and fantasy.
Ovarian estrogens have many functions, one of which is to aid our sexual happiness. It supports the blood flow to the vaginal lining but with a decline of this hormone, the blood flow to the genital area becomes lesser, which causes genital tissue to lose its sensitivity, leading to reduced arousal and greater difficulty in achieving orgasm. Also, vaginal tissue tends to become dryer and thinner, leaving the vaginal walls more susceptible to infection and irritation, making sexual intercourse painful and uncomfortable.
It is important to restore your body if you want to enjoy sex again. Vaginal dryness and atrophy are commonplace in menopausal women. Balance your body and you will avoid these problems and at the same time protect yourself from illness and age-related diseases.
LE: Do women need to be concerned about their hormone levels even beyond menopause?
JD: Women are so used to being told, “It’s only menopause, it’ll pass.” Totally untrue. Yes, your hot flashes and night sweats will pass, but internally the body is experiencing total breakdown due to hormonal loss. It doesn’t pass, it gets worse. This is why we become weak, frail, have bent-up bodies, and get sick as we age. The major part of it has to do with hormonal loss.
Hot flashes are transitory, they are a symptom telling our body that something is not functioning correctly; something has gone awry. Transitory because they apparently pass, they last only as long as it takes for the body to adapt to this new situation. This new situation is dangerous and will eventually lead to chronic disease and aging, so it needs to be corrected. Declining hormones need to be restored for the body to function optimally, and to slow that “body breakdown” process. Hormones have incredible influence on the body—they control us, they make or break us, build us up or tear us down. With declining hormone levels we age at a greater rate, and die at a greater speed.
LE: Can you discuss the connection between hormones and aging?
JD: Declining hormone levels are almost always associated with chronic illness and all age-related diseases. This is what I call the common denominator to aging: hormonal loss. The fact is, we begin our descent into aging and its related illnesses because our hormones decline, not the other way around. In other words, our hormones do not decline because we age or become ill. We become ill because our hormones decline. When you restore them, you will protect yourself.
Dr. Dzugan believes that, by corresponding physiology and therefore restoring the body to optimal levels with the use of bioidentical hormones, vitamins, supplements, and minerals, which are all interrelated, we can slow the aging process and use restorative medicine to treat age-related diseases.
LE: What are some practical steps readers can take to begin their restorative medicine journey?
JD: Restorative medicine is a very precise medicine that requires specific blood tests. We are all different and therefore require different supplements in different amounts. Once your blood samples are analyzed, you can acquire bioidentical hormones, supplements, vitamins, and minerals based on where your optimal levels should be.
If your blood tests show that you are low on magnesium, calcium, or iron, you will need to bring [yourself] within optimal ranges. Another example is that if you are low on the two female sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen, they will need to be brought into their optimal ranges. Bioidentical hormones, vitamins, supplements and minerals work together in the body…they are all interrelated.
As Dr. Dzugan said to me, “Your blood doesn’t lie, it is not guesswork, this is precise medicine. Your bloodwork shows what is missing and what is needed at that time. This medicine tells you what your body needs and what it doesn’t need.”
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
To order a copy of The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health, call 1-800-544-4440.
Jill D. Davey was born in England, but for the past 27 years she has lived in Italy. She began researching restorative medicine/bioidentical hormones after entering menopause. Sergey A. Dzugan, MD, PhD, is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Dzugan Institute of Restorative Medicine. He is the author of 151 publications in medical journals, and these publications include surgical, oncological, academic, and anti-aging topics. He was the former President of Life Extension® Scientific Information Inc. Previous publications includeThe Migraine Cure: How to Forever Banish the Curse of Migraines,The Magic of Cholesterol Numbers: A Step Away from the Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs, and Your Blood Doesn’t Lie! Aging, Disease and Illnesses Are Linked to One Cause... and One Solution!