Women’s Health


Stop Losing Sleep Over Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: The Cortisol Connection

If you experience hot flashes (called night sweats when they wake you up in the middle of the night), you know how unpleasant they can be. A hot flash feels as though your internal thermostat suddenly got stuck at 100-plus degrees. Your blood vessels dilate, sending a surge of warmth through your upper body, sometimes turning your skin red and blotchy. You may sweat profusely, soaking your clothing or bedsheets and then feel a chill as your body temperature suddenly drops back down to normal.

The deep discomfort of hot flashes often interrupts sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and impaired thinking and memory. The sleep loss can also cause a gradual decline in overall health and well-being.

While the exact causes of hot flashes are still unknown, they seem to be related to hormonal changes that impact the brain’s thermoregulatory center, mostly in women during menopause (though men are not immune). In fact, more than 80 percent of U.S. women report hot flashes, and the majority rate them as moderate to severe. Decreasing levels of estrogen may cause the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat) to become more sensitive to changes in body temperature. When the hypothalamus senses that your body is too warm, it triggers a cooldown sequence that results in a hot flash.

The Cortisol Connection

A 2015 study published in the May 2016 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism draws a connection between hot flashes and patterns in daily cortisol levels in midlife women.

In healthy adults, cortisol levels rise abruptly within 30 minutes of waking up, and then decline throughout the day. Low cortisol in the morning or throughout the day is usually a symptom of chronic illness or stress. High cortisol in the evening is often connected with continue reading

Do You Suffer from Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?

More and more women are complaining of symptoms they suspect might be related to their silicone breast implants — symptoms attributed to what is being referred to as Breast Implant Illness (BII). One Facebook Group devoted to the illness has more than 50,000 members, all of whom claim to be suffering from a variety of BII symptoms, which we list later in this post.

While a number of studies show no clear link between silicone breast implants and many of the symptoms being reported, at BioDesign Wellness Center, we believe that this is a serious health issue. So, when  women tell us they think what they’re experiencing is related to their implants, we listen.

Breast Implant Illness Image

First of all, the silicone used in breast implants doesn’t exist in nature. To the contrary, it is a chemical composition created by hydroxylating silica to form polydimethylsiloxane. And while this isn’t a highly toxic substance, it remains a foreign substance that is not biologically inert.

Several studies have demonstrated varying levels of IgG antibody reactive to this substance in humans. One study in particular — Human Immune Response To Polydimethylsiloxane (Silicone): Screening Studies In A Breast Implant Population — concluded, “Test results showed that patients with implants demonstrated statistically significant elevation in anti-silicone antibodies compared with the unimplanted control groups.” This evidence clearly shows an immune response, which has the potential to trigger inflammation. And that can cause or contribute to many of the symptoms women are reporting.

Unfortunately, even with this evidence, conventional medicine does not recognize BII as an official medical illness and has established no diagnostic criteria for continue reading

Hormone Replacement Therapy tampa fl

Part II: What You Can Expect with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Last week we introduced the first in our two-part series discussing hormone replacement therapy (see Part I: Hormone Replacement Therapy is Safe — When Done Right). Our objective in today’s post is to outline our approach to such a potentially life-changing treatment protocol to managing hormonal balance.

With this post, we offer a simple primer of the process involved in diagnosing and treating our female patients suffering a hormone deficiency. But most important, we want to let you know what you can expect from such treatments.

Since the outcome is obviously of upmost interest, maybe we should start with the end results you can expect as a part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Keep in mind that HRT is not a magic elixir, nor is it the Fountain of Youth. But we can pretty much bank on the fact that there will be positive visible, physical and emotional changes that cannot be denied.

According to our patients, the primary benefits of hormone replacement therapy include: continue reading

Hormone Replacement Therapy tampa fl

Part I: Hormone Replacement Therapy is Safe — When Done Right

Last week, we focused on the issues surrounding testosterone in men, addressing the pros and cons of testosterone replacement therapy (see: Setting the Record Straight on Testosterone Replacement Therapy). This week and next, we are exploring hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women.

Often maligned in the media, hormone replacement therapy has been linked to the development of cancers, as well as patients experiencing strokes and blood clots. But before we discuss more than a half-century of controversy, we should first explain what, exactly, hormones are and what is their role within the human body.

Hormones are the Messenger

As a big part of the body’s chemical messenger system, hormones have direct control over our blood sugar levels, the amount of sleep we get, our sexual desires, and well as stress responses, blood pressure, hunger, moods and more.

Examples of such hormones include:

  • Cortisol for stress and immune system regulation
  • Melatonin for sleep
  • Insulin and glucagon for controlling blood sugar
  • Sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), which influence fertility, libido, brain function, motivation, sleep, moods, and energy

While hormones indeed act as the body’s messengers, they also feature receptors that receive those messages. And these receptors can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on their behavior and the manner in which messages are received and processed.

So, when there is a problem with a patient’s hormones, it is most important to consider continue reading

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