I’m Kathryn Colas and Simply Hormones brings you the latest news on menopause and other women’s health issues like breast cancer, ovarian cancer and HRT. Learn what you need to know from someone who’s personally experienced and survived menopause or listen to my interviews with medical professionals.
#18: Bio-identical hormones from your GP?
SH interviews Prof John Studd who continues to care about improving hormonal health in women.
SimplyHormones Presents: Professor Studd on Bio-identical Hormones
KC: I'd like to talk if I may about bio identical hormones. A lot of women are very interested in this because they are told it's a more natural way to go because the hormones are absorbed in a more natural way than the equine oestrogen that's mostly prescribed. Do you have an opinion on that?
Bio-identical hormones have been available in the UK for 20/30 years!
PS: Sure, I mean I've used nothing else but bio identical hormones for the last 20, 30 years. It's been very common in Europe and what's happened now is the Americans, now that they've overcome their love affair of horse urine and horse oestrones, they've just discovered it, they've just discovered the importance of using oestradiol, oestrone, testosterone and they've labelled this bio identical hormones and gullible people all around the world are thinking of this new American discovery which is a re-awakening on their part, a discovery of what we've been doing for 20 or 30 years and it's quite true. If I hadn't used Premerin for 20 years I think there's no place for it whatsoever. We're not horses, we're not plants either, we should use natural human hormones, and that is oestradiol, oestrone and testosterone EHEA, which is the precursor to testerone perhaps, and natural progesterone if you can, and that's all possible except the progesterone; we by and large use progestogen because it works. Progesterone cream doesn't work, it's not even absorbed, we've just spent, or I've just spent £100, studying this preparation and it's not even absorbed, it has no effect with the bones, the mood, the flushes, the sweats.
KC: It's not metabolised.
Want effective Progesterone cream? Ask your GP for Utrogestan
PS: It's still a racket that you go on the internet for £35 a pot per month and it's a waste of your money. I wish it did work, it would be very, very useful and convincing logically and so we really, although we use the bio-identical oestrogen and testosterone we are by and large stuck with sythentic norethisterone or Provera, although there is a more natural progresterone called Utrogestan, which is effective, and so the compromise is that I use this almost natural progesterone Utrogestan.
KC: So are the bio-identical hormones that you ‘re identifying with, where are they derived from, are they?
Hormones naturally sourced from Vegetables
PS: They all come from a laboratory. They don't dig them out of the ground or dig them from trees, they are all made in a laboratory, by vegetable precursors and they're pure and they are the same as the natural hormones in your body and my body.
KC: So it's just a case if women really want to go down the road of bio-identical hormones it's really only available from a private practice isn't it?
Get your bio-identical hormones from your GP!
PS: No that's not true. There's no reason why a general practitioner should not give you oestradiol either by tablets or preferably transdermally, that's by patch or by gel, that wo[...]
#17: Osteoporosis - the brittle bone disease you can prevent
SimplyHormones presents: An Interview with Prof John Studd, Vice President National Osteoporosis Society and Chairman of the British Menopause Society. Osteoporosis is a natural disease of aging but one we can ALL do something about – this brittle bone disease most often eats away at bones after degeneration of hormones at menopause.
SimplyHormones Presents: An Interview with Prof Studd on Osteoporosis
Prof. John Studd
KC: I'd like if I may now to talk about osteoporosis, the silent disease as it's often described. It's something I very much don't want to happen to me, I just can't visualise myself walking down the road with a zimmer frame. The press and magazines, womens' magazines are full of information telling us that we are supposed to be doing lots of exercise, weight bearing exercise, having better nutrition, in order to stay fit and healthy and stop the degeneration of our bones. What would you say, is that the right answer?
Overweight? You won't get osteoporosis!
PS: Well there is some truth in that, but it's more complicated. Having a good lifestyle, good diet and exercise is very good for you and what about exercise, it's very good for the brain, it's very good for the heart, it's very good for the mood, depression etc and in large amounts it's not bad for the bones, but I think it's somewhat of a deception to think that if you just keep a good diet and you're exercised by walking the dog for an hour a day, then that's going to prevent osteoporosis, and I see it very often, you have these healthy 60 year old women, slim, healthy, who walk for 2 hours a day, with a dog, without the dog and they've got rotten bones. And they mustn't think that because they are dog walkers and they exercise, that they are free from the risk of osteoporosis. Particularly, as I say, the thin women, the healthy thin women. By and large fat women don't get osteoporosis, and the reason for that is because with this excess fat they make oestrogens in their body fat, and that protects the bones.
Thin women and anorexics at risk of osteoporosis
The thin women don't make the same amount of oestrogens, so they are at higher risk, although they don't know it, if they have a healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise. So it's these women, they may have the menopause, they may have had anorexia when they were young, and they were very thin and healthy, and have lost their periods for 2 or 3 years when they were teenagers, they're the ones that are at risk, whether they exercise or not.
KC: I suppose that's why women have a natural propensity to gain weight as they go through menopause, because their cells are changing into fat cells instead of energy cells and in our day and age that's something we don't really want to see, women don't enjoy putting on weight, but actually it's good for us.
Weight gain in men and women is complex
PS: Well, weight gain in men and women is a complex thing, I don't think it's that simple. As you get older you do less exercise, you probably eat more, you might even drink more.
KC: Metabolism is slower.
#16: Testosterone puts your lights back on!
Testosterone for libido, oestrogen for depression – when the imbalance of hormones with monthly PMT and later on menopause are the cause depression, why are women referred to psychiatrists and prescribed mind-numbing anti-psychotic drugs? You may well ask! Prof. John Studd, specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist tells us here, in the first of three interviews, about his quest to break down barriers in the medical profession to correctly treat women when hormone imbalance is not obvious.
SimplyHormones Presents: An Interview with Prof John Studd on Testosterone, oestrogen and depression
Prof. John Studd
KC: I wonder if we can start in this interview by talking about low levels of Testosterone. Headlines that are attracting a lot of media interest, especially in space are talking about this, how men can improve their sex life just by having more testosterone. What's your view from a woman's perspective and the menopause?
JS: It's certainly true, there's a relationship between Testosterone and libido and levels of Testosterone and ease of orgasms and so on, and we've literally known for a long time, and certainly in this country we've been using Testosterone for many many years. So it is not an American discover, it really is not. They are becoming aware about Testosterone about 20 years after we have in Europe, mind you the Americans are rather keen on treating men with Testosterone and they are just getting round to treating women with Testosterone. We forget that Testosterone is a normal female hormone. Women have 10 times Testosterone in their system, it's just that we men happen to have more than women, thank the Lord, so it is not a male hormone, it's not a foreign hormone and I would think that of all my patients that have HRT in various forms, probably about 80% have Testosterone as well as Oestrogen, and the reason for that is that it is good for their energy, good for mood, depression and of course for libido. They generally feel better if their Testosterone levels are at the correct level.
KC: And I've read and even attended your lecture, when you've spoken in depth about this, but what do you think about the placebo effect? Do you think that plays a part as well?
JS: There's a placebo effect with any drug that you want to give, this is why it's a very important that the study that we do have a placebo belonging to it. And I think I wrote the first paper on ‘Testerone and Placebo' about 30 years ago and that was an uncontrolled study, and it is the one paper in my career that I regret writing up inadequately, because I did not, then, 35 years ago have a placebo belonging to it, so you are absolutely right, the results could all have been worthless, in fact they are not, they've been repeated many times and it's quite clear that apart from a placebo effect there is an extra effect of Testosterone.
KC: Yes, so it's beneficial.
JS: There is no doubt it's beneficial to women.
KC: And I've also read that you feel it's beneficial, especially for depression as well.
JS: Yes, absolutely. Depression in women is a complex thing. Much of it is hormonal, and improved with Oestrogen, transdermal Oestrogen; that's Oes[...]
#10: Cervical Cancer is a known STI
My interview with Gill Burgess tells you everything you ever wanted to know about this silent killer; cervical smears – why they’re important and much much more. Gill Burgess is the Cancer Screening Co-ordinator for Croydon PCT, specialising in Breast, Bowel and Cervical Cancers.
Gill is innovative and forward thinking – just listen to what she has to say and the full transcript appears below.
Interview with Gill Burgess on Cervical Cancer
KC: Hello everyone, it's Kathryn Colas here from SimplyHormones.com and I'm here today talking to Gill Burgess, who's a Cancer Screening Co-ordinator for Croydon PCT (NHS Primary Care Trust) and her speciality is breast, bowel and cervical cancer, and we're going to be talking to Gill this morning on cervical cancer to see if we can find out some more about it. So good morning to you Gill.
GB: Good morning.
KC: We're going to be talking about cervical cancer, and I think the first thing our listeners would like to know is what is it exactly?
GB: Well, it's the most common cancer affecting women in developing countries Kathryn, and it's caused by Human Papilloma Virus, which is an infection of the cervix. It's associated with cellular changes which can be detected early on under microscopic examination; for example the smear test. HPV infection usually clears within a few months, I think it's about 90% within 2 years. The problem is it's persistent infection beyond 12 months which is associated with the high risk of cervical cancer.
KC: And who is most at risk?
GB: It's transmissible mainly in the younger age group. You find most of it in women under the age of 30, but it's younger people that will pick up this virus. It's a very transient virus and it just goes from one to the other very very quickly, but like all viruses they move on as well, it's those, that as I said earlier, that persist that create the problem of cervical cancer. And only a very small proportion will go on to develop the cancer as well.
KC: So it's still quite rare in a sense?
GB: Yes the risk infection is soon after sexual activity begins. In some populations there is another peak among women actually at the menopause in older women, and although HPV is sexually transmitted, penetrative sex is not required for transmission. Skin to skin genital connections, penile to vulva for example, contact is a well recognised mode of transmission.
KC: That throws a different light on it, doesn't it?
GB: Yes, I think some data was brought up a while back on age specific prevalency of HPV, suggesting that there's a pattern of infection between regions and socio- economic groups. Also HIV infected individuals are at a higher risk of HPV infection. And they can be infected by a broader range of HPV types. So if you've got HIV you've got a low immune system and you're very sexually active with different partners, then you are at a much greater risk.
KC: I've also, continuing on risk, I've read some research that says the pill could increase the risk. Do you have a view on this?
GB: Yes, there are risks to the pill. It is actually one of the contributing factors alongside having a lot of children, at the early age of the first sexual activity. Cheap [...]
#3: The Pill is it right for you?
Listen to Alexandra Pope discussing HRT, The Pill; their toxicity and what is the tsunami of menopause? Such powerful information – if only I knew then…
Transcript of INTERVIEW with KATHRYN COLAS and ALEXANDRA POPE
Hello, Good morning. It's Kathryn Colas here from http://www.simplyhormones.com and I'm here today with Alexandra Pope. Now Alexandra, together with Jane Bennett wrote a book called: ‘The Pill, are you sure it's for you?' And I think it's absolute reading for everyone. Alexandra is also featured in a documentary called The Moon Inside You which has already been seen in a number of countries.
Some background to Alexandra is that she was originally a teacher of English in both the UK and Australia before training as a psychotherapist and in Psychosynthesis resulting in 20 years of private practice in Australia. She now continues in the UK and Europe, running private and public workshops on menstrual cycle education.
Kathryn Colas: Now, Alexandra, Good morning to you…
Alexandra Pope: Good morning to you, Kathryn. It's lovely to be talking to you like this.
KC: Thank you, yes, we have been trying to do this for ages, haven't we
AP: We have indeed
KC: I'd like to start with your book, Alexandra, The Pill, are you sure it's for you. Now I've read your book and found it so informative. Tell me, what prompted you to research this subject and write a book, together with your co-author Jane Bennett and what's your connection with Jane?
AP: Well, I'll begin with my connection to Jane. Jane and I have been friends for a number of years. This is in Australia and we both share a passion for menstrual education and Jane was particularly focused on girls work and has written a book in that area, you know, preparing girls for their first period and I, of course, was doing all the women's work and so we would often rave about our favourite topic and we would also bemoan the low status that menstruation has, you know, that it just seems such a negative in our culture and we are just passionate about transforming that and what brought us to The Pill, was that Jane, herself, is a teacher of natural fertility management which is teaching women how to chart their cycles for birth contraception and conception purposes and so that is her area of expertise and she has written in that area and works with a very well-known Australian woman, Francesca Naish and then of course I was doing the menstrual work and women often use the pill for dealing with menstrual problems. Both of us were tracking the research, you know, as it would come out, it would be in the press and would be more research on the dangers of the pill and always this research was dismissed as it's not, you know women, don't really have to worry and oh, yes, yes that it causes and potentially causes this cancer and that cancer and don't worry, keep on taking it.
KC; It never seems to make the national press does it
AP: It never seems to cause any kind of wake up. My God, this is a drug that is having all these side effects. It seems to have some sort of[...]
#15: Celia Johnson reveals Top Tips-Fitness through Menopause
There are 3 areas to concentrate on but first off, take it easy by listening to how to achieve your body shape – then put all your promises into practice!
KC: Hello everybody, it's Kathryn Colas here from Simply Hormones.com. And today I'm here talking to Celia Johnson who
specialises in health fitness and wellbeing, and how that fits in with going through menopause. If you've been listening to these podcasts you may already know that Celia has interviewed me about menopause and we've discussed the seven dwarfs of menopause and the symptoms and how they are affecting women and we've also done an interview on depression but today we're talking to Celia who specialises in heath fitness and wellbeing and how she can help us as we go through menopause, to understand our bodies better and get fitter. But first off, let me introduce you to Celia and we'll find out a bit more about her.
Hello Celia and welcome. How are you today?
CJ: Oh hi Kathryn, great thank you. Very excited to help those women out there on the topic of exercise and menopause.
KC: Good. First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you come from, how you got into the health industry and where you are today?
CJ: Right, well it started a long time ago. I was born in Preston, Lancashire, England. As from 18 I moved away from home. I lived in London and had a feeling that there was a career that I wanted to go on to and that started off with health and beauty. So I started off working for a cosmetic company in London, in the department stores, working with Mary Quant and Revlon, yes it was really great. I was into the makeup and everything and I really really loved it, I always thought the women in stores looked so glamorous I thought that's what I want to do. T
Then later on I moved to Ipswich, where I found my partner and then we got married, moved over to America, and again went in the department stores there, still working with the makeup, then I had a baby and started going to the gym because afterwards trying to get rid of… I was really big and fat, so I joined Gold gym, and I started in the gym and as then as I started to see results I thought “oh God this is fantastic”, but the problem there was I got addicted. I was in there morning noon and night, and also working as a job when I had the baby, I also did another college course in America, which was ‘cosmetology', which includes hairdressing and manicure, pedicures, so I[...]