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      It's Not Just You - Women and hormonal issues

      PART I

      All women can relate to "that time of the month."It's an equal opportunity fact of life that can have a debilitating effect on women's work, families and overall quality of life.Last month on Facebook, KHQA started a discussion about women and hormonal issues. The response was overwhelming.KHQA heard a variety of complaints about extreme mood swings, brain fog, physical symptoms and even sexual dysfunction.Many of these women were not comfortable talking about these problems on camera|.especially when they're problems that can be embarrassing and not talked about in our society.KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with one brave woman who hopes her story will encourage other women to seek help for their symptoms and also to realize it's not just you. Mandy Frakes is a 30-year-old wife and mother of two. Like countless women, her hormonal issues get in the way of life. She says her problems started in her teenaged years and displayed themselves differently at different stages of her life.

      Frakes said, "I'm 30 now, so I guess I can say I've been dealing with this for over half my life."

      From debilitating cramps and moodiness in her teenage years; to getting on a birth control pill when she got married to getting off of it to have children and then getting a tubal ligation when she was finished having children -- her body has been on a hormonal roller coaster.

      She said, "I feel sorry for my husband and children. They have to put up with me for that week or week and a half every month. I know I'm miserable. You know when you hurt, and ache and things aren't right, and it's head to toe, I think your brain isn't right, you're forgetful, you're moody, just everything falls out of whack."

      Do you think the mood issues have gotten worse as you've gotten older? "I do think so. I can go from being completely happy to completely angry to crying all in one day, a matter of a couple of hours and then be just fine again. And there's no rhyme or reason to it, there's no reason at all."

      And the hormonal swings also affect Frakes' cognitive function at times.

      She said, "I actually called it mommy brain, but now I think we need to change the name to PMS brain. So forgetful and have to write everything down, and I just feel unfocused at times when I need to be focusing. There are things I need to be doing and my brain is off in la la land. "

      And that brain fog can shake a woman's confidence.

      Frakes said, "I wonder if, 'am I making this decision, is this a good day to be making a decision? I think on the days you don't feel right or you don't feel 100%, you're not going to be as confident as you were the day before because your hormones are going crazy."

      Mandy Frakes' story is not uncommon, and our KHQA Facebook thread of complaints is evident of that.

      Mood swings and brain fog can cause serious problems in relationships, families and at work. Click here to see the video portion of this story. --------------

      PART II

      PMS, PMDD, polycystic ovary disease and menopause -- whatever a female's hormonal issues are labeled, they can be debilitating personally and professionally.

      KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with an OB/GYN who practices in Beverly Hills about what you can do to alleviate some of those symptoms and get off the emotional roller coaster.

      Dr. Uzzi Reiss opened the first premenstrual syndrome health center in 1982. He treats patients using a natural, hormonal approach.

      He said, "In the 80s, nobody believe in premenstrual syndrome, and it was very frequent. Women, we said they were hysteric, crazy, depressed, nothing is wrong with you. And to me, it was very obvious that basic reasons that led to premenstrual syndrome is hormonal imbalance and nutritional imbalance."

      Dr. Reiss said he's seen a significant increase in PMS symptoms, particularly mood swings and brain fog, during the last 30 years. He attributes that to poor diets, more stress, less physical activity, more pollution and Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA in our plastics. He says the hormonal imbalance can be caused by too little estrogen, too much testosterone or too little progesterone. And birth control pills only add to the problem.

      Dr. Reiss said, "Taking birth control pills, it's basically worse to the body than removing your ovary. You shut off everything the ovary makes. You have no estrogen. You have no progesterone. You have no testosterone. And you substitute it with chemicals that can only alarm the body. They do nothing good to the body. We take away their estrogen, they lose their ability to think well, they lose their ability to have deep sleep. They're depressed. We take away their progesterone, and we substitute it with chemicals that have absolutely nothing to do with own hormone. So this group suffers when they are on the birth control pill, and suffer later on because the body never rebounds to normal situation."

      Dr. Reiss has released several resources, including this book titled Natural Hormone Balance for Women. It dispels the myths surrounding hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Reiss said the news that came out 10 years ago about Provera and Premarin causing cancer and other serious side effects were because they were synthetic hormones derived from pregnant mares' urine.

      He said, "The hormone that they have negative data on were not hormones, were drugs that should never be given to human beings. And we called them hormones to confuse us and women."

      Dr. Reiss recommends using hormonal creams, gels and sublingual drops derived from more natural hormonal methods; a low-sugar/low-salt diet; supplements, such as a B complex vitamin and magnesium; and some type of physical activity to address hormonal imbalances.

      Dr. Reiss said many of us are stressed and our cortisol levels are high. When that happens, your body goes into a fight or flight mode; your body stores fat; your brain races all the time and you can't sleep. He says exercise will help drop that cortisol level, so that you'll feel more calm, be able to lose weight and sleep better.{>}

      Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to women to treat emotional issues that often times can be caused by hormones.Wednesday night, KHQA will talk with Dr. Reiss about that and what you should know about that treatment.

      Click here to see the video portion of Part II. Click here to see a transcription of Rajah Maples' interview with Dr. Reiss.PART II

      Women of all ages have some type of complaint when it comes to their hormones, and moods can be debilitating.

      Antidepressants have been prescribed to treat women's emotional issues that can be caused by hormonal imbalances.

      KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with an OB/GYN and author who specializes in women's hormonal health about that treatment and what else you should know about women's hormonal issues.

      Dr. Uzzi Reiss opened the first PMS Center in 1982. He treats women of all ages using nutrition, exercise and bioidentical hormones. KHQA asked him about the use of antidepressants to control hormone-related mood swings.

      He said, "This is the worst treatment on the planet. All those medications do, they numb women. But it's much easier to write drug. When you take antidepressant medication to build the serotonin, it's not building our serotonin. On the opposite, it depletes our serotonin. When you dare to stop those medications, you get more depressed than you've ever been. There are many other nutrients that will resolve the depression, that they will resolve it without side effects. They will not cause sexual deficiency. They will not numb you. They'll bring you back to where you're supposed to be. "

      He said simple nutritional measures can help stabilize cyclical hormonal imbalances.

      Dr. Reiss said, "If they will eat food that doesn't agitate, like if they would eat anything that turns into sugar, all the grains, all the starch, all the carb, even the fruit, that will up and down their emotions. Suddenly, with simple nutritional measure, not with drug, not with medication, we solved her problem."

      Dr. Reiss said he can tell which hormone is dominant or deficient based on symptoms.

      "If it's estrogen, the symptoms are mainly depression, anxiety, fogginess, inability to sleep, hot flashes, feeling flat and unmotivated and migraine. Migraine is a very typical sign of significant drop of estrogen. And naturally estrogen drops before the period, stays down with the period, and at the end of the period, it starts to go back up and then the female feels good," said Dr. Reiss. "Some women, the dominant symptom is a sign of extra testosterone. They're aggressive, they're mean, they're upset, they're vicious, they have oily skin, they have acne. Now when the progesterone is an issue, the main component is agitation, water retention, food craving. "

      Dr. Reiss said paying attention to labels also can help.

      He said, "BPA that is in every makeup product, every shampoo, every lipstick -- there's a nice word written, 'fragrant.' Fragrant means BPA. Those are the things added to plastic to soften it. They're added to all the different cream and makeup to make them soft. But when you take them, you put it on your face, they start to compete with you on estrogen. We know that many times those changes started in utero if the mother consumes those products."

      Dr. Reiss blames the media for misinformation about hormone replacement therapy. When news came out 10 years ago about Provera and Premarin causing cancer, he said the media failed to report the fact that those products were *synthetic* hormones derived from pregnant mares' urine. He says *natural* hormone replacement is more effective and safer.

      He said, "As women get into periomenopause, even before menopause, before periomenopause, there are so many women that have overwhelming signs of low estrogen. You know like the body is screaming please give me estrogen. And then here start this propaganda, 'oh, look, take estrogen and you'll get breast cancer, it will kill you.' Women are being frightened from their own hormones, and by creating tactic of fear against their own hormones, they are suspicious of using it or taking it."

      This series was intended to provide you with information so that you can take control of your health; start asking questions; further research your options but most importantly, to help you realize, "it's Not Just You."

      Click here to see the video version of Part III.

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