It is time again for “Ask the Doctor.” I particularly enjoy this monthly feature because it gives me an opportunity to answer your questions and help you on your path to health and wellness.
Hypothyroidism: Common Cause of Weight Gain.
I’m in my 40s now and for the past few years my weight keeps going up. I am a mother of two, but I still make time to eat healthy and exercise like I always have, so I don’t understand why I am putting on these extra pounds. I do feel tired more often and have trouble sleeping, but that’s normal with two kids, right? What else can I do?
This unexplained weight gain is a common frustration that so many women experience. You feel like you are doing everything right and you haven’t changed your eating or exercise routine over the years, but all of the sudden your body isn’t responding like it used to. This indicates a possible change in your hormone status.
Hypothyroidism is a common cause of weight gain. The thyroid gland regulates your metabolism and energy production. With low thyroid function, your metabolism slows down and you don’t generate as much heat or use as many calories. This makes it difficult to lose weight. Excess fluid retention can often be attributed to the poor circulation caused by hypothyroidism, as well.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Loss of energy (malaise/fatigue)
- Enlarged tongue with teeth indentations
- Cold extremities and cold sensitivity
- Cold intolerance
- Difficulty concentrating and short–term memory loss
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Joint pain
- Tiredness after a full night’s sleep
- Recurrent and chronic infections
- Decreased mental sharpness, “brain fog”
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Brittle fingernails with ridging
- Low basal body temperature
- Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
- Depression or mood swings
- Menstrual irregularities
- Enlarged thyroid gland
The tricky part is finding a doctor who will listen to all of your symptoms and not evaluate you by relying on a single blood test alone. Conventional doctors are taught to use the TSH blood test to diagnose hypothyroidism. More often than not, this test fails the patient.
While your thyroid gland may be producing enough thyroid hormones so that the TSH blood test falls within the “normal range,” your cells may not be able to use those hormones efficiently, which is why you would still have symptoms of hypothyroidism and could benefit from treatment.
Help for Hot Flashes
I’m 48 and I’ve started having hot flashes, but I didn’t realize just how bad they can be. I can’t sleep at all. I’m burning up, sweating all night long and my bed sheets are drenched. My husband is frustrated with me because my tossing and turning keeps him awake, too. My doctor recommended an antidepressant, but I don’t want to take it. What do you advise?
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of natural menopause. Women who have had their ovaries removed or had a total can also experience hot flashes since those procedures put a woman directly into what is referred to as surgical menopause.
Hot flashes consist of a surge of heat, a red flushed face and neck, and sweating. They occur when the blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate to cool, making you break out in sweat. Hot flashes with sweating that happen at night are called night sweats. Hot flashes can last either for a very short time, from about six months to two years, and they usually get milder over time, but some women have them for much longer time. For some women, hot flashes can be debilitating. There are other unwanted symptoms that come along with menopause, as well.
Other symptoms of menopause include:
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Loss of libido
- Sleepless nights
There are lifestyle tips you can do to help get relief, such as having a fan blow on you and turning down the A/C to help cool you off. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Be sure to avoid certain hot flash triggers such as sugar, spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol (especially red wine) and smoking.
However, to truly alleviate your hot flashes, you have to get to the culprit: the drop in estrogen hormones. The reason you are having hot flashes is mainly the decline in estrogen levels as you enter menopause. At , we have great results when we treat our guests (we call our patients guests) with bioidentical estrogen.
Please beware of taking Premarin, which conventional doctors often prescribe for hot flashes. It contains potent horse estrogens that were not meant to be inside the human body. Premarin is derived from pregnant mare urine, hence the name, “Pre-mar-in”. Premarin has serious side effects that include blood clots, breast tenderness, fluid retention, headaches, high blood pressure, increased risk of endometrial cancer and breast cancer, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
are not the answer, either, and they have many negative side effects, as well. If you are taking an antidepressant, please do not stop taking it without consulting with your doctor first. This is very important. Work with your doctor to help you wean off of it slowly and safely.
Are hot flashes making your life miserable? At , we can help. Let us guide you safely through menopause and help you to feel your best. our Wellness Consultants today for a complimentary wellness consultation at 281-698-8698. It’s time to cool off from those hot flashes and get your life back!
Keep Your Questions Coming
I hope these suggestions are helpful to you and to others who are dealing with these common problems. Keep your questions coming! Send me a private message on Hotze Health & Wellness Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HotzeHWC/. Don’t forget to mention Katy Christian Magazine in the subject line. And remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.
To learn more about the Hotze Health & Wellness Center and schedule a Free Wellness Consultation, call us at 281-698-8698 or visit hotzehwc.com.