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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Eases Menopause: Dr. Barrie Ann Zeller discusses why BHRT may be of considerable help.

Apr 30, 2016 10:58AM ● By Dr. Barrie Ann Zeller

Menopause comes eventually to all women, and a good number of them are already on some type of anti-anxiety medication, antidepressant and maybe something to help them sleep. They are overweight, overworked, over-stressed and just plain over it. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be of considerable help.

Having a well-balanced life is one key, but many women are out of balance. Their lives are too busy to take the time to take care of themselves, so they eat on the run and try to fit in a good night’s sleep while juggling work, family and to-do lists. Their bodies suffer, as well as their minds and eventually, their spirits. They become depleted and their hormones just can’t keep up.

If we start menopause in a depleted state, we will probably have menopausal symptoms. BHRT may help decrease those symptoms, but several other factors come into play and must be addressed, such as diet and weight gain, vitamin D status, adrenal health, number of hours of sleep, having an exercise routine and other physical ailments.

BHRT can act as a bridge for hormones to work better together, increase receptor sensitivity on a cellular level and increase overall well-being. For example, menopause usually causes estrogen to decrease. Estrogen is important for many reasons, including bone health, mental cognition and burning calories. Weight gain is almost a sure thing if we don’t change our diet and increase our activity. If we are stressed, then cortisol increases, which causes an imbalance with insulin, and over time, we become insulin-resistant and gain weight.

So, knowing whether we have an estrogen deficiency or too much cortisol, or both, becomes important for providing the right therapy. Progesterone helps to potentiate serotonin and is the feel-good hormone, but if we are low in vitamin D or have systemic Candida, progesterone will have the opposite effect. Many menopausal women are estrogen-dominant, meaning they’ve always had a higher ratio of estrogen to progesterone. If this is the case, then progesterone at the right dosages may be needed to correct this imbalance. Maybe we have too much cortisol; that can lead to sleepless nights and weight gain, so that would need to be addressed.

Checking cortisol and having the correct ratio of estrogen to progesterone is just a small example of how BHRT can help. There are several other hormones that need to be assessed and addressed for the best results, including estradiol, estriol, estrone, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin. A fasting insulin test and ferritin test can also provide a better overall picture. BHRT at the proper doses and combinations can be a safe and effective treatment for women in menopause.

Dr. Barrie Ann ZellerBarrie Ann Zeller, NMD, is the owner of Zest Natural Medicine, located at 1405 N. Dobson Rd., Ste. 20, in Chandler. For appointments, call 480-361-5108 or visit

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