A Great Solution For Hot Flashes

Several months ago, I began using a product called Personal Summer Comfort®, an all natural supplement designed to treat hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.  I went through menopause several years ago, but my thermostat is constantly set on high, and there are times, especially when the mercury climbs outside, when I burn up like the Mojave Desert.  I know you ladies who suffer from hot flashes are well acquainted with that sudden burst of intense heat which is guaranteed to make its sufferer completely miserable.

Personal Summer Comfort® is a high potency formula featuring a combination of herbs which work in tandem to support the nervous system and alleviate those dreaded hot flashes.  Rosemary has proven effects on estrogen balance by its ability to flush the liver of estrogen while also promoting the formation of 2-hydroxy estrogens, supports thyroid function, and  lowers cortisol levels. Sage, oat straw, sarsparilla, spirulina, and kelp, substances which are known for their effectiveness in treating hot flashes and night sweats, are used in this formula as well.

I opted to try Personal Summer Comfort® in the gel-caps, but for women who have trouble swallowing capsules, there is also a liquid formulation.  About a week after I began taking this supplement, I noticed that I was able to sleep at night without fighting a strong urge to throw the covers off my body.  I also noticed that I could comfortably cruise through my day without so much as a warning mini-hot flash.  I have even been able to run a flat iron through my hair on a hot day, a task which was absolute torture before I began taking Personal Summer Comfort®.

I always use myself as a guinea pig for supplements and other products which I endorse, because I have to believe in the product in order to promote it.  Well, I can honestly say that I am a big fan of Personal Summer Comfort®, and I’m thrilled that I can now recommend a product to my menopausal patients and friends which is completely natural, safe and highly effective. 

This is also a great time to start taking Personal Summer Comfort® if you have been suffering from hot flashes, night sweats and irritability.  With summer just around the corner, we ladies need all the help we can get to stay cool and calm!

Check out Personal Summer Comfort® at:

Personal Summer Comfort Homepage

Enter code big20off for 20% off your order.

 

Natural Antidepressant Combinations I Recommend

Despite the fact that I was trained in the traditional ways of medicine, I prefer to utilize natural supplements and foods to treat conditions, only turning to prescription medications as a last resort for my patients. I have a particular aversion to prescribing antidepressant medications, and honestly believe that such meds only serve as a bandage for the root cause, which almost invariably is a combination of hormonal imbalance and malnutrition.

When a patient comes to me complaining of symptoms of depression, I always recommend the following three supplements as part of the patient’s daily regimen:

Vitamin D
Folate 800 mcg
B-Complex

Once my patients are on this daily regimen for a few weeks, I have them visit for a follow-up to see if their symptoms have improved. If the improvement is marginal, I add SAMe and 5-HTP to the regimen, both of which are great for treating pain issues. As the patient treatment progresses, I order hormonal assays, checking the thyroid, adrenal glands, DHEA, IGF-1, testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol. If anything is off balance (and in most cases, something is), I will treat the imbalance directly with organ support compounds and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

In addition to natural supplements, I also recommend that patients consume whole foods, and avoid processed foods at all costs. I encourage them to find balance in their daily lives, and often demonstrate breathing exercises or discuss meditation with them. I also remind them to stop and enjoy what they have in their lives, to be grateful for what they have instead of dwelling on what they lack.

Rather than turn to SSRI’s, please consider the natural approach first if you are dealing with depression!

If you are in the Los Angeles area, and you would like to schedule an exam, please call Urban Med at (213) 406-8055 to make an appointment.

How To Keep Cool At Night

The one part about summer which I never miss is the endless string of hot nights which keep me tossing and turning. In an effort to keep the ambient temperature as comfortable as possible while I slumber, I have tried many different methods to cool down, and some still do the trick quite nicely. Thankfully, the mercury should start dropping soon, and the blazing hot nights will abate.

Here’s what has worked nicely for me in my quest for a cool sleeping environment:

1. Central A/C is always set for a certain temperature. We have it set at 77 degrees because at 78 degrees or higher, the entire household (there are four of us) bakes like incubating baby chicks.

2. The ceiling fan in my bedroom is always on. There’s nothing I can do about the fan placement, and often lament the fact that the fan is positioned over the foot of my bed instead of over my head, but the bedroom is huge. If I owned the place I live in, I would install three ceiling fans in line so that I could stay cool in bed, sitting in front of the television, or sitting at my desk on the other side of the room.

3. I have two sleek tabletop fans on my nightstands which are wonderful on hot nights. They have a slim profile, and are relatively quiet.

4. I always use 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, which have more of a tendency to stay cool than sheets which are a lower thread count or made of synthetic materials.

5. I have a cooling mattress pad on my mattress. The brand I have, PureCare Frio 11 Inch Cooling Mattress Protector, is acceptable but not great.

Frio Cooling Mattress Pad

Several other bloggers have recommended the Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad which is available at slumbercloud.com, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it does a better job of cooling than the Frio.

6. When I was dealing with the worst of my perimenopausal nights sweats, I would place an ice cold gel pack between my shoulder blades and sleep on my back so that I could maximize the surface area which came into contact with the pack. After two summers of using gel packs on a nightly basis, I am thrilled that I haven’t had to resort to such craziness this summer.

7. On the hottest summer nights, I will take a tepid shower before retiring. The shower ritual cools core body temperature and primes the body for more restful sleep.

8. I will often kick a foot or an entire leg out from under the covers to cool down. This has been scientifically proven to decrease core body temperature. Some researchers even recommend that people sleep with their feet completely unencumbered by socks or bedding.

What did NOT work for me was a bed fan. I had seen the BedJet Climate Comfort Cooling Fan and was intrigued by it, but the steep price ($300 and up) caused me to lose interest quickly. When I learned that there was a Brookstone version of the bed fan, and that it was $99, I quickly purchased it, only to be so disappointed by the performance that I returned it. Even with the lightweight sheets I have on the bed and a simple coverlet (no blanket, no heavy comforter), and with the fan cranked up to the maximum setting, the device spewed out just enough air power to keep the toes of one foot cool.

I am intrigued by the Breezy Buddy fan-cooled pillow and wish I had known about this product when I was in the throes of hormonal night sweats. However, I no longer need such a device.

If you are looking for ways to cool down your bedroom, you might want to try a few of the suggestions I have discussed here. Here’s to a restful and cool night’s sleep!

Sit Up Straight!

If you have a tendency to slouch in your seat, you need to pay attention! Poor posture has detrimental effects not only on the body, but also on one’s mood and general attitude.

Poor posture causes muscles in our neck and upper back to become overstretched, while causing other neck muscles and muscles in our torso and between our ribs to become cramped and overstimulated. The muscles in our chest become dominant, and pull our shoulders and upper arms inward and forward when we habitually adopt a stooped posture. This position puts a tremendous load on the diaphragm, and respiration suffers as a result. Even digestion becomes sluggish because the body cannot properly oxygenate and blood cannot circulate as well.

Poor posture can negatively impact your emotional state and confidence, not to mention how others perceive you. If you’re slouching right now, think of how you feel emotionally, mentally. Are you down, depressed? Now sit up straight and take a couple of nice, deep breaths. You should notice an immediate shift in attitude and mood.

Proper spinal alignment also has a positive effect on hormone levels. One Harvard study revealed that an erect posture, with shoulders back and spines nice and straight correlated with a 20 percent increase in testosterone levels and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol levels, while subjects who slouched experienced a 10 percent decrease in circulating testosterone levels and a 15 increase in cortisol.

Lastly, the way you carry yourself has immense bearing on how others perceive you. If you meet someone whose shoulders are pulled forward, your impression may be that the person isn’t the most motivated or energetic you’ve met. Yet if that person had a nice upright stance, with shoulders pulled down and back, your impression would probably be very different.

With some conscious effort, you can correct a hunched posture. Try this stretch at least a couple of times each day, and you will slowly begin to notice a correction in your posture. This is great for resetting the brain and creating more awareness of how you carry your body throughout the day.


AGAINST THE WALL

Stand with your back to a wall, feet together with heels touching wall, and arms hanging at your sides. Relax your shoulders, then pull them back so that they make contact with the wall. Stand in this position for 30 to 60 seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
When you are ready to step away from the wall, keep your shoulders in the same position. Be aware of how you are breathing, and how your back feels when your shoulders are kept back
.

poor-posture

Progesterone and Stress

We all know that constant stress can play havoc with our health and well being. In this post I will focus on the effects of excessive stress on progesterone levels.

Progesterone is produced in the ovaries, the adrenal glands, and in the placentas of pregnant women. It has a calming effect, is a natural diuretic, regulates menstrual cycles, and prepares the body for conception and pregnancy. Some women can experience excessive levels of progesterone, which usually produces symptoms of PMS, but in general, progesterone is a vital and beneficial hormone.

Let’s examine what happens to progesterone if you are a woman under constant and chronic stress. When the body is pummeled with endless stress, the adrenal glands simply cannot keep up with the demand for more cortisol, so they convert more pregnenolone into cortisol to make up for the deficit. However, this has devastating effects on progesterone levels, since progesterone is also synthesized from pregnenolone. Basically, a woman who deals with excessive amounts of stress not only overtaxes her adrenal glands, but progesterone concentration also drops to a precipitously low level. So that calming, diuretic effect of progesterone falls away, and menstrual cycles become erratic or periods cease altogether. Sounds like fun, huh?

I cam tell you that running on an empty tank of progesterone is no fun at all. You retain water, you get irritable and cranky, and you lose your ability to navigate calmly through stressful situations. If you depend on a regular menstrual cycle as a reassurance that all is right with the world, then living with the mystery of whether or when you might have a period can be maddening. I found out during perimenopause that I actually WANTED a period, and I thought I would never feel that way.

I began retaining water like crazy after attaining IFBB Pro Status last July, and I knew something just wasn’t right. I didn’t feel like I was in my own body, as strange as it sounds. I began flailing, and went through a rebound which was disturbing and unexpected. My emotional barometer was all over the place, and I couldn’t get out of the funk that I was in. Gaining eight pounds (which is considerable for me), most of which was water weight, made me even more depressed.

Another completely irritating set of symptoms which suddenly popped up at the end of January 2015, and which persisted every single night is that I would wake up at around 4 a.m., completely drenched in sweat and with a sensation which could best be described as being lit on fire from the inside. I would throw the covers off and quickly disrobe, then rather quickly fall asleep, only to awaken about 30 minutes later, shivering and pulling the covers over me.

The nightmare finally subsided to a great extent once I began replenishing my body with bioidentical progesterone in late February 2015. Though I still retained a bit of water for several months, my weight returned to a reasonable 120 pounds, versus the 125 I had been at in the Fall of 2014, my hot and cold episodes subsided, I felt much calmer, and more like myself. Now that I have been on bioidentical progesterone for two years, I have maintained balance and feel infinitely better.

Had I removed the stressors that I had some control over, I am firmly convinced I would not have bottomed out with my progesterone levels like I did. Even if I had engaged in meditation more regularly a couple of years ago, I think I could have saved my progesterone levels from bottoming out. Trust me when I say that progesterone depletion can be incredibly disruptive and upsetting. And don’t think for a second that this is only a problem which women past the age of 45 deal with. I have come across female patients as young as 32 who had almost no progesterone in their lab tests.

If you do one thing to improve your health, please reduce your stress! You can do this by removing the stressors that you have some control over, performing breathing exercises, tai chi, yoga, and meditation, enjoy time with friends, loved ones and pets more often, and letting go of anxiety and worry.

Waves In My Hair

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From the time I was an infant, I always had very straight hair, and like many girls with straight locks, I always longed for waves. My desire for beachy waves was so pronounced that I spent my twenties and thirties habitually swirling my hair into an up-do with a clip while it dried in hopes that waves would form and remain there. However, because my hair is so thick and heavy, the sheer heft would uncoil my attempt at making soft curls, leaving me with the straight hair my DNA locked me into.

My hair became even thicker after I began competing in 2009. While many other women my age were lamenting the loss of their locks, I experienced such a surge in fullness that for about a year, I shaved the nape of my neck to lessen the mass of hair I had. A lot of it had to do with the increased protein intake (up to 180 grams a day at one point) which I had to incorporate into my regimen while I prepped for competitions. My hair also grew much more rapidly, and in 2010, my hair grew ten inches in eleven months. How do I know this? Because the area I had shaven grew a full eleven inches in that span of time, and the overall length of my hair kept me visiting my hairstylist for trims every six weeks.

Then I entered peri-menopause. What a joyous time, when a commercial can send you into a fit of tears, layering clothing becomes essential because of the hot flashes and night sweats, and your skin decides that it no longer wants to fight against the pull of gravity. About a year after I began sailing on the rocky seas of menopause, I had a haircut by an amazing stylist who remains my regular stylist to this day.

By some very odd coincidence, I noticed a pronounced wave throughout my hair when I washed my hair several days later. I thought perhaps I hadn’t washed out the styling products completely, but my hair began to look wavier and wavier with every subsequent wash. This persisted for over a year, and continued to perplex and annoy me. I went from never styling my hair, to developing a blow-drying and flat-ironing regimen which I still haven’t perfected, even to this day.

The rogue waves in my hair don’t seem to have rhyme or reason either. The waves on the right side of my head which frame my face are much wavier than on the left side, and for whatever bizarre reason, the right side is resistant to my efforts to obliterate the kinks with a flat-iron, even if I treat small sections and repeatedly iron the sections.

The sudden nature of the change in my hair texture was alarming. I remember hearing women tell tales, which I figured were tall tales, about how the texture of their hair changed overnight. And here I experienced the exact thing.

While hormones play a large role in hair texture (thyroid, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone), it can be rather strange to wake up with waves you never had, or to go from uber-curly hair to arrow straight hair overnight. It’s like the hormone fairy has a special hair wand which she uses to transform a woman’s strands like magic. The other funny thing is that hair follicles may return to their original state after a few years. My hair is starting to calm down somewhat, and there are times when my hair will be almost arrow straight after drying naturally.

I love the theory which Jonathan Torch, the founder of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute, has devised. He maintains that changes in the tone of the muscles at the base of the hair follicles are the culprits in hair texture changes over time.

All I know is that my hair seems to have a mind of its own now!

“I’m Bloated!” – Cures For Premenstrual Bloating (REPOST)

belly bloatMany women suffer from premenstrual bloating, but most don’t know that there are specific foods and supplements which can treat it. Since many women experience bloating right before that special time of the month, I am listing the supplements and foods which I recommend to ease the water retention which can occur right before your period.

SUPPLEMENENTS:

1. Dandelion root – Try 3 capsules, three times daily for 3 to 4 days before your period to create a diuretic effect in your body.
2. Magnesium 400 mg – Take this one to two times daily. If you get diarrhea, back down to one 400 mg dose towards bedtime.
3. Gamma linoleic acid 400 mg – one tablet daily.
4. Vitamin C 1,000 mg – Take one capsule two times per day.
5. Vitamin B6 150 mg – Take one capsule daily.

FOODS:

1. bananas
2. cranberry juice or extract
3. raisins
4. asparagus

If your schedule is regular and you frequently suffer from water retention before your period, you can incorporate the supplements and foods listed above a few days before you expect your period.