Lifelong Hormone Changes
“The female life cycle, from childhood through the fertile years, pregnancy
and childbirth, the menopausal years and beyond include many unique challenges that need attention in the interests of good health, ” says Dr. Beverly R Goode who has an increasing number of patients needing help with the changes that accompany growth and maturity in women.
CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
Childhood and adolescence are the foundation years, where developing excellent health habits-good diet, regular exercise, awareness of critical health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases-can translate into years of good health. Conversely, developing poor health habits in the foundation years will inevitably manifest with health problems, perhaps of grave importance, later in life. Diet is a key issue throughout life, and especially in the foundation years. Too many children and teenagers have a double problem. On the one hand, they eat poorly. At the same time, they consume large quantities of non-nutritional foods, or foods that are stressful to the system. Excessive amounts of sugar are a real problem.
Because of the way our food is now grown and processed, even young people who are getting a good diet-and they are in the minority- need supplements to their food intake, because there are important nutrients for their bodies they are not going to get any other way. A teenager would benefit from taking a quality multiple vitamin each day, with absorbable trace minerals.
“In my practice, I see an increasing number of young girls who are suffering with problems such as endometriosis, PMS, and problems with their periods. The problems are manifesting at earlier ages, and they are a direct reflection of poor diet and high levels of stress,” reports Dr. Goode. “I recommend to parents that they stake out their home as a ‘healthy food haven.’ They probably can’t control what their teenagers eat outside the home, but kids like to eat, and if all they can find in their own homes is healthy food, that’s what they will consume.
No soda, only juice, milk, or bottled water and fresh fruit for snacks is what I recommend. Young girls and young women need to be encouraged to use their bodies actively. Exercise habits formed in the early years help protect against problems such as osteoporosis in the years to come.”
THE FERTILE YEARS
In their twenties and thirties, more of Dr Goode’s women patients are presenting with endometriosis, fibroid tumors, fertility issues, and symptoms of PMS, as well as heavy bleeding during their periods. These problems reflect hormonal imbalance as their systems are forced to deal everyday with high levels of stress and poor diet. Depending on the circumstances, Dr. Goode will use either short-term or long-term natural hormones to help these patients regain balance in their hormonal system.
The affects of PMS can be brutal. Recently a patient of Dr Goode came to her and said, “If you don’t do something for me, my husband will be dead within a month.” She sounded serious. PMS and endometriosis respond very well to hormonal manipulation, and to dietary changes. Another woman suffering with endometriosis said to Dr. Goode after treatment, ” This is the first time in five years that I haven’t had to carry a heating pad around when I had my period.”
Many women in this age group also present with fibroids. Often the symptoms, heavy bleeding, clotting, etc., can be controlled with natural hormones that help to avoid surgical intervention.
It is with these women, and females of all ages, that Dr. Goode emphasizes a whole range of breast cancer prevention methods. Very much against commercial antiperspirants, Dr. Goode encourages every female patient to get rid of her aluminum-containing antiperspirant or deodorant and use a natural product. These chemicals are absorbed right into the skin of the breasts. Aluminum can mimic calcium deposits in the breast and cause unnecessary biopsies to be performed.
For further protection against breast cancer, she also encourages her patients to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sharply decrease the amount of pesticides and herbicides they take in by eating more organically grown food. Vitamin E at 400 to 800 units a day is also helpful, as well as Co-enzyme Q-10. For women who are at high risk for breast cancer, Dr. Goode also recommends they stop wearing underwire bras to avoid the constant trauma.
Perimenopause comes earlier now, anywhere from the late thirties up to about fifty. Some women in this group deal with the intractable problems of PMS fully half of the time. This is the group with the highest misery index, when it comes to PMS, because, at this point, many are not ovulating. Some women do not understand that you can have a period and not ovulate- you simply don’t get a progesterone surge in the second half of the cycle to balance your estrogen. The result is intense PMS, heavy bleeding, and other symptoms.
This is the group where a lot of unnecessary hysterectomies are performed, and avoiding a hysterectomy is much to be desired. Some women experience post-surgical structural changes that cause them pain with intercourse. Other women experience a total loss of libido after a hysterectomy. Others experience a huge hormonal shift that really throws them off balance, and the task is to attempt to regain that balance.
THE MENOPAUSAL WOMAN
In perimenopause, osteoporosis is an issue, but for the menopausal woman it is of even greater importance. Prevention of osteoporosis is a major goal in working with females of any age. Preventive measures include a good exercise program, because exercise helps increase bone density. Maintaining adequate hormone levels is important, and supplements are necessary for most women because they don’t get enough minerals from other sources. An alkaline diet and good bone-building formula are also important.
“For many women I’m working with, we are achieving an increase in bone density of about six to eight percent a year, a significant increase,” reports Dr. Goode.
Hormonal replacement is really critical in menopausal and perimenopausal women to avoid the effects of aging due to hormone loss. There can be changes in the skin, the integrity of bladder function, and problems with vaginal dryness, libido, and cognitive and mood disturbances. Natural hormone replacement therapy can slow or avert these processes.
Throughout the complex life cycle of today’s women, good nutrition and natural hormone treatment can make a difference in the quality and fulfillment of life.