Formerly an Obstetrician-Gynecologist for 25 years, Dr. Sklar entered the field of Anti-aging Medicine seven years ago. With this change, her knowledge and understanding of hormones went through a revolution. Here is what she has to say:
Over my many years of practice I had untold numbers of women come to me with problems such as depression or fatigue or low sex drive or weight problems and ask “Dr. Sklar, do you think this could be due to my hormones?” Within my limited scope of view at that time, sometimes I said “yes.” A lot of the time I said “no.” Now with a full understanding of the role of hormones in health and disease I would say yes to all of those women. Of course there are other factors that enter into health and disease but hormones are a huge part of it.
Hormones are important chemical communicators in our bodies. They provide communication between our nervous system, our immune system, and our endocrine system. What does this mean for us? It means they are involved in how we feel, how we think, what our weight is, and risk of chronic disease, just to mention a few things.
Our hormone levels decline as we get older. Our hormones are at their optimum levels when we are in our 20s. And I hate to tell you, it’s all downhill from there. By the time are in our mid-40s some of our important hormones are present at half the amount that they were in our 20s. Added to this gradual decline with age, is the decrease in hormone levels due to stress. And who isn’t stressed? Stress plays a devastating role in our physiology.
Stress and aging changes in hormones affect both men and women, but women have an additional very important factor in how hormones affect them. That factor is their reproductive cycles, both the monthly cycle and the reproductive lifecycle. The reproductive lifecycle starts at puberty, goes through the childbearing portion of a woman’s life and on to the perimenopause, menopause, and then into the postmenopausal periods.
Every month during the reproductive time of the woman’s life, hormones fluctuate up and down. Alterations in the smooth function of our cycles result in problems like premenstrual syndrome, heavy or painful menstrual periods, and the growth of fibroids. Then, towards the end of the reproductive part of a woman’s life cycle she enters what is called perimenopause. This is another time of fluctuating hormone levels that can be very erratic. This can wreak havoc on a woman physically and mentally and emotionally. This is time that I call the “hormone storm.” Then women enter menopause. In menopause hormone levels are low consistently. This creates another entire set of problems with hot flashes, low sex drive, vaginal dryness, mood changes, weight gain and a host of other issues.
The good news is that there is a solution. And that’s what’s so exciting about this type of medicine. There are hundreds of hormones in the human body, but in Anti-aging and Restorative Medicine we’ve picked a few of the most important ones to restore and balance. I have personally witnessed amazing transformations in my patients. Women who were initially depressed, haggard looking, and exhausted become transformed into vibrant, energetic, and happy people.