Wine, Women and Hormones
Thank you for attending the Wine Women and Hormones lecture. I how everyone had fun, connected in a womanly way and took home helpful information about hormones!. Here are answers to your Burning Questions and if you have more, I am available at Align for a consult.
Dr. Bonnie Lambert, L.Ac. D.A.O.M.
1. Does taking the pill impact Menopause? When does the pill negatively impact women's health?
Some women take BC pills for many years – from age 16 – until age 50. Each women's menopause time will be individual. Peri-menopausal symptoms are a sign the end is near and your hormones are doing their re-balancing act preparing your body for Menopause. When you take the pill, although it will not delay the inevitable, it may exasperate the symptoms of peri-menopause with 'excess estrogen' symptoms such as fluid retention, headaches, loss of sexual desire, breast tenderness, PMS, irregular bleeding, depression, and hair loss. I recommend a preventative program of probiotics and liver supplements every 3 months to protect the body from side-effect of the pharmaceuticals.
2. Do you think the blood panels or hormones are adequate or should I be salvia tested? Chinese herbs – Astragalus, ashwangda what do you recommend? How much Vit D do I need?
For hormonal balancing, ashwangda is great for improving thyroid function and assisting with adrenal fatigue and imbalance. Astragalus is used mainly for immune enhancement and anti-inflammatory.
I recommend Saliva tests because they are taken over a number of days, where blood is taking one time. Align will be offering hormone testing via saliva by the end of summer. We will be using ZRT test kits and will send off on a monthly basis to save on shipping fees.
Vitamin D levels: if you have been tested and told you are low (below 40) you need to be taking 5000 IU per day. In general, I recommend taking 2000 IU/day to maintain healthy thyroid function during peri-menopause and menopause.
3. Any truth to spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine causing hot flashes to be more frequent or severe?
Yes, all the above can spike a hot flash – red wine being the worst culprit with alcohol. Once again, this is a temporary situation during Peri-menopause and the hormonal fluctuation which cause hot flashes. I recommend also avoiding sugar, as this can disrupt the spleen/pancreas function.
4. Natural treatment for PCOS?
In the last several years, I have been recommending a Keto Diet (low carb, low sugar, healthy fats) combined with exercise and intermittent fasting. Many patients with PCOS are on Metfomin and are trying to get pregnant. This is the common Western fix. PCOS is treatable with stress management, exercise and especially diet.
5. Forgetfulness in your 30's not in Menopause.
Forgetfulness in your 30's can be caused by a syndrome called Blood Deficiency. Heavy periods, blood loss after child birth, dry skin fatigue and constipation are also symptoms of blood deficiency. A detailed Eastern medical intake would be needed as well as further symptom analysis.
6. With early menopause (35-40) is it really feasible to only use natural alternatives to HRT? What about risks of low estrogen.
Depending upon the cause of the early menopause (you should have hormones tested!) and the resulting symptoms and their impact on your life – hot flashes, vaginal dryness, low libido, hair loss, weight gain... living with these symptoms long term can wreak havoc on daily life. Natural Phyto-estrogen supplementation can alleviate symptoms just as readily as HRT with less toxic stress on the liver. Give the natural a chance to work, seek the help of a trained Naturopath or Acupuncturist (me!!) and stay on the natural path to long term wellness.
7. Bad skin outbreaks since I started on HRT, my beautician says it is related to ovaries... is that true?
Hormonal acne is real!y common and is generally due to low progesterone combined with excess estrogen, which effects the testosterone levels turning to facial acne. Depending on your age, where you are in the peri-menopause process this may last for a couple years. There is a topical hormone cream which can help with this, and your MD. I do not carry this cream – sorry! I would say that while HRT may be helping some of your symptoms, it is creating more side effects, since the acne began once you started on HRT. Look for the ROOT cause!
8. Do you help women struggling with infertility? What is the oldest patient you have helped conceive?
Absolutely, I have gotten so many women pregnant! I know, this sounds funny, but I love saying it! 35 and over can be a time where the follicles are not as plentiful or healthy – that being said, many women in their late 30's early 40's are able to get pregnant. It may take longer because you have to wait for the one good follicle to drop, and of course knowing and understanding the fertility window is key in optimizing the meeting of sperm and egg. I help with counseling as well as providing acupuncture to regulate hormones, pre-ovulation treatment, open the channels/meridians to increase blood flow in the uterus.
I successfully treated a 43 year old, she now has very healthy teenager!
I am just launching a 3 month 'Fertility Enhancement Program' at Align. There will be a lecture later this month at Art Nest – stay tuned for details. (June 26th).
9. What to do for Hot Flashes? What to do for long running period, weeks of bleeding?
Hot flashes – I needle Kidney 3!! as well as other key points on the body which balance out the Endocrine Glands: pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, thymus, adrenals and ovaries. This in turn regulates estrogen and progesterone, at what ever stage of hormonal flux you are in.. This is typically a temporary situation and will resolve as soon as the peri-menopause phase is over.
Weeks of bleeding is not normal! It can signal the end of peri-menopause but you need to be careful to check your iron levels and make sure they do not become deficient. You will need to be seen by a health care specialist to determine the cause and have it treated. Eastern medicine has many solutions including Acupuncture, herbs and spleen regulating foods to strengthen digestion and regulate blood.
10. What is your recommendation on magnesium levels?
In general, I recommend taking Magnesium Glycinate at bedtime to help with restful sleep, muscle relaxation and regulation of hormones. Since magnesium is a precursor to calcium, you must also supplement with this as well.
11. What are your suggestions for someone who wants to get pregnant? In particular, what to do in the years leading up to pregnancy?.
Number 1 – download a period/fertility tracker and understand your fertility window. (Both partners can download so both are involved in this process). I recommend FLO or FERDY. You can enhance your chances if you follow specific rules during this window; suggest using PreSeed lubricant, stay on the bottom and stay lying down for 20 minutes after sex.
In the years leading up to getting pregnant: exercise, diet, lifestyle habits (smoking, caffeine, alcohol... ) can be factors in difficulty conceiving. If there are any pre-existing conditions such as irregular period, fibroids, PCOS... these need to be corrected.
A regular cycle with predictable ovulation is the most important, as well as being rested, healthy and ready to take on the role of parenting.
12. I have no problems with sleep, but weight gain and stiffness is a problem. Help?
In Peri Menopause and Menopause it it common for women to gain weight around the waist. This is a function of the spleen's energy in Chinese medicine, coincidentally the spleen in Western medicine is the organ which regulates the immune system. Stiffness is seen as INFLAMMATION and this can start in the gut.
My approach to whole body health and balance is to look at three axis: Hormones, Digestion and Immune and correct the imbalances on these specific levels. i.e. Bloating – I would check for food sensitivities, frequent cold/flu indicates a weak immune, hot flashes, mid line weight gain at midlife is typically a treatable hormonal imbalance. Individual symptoms, constitutions, health history and details will determine the plan of care and treatment.
13. Do peri-menopausal symptoms mimic post-natal symptoms? 12 months post-natal....
They certainly can - depending upon your age (over 35??) if you are in the peri menopause time frame - can coincide with post-natal symptoms. Post-natal 12 months signals the end of breast feeding and a recovery from the birthing and pregnancy, hormones are still re-regulating and a new balance created. Diagnosis depends upon many factors; age, specific symptoms, severity of symptoms, if you had these symptoms before PG... once again, individual cases determine diagnosis.
Contact me with any questions you may have regarding women’s health. Contact me anytime at Align.