Hormones from HELL!

Middle-aged people on bike ride looking healthy and happy


A common scenario with patients is a woman being treated with post-menopausal hormones from her gynecologist. I don’t know why gynecologists don’t know more about post-menopausal hormones, but many of them are pretty clueless as to what works best and what women need after hitting the “menopausal wall”.

In a case I recently saw, a woman given a lozenge to suck on that contained three different hormones blended together. There were many problems with this formula that perplexed me as to how any knowledgeable doctor could prescribe hormones this way.

The Three Problems

There are three problems with this modality of hormone administration.

First, oral estrogen has been shown to increase the risk of blood clots that could lead to heart attacks or stroke. Invariably the hormones in the lozenge, although designed to be absorbed in the mouth, get swallowed in saliva and end up in the stomach. Secondly, there was no rhythm to the hormones that in any way replicated the normal hormone cycle before menopause. And thirdly, there was no testosterone. Testosterone is so vital for women for maintaining muscle tone, metabolism, brain function, down regulating breast estrogen receptors, preventing osteoporosis and improving cholesterol.

Her hormone program was simply directed at one thing — symptoms. There was no attention paid whatsoever towards physiology or metabolism in her body.

This is the most common mistake I see in my patients who have been treated by a previous practitioner.

The Mission of Anti-Aging Medicine

When I replace hormones for women, I take into account “the whole picture”.  It is easy to get rid of menopausal symptoms. But what I am most concerned with is improving metabolism and helping the person be as healthy as possible as she ages. This is the true mission of “Anti-Aging Medicine”. It is not to stop the aging process, but to assure continued good health as the individual ages.

When women go into menopause the risk of many diseases dramatically begins to rise due to the loss of hormones. These include the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, breast cancer, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and diabetes, to name a few.

The goal for replacing hormones for women in menopause is not just about getting rid of those nasty annoying hot flashes and night sweats (which is relatively quite easy to do) but to prevent the occurrence of age-related disease.

Hormone Replacement is Not “One Style Fits All”

There are a number of different protocols available now as we learn more about hormone replacement safety. It is no longer a matter of ‘one style fits all’ like in the past. Every woman has her own unique metabolic requirements which can be determined by a careful history and focused blood testing. A customized hormone ‘menu’ should then be prescribed that is continually assessed, reevaluated and adjusted to assure that the intended goals are being attained.

We are living in a scientific information age that affords us the benefit of utilizing new knowledge as it becomes available to improve our lives.

Success Story

I love success stories!

I saw a female patient in my office last week who I recently switched over to pellets from hormone creams. She had been complaining that she couldn’t lose weight. She had a roll of fat around her middle (the dreaded Muffin Top) where she had always been slim and with a flat belly. It was very disheartening to her as she worked diligently on her diet and exercised aggressively almost every day with a trainer, or classes in Pilates, yoga etc. No matter what she did, she could not melt away the fat around her middle. She had been in menopause about 4 or 5 years and had started bio identical hormone replacement at that time with transdermal creams. She noticed that since that time she seemed to be steadily putting on 3-5 pounds per year.

We discussed her hormones and decided to switch things around.

I implanted a testosterone pellet and instructed her to stop her other hormones after a week.

It is now 6 weeks later, and she reported back to me that she is already noticing a difference in her metabolism. She feels that her muscle tone in improving from her exercise, and she is thrilled to report that she has already lost 5 pounds.

If you feel that you are not being properly evaluated or you don’t feel as good as you hoped, then we should talk!

Would you like to maximize your health?  Call (310) 393-2333 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Liebowitz or book your appointment on line.

Dr. Howard Liebowitz
Dr. Howard Liebowitz served as a board-certified Emergency Physician for 30 years. He evolved as a healer by integrating his traditional training in Internal Medicine, his ER experience and his studies in functional medicine. Functional medicine is a discipline that strives to reverse the course of a disease rather than just treating the symptoms, which is what most traditional medicine does.


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