Desert Wellness Center’s Dr. Ezrre specializes in hormonal balancing and pelvic health, in addition to her patients’ overall well-being. She believes optimal health means that you’re fit and healthy on all levels; not just physical, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual. This blog focuses more on the physical part; specifically hormones and pelvic health.
Dr. Ezrre’s healing journey began after she gave birth seven years ago when she felt that everything just completely crashed. She was exhausted, emotional, wasn’t sleeping, and just felt awful. Additionally, her pregnancies and childbirth wreaked havoc with her bladder. She had several accidents and felt like she was living her life around the locations of the restrooms at the stores where she shopped, which caused her a lot of anxiety.
She started researching pelvic floor exercises and physical therapy, and then eventually discovered radiofrequency to treat collagen loss. She knows that understanding your body and how one thing affects another is key to optimizing your overall health.
The role hormones play
Our hormones change throughout our life. When estrogen, progesterone and testosterone aren’t in balance, the results affect every aspect of our lives; mood changes, anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, memory issues, insomnia, depression, lack of motivation, lower libido, hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability can lead many patients – and even some physicians – to head straight for antidepressants or other pills. But as naturopaths, we look at the whole picture and treat the root of the problem instead of only addressing the symptoms. When we treat hormone issues, we do it in a way that balances the hormones.
Hormones are supposed to work together no matter what stage of your life you’re in. When we see a patient in their 40s, we sometimes discover that we need to start treating their teen, too. In other words, don’t think you are either too young or too old to have problems with your hormones. And those hormone imbalances should be addressed.
Hormone imbalances can also cause urinary leakage, urgency, frequent UTIs, as well as sexual functions like low libido, vaginal dryness, and difficult climax. These symptoms often occur after menopause, but also during perimenopause.
Bladder control issues cause us to wake up during the night, which interrupts our sleep. And if we are already finding it difficult to fall asleep or waking up because of night sweats, this overall lack of sleep leads to problems during the daytime when we’re supposed to be working and taking care of our families.
Loss of collagen
Many of us notice physical changes as we age; we have more wrinkles on our faces, hands, or on our bodies. This loss of collagen also affects the strength in the vaginal and bladder walls, too, though. Without collagen, we don’t have the ability to hold the bladder up. Lack of collagen also creates vaginal laxity, which affects sexual function and affects intimacy because collagen also gives us the ability for lubrication. With decreased sensation due to muscle laxity and without proper lubrication, sexual relations can be painful and tend to be avoided.
We here at Desert Wellness view effective treatment as a three pronged approach, all while also looking at the patient’s lifestyle. We address hormone imbalances, we work to strengthen the pelvic floor, and we improve collagen to the vaginal tissues.
Hormones are important for how we feel and interact, and replacing estrogen with bioidentical hormones helps protect bones, the brain, and the cardiovascular system. This not only helps us feel good and look good, it also it helps our longevity and our aging process.
- Testosterone – as we age, the ability to build muscle again decreases if this hormone dips. A lack of testosterone can also cause night sweats.
- Progesterone – this hormone has calming properties, so when there is a lack of sufficient progesterone, you can experience insomnia and anxiety.
- Estrogen – especially during perimenopause or after menopause, a lack of estrogen can cause you to experience mood swings, vaginal dryness, and lower libido.
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles that act basically like a hammock. They sit on the bottom of your pelvis and hold up your bladder, uterus, and intestines. These muscles should be tight so that there’s no urinary leakage or fecal incontinence. These muscles weaken with aging, disuse, and not tightening and strengthening them. Childbearing and being overweight also puts a lot of extra pressure on those muscles, especially because they’re working against gravity.
- Kegel exercises – most women have heard of kegels, but many are not doing them correctly. You want to tighten and lift everything as if you were urinating and stopping that urination midstream and then hold it for 10 seconds. By holding it for 10 seconds, you can actually strengthen the pelvic floor muscles more effectively. Additionally, it actually works the muscles more when you perform kegels while you’re in an upright position (sitting or standing). Doing these exercises for a minimum of 10 times a day is easy to do when you’re washing the dishes, doing laundry, or sitting at red lights in your car.
- Skinny jean exercises – these exercises work the abdominal muscles called the transverse abdominals that are like a girdle of muscles that go around the abdominal wall that basically that keeps everything in. The skinny jeans exercise is when you try to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans and you pull your belly button to your back. Three sets of 10 of those exercises every day strengthens the core.
- PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy for vaginal rejuvenation involves taking a patient’s blood, spinning it down, which concentrates the platelets, and then injecting it with some numbing cream in the vaginal canal and into the clitoral area. This boosts collagen production and is an option for those unable to do the hormone replacement.
Viveve treatment is a non-surgical option to improve collagen levels in the vagina. Viveve rejuvenates the cells and stimulates the creation of more collagen, which improves muscle function in the vaginal canal, which in turn improves sensation (including more lubrication), and helps curb urinary leakage. This treatment can work for anyone who can’t do hormones, including women after breast cancer treatment.
Viveve is a machine that uses cryogenic cooled radio frequency that heats up the tissue to stimulate collagen production. However, there are no adverse effects with the treatment and it’s totally painless. There’s also no downtime, it only takes about an hour, and is typically a one time treatment. The wand is about the size of a sonogram toothbrush and it delivers pulses for the duration of the treatment.
Vaginal dryness starts improving about two weeks after Viveve treatment. At about the 30 day mark, urinary symptoms start to improve. Urinary leakage continues to lessen until about the three month mark where it reaches its maximum effectiveness.
Women from 30 to age 70 have been successfully treated. One patient’s urinary leakage completely resolved with this treatment, but she was also able to experience her first vaginal orgasm, as well.
If you have urinary leakage, are interested in improving intimacy, or have any questions about any of these treatments, call 480.361.5188 to schedule an appointment with any of Desert Wellness Center’s naturopathic physicians.