At the age of fifty, Jill Davey felt as if a personality change had occurred and her body was in ‘breakdown’ mode. She started getting frequent infections and by the time she was fifty-one she had gone off sex, was sad, tired, having night sweats and felt unable to cope.
Realising she was going through menopause, and determined to make it a positive experience, Davey went to many doctors and gynaecologists to find a solution. Some told her not to worry, it would pass. Others prescribed antibiotics, antidepressants and synthetic HRT, the kind that is made from pregnant mare’s urine.
Bioidentical Hormones and Restorative Medicine
Angry at the lack of options available, Davey immersed herself in research and discovered bioidentical hormones and restorative medicine. Along the way she met Dr Sergey Dzugan, a former senior heart surgeon and world-renowned expert in restorative medicine, who became her teacher.
Davey began an individualised treatment programme of bioidentical hormones, vitamins and minerals and her life changed. She regained her health and zest for life and now has the energy and vigour of a woman half her age.
Realising that other women were suffering needlessly, she wanted to offer them a safe and effective alternative. The result is The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health, written with Dr Dzugan, in which Davey chronicles her story and shares everything she has learned about bioidentical hormones, restorative medicine and the menopause.
What is Restorative Medicine?
Restorative medicine is a new and developing area of medicine that essentially prevents the ageing process through the use of bioidentical hormones. It is likely to gain in popularity as more and more people reaching middle-age try to delay or even avoid the ageing process altogether and seek to live a disease and pain-free life.
Whereas the conventional medical approach is to use HRT to treat symptoms of the menopause in the smallest, effective dose and never to use hormones as an anti-ageing preventative measure, restorative medicine restores hormone levels to their optimal levels (similar to those of a twenty-five year old) to slow down the ageing process, prevent the usual diseases associated with old age such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer, and maintain youthfulness. In short, hormones are regarded as the elixir of youth.
Restorative medicine practitioners rely on comprehensive blood tests in order to create an individualised programme for each patient consisting of compounded bioidentical hormones and other supplements. Because bioidentical hormones are used, i.e. hormones that are made from plant extracts and are identical in molecular structure to those made by our own bodies, they are seen as natural, safe and without risk.
The Physiology of Menopause
When it comes to the physiology of menopause, Davey has done her homework and The Menopause Cure provides a comprehensive overview of the endocrine system as well as the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones. Each of the minor and major hormones is discussed in detail, from the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, to other important hormones such as DHEA, pregnenalone, melatonin and cortisol.
Davey also discusses the symptoms of menopause and typical diseases associated with old age, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease, as well as cholesterol and the ill-effects of statins.
Throughout the book the message is clear; without hormones you are destined for a life of “Doom and gloom and chronic disease”, but with them you can regain your energy and vitality, boost your brain power, reclaim your sex drive, achieve your ideal weight and avoid age related diseases.
A Word of Caution
Jill Davey’s passion and belief in the restorative power of bioidentical hormones leaps off every page.
But I have to admit this zealous approach to anti-ageing and bioidentical hormones makes me slightly uneasy. Although bioidentical hormones may be thought of as safe and natural, they are still hormones and hormones are very powerful things indeed.
As far as I can tell, nobody knows what impact optimal levels of hormones for ten, twenty or thirty years will have on the ageing female body and this question is not dealt with in the book. Like many experiments with hormone replacement in the past, only time will tell.
Like the author, I have benefitted from taking bioidentical hormones (not the compounded type but the kind that is available on the NHS). My menopause symptoms disappeared and for a couple of years I felt well and back to ‘normal’. And, for a while, I too was evangelical in my enthusiasm about bioidentical HRT.
But there can be a downside to taking hormones. In my case, increasing my dosage of bioidentical oestrogen to deal with mood swings caused iron deficiency anaemia brought about by heavy periods, and a thickened endometrial lining that resulted in surgery. My oestrogen levels were nowhere near optimal and yet it still had a devastating effect on my body.
And then there is the issue of progesterone intolerance. Even though I am taking a bioidentical form of progesterone, the side effects each month include passing out from period pains, extreme bloating, feeling depressed and suicidal or feeling so irritable I could kill someone. For three weeks of every month my quality of life is severely diminished. I don’t always feel it’s worth it.
However, each woman is different and my experience is certainly not universal.
The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health
If you are a woman going through menopause, The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health is a thought-provoking introduction to the world of restorative medicine and full of useful information about the physiology of menopause. Written in a chatty, informal style, it will help you understand the hormonal changes happening in your body as you progress through perimenopause to menopause and beyond.
Whether or not restorative medicine is for you may depend on the size of your wallet or your approach to risk. For Jill Davey, there is no going back. Bioidentical hormones and restorative medicine changed her life. She has never felt better.
You can find out more about Jill D. Davey at her website: http://www.menopausewoman.com/