Back to School/Back to Life

School started again for our town and I, like most mom’s am sad and happy about it. Sad me can barely comprehend how quickly my daughter is traversing life, and I am slightly dreading the “busy-ness” that lies ahead…the carpools, homework, structure, and end of care-free summer days. The happy me is ecstatic to finally be feeling well enough to ponder my next phase. What should I do with my mid-fifty life? Where should I put my talents? What do I want my year to look like?

One thing I plan to do is to update this website. I hope to blog regularly and hopefully develop an arena for like-minded people to discuss hormones, aging, Lyme disease and add a few of my interests such as yoga, cooking, meditation and life balance. I’m going to try to do something new, maybe art or a dance lesson.

How are you guys coping with the end of summer?

Being “hormonal” is a GOOD thing!

Tired of hearing about how horrible it is to feel “hormonal?” Here’s the good things our hormones are meant to do:

Estrogen gives women curves, energy, sex drives, and bone strength. It lifts the mood, preserves memories, and even gives us our sense of style. Did you know that studies have shown that women low in estrogen dress with less color?

Progesterone balances estrogen. Without enough progesterone women feel bloated and bitchy. Cycles are heavy and irregular. Women who don’t make enough progesterone suffer from insomnia, infertility, breast pain and swelling.

Thyroid hormone ensures that all other hormones work optimally. It controls our mood, mind, temperature, digestion, menstruation, and weight.

Cortisol helps manage stress, fight infections, and gives you energy to do life. It controls appetite, and helps regulate the thyroid.

DHEA gives women their sex drive and sense of vitality. During menopause it makes estrogen and testosterone. Most women over the age of fifty need DHEA support.

Testosterone helps the brain function better and increases the number of orgasms women have. That’s a woman’s greatest sex organ is her brain!

Growth Hormone helps us feel calm during times of strife. It makes us look younger as we age by reducing wrinkles and cellulite. It also strengthens bones and muscles.

Melatonin helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. It is the most powerful antioxidant in our body and maintains a healthy brain as we age.

Avoid Lyme This Summer and Learn How To Remove a Tick

Tick Removal

Since the longer a tick stays attached to someone the more likely they are to become infected with a disease, their prompt removal is crucial.

Experts suggest the following protocol for tick removal:

Swift removal of a tick may prevent you from becoming infected with a potentially serious disease.

1. Tweezers – Use fine point tweezers to grasp the tick at the place of attachment, as close to the skin as possible.

2. Pull – Gently pull the tick straight out. Avoid crushing the tick’s body and do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouth parts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit bacteria. If the tick is accidentally crushed, clean the skin with soap and warm water or alcohol.

Do NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick.

3. Save – Place the tick in a small vial or sealable bag with a damp paper towel to prevent it from dehydrating. If warranted by the victim’s physician, protecting the tick from dehydration aids in its identification.

4. Clean – Wash your hands, disinfect the tweezers and cleanse the bite site.

5. Bring the tick in for (tick identification/or prophylactic medication) to your physician.

6. Bring this printout with you to give to your doctor.

PMS Myth Buster

If you or your daughter is planning on reading Cosmo this month at the beach- be aware that their article on PMS is misleading.

It starts out, “The week before your period? Yeah, not fun.” Oh I didn’t realize that we women were doomed to have a week or more each month that is not fun. Wrong. So wrong. What’s not fun is misinformation about hormones!

PMS is not a normal phase of the cycle as most articles have us believe. PMS is feedback from your body that all is not well, something is out of whack for any number of reasons.

Poor diet, stress, over work, toxic people, unhealthy boundaries with work or social pressures, over consumption of dairy, alcohol, and caffeine, all predispose you to hormone imbalance, and PMS. Click on the topics section of my website to read about how I treat PMS.

Taking coffee to “counteract the brain cloud,” as suggested in the article will worsen PMS.

Summer is a great time to reevaluate your lifestyle and practice slowing down. Exercise, yoga, limiting dairy caffeine and alcohol will make a huge difference.

My 3 favorite Sleep Supplements

In order of amazingness:

1. Melatonin 0.5-3 mg at bedtime. Start with 0.5 mg at bedtime and increase if not helping. If you wake up with a headache, lower the dose.

2. Tryptophan 500-1000 mg an hour before bedtime. (this raises Serotonin so helps with mood too).

3. Phosphatidylserine 100-300 mg. If you are stressed and not sleeping or waking up in the early hours and having trouble falling back to sleep, cortisol can be the problem. Use Phosphatidylserine with dinner and at bedtime.

All 3 of these supplements improve brain function, and memory.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Sleep requirements vary. Most of us need 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night. but we all know the person that only needs 5 or 6. What does your body need?

A good way to figure this out is on vacation. Next time you are away, (and not jet lagged), throw away the alarm clock, disconnect your cell phone, and draw down the blinds. Note the time you drop off to sleep and stay asleep as long as you want. Do this for at least 3 days. Not only will you look and feel great, by the end of the third day you’ll have a very reliable idea of just how many hours your body needs to sleep.

Now the hard part will be making sure you get it.

Electromagnetic Smog

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with pollution, electromagnetic smog, may be the most serious threat to our health.

Electromagnetic energy from WIFI, cell phones and cordless phones have long been suspected to cause problems with our health. Such modern conveniences may be the most important biologic experiment in man and womankind to date.

Radio active energy can act to remove calcium, and possibly magnesium, from the outer surface of cells, (cell membranes). This can damage cells, cell structures and DNA leading to problems with insomnia, fatigue, infertility, poor immune function, and chemical sensitivity.

Infants, children, and unborn children are the most susceptible to harmful effects from electromagnetic radiation and studies have linked radiation exposure to increased rates of autism.

Here are some things to help keep you and your loved ones safer.

1. Do not sleep in a room with cordless phones or cell phones
2. Use corded phones and cable modems as much as possible
3. Text or use ear headsets, (not a blue tooth)
4. Do not place laptops on your lap- (particularly in pregnancy)
5. Avoid cordless baby monitors, or at least place 10 feet from the crib

Hey! Its Great to Be Back

Wow, time flies, especially when you’ve been sick from Lyme Disease. I am happy to report that I am well and on the road to full recovery, some 5 years after a baby girl tick took a bite from my life.

It’s been a hard road but I’ve learned a lot, so much so that I’m writing another book about my experiences recovering from a chronic illness, especially one as misunderstood and common as Lyme disease.

I am starting to blog again and even beginning to tweet, so please follow me on twitter @drphuli

Antidepressants Linked to Increase in Stroke

A medical 2009 study found that all Tricyclic antidepressants and SSRI’s (drugs that affect Serotonin), were associated with an increased risk of stroke and higher death rates overall.

The question that I have is was the increase in stroke and heart disease due to the antidepressants or the fact that less Estrogen was used by women?

I do not think it is coincidental that as hormone use subsided dramatically in 2003, antidepressant sales soared, (in 1996 13 million American used antidepressants, increasing drastically to 164 million women in 2003).

Studies have shown that not using Estrogen in the 5th decade, was associated with higher rates of arterial disease later in life.

We all need a boost in our serotonin as we age- but drugs may not always the be the best answer. Estrogen is one of the most powerful Serotonin drivers in a woman’s body.

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(22):2128-2139.