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Night Sweats, Bladder Control, and I have a Cold Nose.

Hi Everyone,

Last week we had a few inches of snow, not real bad, but it was windy and cold. Windy enough that the snow was sticking to the railing more than the steps at the office.

I remember the cold. The reason that this is sticking in my memory has to do with my bedroom being cold. I was ready for bed and walked into the bedroom and saw snow flakes floating closer and closer to the bed. My steps toward the open window was met with a “No, I want the window left open”. Ok, that’s not a problem. I have warm Eddy Bauer pajamas, a down comforter, and wool blankets from the outlet mall. I jumped into bed and piled up. I rolled over to give my wife a kiss goodnight, and she thinks it’s summer. She is curled up in a thin blanket.

I settled down in bed with the covers up to my chin and am toasty warm. The wayward snow flake drifting through the window is no longer an issue. Everything is good except for my nose. My nose is cold. I am contemplating a nose warmer if they make such a thing. My cold nose is keeping me awake while she is in bliss. I can’t resist. In a quiet voice, I ask “Honey, how would you like to go to beautiful warm Florida for a vacation?” She said, “I am fine here.” You will find me in the summer vacationing in Northern Michigan. Cool sleeping weather wins out.

My wife checks her hormone levels every two years and guess what, it’s that time again.

In the 1890’s the average age for a female in North America was 48. No one worried about hormone levels or menopause over a 100 years ago. Today, if you don’t smoke and drink too much, I have news for you. You might hit 100. Yes, and your husband will put your picture on Instagram. So listen to me, keep your hormones in balance that photo shoot is coming. And as my wife keeps telling me, that is a two-way street.

There are three estrogens. They help keep the skin healthy, muscle strength/tone, and support what keeps you female. Progesterone protects your whole body; from your brain to bones. Women need a small amount of testosterone, just as men need a small amount of estrogen. Testosterone balances the estrogenic effects on the brain, and in men estrogen calms down the effects of testosterone.

Estradiol is the principal estrogen during body development and hormonal cycles. Estriol gives women muscle strength just like testosterone does for men. As the hormone cycle begins to fade and peri-menopause and full menopause ensues Estriol becomes the hormone of primary importance. There is a third estrogen called Estrone, and it does not stimulate tissue, it converts into Estradiol.

Menopause begins as the cycles skip months and eventually stop. The ovary output of estrogens and progesterone stop. The Adrenal Glands make progesterone. Fat cells and food contribute to estrogens. In an ideal world, this will keep a balance for the rest of your life.

There is a thing called stress and the Adrenal Glands get overwhelmed working to manage life and progesterone levels can drop. The body has a protective balance between progesterone and estrogens. If progesterone drops, then the body pulls estrogens out of the bloodstream and holds them in storage. If the estrogens go too low, we get hot flashes, night sweat, and when Estriol lowers you lose muscle tone.

The bladder sphincter muscle is a small muscle. You will know when this one gets weak. The leaking with coughing, sneezing, etc. has nothing to do with having children. A fallen bladder from a hysterectomy can be an exception. It is a lack of the hormone Estriol.

It can get complicated. Hot flashes have three main causes. First, a low Thyroid. To drive everyone nuts, including me, there are three ranges for normal with the Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, called TSH. A normal range depends on who you talk to and training. The second cause for hot flashes is low Estriol and Estradiol. The third cause is an abnormal Adrenal Gland function.

Low progesterone recruits the Adrenal Glands. The Adrenal Glands try to meet progesterone demand and over work. Progesterone from the Adrenals comes with excess cortisol and this leads to poor sleep and weight gain. This is the abdominal girth that comes on in middle age.

Testing of the hormones becomes a dilemma. There are three methods for testing hormones. A 24 hour urine, blood, or saliva testing. The testing methods using blood and urine do not correlate the values to your age. It’s difficult to determine an ideal range. The saliva labs have been doing this for a long enough time, where they can match your hormone levels to a range based on your age.

Once a low hormone becomes identified, what do you do about it? Creams and serums store in the fat layer. An overdose of hormones is a miserable roller coaster. Pill based hormones must absorb through the intestines and then process through the liver. Not everyone does this efficiently. Hormones delivered in an oil absorb through the skin, do not store in the fat layer, and go directly into the bloodstream.

I told my wife I would get a nose warmer that looked like a mouse. She told me if I did that she would paint glow in the dark eye balls on her night mask. I folded, the thought of eye balls staring at me at night was too much. We settled on hormone testing for both of us. To be continued…

Thanks for reading,
Dr. Brian McGuckin

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