Monday, November 29, 2010

What does Hypoestrogen Mean?

Hypoestrogen, What is that?
Women of all ages can have hypoestrogen. Hypoestrogen is when levels of cycling estrogen falls below the normal range of 150 pg/ml to 550 pg/ml. The symptoms are felt by women in many ways. And every woman knows when “the change” happens. Some women even know when slight changes begin to occur. Even the women who are lucky enough to never experience a hot flash often have probably experienced one of the following other hypoestrogen symptoms: heart palpitations, insomnia, mood swings, joint aches, headaches, fatigue, low libido, vaginal dryness, bloating, skin dryness, brain fog….just to name a few.

When just a few symptoms began to occur with me at age 42, I was NOT thinking it was from hypoestrogen. I knew that to be “menopause” and I was still cycling every 28 days having a 3-4 day period and just had two babies 15 months apart. When my doctor told me I should start on beta blockers to control my anxiety feelings and onset of heart palpitations, I decided to dig really deep and figure out what was causing the changes in my body to occur. I knew these changes came out of no where started to occur shortly after my last pregnancy at age 41. At that time my estrogen level was 48 pg/ml. I didn’t know much about fractionating the estradiol out of the estrogen total at that time. I didn’t know what the significance was about timing the cycling and checking blood. I didn’t know that fluctuations in estrogen can be pretty significant just days apart in a cycle. I also didn’t realize that if estrogen wasn’t peaking and I wasn’t ovulating I was not getting any progesterone and therefore had cycles with unopposed estrogen.

I’ve been treating women who have hypoestrogen levels and have seen the dramatic changes that occur when estrogen and progesterone are replaced in a cyclic dosing schedule and reach their individual therapeutic range in the blood serum. Like I said earlier, estrogen peaks around 350-550 pg/ml and is around 100-150 pg/ml on baseline days. Progesterone peaks around 10-15 ng/ml and is around 0-1 ng/ml on baseline days. Hormones that are too low cause symptoms that women feel and experience. They are real symptoms.

How long would you replace your thyroid if you were hypothyroid? I believe you would say forever. Well, I say that is how long we should replace our estrogen and progesterone if we have hypoestrogen. The results are amazing. It’s easier to replace hormones when receptors are still present and active. But, it is never too late. I have patients who are doing amazingly well that are in their late 70’s. I also have patients as young as 19 whose symptoms are resolved dramatically using bioidentical hormones in cyclic dosing and the results cannot even compare to that of traditional care, which is oral birth control pills (synthetic estrogen and synthetic progestins) given in static doses using low amounts of hormones. I know many women who cannot stand how they feel on the pill. Maybe some women don’t even realize that it is the pill causing some of the symptoms they experience.

Women can change the standard of care. My goal is to educate women and then we have a choice what we want to do with that information. We cycle. Let’s keep on cycling.

hormones, bioidentical, HRT, natural hormone replacement, menopause, perimenopause, over 40, menstruation, menstrual cycle, hormone cycle, estradiol, progestin, progesterone, libido, hot flashes, depression, anxiety, night sweats, hypothyroid, birth control, the pill, prempro, premarin,

Call my office in Wilmington (815) 476-5210 or Lombard (630) 627-3700 to set up an appointment or email me at

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts like a hormone in the human body. It is stored in the fat cells and released as fat is burned. This essential vitamin is supplied through diet, sunlight and supplements and it interacts with several body processes to keep a body healthy.
How does it work?

Vitamin D’s major role is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It aids in the absorption of calcium, which helps form and maintain strong bones. Recent studies show vitamin D may also provide protection from osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer and several autoimmune diseases. In addition, adequate levels of vitamin D may actually prevent falls by helping us maintain muscle strength and balance as we age, not to mention the prevention of chronic pain, which has recently been linked to low levels of D.

A vitamin D deficiency, which affects up to 50 percent of adults and 30 percent of children in the United States, occurs over an extended period of time when an individual is either not consuming proper amounts of the vitamin or when the body is not absorbing the vitamin correctly. A simple finger-stick blood test, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, can provide you and your doctor with a clear picture of your vitamin D levels.

So, how much vitamin D is enough? Recommendations vary, but a daily intake in the range of 800 to 1,000 IU is likely to benefit most adults. In my practice it is more like 4,000 IU to 6,000 IU. Perimenopausal women may require 1250 IU of calcium per day, while postmenopausal women should consider up to 1500 IU daily. In addition to supplements that your doctor may recommend, you can always get Vitamin D the old-fashioned way by adding the following foods to a healthy diet:

* Cheese
* Butter
* Cream
* Eggs
* Fortified milk (all milk in the U.S. is fortified with vitamin D)
* Fish
* Oysters
* Fortified cereals

Call my office in Wilmington (815) 476-5210 or Lombard (630) 627-3700 to set up an appointment or email me at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Modern Sexuality: The Risks, Problems and Solutions

Article written by Matt Phillips

Sexuality becomes more pervasive in our culture every year. More than ever, it’s used to promote and sell products, entice consumers and entertain the masses. However, all this brazen sexuality has actually led to higher rates of sexual activity, especially for younger Americans. Unfortunately, the spread of sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy are two serious outcomes of this social trend, especially for women. Although pregnancy rates have recently declined for teenage girls in the U.S., sexually transmitted disease numbers continue to climb, indicating that teens are not choosing to abstain from sex, but instead finding products which allow them to continue to be sexually active without the risk of pregnancy. However, teens need to understand that sexual promiscuity is not possible without some degree of risk.
Unfortunately, sex education in this country doesn’t do enough to teach teens this. While attempting to inform today’s teens, it actually might promote more negative results associated with sex than good. With the government renewing its abstinence-focused education programs this year, readily available and unbiased information for teens still choosing to be sexually active might be in short supply. This education, telling teens that abstinence is the only legitimate way, runs the risk of alienating some teens, in addition to providing little useful advice. By failing to recognize sexually active teens, this legislative measure successfully disregards the population of teens needing that information the most.
Some evidence-focused groups have even found this renewal of funding unwarranted, pointing out that no conclusive results showing its value has been found. However, the gaps in sex knowledge don’t stop there for young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29. Although most of these young adults agree that pregnancy should be planned, about half fail to use contraceptives regularly. This again highlights the inconsistency in the value of the information provided by this legislation.
However, even if teens do use contraceptives, as many parents would prefer, there remains a serious lack of information available as to their effectiveness and safety. While it’s tempting to point to the slew of birth control options on the market and trust their value, it’s also worth realizing that some of these products might not be completely effective. Worse still, some of these contraceptives may cause serious medical injury to the user.
Easy solutions to this lifestyle concern aren’t simple. Barrier methods, while safer than no contraceptive, are fallible. Hormonal methods, while relatively effective, can falsely imply complete protection to all outcomes of casual sex, including sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, the growing number of complaints against oral contraceptives, exemplified by pending Yaz lawsuit, indicates that the safety of such birth control options is far from guaranteed. Users of this particular product have seen serious, and sometimes fatal, side effects including heart attack, stroke, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and gallbladder disease.
Although our culture is often brazen about sexuality, reiterating the seriousness of the act, both emotionally and from a health standpoint, needs to be a part of sexual education today. As we have seen, complete condemnation of a particular act does little to deter it. Therefore, it might be better to empower young people and give them the information they need about responsible sex. Trusting teens to act responsibly also includes accepting many will not wait for marriage or even stable relationships to have sex, so teens need to be made aware of ways to remain sexually active without the use of dangerous contraceptives.
Young women have some tough choices to struggle with if they choose to become sexually active, especially if they accidently become pregnant. Therefore, girls who are sexually active should figure out the answers to some of those tough choices they might have to make. Such decisions include whether to keep the child, have an abortion or put the baby up for adoption. Premarital sex carries with it the risk of bringing another life into this world and young couples need to be prepared for that immense responsibility. If the answers to these questions are too difficult to find, abstinence might then be the best option. Although sex is a huge part of our society today, we have the choice whether we let that influence our lives or stand up to the trend and find fulfillment elsewhere.

Call my office in Wilmington (815) 476-5210 or Lombard (630) 627-3700 to set up an appointment or email me at