Effective Menopause Solutions

Written by Dr. David W. Cramer
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:05
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Menopause symptoms can include many of the following: hot flashes, night sweats, low libido (low sexual desire), fatigue, sensitivity to cold, muscle loss/atrophy, increasing abdominal fat and overall weight gain, inability to lose weight despite significant exercise and diet efforts, poor sleep/insomnia, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, difficulty in choosing words in language, depression, anxiety, psychological and relationship problems, loss of bone mass (osteoporosis), irritability/aggressiveness, hair loss, anger, infertility, achy muscles/joints, liquid stools, dry skin and/or cracking nails, loss of menstruation, heart disease, symptoms of urinary bladder discomfort like frequency, urgency, frequent infections, waking at night to urinate, lack of lubrication, discharge, shrinking of breasts, loss of – or nonexistent sense of – smell, glucose intolerance (early diabetes), high cholesterol/lipids.

A correct and effective approach to treating these symptoms of menopause lies in understanding the underlying cause.

All of the above symptoms are, not coincidentally, also symptoms of testosterone – and sometimes also progesterone – deficiency.  It is no coincidence because the cause of menopause is the cessation of adequate function of the ovaries, which are responsible for approximately 95% of the production of testosterone in the female body.  In males this production takes place in the testicles.  Males too, experience a decline in testicular function and in anabolic hormone production, but in females this hormonal decline is more precipitous.

Both testosterone and progesterone are 'heat' hormones, which is to say, they generate heat in the body.  Estrogen, on the other hand, is more 'cooling' in its effect.  These properties are observed in the phases of the menstrual cycle, where in the first two weeks of the cycle, which is estrogen-dominant, basal body temperature is slightly lower than in mid-cycle and for the two weeks thereafter, when progesterone and testosterone are produced more heavily, and thus a spike in basal body temperature is observed.  You may also observe that, in general, men are less susceptible to cold.  This is because of the generally higher testosterone levels in men.  Some exceptions to this occur during pregnancy when women's bodies are producing much higher levels of testosterone and progesterone to support the rapid growth of the unborn baby.

As ovary function declines (starting in the late 30s and early 40s) so do the levels of testosterone and progesterone.  These anabolic hormones are responsible for a multitude of physiological functions in the body, which is why their decline leads to all of the above symptoms and more.  The term 'anabolic' refers to cellular growth and repair. Testosterone and progesterone, because they are anabolic and metabolic in their effects, improve and enhance function in many body processes, including the cardiovascular system (the heart is the most densely populated testosterone receptor site in the body), the digestive system, the immune system and so on.

With the decline of these hormones the basal temperature of the body decreases and, as a result, the body attempts to stabilize and increase this basal body temperature. These attempts are observed in the form of hot flashes and night sweats. Traditionally doctors have approached treating menopause symptoms of hot flashes by prescribing estrogen, which is cooling in its effects, to suppress these heat surges or hot flashes.  Unfortunately, such an approach only temporarily addresses these symptoms, if at all, and does not get at correcting the root, underlying cause of anabolic hormone deficiency.

By re-establishing adequate levels of testosterone (and progesterone if needed), former basal body temperature is restored, and the body has no need to try and raise its temperature through hot flashes.

There are many methods of administering testosterone, including, creams, pills, injections... and... sub-dermal testosterone (and progesterone) pellets. The disadvantage of creams, pills and injections is that these routes of administration lead to rapid absorption into the bloodstream, which causes a spike in blood testosterone levels. The body interprets this as an excess and as a result, converts the excess over, primarily, into estrogen. The advantage of sub-dermal testosterone pellets as a delivery method is that the release into the bloodstream is slow and sustained and thus does not result in levels being spiked in the bloodstream with excess being converted into estrogen.  While estrogen has its functions in the body – such as in brain function – the relative strength and prevalence of estrogen in western society is so high as to negate the need for taking estrogen.  We are inundated and besieged with an almost overwhelming onslaught of estrogen in our foods, lotions, plastics, environment, etc. It is injected into beef, poultry and dairy sources and we are, as a result, fed a steady diet of estrogen. Adipose tissue (fat tissue) in the body, furthermore, produces estrogen. It is the high estrogen ratio that is primarily responsible for estrogen-based cancers, blood clots, weight gain, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and the myriad of conditions resulting in the symptoms mentioned above. It has been my clinical observation over years of treating menopause that approximately 99% of women do NOT need estrogen supplementation. As long as there are adequate amounts of testosterone, if there is any need for estrogen beyond the high amounts we are exposed to already, the body will convert what it needs from testosterone.

I often get patients who have been receiving sub-dermal testosterone pellets elsewhere, only to find they have also been receiving estrogen pellets and as a result have been gaining weight, experiencing depression, fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes and night sweats and basically all of the symptoms associated with a high estrogen to testosterone ratio. I pull them off the estrogen and raise their testosterone and progesterone levels appropriately, and their symptoms go away.

I welcome you to come in for a free consult to see if sub-dermal testosterone (and possibly progesterone) pellets are right for you.

Testosterone sub-dermal pellet implant........................................$300

Progesterone sub-dermal pellet implant........................................$100

If you are like any of the hundreds of patients I have treated for menopause with sub-dermal testosterone pellets you will be very pleased with the results.  All of them have experienced some combination of the following improvements: cessation of hot flashes and night sweats, improved libido, improved sleep, decrease in appetite/cravings, weight loss, improved mood, increased energy and drive for life, improved joint comfort, strengthening of the immune system, and many, many more positive health benefits.


Testosterone deficiency and high cholesterol

Do you know that the production of anabolic hormones in the body is impossible without cholesterol?  Testosterone and progesterone, and all of the steroid hormones, are built on the backbone of the cholesterol molecule.  Among the many steroid hormones that are derived from cholesterol, cholesterol is first converted to pregnenolone which is converted to both progesterone and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).  DHEA and progesterone are both converted to androstenedione and androstenedione is converted to testosterone, which can be further converted (aromatized) to estrogen if needed.  All of these conversions from cholesterol to testosterone cannot occur without adequate amounts of nutrient co-factors.  Nutrient co-factors are catalysts for the chemical conversions from one molecular form to another.  If they are missing or low then anabolic chemical pathway conversions slow down, cholesterol gets backed up and begins to rise, and the body is then unable to produce enough anabolic hormones.  When the body is low in any of the end-stage anabolic hormones, it produces greater amounts of cholesterol in an attempt to push that particular molecular pathway. 


Steroid production pathways


















As testosterone and progesterone levels decline, cholesterol levels increase.  The traditional treatment approach is then to take a ‘statin’ (aka HMG Co-A reductase inhibitor) drug to lower your cholesterol, because cholesterol is seen as causing heart disease.  But really, it is the low testosterone that leads to heart disease, since the circulatory system is rich in testosterone receptors.  The heart is the most densely populated testosterone receptor site in the body.  Unfortunately, in taking a statin drug, everything downstream from cholesterol is blocked from being produced.  The real solution is not to block the production of cholesterol (and every important steroid hormone that comes from it), but rather to provide the body with the nutrient co-factors necessary to facilitate those molecular conversions as well as increasing the levels of steroid hormones downstream so as to create a negative feedback to the body’s production of cholesterol.

Your immune system, your connective tissue integrity (joint health, blood vessel integrity, tendons, ligaments, low back strength) and many other systems of the body are heavily dependent on healthy levels of anabolic hormones.  Testosterone contributes to the proper function of the heart, the bladder, the digestive system, the muscles of the pelvic floor (and all muscles of the body for that matter), the prostate, muscle in general, and many other important systems of the body.  When there are inadequate amounts of testosterone in the body, testosterone receptors begin to be occupied by molecules with closely related structures to testosterone – such as estrogen and cholesterol.  One of the predominant reasons for bladder urgency and frequency is insufficient testosterone levels.  The function of so many organs and body systems are adversely impacted by inadequate amounts of anabolic hormones.  Heart disease, atherosclerosis, tendon and ligament laxity, joint instability, bladder incontinence, prostate cancer, digestive complaints, migraines, various other cancers, and many other ailments are frequently the result.  The health of the immune system is directly related to levels of anabolic hormones in the body.  Studies have shown that by giving testosterone to patients with low T-cell (or CD-4) levels, that these critical immune cell quantities increase.  This is one of the main reasons why it is imperative in adverse conditions of health – and especially in cancerous conditions – to supply the body with high amounts of micronutrient co-factors so that the natural production of Progesterone, DHEA, Androstenedione and Testosterone can be achieved.

As previously mentioned, there are some known causes for declining or low anabolic hormone levels.  One is stress.  The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is that part of our nervous system that functions automatically or unconsciously as it were.  It takes care of things like keeping the heart beating, digestion, breathing, etc.  There are two divisions to the ANS: the sympathetic nervous system (which is the fight–or–flight system – when adrenaline gets pumping in you, you either fight the threat or you run from it) and the parasympathetic nervous system (used for digestion, rest and repair, anabolic hormone production, etc.).  Stress puts the body into a sympathetic nervous system dominant mode.  The perception of a threat (stress) causes the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones such as adrenaline (or epinephrine) and cortisol.  The whole purpose of these hormones is to get glucose to the muscle cells so that we can use our muscles to fight, or run from, the threat.  When the sympathetic nervous system awakens, the parasympathetic nervous system slows down significantly.  So if you’re in a chronic and constant state of stress your body is not digesting well, it’s not producing enough anabolic hormones, it has trouble sleeping, and it’s unable to adequately rest and repair.

Immune function is directly related to the health of the parasympathetic nervous system.  People with cancer often say that they were basically healthy and then ‘suddenly’ got cancer.  They often report that they almost never got colds or flu and then they ‘got’ cancer.  In actuality, colds and flu are often evidence of an immune system that is healthy enough to mount a response (in the form of fever, sweating, chills, inflammation, etc) to try and rid the body of the offending pathogen (bacteria or virus).  Some doctors have been taught that testosterone is a bad thing for prostate health, for combating cancer and for immune function in general; unaware of the fact that testosterone in these individuals is often too easily converted to estrogen, which is, in

fact, the reason behind these adverse conditions.  By preventing this conversion from testosterone to estrogen (a process called aromatization) these adverse effects are mitigated.  Where there is little aromatization there are generally higher levels of T-cells and B-cells; cells responsible for a large portion of our overall immune response.

Increasing estrogen levels are therefore, another cause behind declining anabolic hormones (and attending immune function).  Estrogen is beneficial and useful for many things in the body, but in excess it crowds out testosterone and progesterone.  Unless you’re eating natural, organic meat you’re eating meat that is saturated with estrogen since it is routinely administered to fatten cows up.  It’s in meat.  It’s in dairy.  It’s even in plastics, lotions, cosmetics and shampoo in the form of one or other type of paraben (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, etc.) which mimic estrogen activity in the body and have been found in breast tumors.  These estrogens are known as xenoestrogens or foreign estrogens.  Add to estrogen dominance the lack of adequate nutritive value in western society’s fast food, high sugar diet and the body is then depleted of co-factors needed for the production of growth and repair substances.  Sugar (whether plain sugar or high fructose corn syrup) is converted and stored in the body as fat.  Furthermore, this adipose (fat) tissue produces estrogen.  Our high sugar lifestyle is killing our immune systems by causing conditions of excess estrogen.  Alcohol is a form of sugar too, and has a double whammy effect in that it also compromises the proper functioning of the liver, which is responsible for estrogen breakdown and recycling. 

An additional cause of declining anabolic hormones is old age.  Our anabolic hormones begin their decline in our twenties.  It is not coincidental that the incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and other auto-immune diseases increases with age.  Auto-Immune diseases; wherein the immune system is not functioning properly, increase with age, stress and high estrogen ratios.  It has been observed that women, who have lower testosterone levels than men, also have a four-fold higher predisposition toward auto-immune conditions.  Conversely, it is predominantly boys (seven times more likely than girls) who suffer from ADD, ADHD, autism and Asperger’s syndrome as a result of anabolic hormone deficiency due to the above-mentioned dietary and food supply factors. The immune system cannot function well without the anabolic influences we’ve been talking about – growth factors, anabolic hormones, and growth and repair mechanisms.

In summary; adequate nutrition, the elimination of causative factors (namely; sugar, high fat, excessive estrogen, stress), stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system and the increase, and balance of, anabolic factors (hormones, growth factors) are the bases for helping the body to function the way it should and either prevent or eliminate many diseased conditions. 

There are numerous and various ways in which this can be accomplished, including natural and conventional medicines, consumption of nutrient-rich, living foods, weight-bearing and cardiovascular exercise, micronutrient IV therapy (high in antioxidants and conversion co-factors), nutritional supplements, anti-carcinogen botanicals, hormonal analysis and intervention, and many other equally valid life-building therapies like love, forgiveness, resolution of significant emotional issues, human contact, discovering purpose for living and spirituality.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2012 23:52
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