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General Women's Health Questions (7)
Q: Is it possible that hormone imbalances have caused me to gain weight? Can getting the correct hormone balance help me to lose weight?
A: Maybe. But one thing is for sure: if hormone imbalances are contributing to a woman feeling tired and depressed, she is not likely to feel like exercising and she may do more “comfort eating”. Just returning to feeling normal is what’s important. Then getting on right diet/exercise program will accomplish a lot.
A: Sometimes. After doing the necessary lab work, the physicians at the Ashford Center can discuss whether you’re a good candidate for testosterone replacement. Around half of women who complain of low libido will benefit for a testosterone supplement, sometimes a single, one-time injection.
Q: My libido has “flat-lined”. Is there anything I can do to renew my sexual interest and enjoyment?
A: Very likely there is. For one thing, hormone imbalances are frequently a cause of low libido. Sometimes low estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness and decreased libido. Also, many women may have decreased testosterone levels, which can cause low libido. After a thorough discussion and necessary lab work, proper hormonal supplementation frequently restores normal sexual desire and satisfaction.
A: No. In fact, estrogen given in the correct way and in the correct dose seems to protect against cancer. Drs. Clint and Rebecca Ashford have studied hormone replacement therapy since the 1980’s and are very familiar with this subject, but it is difficult to give a brief summary on a complex subject. However, there are three things that we strongly believe about hormone replacement therapy:
- Women who have bothersome symptoms associated with estrogen therapy should consider taking an estrogen supplement.
- Women who have had a hysterectomy actually seem to be at significantly lower risk of breast cancer if they take estrogen.
- Estrogen needs to be given in the right way and in the right dose.
A: Hormone replacement therapy is given orally, transdermally (creams or patches), or by pellets injections a few times per year. All methods are safe, but Drs. Clint or Rebecca Ashford can help you select the method that’s right for you. It is possible that there may be a need to alternate between types of therapies or increase or decrease dosages.
A: Yes, if given in the right way, in the right dose, and for the right reasons. For example, women who still have their uterus usually need to take a small amount of progesterone to balance estrogen supplements. Women who have had a hysterectomy generally don’t need progesterone. Oral hormone supplements are safe, but transdermals such as patches and creams may have advantages, such as being absorbed directly into the blood stream in their pure form.
Q: What are the symptoms of hormone deficiency, and how would I know if I should take hormone supplements?
A: The most common symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency are hot flashes and night sweats. There can be other symptoms as well, such as insomnia, vaginal dryness, moodiness and depression, as well as many other symptoms. For example, some women may complain of forgetfulness, lack of being able to focus and “mental fogginess”. If these symptoms are caused by a decreased output of estrogen from the ovaries, then taking the correct dose of hormone replacement usually alleviates these bothersome symptoms altogether.
NovaSure & Essure (8)
Q: When were these procedures approved by the FDA, and have there been problems or complications with them?
A: The main procedures performed at the Ashford Center are NovaSure®, HTA®, Her Option® Cryoablation, and Essure®. All of these procedures were received FDA approval between 2001 and 2003. All of these procedures are safe and millions of women have benefited from them.
A: The FDA has approved 6 methods of endometrial ablation. Nearly 80% of endometrial ablation procedures in the USA are NovaSure® procedures. The NovaSure® procedure is simple, safe and effective. Dr. Clint Ashford is also an expert in the HTA® and Her Option® cryoablation procedures, but he mainly uses them for specific indications. For example, when a woman has a fibroid tumor that protrudes into her uterine cavity, the NovaSure® device will usually not work. However, removal of the endometrium may be accomplished with the HTA® device that is not dependent on having a regular interior uterine shape.
A: There may be some truth to this commonly held belief. As the uterus lining (endometrium) degenerates, it does release a toxin that causes many women to experience fluid retention, abdominal bloating, headache, irritability, fatigue, chocolate cravings, as well as other symptoms. When the menstrual period comes on, these toxins are expelled and these symptoms subside. However, when the endometrium has been removed with the NovaSure® procedure, the toxin no longer builds up, no more toxins are released, and most women’s PMS symptoms go away.
A: 80% of our patients will never have another period. A few patients, however, will continue to have a day or two of spotting at the time of their periods, especially if they have fibroids or an otherwise larger-than-average uterus. Most of these women are satisfied with the dramatic reduction in their menstrual flow they experience, however some desire a “touch-up” procedure to try to achieve complete amenorrhea.
A: No. We guarantee no pain. Our procedures are performed under light sedation administered by an anesthetist (an anesthesiologist or CRNA). There may be some cramping for a few hours after the procedures, however.
Q: I was told that fibroids, tumors in my uterus, were causing my heavy bleeding, and these fibroids rule out NovaSure® for me. Is this true?
A: Maybe, but only if the size of the uterus is larger than a grapefruit. In most other cases The Ashford Center would be able to perform a NovaSure® procedure, or sometimes an alternative type of endometrial ablation such as HTA® or Her Option® Cryoablation.
Q: My doctor recommended that I have a hysterectomy. Is the NovaSure procedure (or another method of endometrial ablation) a good alternative to hysterectomy?
A: It depends on why your doctor had recommended hysterectomy. In most cases, hysterectomies are performed for heavy periods, and the NovaSure® procedure (as well as the HTA® procedure and Her Option® Cryoablation procedure) will usually stop periods altogether, or nearly so. In fact, the Ashford Center has effectively treated hundreds of women with fibroids without the need to resort to hysterectomy. On the other hand, certain chronic pelvic pain conditions, large pelvic tumors, and certain other conditions cannot be adequately treated without resorting to more invasive procedures such as hysterectomy.
A: Yes. All the procedures done by The Ashford Center are safe. Complications can occur with any procedure, but the NovaSure and Essure procedures are extremely safe. It is also important to point out that these procedures are certainly much safer than hysterectomy or in-hospital tubal ligation, though we consider those procedures safe as well, though they are more invasive.