Menopause Unedited 01

Robin's Change of Life
“The biggest shift in my life was when I started menopause. I went to the doctor — and I’ll never forget — she shook her head. She had the saddest look on her face, and she just said, 'Life, as you know it, is over.’ I can remember thinking, what is menopause? What’s in store for me? I’ve not only learned everything I could about my hormones and about my body, but I’ve learned everything that I can that affects my skin, my diet, my fitness, my energy levels. The bottom line regarding menopause is, ladies, get excited. Celebrate! It’s OK; it’s fun. It’s probably the best time of your life.”

The Doctors welcome Dr. Phil's better half to the stage.

“In your new book, you dedicated a
whole chapter to hormones, which I think is phenomenal,” Dr. Lisa says.

“I think for a woman to not have her hormones balanced and healthy, it's really hard to focus on anything else,” Robin says.

Hormone Replacement Therapy
Forty-seven-year-old Deann feels like she is losing her mind to exhaustion, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Robin takes Deann to her gynecologist, Dr. Prudence Hall, to get her back on track. Deann receives a workup to get to the root of her problems, and Dr. Hall reveals the results. Deann’s estrogen level is 79, but it should be between 175 and 250.

"If we didn’t treat you, it would get much worse than this,” Dr. Hall says. She says that Deann’s testosterone level is in the normal range. Deann’s follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) shows that she’s perimenopausal. The normal range is 1.9 to 6, and Deann’s level is 7.5. Dr. Hall suggests that Deann replace her hormones with bioidentical hormones, the same ones that her body produces naturally. The hormones are compounded and mixed in a cream base and applied to the skin. "This is an individualized style of medicine, and it's unique to you," Dr. Hall explains.

Back in the studio, Dr. Lisa explains the difference between perimenopause and menopause. “Perimenopause starts around 45, and menopause around 50, for the average woman. Menopause just means when your periods have stopped for about a year. Perimenopause is that transition time when you start to get symptoms of hot flashes, you may have irregular periods.”

Robin says she hit menopause when she turned 43. “My worst symptom, at that period, was hot flashes. They were horrible,” she says.


More from The Doctors

For additional information on managing menopause, including the diet and supplemental ways to minimize symptoms, click here.

"Bioidentical hormones are exactly the same hormones that women create in their own bodies," Dr. Hall explains, adding that they are extracted from soy and yams. “Pharmaceutical companies do make the bioidentical hormones, and then there are also the compounded hormones,” she says. Synthetic hormones are not bioidentical. “It was miraculous that they came up with this — pregnant mare’s urine that has similar types of hormones as our normal female hormones, but it really didn’t do the trick.”

Deanne accompanies Robin to get her prescription filled for bioidentical hormones. They meet with Sharon, the owner or Central Pharmacy, who shows them her compounding lab, which custom-blends each customer’s prescriptions.

Back in the studio, Dr. Travis eats a piece of candy that is used to administer estrogen.

Dr. Lisa adds that women can take estrogen in the form of vaginal rings and creams. “There’s a great option called the Mizzou-Pallet, which a lot of people don’t know about because it’s actually used in Europe; it’s not FDA-approved here,” she says. “It gives you hormone replacement for three months, and it doesn’t give you the up and down that taking hormones by mouth does.”

Sharon Steen, owner of the Central Pharmacy, explains the quality control measures that her company uses. “We have specially trained staff that go and learn how to compound. They learn how to use the equipment. We have standard operating procedures,” she says. “It’s important to have what we call the triad, which is the pharmacist/doctor/patient relationship.”

Dr. Hall reveals the cost of hormone replacement therapy. A vaginal ring costs about $80 per month. The compounded bioidentical estrogens cost about $20.

Deann, who has been on the bioidentical hormones for 10 days, says she feels incredible. “I got my life back. I just want to thank Robin for taking me there and taking me through this process.”

Share your thoughts about bioidentical hormones.

Hormone Therapy Goes on the Couch

Bioidenticals, a type of hormone replacement therapy, is examined when Susie from Houston, Texas, joins via web cam to ask, “I’m in my late forties and I’ve been taking bioidenticals and I feel absolutely fantastic!” she crows, “But are there any dangerous side effects that I should be aware of?”


Dr. Lisa explains that bioidenticals mimic the estrogen and progesterone that the body produces, and are manufactured to have the same molecular structure as those in the body. They are considered “natural,” and thus different from conventional hormone therapy, which are synthetic. Dr. Lisa thinks that hormone replacement therapy has a lot of benefits, but should always be taken under the supervision of a doctor, especially if she is at risk for breast cancer or heart disease.


Dr. Lisa adds that if a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer while she’s on hormone replacement therapy, she has a much lower mortality rate than someone who is not. However, if a woman is estrogen-receptor positive, then the risks of cancer are greater.


Balancing Hormones
If you’re feeling tired, groggy or forgetful, the culprit may not be the common stressors of life such as work, family and kids – it may be your hormones. Gynecologist and hormone specialist Dr. Prudence Hall says a woman’s health, personality and happiness are inextricably linked to her hormone levels.

“When a woman’s hormones become imbalanced, she experiences depression, weight gain, anxiety, sleeplessness and lack of sensuality,” Dr. Hall says. “Replace the hormones and the symptoms disappear.”

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor for a complete hormone workup.

"As women, we're hormonal beings," Dr. Lisa says. The fluctuation of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during a woman's menstrual cycle plays an important role in regulating mood. “Hormones affect the body, skin, food cravings and mood because they also affect the brain," she explains.

Perimenopause can start as early as age 35, and menopause starts around age 50. But hormone levels can start changing as early as a woman’s 30s. “Menopause is when your period actually stops,” Dr. Lisa says. “But all of those changes, the symptoms, and the period actually change because of the hormones.”

Understanding Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones mimic the estrogen and progesterone that the body produces, and are manufactured to have the same molecular structure as those hormones in the body. They are extracted from soy and yams, and are considered natural, and thus different from conventional hormones, which are synthetic. Synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones are not the same.

Hormone replacement therapy should always be taken under the supervision of a doctor, especially if a woman is at risk for breast cancer or heart disease. If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer while she’s on hormone replacement therapy, she has a much lower mortality rate than someone who is not. However, if a woman is estrogen-receptor positive, then the risks of cancer are greater.

When a woman reaches menopause, the risk of suffering from a heart attack is equal to that of a man. “Bioidentical hormones help prevent 75 percent of heart attack deaths,” Dr. Hall says.

Robin, best-selling author of What’s Age Got to Do with It?: Living Your Happiest and Healthiest Life, shares her experience with menopause and hormone replacement therapy.

“Two of the smartest things I’ve ever done in my entire life were to make sure I have balanced my hormones and to really embrace menopause,” Robin says. “I look at it in a positive way, in a life-changing way for the better, to a healthier me.”

Robin devoted an entire chapter to hormones in her book. Read it here

Menopause Options
“E” was so taken aback by menopause that she wrote a book, Shmirshky: Think Inside the Book, chronicling her experience. “No one told me that one day, I would not be able to think clearly,” E says. “That I would not be able to grab a thought or remember my kids’ names, or I would start gaining weight, that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, that my libido would be crashing, that I would have random hot flashes.

“And then,” she continues, “If that’s not enough, no one told me that my “shmirshky” would spend some time in the Sahara desert.”

More About Menopause

Hear what Dr. Eric Braverman has to say about what diet and nutritional supplements  minimize the symptoms of menopause. WATCH...

Foods that Fight Menopause

Managing Menopause
Do you find yourself forgetting things? The car keys? Someone’s name? Are they minor so-called senior moments or indicators of something more serious?


Guest anti-aging specialist Dr. Eric Braverman explains, “When a woman reaches menopause, they get a domino effect from a dying ovary. And that domino effect snowballs into their memory, their weight, their attention and the stability of their mood.

He says that the ovaries start out as the size of a peanut in childhood, then grow to the size of a walnut after puberty, then shrink back down to the size of a peanut during and after menopause, no longer delivering vital estrogen and progesterone. “It affects your entire body,” Dr. Braverman says.

Hot Flash Relief

Dr. Lisa says menopause should be met with excitement, not dread. "It should be a positive time!" she says. See why a hot flash occurs and how to beat the heat

He adds that no matter how much they exercise, women’s muscles will turn fatty like a marbled steak and their brains will fill up with water. “By the age of 52,” the doctor continues, “the average woman will lose 20 points on their IQ.”

However, Dr. Braverman asserts that “women do not have to age like this.” He advocates that women exercise and change their diet radically. An aggressive intake of teas, herbs, spices, vitamins and anti-inflammatory foods will keep their minds sharp, their hormones functioning properly and their bodies slim and trim.

Chris, 49, went to see Dr. Braverman at his practice in New York and just two months later, reports that she’s lost 25 pounds, and lowered both her cholesterol and her blood pressure. “I feel fabulous! It’s amazing,” Chris says with a smile.

Menopause at 13?

Next, 19-year-old Brittany started her menstrual cycle at age 11. At age 13, she was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure and went into menopause. Dr. Lisa explains that a woman’s menstrual cycle acts as a vital sign for her body. It can indicate whether there are problems or abnormalities elsewhere in the body.


Menstruation actually begins in the brain, which sends the chemical messengers LH and FSH to the ovaries; the ovaries are then stimulated to produce and release the hormones estrogen and progesterone; which then stimulates the uterus to shed the uterine lining.


The average age of pre-menopause is 45 and the average age of menopause is 50. Dr. Lisa explains that hormone replacement therapy, exercise, vitamins, calcium, Vitamin B, black cohosh root and primrose oil are all means to alleviate the symptoms of menopause. Decreasing blood pressure helps as well.


Dr. Lisa reassures Brittany that despite the ovarian failure, there are options in development that could allow Brittany to still have her own genetic child. Dr. Travis chimes in that she can always turn to adoption for children as well.


Tim Walsh, Integrative Medicine Specialist at the Hall Center in Santa Monica, California, studies bioidentical hormone replacement. He explains that the Hall Center addresses adrenal, endocrine and thyroid hormones as well the digestive system, detoxification systems, diet, exercise; and the mental/emotional health and well-being of the patient. He explains that stress and toxicity can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, which is closely tied to thyroid disease and menopause.


The Hall Center ran a type of thyroid test called the Thyroflex on Brittany, which evaluated her thyroid hormone sufficiency at the tissue level. Tim reports that Brittany’s thyroid tested within optimal ranges and offers to conduct further tests and provide treatment for her.


Sooner or later, every woman faces menopause, the cessation of her period when the ovaries decrease production of the hormone estrogen. Sharon says she’s currently going through it and suffering the symptoms. She isn’t taking any hormone medication, craves carbohydrates and sweets every three hours and has gained 40 pounds in four years, and 10 pounds last month. “I’m very frustrated and worried about my health,” she says.

“This is a problem that a lot of women going through menopause have,” Dr. Lisa assures her. “Estrogen is very important to the body. People don’t realize that those hormones help your skin, help your teeth, help your bones, and they also regulate things like cholesterol and body fat. So as that estrogen goes down, you get increased body weight and increased body fat, and mostly that fat is shifted to your abdomen, the wrong place that we want the fat.”

Dr. Lisa stresses the importance of increasing exercise and maintaining a healthy diet. Women should also make sure to drink enough milk, which contains calcium and vitamin D, eat enough iron-rich foods like spinach and get enough vitamin C. “You have to be really good about getting your vitamins now because the estrogen, the lack of those hormones, will really cause other things to be depleted,” Dr. Lisa says. “Right now the recommendation for hormones is the shortest duration and only for symptoms, meaning hot flashes, insomnia, things like that and not necessarily appetite changes.”

Suffering through menopause? Try
these foods to keep your mind and body sharp.

how you can minimize the symptoms of menopause.



Explaining Menopause
Should women receive time off for menopause? Dr. Lisa describes the severity of some women’s symptoms and offers treatment suggestions. Next up, studies have shown that girls are starting puberty 18-months earlier than their mothers did, and two years earlier than their grandmothers did. What could be the cause? Dr. Lisa explains that fat triggers hormones like estrogen, and suggests that obesity could be a considerable factor.


Chronic UTIs

Dr. Lisa explains that women who have gone through menopause have decreased levels of estrogen, which will often increase the amount of bacteria in the vaginal area and cause UTIs.


Women and Smoking
Research suggests that women who smoke may have their first heart attack 15-years sooner than if they don’t smoke; smoking decreases estrogen, which protects the heart. The decreased estrogen also hastens menopause. If you’ve always wanted to kick the habit, this should be reason enough!


Hot Flash Spray
Evamist is the only FDA-approved estrogen spray that can help ease hot flashes often brought on by menopause. "It does have estrogen in it, so you should talk to your doctor about using it first," advises OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson. Evamist is available by prescription only.






Bone Density
Women are predisposed to bone density deficiencies because estrogen plays such a critical role in bone, brain and skin health. Bone loss begins after age 30, but when a woman goes through menopause, estrogen decreases dramatically and bones weaken. As women age, 15 percent of them will fracture their hip, and of those 15 percent, close to 20 percent will die within a year of the fracture.

Thyroid disease and vitamin deficiency can contribute to bone loss, so it is important to undergo regular bone scans. There’s an arsenal of medications that can be used to combat bone loss, but they need to be started as soon as a problem is detected. Soda, smoking and drinking all increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss, but weight-bearing exercises and calcium supplements can help to keep bones healthy and strong.


Bone Mineral Density Test
The best and most effective evaluation of bone health is a bone mineral density (BMD) test. See how a BMD test is performed.





Preventing Osteoporosis
Preserve and maintain the health of your bones with these simple tips:

• Get at least 10 minutes of sun every day
• Check your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss.
• Eat foods rich in calcium
• Avoid salt
• Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine
• Perform weight-bearing exercises, activities that allow your structure to support your weight.

Add these foods to your diet:
• Salmon
• Fish
• Squash
• Sesame seeds
• Sweet potatoes

"I even talk to kids about bone health," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "You're making new bone only until about age 30 and then after that it starts to decrease. So you've got to get the good diet and the good exercise in when you're young."



Female Pattern Baldness

Lacey, 26, is struggling with female pattern baldness. She tearfully recounts that she first started seeing changes in her hair when she was 21, and has since spent $4,000 - $5,000 on treatments and remedies.

Hair restoration specialist Dr. Craig Ziering explains that hair loss affects more than 25 million women in the United States and is generally caused by a shrinking hair follicle. Hormones, thyroid problems, stress, genetic pre-disposition, polycystic ovary syndrome, menopause and pregnancy can all contribute to hair loss, so it’s important to consult your doctor if you notice changes in your locks.


Hair Restoration

The Revage670 laser uses a rotating phototherapy technique to stimulate hair growth. Watch a demonstration HERE...

Dr. Ziering demonstrates a brand new laser called the Revage670, which uses a rotating phototherapy technique to stimulate the cellular metabolism of the hair follicle and increase blood flow to the scalp. The laser is cool, rather than heated, which eliminates the need for analgesic agents or numbing creams.

The treatment costs approximately $3,000 to $5,000 and is recommended for a year, with maintenance sessions on an as-needed basis. Apira Science offers Lacey a year’s worth of treatments at the Central Ohio Skin Laser Center and Lacey dissolves into tears. “Thank you,” she whispers gratefully.


The Sex Patch
The loss of libido and menopause go hand in hand for millions of women. A new product, however, may change that. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine says a testosterone patch may help post-menopausal women rediscover their sex drive. “As you get post-menopausal, what happens is not only your estrogen goes down, but also your testosterone,” Dr. Lisa says. “And the testosterone gives you that lovin’ feeling.

“[The patch] can really help a lot of women,” she continues, “because libido, or that sexual desire, really does a lot for a woman’s self image, and when that goes down, she can get depressed, she can feel bad about her body.”

The patch is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but Dr. Lisa says it has “big potential.”


Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
Estrogen keeps the vagina moist, elastic and lubricated. As a woman approaches menopause, her estrogen levels decrease rapidly, causing vaginal dryness. Vaginal rings, suppositories and creams  contain estrogen that can help lubricate the vagina and restore sexual health.

Vitamin E oil can also be used to improve vaginal lubrication.

“You can use it locally in the vagina, simply by applying some of the oil directly, even if you’re not planning on having sex,” Dr. Lisa says. “But this shouldn’t be the only thing you’re trying; you should also use the lubricant of your choice during sex. Vaginal dryness can have several causes including hormones and age, but if it’s a persistent problem, definitely bring it up with your gynecologist.”


Lower Weight, Lower Libido?

Tanya, 41, lost 220 pounds after having gastric-bypass surgery seven years ago, but she has also lost her libido. She says that she does not think about sex, and having sex feels like a chore. She and her husband Marc, 43, are concerned it is due to early menopause or a medical problem brought on by the bypass surgery.

Since having the surgery, Tanya has taken multivitamins and iron supplements, and had the Depo-Provera birth-control shot for about a year. “Depo-Provera is an injection, a progestin shot, that you get every three months, but it lasts for a lot longer than that. Not for contraception, but just in your body and affecting your hormones,” Dr. Lisa says. “For some women, this can actually drive down testosterone and affect the libido, so it’s really important to get your hormones checked, not because of menopause or the bypass surgery causing your menopause, but because maybe having gone on the shot, it may have shifted your hormones during this time, and they can’t quite get back to normal.”

Tests by
BiophysicalSex&Energy reveal that Tanya’s testosterone levels are low, as are her ferritin levels, which measure iron in the body, and she is anemic. A follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level test shows that Tanya is not menopausal. Dr. Lisa suggests possibly taking a combination of estrogen and testosterone to help Tanya’s hormone levels get back to normal.


New Year’s Resolutions with Robin McGraw
The new year is here, and it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions! Whether your goal is to get fit, eat right or improve your appearance, The Doctors and guest co-host, Robin McGraw, a New York Times best-selling author and passionate and outspoken advocate for women's health, want to help you learn to stick to your resolutions.

“We, as women, need to take care of ourselves. We need to put ourselves at the top of the list sometimes,” says the devoted wife and mother of two sons. “It just comes down to a choice: It’s that you live every day of your life wanting to be the healthiest, the happiest, that you could possibly be.”

Robin shares the secrets behind her new book, What’s Age Got to Do with It? “I put my age on the front of the book because I am 55 years old and very proud of it,” she says. “I feel like at 55, I have enough experience to share with women out there. It’s for every age group.” She explains that when she was 32 years old, her mother passed away unexpectedly at age 58, and at that point she transformed the way she took care of herself. “I took her tragedy, and I changed how I live, and I just really feel passionate about getting that message out to other women.”

Robin stresses the importance of women taking the time to care for themselves, as well as those they love. “I feel like I was put on this earth to be a wife and mother. I’m very passionate about that. That’s my role, but I’ve never, ever forgotten that I’m also a woman, and I’ve let my whole family know that,” she says. Shortly after her first son, Jay, executive producer of The Doctors, was born, she realized that women had to set boundaries for themselves and live by them. She also let her husband and sons know that even though she was a woman, she was just as important as they were. She tells all women, “It is not selfish to put yourself first.”

What’s Age Got to Do with It? is on sale now. Read an excerpt.

Look 10 years younger in Minutes

Dr. Drew Ordon injects Lisa's nasal-labial lines with Juvederm Ultra Plus. WATCH...

The Fifties
Many women dread turning 50. Lisa, 49, says she is definitely in that group, and has even planned a funeral-themed 50th birthday party where everyone will be dressed in black to mourn -- rather than celebrate -- the occasion. She says her fears about turning 50 include facial wrinkles, menopause, weight gain and her overall health.

Lisa stays young at heart by keeping herself in a youthful environment, being a “groupie” with her husband’s rock ‘n’ roll band and wearing hand-me-down clothes from younger people.

To help Lisa cope with aging, Dr. Ordon gives her a big surprise: facial injections of Juvederm Ultra Plus, the longest-lasting filler available, to help diminish the fine lines and wrinkles around her mouth. Lisa and The Doctors think she looks 10 years younger with just a 10-minute procedure.

“This is good now,” Lisa says. “You’ve got me back down to 40!”

Dr. Lisa talks about bone loss and ways for women to keep their bones strong, such as staying active. Weight-bearing exercises like walking are very important, as well as making sure she has enough calcium and Vitamin D in her diet. Dr. Lisa also says women should embrace menopause because it can be liberating because there will be no more periods.

Dr. Ordon reminds Lisa that “Today’s 50 is [the new] 40.”




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