To continue yes…

ImageTo continue yesterday’s blog on Women’s Libido: How to Make Sex Better

6.  Stay away from synthetic hormones.  Now this direction presents a problem.  How do you avoid pregnancy without birth control pills?  I give this direction only to women who have the ability to be in control of their bodies and be responsible.  If you can’t be responsible, then continue to use OCPs, and just try to supplement your libido with natural remedies.  But if you can be responsible, then do away with synthetic hormones.  Barrier methods of contraception such as the diaphragm, or the IUD have 95% or greater success.  A very simple procedure to help prevent pregnancy is the cervical mucus test.  Around ovulation the mucus changes character.  This period can then be identified and avoiding intercourse can prevent pregnancy.  If a woman wants to follow natural methods for contraception, but whose cycle is irregular can be returned to a regular monthly cycle with homeopathic hormones given according to the lunar calendar. 

It is important to understand that the endocrine system works together. When one hormone is deficient, other hormones follow suit.  Consider hormones like the legs of a stool.  If one leg gets short, the body tries to stabilize the stool by robbing hormones from the other legs, shortening them.  So adrenal insufficiency brought on by overstimulation of the adrenals can lead to other endocrine deficiencies, such as the sex hormones and thyroid. The immune system and the thymus are involved, too, because immune response is inhibited by abnormal hormone levels.

 Both hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are necessary in the female cycle and their balance is key for full health. Many women in our culture have an imbalance of these hormones, especially, insufficient levels of progesterone to counter excessive estrogen — an imbalance further exacerbated by chronic stress. Progesterone is a hormone important to a number of body functions. During times of stress or conditions of chronic adrenal hyper-stimulation, progesterone is capable of being converted into the stress hormone cortisol.

When one goes through chronic or severe long-term stress, the hypothalamus at first triggers an overproduction of the adrenal hormones (especially cortisol and DHEA). This eventually leads to adrenal insufficiency, a state in which the exhausted adrenals cannot respond adequately.

The thyroid gland is also adversely affected by chronic stress.This gland’s roles include regulating calcium metabolism and glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose for body energy fuel. Under normal conditions, the fight-or-flight response causes the thyroid to increase glucose breakdown. In conditions of chronic stress, however, the thyroid is continually overstimulated and eventually becomes depleted. Thyroid function is also disrupted by excessive estrogen, but this can be prevented by adequate progesterone levels.

Symptoms of Overall Endocrine Deficiency

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid functioning) and especially hypothyroidism (low functioning) have become more common in women. The classic symptoms of hypothyroidism include sluggishness, early morning fatigue, cold extremities, lowered basal temperature and menstrual problems, including scanty periods.

Adrenal and other hormonal gland dysfunctions can cause some of the above symptoms and more, including cravings for sweets, weight gain, allergies, heart palpitations, insomnia, depression, fatigue, poor memory, foggy thinking, headaches, nervousness, inability to concentrate, recurrent infections and glucose intolerance.

One very damaging adrenal dysfunction is excessive cortisol production, which causes, among other serious problems, increased calcium mobilization from the bones, leading to osteoporosis, or loss of bone density. In a person with a healthy stress response, excessive levels of cortisol are automatically buffered. Constant stress destroys this feedback loop.

Testing to Establish a Baseline

Comprehensive hormonal testing should be performed to establish a baseline before a woman chooses any kind of hormonal treatment, and then should be repeated periodically thereafter. Note, however, that “normal” (negative) results from conventional laboratory diagnostic tests do not always mean normal function. It is better to use a laboratory like Genova Diagnostics.  There testing can be done and interpreted through more enlightening alternative methods.

By evaluating hormonal changes over a 24-hour period, a pattern can be determined and a treatment protocol designed. An effective plan involving natural hormones, nutritional support and various stress-relief therapies can be successfully implemented to reestablish the proper menstrual dynamics, hormonal balance and well-being.

Transdermal Delivery System for treating hormone deficiencies.

The first treatment consideration for improving libido is, as mentioned earlier, that the maladaptive stress response must be interrupted so that sex hormones will no longer be converted for stress purposes. Women must know that, until these conversion pathways are closed, supplementation with the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone is of little value because they will easily be converted. First, therefore, proper levels of the adrenal hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) need to be reestablished.

Once that is accomplished, hormonal restoral of estrogen and progesterone is best accomplished with transdermal creams using a dual-phase approach, which uses estrogen-dominant (only if estrogen is deficient) supplementation during the first 14 days and progesterone supplementation during the second 14 days.

In general, women are not estrogen deficient.  In fact, often there is an overabundance of estrogen effect in the body. Now much of this estrogen effect is not from naturally produced human estrogen, however, but from the estrogen-mimicking chemicals we ingest in our food.  Hormones fed to cows for milk production and growth, estrogen-like compounds in plastics, even the water we drink contains estrogen, probably from oral contraceptives released in our water supply.  So generally what women need to balance the estrogen effect is more progesterone.  This is especially true as women get older and accumulate more fat deposits because fat also releases estrogen. Unfermented soy, as in soy milk, soy nuts, or soy substitutes should therefore be avoided by women, as they add to the estrogen effect.

A transdermal (rubbed onto the skin) hormonal cream supplement works best. It is easily applied and delivered.  Hormones that are taken by mouth get digested just like any other substance, and the hormone is lost.  Transdermal application bypasses the obstacle of breakdown in the digestive system or liver. Also, the best placement is as close to nature as possible, through the vaginal mucosa. That provides placement close to the ovaries where their effects are most important, or distribution through the same pelvic blood vessels that nature would use.  While the use of these creams or any other hormonal therapy should be initiated under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner, the creams provide an individual the ability to adjust the dosage to the exact amount needed during each phase. Supplementing with both phyto-estrogen (from natural plant sources) and progesterone will re-balance the natural monthly cycle. Pre-menopausal women should use the phyto-estrogen cream from day one through 15 of their monthly cycle (day one is first day of menses); the progesterone cream should be used from day 16 through 28. Postmenopausal women can create a cycle by using the lunar cycle.  From new moon to full moon is estrogen and from full moon to new is progesterone. After four cycles, women should get fully retested to see whether the dosages of the creams and other supplements need further adjustment.

Transdermal Supplementation of Progesterone

Hormones need only be rubbed once or twice a day into the mucous membranes. However, what typically works wonderfully initially can invariably stop working because of  “dermal fatigue”.  Progesterone is highly fat-soluble and once applied will store itself in fat tissue. The fat tissue becomes saturated with the hormones and they will actually stop working or can even make symptoms worse. When one initially uses the cream, there aren’t any problems as the fat stores are very low. But as time goes on, the cream accumulates and contributes to disruptions of the adrenal hormones such as DHEA, cortisol, and testosterone. Although progesterone cream is an enormously useful tool, it needs to be used very cautiously. Progesterone is normally a cyclical hormone and the body really needs to see a change in the concentration to affect a proper physiological response. If the level is constantly above the concentration that it recognizes as “off” or low, this is not possible. Therefore, it is imperative to check levels with treatment, and use pulse therapy.

For most premenopausal women the dose is applied for 14 days before expected menses, stopping the day or so before menses.  So the cream is applied for twelve days and then stopped, typically starting on day 12 of the cycle and stopping on day 26. The abrupt lowering of the progesterone level is the primary stimulus for menses to start.  Hopefully when it starts any PMS and painful periods will be dramatically reduced.

When a women is in menopause she should use the lunar cycle, starting on the full moon and ending 2 days before the new moon.

For most women a single daily application will work. However, because the half-life is relatively short, some women find that they get a more satisfactory response by splitting the daily dose in two, half in the morning and half in the evening.

A common preparation used for progesterone replacement is Dioscorea villosa or wild yam.  One of the problems, however, with buying products in America is just because it claims to be something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. So I prefer to buy my products from Seroyal where they are made in Europe.  By European standards, they must have in the product what they say they have.  And the Genestra brand is the highest quality pharmaceutical grade product I’ve found. 

A combination product, Multi Gyn, has been helpful for women to get hormonally balanced.  Both Multi Gyn and Dioscorea cream can be ordered here:  http://stores.lindacheekmd.com/-strse-Nutriceuticals-cln-Hormonal-support/Categories.bok

Testosterone Deficiency

Testosterone is just as important for the woman’s libido as it is for men.  Progesterone serves as the testosterone precursor in the ovary’s production of testosterone. So when progesterone is deficient, so is testosterone.  Hysterectomies with bilateral oophorectomies are much more commonplace today, as symptoms of hormone deficiency causing abnormal uterine bleeding are often treated by unnecessary surgery.  Women should avoid removal of their reproductive organs, even when not useful anymore.  The body should be considered a whole, and all parts contribute to the entire well-being.  Surgery to remove organs that are, by conventional standards, considered unnecessary, should be eliminated. Luckily, for women who have had their ovaries removed, the body can still produce testosterone through the adrenals.  However, testosterone deficiency is still a problem.  Testosterone levels should be checked if there is plan to treat with any form of testosterone cream.  Treating women with testosterone is not conventionally accepted at this point, but there are a lot of doctors doing it.  The problem is that there are side effects of testosterone treatment that make this method difficult.

What I would like to recommend is a natural testosterone replacement that the body uses as it needs.  This is with the gemmotherapy, Quercus pedonculata, and is the “magical treatment” for libido that I mentioned at the onset of this article.

Gemmotherapy

Gemmotherapy is a branch of phytotherapy (more specifically embryophytotherapy) which was discovered by Henri Pol Bruxele and colleagues in 1965. Gemmotherapy incorporates the buds of fresh plants or embryonic tissues in the growth phase, such as young shoots. These tissues are rich in growth factors, including phyto hormones, auxins and gibberellins. The active principles in the gems are present which start to disappear after a plant reaches a certain point in its growth. Glycerin is used to concentrate these embryonic factors in the remedy.

Quercus pedonculata, or oak buds, acts on adrenal insufficiency and decreased libido.  It acts not as testosterone itself, or it would be broken down by the digestive tract since it is taken orally.  Instead, it is the precursor to testosterone, and the body uses it to produce its own testosterone.  In this manner, you don’t get overdosed or have side effects of being overtreated.

For women, the standard dose is 50 drops (1/2 teaspoon) twice a day. It is recommended to take Quercus for three months before evaluation of its effect.  If the desired effect is not achieved, look more at adrenal stress, continue to treat that, and then continue with the Quercus in a pulsed treatment–3 months on, one month off. This helps the body avoid treatment fatigue.

Quercus can be purchased on my website.  Go to http://stores.lindacheekmd.com/-strse-Nutriceuticals-cln-Hormonal-support/Categories.bok.

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