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Geoffrey Redmond, MD

Newsletter # 4 October 2005


This newsletter is published several times a year to provide women
with up to the minute information about common hormone conditions.


Important: Please keep in mind that the purpose of the Hormone Center of New York and this newsletter is to provide general information. Anyone with a medical condition should be under the care of a physician and any changes in treatment must be discussed with him or her.


This issue is about Dr. Redmond's new book THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN just published by ReganBooks/HarperCollins and now available through bookstores and online. Click Here


I wrote THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN so that the millions of women afflicted by their own hormones can get accurate, detailed advice on how they can find relief. In it I distill what I have learned in the more than 20 years my practice has been devoted to caring for women with hormonal problems.


The publisher did a wonderful job of getting the book out quickly so all the information is quite timely. For this reason, rather than covering a few specific topics as I usually do in this newsletter, I will devote this issue to answering some of the questions I have been asked about the book. (THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN has just been released and is available now at bookstores and online sources such as Amazon.com or on this website.


What is hormonal vulnerability?
Hormonal vulnerability is the situation, unfortunately, faced by most women at one time or another during their lives, in which hormones start to take over their lives. Sometimes hormone levels are abnormal but, much more often, hormones are normal; the problem is how the individual woman's body reacts to her own hormones. This leads to the frustrating situation in which a woman knows something is not right with her body but is told by her doctor, "Your tests are all normal, there's nothing wrong with you."


Is hormonal vulnerability really that common?
Hormonal vulnerability is extremely common. At least 80% of women are affected at one time or another in their lives. Often the symptoms are mild but for some women, the effects are so severe as to take the joy out of their lives.


When does hormonally vulnerability start?
My book THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN is focused on women between 35 and 55, a time I have dubbed “the hormonal years” because this is when so many women suddenly discover that hormones are taking over their lives. However, hormonal vulnerability is not unusual in women in their twenties, or even teens. It sometimes extends well past menopause.


Why haven't I heard the term “hormonal vulnerability” before?
Unfortunately, the medical establishment is in a state of denial about this pervasive condition. There is still a tendency for doctors to ignore complaints for which they cannot find a physical basis – especially if the patient is a woman.

Even though many doctors have never heard of hormonal vulnerability, I find that women know immediately what this term means – because they have experienced hormonal disruptions in their own lives.


How does hormonal vulnerability affect a woman?
There are many hormones in a woman's body and they do many different things. Hormonal vulnerability affects four vital aspects of a woman's life:
Physical well-being
Sexual desire and pleasure

Common unwelcome effects of hormones on appearance are acne, unwanted hair and hair loss. Adverse effects on physical well-being include fatigue, low energy, cramps, migraine, muscle aches and pains and overall bodily discomfort that is hard to pinpoint but very real. Hormonal mood swings are most common in the week before menstruation but can be triggered at other times as well. Hormones often act up long before menopause, but as the change approaches, it make symptoms even worse.

As to sex, if hormones are not working right, sex does not work either.


How important are the effects of hormones on appearance?
In a way, the appearance effects are the most upsetting because you are reminded of them every time you look in the mirror. Although concern about appearance is sometimes stigmatized as "vain," we all know that others judge us in part by how we look. To want to look one's best is a positive trait.


How common is female hair loss?
Hair loss is only supposed to happen to men, but it affects over 20% of women in their thirties and 40% later on. For a woman to see her hair starting to thin can take a terrible toll on her self-esteem. Of all the forms of hormonal vulnerability that I see in my practice, hair loss is the most devastating. Most women never think about hair loss until it happens to them. Then, sad to say, they can think about little else.

As readers of my website know, the cause of female hair loss is almost always hormones. Testosterone – which all women have in their bodies, though much less than men – is bad for hair, while estrogen is good. So hair loss occurs when a woman's follicles are vulnerable to testosterone or particularly dependent on estrogen.


Does THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN offer hope for women with alopecia?
Yes. It describes the effective treatments. By protecting the follicle from testosterone, or enhancing a woman's estrogen, hair loss can be stabilized. Regrowth is definitely possible for many women, with proper treatment directed at the hormonal cause.

Tragically, most women with alopecia are told that nothing can be done. THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN reveals the reasons why most dermatologists and endocrinologists do not know how to treat alopecia and, most important of all, explains the effective treatments in detail, based on the author's more than two decades of experience helping women get their hair back.


Why is the week before menstruation so unkind to women's skin?
In the middle of each normal cycle there is an upward blip of testosterone that can put oil glands into overdrive. The visible result is eruption of blemishes about a week later. THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN details the specific ways how women protect their skin from this treacherous hormone.


What about hormones and emotions?
For most women, the week before their period is their most vulnerable time hormonally – and, therefore, emotionally. Minor annoyances become overwhelming and the least little frustration can provoke tears. For many women, the worst part is irritability because it threatens to damage their most important relationships.


Some doctors do not take PMS seriously. Does it really exist?
Absolutely. PMS is real. Anyone who does not believe in PMS just isn't paying attention. This is another situation in which hormone levels are quite normal but brain and body overreact to shifts in levels. These are worst during the last week of the cycle. The mystery of PMS is fully explained in THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN.


Can anything be done about PMS, or is it just one more thing women have to live with?
THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN details the four-part program I devised which is nearly always effective in relieving PMS. It addresses lifestyle, nutrition, use of herbs and vitamins and, when necessary, prescription medication. Each case of PMS is different because each woman is as individual hormonally as she is in other ways. The key is having a program tailored to your own body and biochemistry. I explain how to do this in THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN.


What about sex?
It is hormones that make us sexual beings and keep us sexy. For both men and women, the hormone that seems to stimulate desire is testosterone. Testosterone also makes it easier to get aroused and increases sexual pleasure. Testosterone is the feel good/have fun hormone, but it has a shadow side if not used carefully because it can damage skin and hair. Guidelines for deciding if trying testosterone might be a good option for you are included in THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN.


What sort of sexual problems are covered in the new book?
Far and away most frequent sexual concern for women is loss of desire. Studies show that from age twenty on, fully a third of women feel their interest in sex is too low.

Until recently it was assumed that if you had a problem with sex, it was due to some psychological hang-up. Viagra ended all that when many men with so-called “psychogenic impotence” found their erection difficulties vanished as soon as they swallowed a pill.

Why are there several new medications for menus sexual problems but none for women's? Is there any safe treatment available right now?

Many women are understandably bitter that so much has been done to make sex better for men but hardly anything for women. Part of the problem is political. Unfortunately, some in our society feel they should decide for other women how they should lead their sex lives. For this reason, approval of the testosterone patch for women has been held up.

Testosterone can help many women recover their enjoyment of sex but with this hormone, safety is critical. With testosterone it is definitely not a case where if a little is good, more is better. In my practice I see many women who have been overdosed with testosterone by doctors who do not understand how this hormone works in women. They give doses designed for men, forgetting that women are hormonally much more delicately tuned. The result can be hair loss, acne, and increased facial hair. To feel sexier at the cost of thinner hair or a blemished complexion is a bad bargain.

My new book explains the only method, one I developed, that can allow women to make safe use of currently available forms of testosterone.


Your book is quite detailed – 480 pages. Is there any way you can summarize its message in a few words?
My key message is this: If you are suffering from hormonally vulnerability, don't give up hope. There are treatments that work and they are described in complete detail in THE HORMONALLY VULNERABLE WOMAN.


Best wishes to all my readers,

Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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