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The Secret Solution To Balance Your Body with Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw April 21, 2009

Every minute of the day, four more women enter into menopause. More than 25 million American males between ages 40 and 55 are experiencing some degree of male menopause (andropause). Although a little known fact, the symptoms of menopause and andropause can start as early as 20 or 30 years old. Dr. Phil and his wife Robin are continuing the conversation that Suzanne Somers and Oprah started and have energized even more women and men to do their research on more natural solutions to hormonal imbalance. "It’s time to open the forum and open dialogue about these things [menopause and andropause]."

Dr. Phil highlighted a number of symptoms of hormonal imbalance on his show "What’s Hormones Got To Do With It?" covering everything from menopause, perimenopuase, andropause and thyroid disorder.

Dr. Phil’s wife, Robin, author of What’s Age Got to Do with It? started off the show and talked about taking control of the change and doing everything possible to “embrace life changes with dignity and grace.” She shared her struggles – both physical and emotional and what her family went through during that stage of her life. When she started having trouble with hot flashes and mood swings, she recounted going to her gynecologist and being told that she should “fill some prescriptions.” Robin knew that there was another more natural solution to her emotional and physical struggles with this change of life. She found the solution in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and in Dr. Prudence Hall. McGraw says she’s “never felt better!” Her success has made her an evangelist for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and she is on a mission to let all women (and men) know that there is a way to feel better and take their life back. "Menopause does not have to be something you dread," says Robin.

Balancing your hormones prevents “unhealthy aging” and allows you to better deal with the symptoms of hormonal imbalance like mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats. Robin also states that the use of bioidentical hormones will allow your skin not to wrinkle or dry out. Her mood swings were so bad that she and Dr. Phil believed it was her hormones talking, not her. They can now laugh when they recall those days! McGraw thinks that so many women suffer unnecessarily because they think what they're going through is "normal,” but in fact you don't have to be in menopause to be suffering from a hormonal imbalance.

Dr. Phil’s next guest was Becky. She’s been chronically exhausted and suffered from a lack of libido for the last 12 years – at 38 she said she hasn’t gotten a good night's sleep since she started suffering. When she looked in the mirror, she saw a woman who had aged 10 years in 12 months. She was very unhappy about the effect that being so tired was having on her loved ones. Becky said that she used to feel like "running and putting [her] head in the freezer" when a hot flash came on. She recently started on BHRT and says "by far, this is the fastest way to a healthy love l ife and to getting some much needed sleep!"

Michelle was another woman who reached out to Robin McGraw for help after hearing her talk about her struggles on Oprah’s show. She thought she was too young to be going through perimenopause, but as she listened to Robin talk about her own symptoms, she realized that she was describing exactly what she was going through. “I went to put on a pair of slacks one day and I could barely get them on past my thigh, I’d gained so much weight.” Michelle goes on to say “You have perimenopause – I thought: no, I don’t, I’m too young.” Dr. Prudence Hall prescribes bioidentical hormones for Michelle and since starting on BHRT, she says she’s "laughing more, and no longer feels depressed." She also described how her clothes are fitting nowadays – like they used to! She says "I feel marvelous" since Dr. Hall began treating her with BHRT after determining that her hormone levels were out of balance.

Then we met Leslie, Dr. Phil’s next guest. , “What my doctors have been telling me all these years was not right… it turned out that I had a hormone imbalance.” Leslie had been suffering from general fatigue for over a year and no one had thought about testing her thyroid. Then one day she found a large knot on the back of her neck, it turned out she had thyroid cancer. Finding her hormonal imbalance lead to her diagnosis and she has been cancer free for 8 years now!

Dr. Phil also featured Jim Hrnci, a compounding pharmacist from Las Colinas Pharmacy. They talked about using bioidentical hormones versus synthetic hormones. Although bioidentical hormones cannot be patented, the prescription is personalized and customized for each individual, making it more effective and natural in treating the individual’s symptoms.

Dr. Phil grabbed every man’s attention by saying: “Every man in the world wants to know the answer to this question – how to solve erectile dysfunction.” Howard, a 47 year old man shared his story. He had lost his zest20for life, his libido and his ability to manage life. Dr. Phil explained what male menopause (andropause) was and how it affects so many men. This topic is becoming part of the conversation, slowly but surely as more men find out that their symptoms are a result of a hormonal imbalance. The suffering that men endure is no longer necessary. After visiting with Dr. Howard Liebowitz and beginning his supplement and hormone replacement regimen, Howard starts experiencing relief from his symptoms. He says of Robin: "I think it’s wonderful that she’s looking at the man’s side of it too," Dr. Liebowitz says that "It depends on the age group, but generally, men over 3 0 can have a hormone decline," He goes on to say: "I really acknowledge both of you [Robin and Dr. Phil] for bringing this to public attention, because men do get overlooked in this."

Studies suggest men with low levels of testosterone may face reduced life expectancy.

Daily Diagnosis

The U.K.'s Telegraph (6/17, Highfield) reported that findings presented during the meeting of the Endocrine Society add "to the scientific evidence" that links testosterone deficiency "with reduced life expectancy, or increased death from all causes over time." German researchers led by Robin Haring, Ph.D., discovered that "[o]verall, men with low testosterone levels had more than 2.5 times greater risk of dying during the next 10 years, compared with men who had higher testosterone."

The group had examined the "causes of death in almost 2,000 German men aged 20 to 79 years," and found that men with low testosterone levels also "tended to be older, fatter, and had a greater prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure," added HealthDay (6/17, McKeever). Yet, two other studies, funded by Bayer Schering Pharma, "showed that testosterone treatment significantly reduced abdominal fat, total cholesterol, LDL ('bad') cholesterol, triglycerides, and body mass index." The treatment "also helped raise HDL ('good') cholesterol." Furthermore, the co-author of both studies, Farid Saad, Ph.D., pointed out that "men older than 63 benefited as much as younger men."

The "findings came from a study of 95 hypogonadal men ages 34 to 69," who "[a]ll had metabolic syndrome, which is associated with low testosterone," noted MedPage Today (6/17, Bankhead). But Dr. Saad said, "Restoring plasma testosterone levels to normal in elderly hypogonadal men leads to significant improvements of features of the metabolic syndrome."

Study Suggests Another Look at Testosterone-Prostate Cancer Link

ScienceDaily (Apr. 24, 2011) — The long-standing prohibition against testosterone therapy in men with untreated or low-risk prostate cancer merits reevaluation, according to a new study published in The Journal of Urology.

"For many decades it had been believed that a history of prostate cancer, even if treated and cured, was an absolute contraindication to testosterone therapy, due to the belief that testosterone activated prostate cancer growth, and could potentially cause dormant cancer cells to grow rapidly," says Abraham Morgentaler, MD of Men's Health Boston. "Generations of medical students and residents were taught that providing testosterone to a man with prostate cancer was like pouring gasoline on a fire."

This study, involving 13 symptomatic testosterone deficient men who also had untreated prostate cancer, suggests this traditional view is incorrect, and that testosterone treatment in men does not cause rapid growth of prostate cancer. It is the first to directly and rigorously assess changes in the prostate among men with prostate cancer who received testosterone therapy.

The men received testosterone therapy while undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer for a median of 2.5 years. Median age was 58.8 years. The initial biopsy Gleason score was 6/10 for 12 of the men, 7/10 for the other (Gleason score grades the aggressiveness of prostate cancer by its microscopic appearance on a scale of 2-10. Gleason 6 is generally considered low to moderately aggressive, and Gleason 7 moderately aggressive).

Mean testosterone concentration increased from 238 to 664 ng/dl with treatment, yet neither prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentrations nor prostate volume showed any change. Follow-up biopsies of the prostate were performed in all men at approximately yearly intervals, and none developed cancer progression. In fact, 54 percent of the follow-up biopsies revealed no cancer at all.

Although the number of men in the study was small, and none had aggressive or advanced prostate cancer, Morgentaler observed, "These men were rigorously followed. The cancers in these men were typical of the prostate cancers for which men have undergone invasive treatment with surgery or radiation for 25 years. Clearly, the traditional belief that higher testosterone necessarily leads to rapid prostate cancer growth is incorrect."

In a Journal of Urology editorial comment, Martin M. Miner, MD, of the Miriam Hospital and Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University notes the conclusions represent "a remarkable shift in thinking from only five years ago. … If testosterone therapy was not associated with disease progression in men with untreated prostate cancer, how concerned must we be about testosterone therapy in men with treated prostate cancer?"

"An increasing number of newly diagnosed men with prostate cancer opting for active surveillance, and with many of them also desiring treatment for their signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency, the results suggest a reevaluation of the long standing prohibition against offering testosterone therapy to men with prostate cancer," says Morgentaler.

Refraining from testosterone therapy due to unmerited prostate cancer fears may have adverse lifestyle and health consequences, since testosterone therapy in testosterone deficient men has been shown to improve symptoms of fatigue, decreased libido, and erectile dysfunction. Testosterone therapy may also improve mood, blood sugar control, increase muscle, decrease fat, and improve bone density. Four recent studies have shown that men with high testosterone levels appear to live longer than men with low levels, although it has not yet been shown that treating men with testosterone increases longevity.

Morgentaler commented on an Italian study that showed that low levels of testosterone were associated with aggressive prostate cancer. The risk of aggressive cancer was reduced for men with normal testosterone compared with men with low testosterone.

In an editorial in the journal Cancer, "Turning Conventional Wisdom Upside Down: Low Serum Testosterone and High-Risk Prostate Cancer Morgentaler wrote, "After seven decades of circumstantial evidence pointing us in the wrong direction, perhaps it is time to consider the once unthinkable -- conducting a testosterone therapy trial of sufficient size and duration to determine whether normalization of serum testosterone in older men many reduce the risk of prostate cancer, particularly high-risk prostate cancer."

In addition to Morgentaler, a member of the Division of Urology in the BIDMC Department of Surgery and an associate clinic professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, the study was co-authored by Michael Sweeney, MD of Harvard Medical School and Larry I. Lipshultz, MD, Richard Bennett, MD, Desiderio Avila, Jr., MD, and Mohit Khera, MD, of Baylor Medical College.

The authors reported financial interests and/or other relationships with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Slate Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly & Co., Allergan, Inc., American Medical Systems and Repros Therapeutics.

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