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Perimenopause & Bio-Identical Hormones

Suzanne SomersAs young women, we grow up hearing horror stories about “going through the change” when hormone fluctuations create often unbearable symptoms like hot flashes, crazy brain, and mood swings. And we know that when this time comes, we will have to make choices for ourselves.

In my early thirties, I learned about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and that the primary drug used is Premarin. I also learned that Premarin stands for PREgnant MAre uRINe when I met Bella, a beautiful Friesian mare who was rescued from a Premarin manufacturing plant. As a lifetime equestrian, I came to dread and fear my choices as I knew them: deal with being a crazed, middle-aged woman or support this practice.

At 40, I sensed an early shift and began searching for natural options like diet and exercise. It was upon my move to the Desert that I discovered two life-changing revelations: perimenopause (the ‘early’ change) and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), a plant-based option.

For those scratching their heads at these new terms, and those interested in truly understanding the hormonal changes your body goes through as it ages, I strongly recommend Suzanne Somers’ new book,
I’m Too Young For This! 

Targeting women 35-50, the book describes in great detail why we may experience unexplained symptoms like weight gain, irritability, insomnia, and decreased sex drive at this age, and provides natural options for hormonal balance through diet, supplementation, healthy practices like getting adequate sleep and exercise, and BHRT.

Somers jocosely refers to the most common symptoms as the “Seven Dwarfs of Menopause”: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried-Up. But the news for many is that these symptoms may begin as early as the thirties and is referred to as perimenopause.

She explains that perimenopause is the most dangerous phase for women because of the significant fluctuation of their hormones. “You go through puberty and the blissful days of your 20s, and then things start to change. The mood in the house starts to change, and one day you wake up and you and your husband don’t recognize the person you’ve become.” She adds that the symptoms you experience are your body screaming, “All is not well!”

Suzanne and Alan hiking Desert trails

Suzanne and Alan hiking Desert trails

Somers struggled through three years with very bad symptoms including uncontrollable weeping, flying off the handle for no reason, bloating, and weight gain. “One day my husband came to me and said, ‘Suzanne, a marriage can only take so much’ and I just died inside. I hadn’t realized how bad it was and that I was taking it out on him.” She went from doctor to doctor and was offered a variety of drugs aimed at treating her symptoms including anti-depressants, anti-anxieties, diuretics, and sleep medication, to name a few. “And then I heard about this endocrinologist who introduced me to bio-identical hormones and I never looked back.”

In an effort to help other women through this phase, Somers dedicated herself to thousands of hours of research, interviews and case studies to compile information for her many books. “When I starting writing about menopause for women my age, I realized that women under 50 weren’t interested. They would tell me, ‘I’m having trouble sleeping’ and I would say, ‘It may be your hormones’ and they would say, ‘No. I’m too young for this.’”

And thus, the idea for her latest book,
I’m Too Young For This! which helps us understand what is happening with our bodies,so we can make informed choices. Somers delivers a significant amount of medical information in easily understood terms. Most importantly, she explains which hormone declines are related to which symptoms and what you can do about it.

For this column, we asked Somers what she considers to be the biggest choice women have when it comes to this phase in life. “If women are over 35 and have not embraced bio-identical hormones, then they are not living their lives to the fullest. BHRT is the juice of youth.” Her husband of 36 years, Alan Hamel, and she have been taking BHRT for 16 years. “I am 67 and he is 77 and neither of us takes even one pharmaceutical drug. I am not against pharmaceuticals, but if you can do it naturally, why mess with drugs?”

The subject tends to be controversial and not all doctors agree that BHRT is the best option. “All doctors usually agree that women in perimenopause and menopause need hormones,” she tells us. “The disagreement is that doctors who practice a conventional standard of care standardly prescribe synthetic hormones made from a pregnant horse’s urine, whereas integrative doctors standardly prescribe BHRT, hormones “biologically identical” to the human hormones our bodies make.” She adds that when she started writing about BHRT “many books ago,” few had any idea what bio-identicals were. “Today, hundreds of thousands of informed women and men are practitioners of age management medicine, and are reaping the rewards of aging rather than suffering unnecessarily.”

What exactly is involved with BHRT? Upon visiting a qualified practitioner, a patient’s hormones are measured via a saliva test, and deficiencies are identified. The doctor prescribes a mix of hormones to correct any deficiencies and bring the hormones into balance. The prescription is filled at a compounding pharmacy using hormones derived from “natural” sources, usually soy or Mexican yams. The prescription(s) may include a variety of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The patient’s hormone levels are retested periodically and prescriptions are adjusted as necessary.

At home in Palm Springs

At home in Palm Springs

If you wish to pursue BHRT, Somers emphasizes doing your homework and finding a qualified doctor who is educated on and thoroughly understands BHRT. “With all due respect, they standardly only teach four hours of hormone replacement therapy in medical school, so finding a doctor who specializes in natural hormone therapy is important.”

Somers and Hamel are both successful models for age management through healthy lifestyle and hormone balancing with BHRT. “Our biological ages (have been tested to be) somewhere in the 40s, and we feel it! We work eight to ten hours a day most days and love our work. We have three married kids with six grandkids and spend loads of time with them,” she says enthusiastically. “What I am saying is that we have an endless supply of energy and you will never hear that expression ‘senior moment’ coming from either of us.”

With 24 books, numerous health products, and her many years in entertainment, we asked Somers what she considers to be her greatest contribution to this world. “I have had a 40-year career of hit TV shows and as a Vegas headliner, and have created a wonderful business that features only organics…skin care, hair care, color makeup, and beauty tools. But my greatest contribution is bringing up our three children to be contributors to the world rather than a drain; and they in turn have brought up their six children the same way. Great parenting is the most important thing we can do to make this a better world for all. I consider my wonderful family to be my greatest contribution.”

Coachella Valley Doctors Who Prescribe Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

Jeralyn Brossfield, MD & Toni Long, MD
Eisenhower Argyros Health Center
La Quinta
(760) 610.7220
www.Emc.org

John Carr, MD
Aging and Hormonal Health, Inc.
Rancho Mirage
(760) 548.0413
www.JohnCarrMD.com

John A. DeMersseman, MD
Eduardo G. Garza, MD 
Lisa M. Bodon, MD
Las Palmas OBGYN
Palm Springs & Rancho Mirage
(760) 323.9309
www.LasPalmasOBGYN.com

Mark S. Foster, MD
Vitality Doctor
Palm Desert
(760) 674.2070
www.VitalityDoctor.org

Sonja Fung, ND
Brian Myers, ND
Live Well Clinic
La Quinta
(760) 771.5970
www.LiveWellClinic.org

Enrique Jacome, MD
Fleur Women’s Health
Rancho Mirage
(760) 779.5511
www.FleurHealth.com

Daniel Johnson, MD
Desert Longevity Institute
Palm Desert
(760) 773.5994
www.DesertLongevityInstitute.com

Peter Kadile, DO
Desert House Calls
La Quinta
(760) 777.7439
www.DesertHouseCallDoc.com

Elliot B. Lander, MD
Balance Bio-Identical
Hormone Regeneration
Rancho Mirage
(760) 776.0040
www.LanderUrology.com

Elisa Lindley, MD
Cari Sudmeier, NP
Eisenhower Medical Center
Rancho Mirage
(760) 837.3999
www.Emc.org

Carol Renke, MD
Family Physician
Palm Desert
(760)776.8444
www.CarolRenkeMD.info

Preventive Medicine Clinic
Palm Springs
(760) 320.4292
www.HormoneDoctor.com

 Shannon Sinsheimer, ND
Jessica Needle, ND
Optimal Health Center
Palm Desert
(760) 568.2598
www.DrSinsheimer.com

For more information on BHRT from Suzanne Somers visit www.ForeverHealth.com. I’m Too Young For This! is available in stores now or at www.SuzanneSomers.com.

27 Responses to “Perimenopause & Bio-Identical Hormones”

  1. Lavana Fitzgerald says:

    This is very important information, do you know of any doctors in Canada that my daughter can go to?

  2. Charlene C Cummings says:

    I am 60 yrs. old, and have some serious hormone issues, and would LOVE to see a Doctor who will Help Me with them. I live in Maine, is there a Doctor on the East coast that you would recommend .
    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    CCC.

  3. Anne Menik says:

    Dear Suzanne,

    This is a wonderful article you wrote and you explain the stages of Perimenopause and bio-Identicals succinctly.

    Due to all the work, hours of research and all your books; I am an advocate for women’s health and I teach and inspire women to take ownership of their health as a holistic health practitioner/consultant. I am in premature menopause due to a hysterectomy 11 yrs. ago. I’m learning from your books that I have had hormonal issues since I was 26 yrs old from several major surgeries but doctors chalked it up to me being “crazy”. I was diagnosed menopause 5 yrs. ago at 41. Last year I was moving back from Montreal to California and my body shot down from stress, adrenals shot, cortisol to the roof, estrogen and progesterone depleted. I was in depression, lack of life, night sweats, insomnia and it was a shock considering I have always been healthy teaching yoga and meditation, vegetarian diet. I researched all natural therapies first, changed my diet, practiced restorative yoga, got hormones and allergy tested (Dr. Michael Galitzer) even hormone yoga therapy. My symptoms were too server to go all natural. Bio-Identicals saved me! Now I practice both Eastern & Western therapies to manage my symptoms.

    I am part of lovely group of women in the Perimenopause stage and we had our first open, honest and vulnerable discussion on our symptoms last month. It is amazing how women are not aware of their symptoms or how disconnected we are from our bodies because of our busy lives. I highly recommended all your books especially, “I’m too young for this”. We will continue to share and inspire one another. It feels good to know our Sisters can talk to each other about menopause and I am in the process of creating a website and write a book. Thank you Suzanne for your insight, your drive, your love for yourself and your family to be the healthiest, sexiest, and abundant woman you can be.

    I have learned so much from your books, articles, website etc. What I am learning about menopause is that Menopause is a women’s journey when her intuition turns into Wisdom. When a women gets to look back through her life and say ahhhh…I did good, now it’s MY TURN.

    Thank you for all your contribution in informing, inspiring and sharing with women your knowledge and compassion in being at our optimal health. Namaste.

    A votre santé,
    Anne

  4. Elaine Robles says:

    Dear Suzanne

  5. Debra Reinhardt says:

    With so many out of work and no health insurance, even finding a physician to help with BHRT is not an option. Many can’t afford it. There must be a alternative way. Natural progesterone (Not progestin which is fake) might be of some help.

  6. Shawn Bridwell says:

    You can go to the website that Suzanne gives us in her book “I am too young for this” at http://www.foreverhealth.com to find BHRT doctors in your area. I live in Oklahoma how has not one doctor, so I ended up going to a medical spa that offered the blood test and the BHRT hormones. They wanted be to do the pellet therapy but I opted for the cream because of reading Suzanne books! If you do not have them I would consider picking one up all are informative. I started with Bombshell and have just finished I am to young….
    Hope this helps

  7. Shawn Bridwell says:

    Also the hormone cream which was all 3 estrogen, progesterone and testosterone was only $55 in total and that was without using my insurance.

  8. BARBARA MARTIN says:

    HELP IS NEEDED FOR BOTH MY DAUGHTER AND MYSELF. THE MORE I READ ON THIS MATTER THE MORE I AM A BELIEVER IT HELPS..MONEY IS AN ISSUE THOUGH FOR BOTH OF US, HOW CAN WE GET THIS DONE AND NOT PAY A LOT OR AT LEAST MAKE PAYMENTS?

  9. indy says:

    I also think I am going through peri menopause want to use the cream also

  10. Sandra Wade says:

    Do you know of a BHRT doctor in the Nashville, TN area?

    Thank you…

  11. Vivienne says:

    I live in Santa Fe, NM. The list on Suzannes website of bio identical specialists does not include any Doctors in NM. I travel to S. California often, which is where I previously lived and willing to see a doctor and have treatment there however, seeing a specialist close to home (in Santa Fe) would be much more convenient. Do you think it’s possible that I find someone here?

    Thank you,

    • lsarto says:

      Thank you, Vivienne:

      I will forward your message to Suzanne’s team and see if they have a referral for you.

      Thank you for reading Desert Health!

      Lauren Del Sarto, Publisher

      • Cristina Dominguez says:

        Hi there. I don’t know if you have found someone here in Santa Fe, NM. It’s been a couple of years. Anyhow, I have been on the Wiley Protocol for 11 months as of today. I am so happy with my MD who prescribed me the protocol that saved my life. He name is Dr. Wenerko.

    • lsarto says:

      From Caroline Somers:

      If you register with ForeverHealth.com they will alert you when new physicians are signed to your area. In the meantime, yes, generally you can see a doctor in a different area, then work by phone with lab results. Best of luck.

  12. Virginia M Reynolds says:

    Please advise me of a doctor for bio-identital hormone therapy in my area of Hermitage or Nashville, TN.

    Thanks,

    Virginia

    • lsarto says:

      Thank you, Virginia.

      Please see the info above re: ForeverHealth.com. They are a good resource for doctors in your area.

      Lauren Del Sarto

      • Kimmie Jackson says:

        Please understand that those of in TN have gone to that website/link and unfortunately there are only the same 4-6 referrals and when we research them, reviews etc it’s nothing like the abundance of CA highly trained, educated list of referrals. Please recommend others options to finding Dr.

  13. Mary MacGregor says:

    Please add Maryam Bahreini, MD, to your list of Coachella Valley providers of BHRT. She is a respected OB/GYN who has added anti-aging and HRT to her patient care.

    Dr. Bahreini, a no-nonsense, informed physician, has been instrumental in my exploration of health options and I’ve been on the Wiley Protocol under her aegis for five years now.
    Her office is now part of the Health & Beauty Medispa located at 72-780 Country Club Drive, Suite 102, Rancho Mirage, 92270, 760/341-7140.
    Thank you!
    Mary MacGregor
    La Quinta
    Note: I just finished Ms. Somers’ newest publication, “I’m Too Young for This!” and was jolted into re-examining my lackluster supplemental regime. (Puritan Pride delivery occurred today!)
    I brought it with me on a recent trip to Santa Barbara and was successful in promulgating the anti-aging message to both a 53-year-old menopausal female (who excitedly perused local providers online) and a 62-year-old male whose 51-year-old wife is in the nascent throes of menopause. He saw the book and mentioned that “they” were jointly looking into addressing her concerns. I liked the pronoun he employed about her health. After my impassioned exhortation regarding male and female hormone replacement, he gratefully promised to investigate physicians once they moved to Colorado.
    After too many years of apathy and disinterest in BHRT (even any kind of HR) from otherwise educated, successful females, I’ve regretfully desisted from evangelizing about something so critical to aging and well-being. I guess having Suzanne’s latest invigorating read on hand refired the passion and gratitude I felt upon reading her initial publications as well as several other critical books (Sex, Lies and Menopause especially resonated).

    • Lauren Del Sarto, Publisher says:

      Thank you for reading, Mary.

      We will note the addition of Dr.Bahreini for any future editorials we do.

      With appreciation ~

      Lauren Del Sarto

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