Posts tagged with "hormones"

Women's Month illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Regaining Vaginal Balance with Flower Power

As women, we are always trying to find balance in our lives. We look to balance our time, money, and responsibilities as well as balance our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although, what about finding balance down there? Vaginal health is an important part of a woman’s overall health. When vaginal problems arise, they can affect self-confidence, fertility, sex drive, and put stress on a relationship. There are many factors that can impact vaginal health such as sex, infections or illness, hygiene, hormone levels, or vaginitis (vaginal inflammation). Typical symptoms that warrant a doctor visit include vaginal redness or itching; a change in odor, color, or amount of discharge; vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause; a mass or bulge in your vagina; or pain during intercourse.

To help maintain a healthy vagina, there are some helpful tips: do not scratch if it itches, wear cotton underwear, avoid thongs, use unscented tampons, do not leave tampons in for more than eight hours, practice safe sex, wipe from front to back after using the toilet, avoid products with a lot of fragrance like detergents and soaps, and avoid talc and powders. If you are concerned about symptoms of vaginal irritation or odor, there are over-the-counter products you can take including creams, gels, and vaginal suppositories.

About 30 percent of women struggle with vaginal odor, but that does not necessarily mean it is due to being unclean or unhygienic; it is just an imbalance. The vagina is an extraordinary self-cleaning organ but must be acidic to maintain its cleanliness and fight infection. When a woman’s pH levels are imbalanced, this can lead to vaginal issues like odor. What is pH, and why is it so important? The pH is the number that measures how alkaline (the opposite of acidic) something is. When the pH number is seven and under a substance is more acidic, and when the pH number is seven or more it is more alkaline. A healthy vagina has a pH of about four and a half or lower. A particular balance of healthy microbes in the vagina helps keep it acidic to protect against infection. Some of these healthy microbes, bacteria called Lactobacilli, keep the vagina acidic by producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. If the vagina becomes less acidic, then most likely there are not enough healthy microbes to protect it from infection. As estrogen and progesterone levels change, so do the levels of healthy bacteria and the pH of the vagina. Douching can also affect vaginal pH levels, but there are some over-the-counter products that can help bring your vaginal pH back to healthy levels.

Flower Power is a vegan vaginal suppository specially designed to help naturally restore a vagina’s self-cleansing powers. It contains boric acid, an oceanic mineral that has been used for hundreds of years for its acidic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Boric acid has been recommended by gynecologists for over 100 years, and until now, it was only available with a prescription at a compounding pharmacy. At Flower Power, they believe a natural product like their suppositories should be available to all women from the comfort of home. Flower Power’s capsules are free of fillers, dyes, and flow agents and are cruelty-free and made in the USA. Flower Power co-founder Naomi Moore says, “Unfortunately, many things such as douching, sex, fabrics, exercise, sugar, even detergent can throw off the pH. And, once the vagina’s pH is off, the bad stuff thrives, and it’s difficult for it to rebalance things again.” She adds, “Flower Power helps rapidly bring the vagina’s pH back to its natural levels, so it can continue to be the remarkable germ-fighting machine that it’s designed to be!”

Flower Power vaginal suppositories are easy to use, incredibly fast-acting, and many women see a decrease in odor after one use. They can easily be used overnight by simply inserting the suppository capsule into the vagina before bedtime, and as it dissolves, it starts to work its magic in four to twelve hours. OB-GYN Dr. R. Mabborang says, “Boric acid suppositories, like Flower Power, help restore the vaginal mucosa to more acidic levels. This allows the vagina to help fight microorganisms that can cause itch and odor. Flower Power does it better—their products are made in the USA and utilize vegan capsules – something that is likely far safer for the vaginal flora.” Pharmacist Dr. Amy Asghar says, “We’ve compounded boric acid for patients for years. It’s proven to be safe and incredibly effective with vaginal burning, odor, and itch. Flower Power uses the highest quality ingredients in a vegan capsule, bringing pharmacy quality products to the comfort of home.”

Not only does Flower Power help numerous women balance their vaginal health, but they also take their business to the next step. With every Flower Power purchase, a portion of the profits will be donated to a women’s charity of your choice. Also, if you are not happy with your results, Flower Power offers an easy refund policy. Flower Power’s mission is to help women regain confidence with safe, natural solutions. They are incredibly confident in the remarkable products they make and believe that all women should be open and honest about their vaginas. Flower Power’s vaginal suppositories are incredibly potent and quickly eliminate embarrassing vaginal odor (and excess discharge) leaving you feeling clean and confident. The precise dose of pure boric acid works as a potent antifungal and targets the nasty Candida albicans and the more resistant Candida glabrata yeast strains. Their boric acid is also the finest, most comfortable powder around with absolutely no irritating granular fillers.

Women are raving about this amazing product. Flower Power is giving women the opportunity to take control of their vaginal health from home naturally and effectively. With so many women struggling with vaginal odor and other similar issues, it is reassuring to have a product that truly works and puts women first.

Prostate cancer illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Battle Against Prostate Cancer

New Insights into Hormone’s Action Could Help in Battle Against Prostate Cancer

Discovery Sheds Light on How Cancer Cells Use Androgen

Researchers at UVA Cancer Center have unveiled important new insights into how hormones known as androgens act on our cells – and the discovery could boost efforts to develop better treatments for prostate, ovarian and breast cancers.

The findings shed light on how androgens interact with their receptors inside cells to affect gene activity. This process is important in both healthy cells and certain cancers. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer, for example, aims to reduce the amount of androgen in the body, or to stop it from fueling the cancer cells. However, the approach does not work for some men, and for others it eventually fails. So, scientists are eager to better understand how our cells – and cancer – interact with androgen.

“Our study reveals a new mechanism for how androgen regulates communication within prostate cancer cells,” said Bryce M. Paschal, PhD, of the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. “Anti-androgen therapies continue to be the cornerstone for prostate cancer therapy. The better we understand how androgens work, the better clinicians will be positioned to understand why it fails, and how even better therapies can be designed.”

Androgen and Cancer

In a new paper in the scientific journal Nature Communications, Paschal and his colleagues describe how a complex signaling system regulates androgen receptor activity. The system, they found, uses a “writer” and a “reader” to modify cellular proteins – sort of like how a computer reads and writes information.

Scientists have appreciated the importance of these modified proteins but understanding just how they influence the androgen receptors has been difficult. One key to the regulation process, found by Paschal and his SOM team, is an enzyme, Parp7, produced by the PARP7 gene. Parp7 is part of a family of enzymes involved in important cellular functions including DNA repair.

Certain cancer drugs already target certain Parp enzymes; these drugs are used to treat prostate, ovarian and breast cancers in patients who have mutations in DNA-repair genes. And while androgens are usually discussed in the context of prostate cancer, androgens may be important in ovarian and breast cancer as well.

Paschal’s new findings offer fresh insights into these Parp drugs and could lead to improved treatments that help patients get the best outcomes. Further, Paschal and his team found lower levels of Parp7 in prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body than in the initial tumors. That may suggest that a reduction in Parp7 is associated with the progression of the disease, the researchers say.

With their new androgen insights, Paschal and his colleagues have provided scientists with important new directions to explore in the battle against prostate and other cancers.

“Our next steps will be to use pre-clinical models to determine the role this pathway plays in prostate cancer progression, and whether inhibition of the pathways slows disease,” Paschal said. “We are very excited by what we have learned thus far. Our study emphasizes there is still so much to be learned, and that basic science plays a critical role in defining the molecular context for enzyme and drug action. “

About the Research

The research team consisted of Chun-Song Yang, Kasey Jividen, Teddy Kamata, Natalia Dworak, Luke Oostdyk, Bartlomiej Remlein, Yasin Pourfarjam, In-Kwon Kim, Kang-Ping Du, Tarek Abbas, Nicholas E. Sherman, David Wotton and Paschal.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, grant CA214872.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

Transgender illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original Photo Credit: Pixabay) for 360 Magazine

Parents Open Letter to Lawmakers

1,500+ Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth Condemn Anti-Trans Bills in Open Letter to Lawmakers

More than 1,500 parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth — from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — signed a letter imploring elected officials to oppose anti-transgender bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country.  

The letter — organized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council — was sent to elected officials Monday morning.

The letter comes in response to a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are currently more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of these discriminatory bills, 106 directly target transgender people, including efforts to ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and prohibit evidence-based, life-saving health care for transgender youth.

“Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: ‘You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power and you don’t,’” the parents wrote. “Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society.”

“Transgender children are children. They deserve the ability to play organized sports and have access to medically necessary care, just like all children. These bills are cruel — and parents are not going to be silent when elected officials attack their children through discriminatory legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth impacted by these bills are among the most vulnerable to experience depression and engage in self-harm, including suicide. Legislators must realize the seriousness of this issue and remember that they were elected to lead — not call into question whether certain children have the right to exist, to be happy, or to live authentically.”

“As a trans person, I know what it means to have lawmakers try to write me out of existence — imagine being a trans child trying to cope with this reality. There is a coordinated attack on transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth being waged in state legislatures across the country and it is having a devastating impact on the mental health of kids, who just want to be kids,” said Jay Brown, Senior Vice President, HRC Programs, Research & Training. “Parents will not back down when it comes to protecting their children, and they will not tolerate their elected officials using their positions of power to harm and further oppress them. We will never give up hope that if people — including elected officials — hear from people at the center of the policy debate, and their loved ones, that their hearts will open, and their minds will change.”

The full letter is below.

April 12, 2021

Dear Elected Officials,

Many of you are sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for legislation that would force transgender children to participate in sports based on a letter on their birth certificate rather than who they are – or not participate at all. Some of you are also sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for bills that would criminalize best-practice, evidence-based, life-saving health care that transgender youth need (and deserve!) to thrive. 

Parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth like us have called you, sent you emails, and have showed up in the midst of a global pandemic to testify about how devastating these bills are…not only if or when they pass and become law, but also right now because, by whipping up a firestorm of attacks on our kids, they have already caused damage to our families.

Parenting during a pandemic is hard enough. The fact that these bills exist at all—that the lives of our children are up for debate in any state in this nation—adds a layer of worry to an already fraught time. Let’s be clear: the impact of these bills goes far beyond sports and medical care; they call into question whether our children have the right to exist, to be happy, to live authentically. The answer is yes. They absolutely do.

We have shared studies with you explaining that trans youth are more susceptible to struggle with anxiety or depression, not because they are transgender but because of stigma and discrimination. You have heard that being able to participate in sports and being on a team with friends and classmates can improve their mental health. You have heard adolescents tell you how afraid they are of experiencing the wrong puberty or how terrified teenagers are of having their medically-prescribed hormones denied to them. 

This isn’t the first time. We tried telling you all of this a year ago before the pandemic thankfully cut many legislative sessions short and these bills floundered. After hearing some of these concerns last year, a senator in Missouri was quoted dismissively saying “We can’t be responsible for everyone’s mental health.”

We are pointedly telling you now that you actually are responsible for the mental health of these kids. We are holding you personally responsible for the amount of stress, anxiety, and fear our precious children are currently struggling with. We are holding you responsible for how some of our children are crying themselves to sleep every night, asking why so many people hate trans kids and want them to suffer. You are the reason they are asking to move somewhere where they will be protected, because their home doesn’t feel safe anymore with you in charge of creating its laws.

You were elected to your positions to lead. And leaders understand that in our great but imperfect system of government, we favor the concept of “majority rule, minority rights.” Leaders do not use their positions of power to harm and further oppress a struggling and hurting minority.

Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: “You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power, and you don’t.”

Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society. 

Here is a powerful quote from Nomi Ruiz, a Puerto Rican trans woman, artist and performer, that we’d like you to take time to think about…

“The outside world will never truly understand the magnitude of the trans experience, especially that of a child who has an undying need to live in truth despite being ostracized for it. The only way for trans children to thrive is to allow them to live freely in the face of a society that abuses them for it.”

Stop abusing our kids by creating legislation that targets them. Kill these bills now and leave our kids alone.

Justifiably angry,

Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth

Hormone Disruptors

The 5 Biggest Disruptors Wreaking Havoc On Your Hormones

As 2019 dawns, some people are taking a “new year-new you” approach. They’re determined to make self-improvements that provide a fresh, positive outlook and strong sense of well-being.

But sometimes health factors undermine those good intentions, such as depression and its link to hormone imbalances. There are myriad ways both men and women suffer adverse effects to their hormones, says Don Colbert, M.D., and many of them are avoidable.

“We are exposed to thousands of toxic chemicals on a regular basis in the air, water and food,” says Colbert, author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone. “Some of them are hormone disruptors because they disturb your endocrine system, wreaking havoc and creating hormonal imbalances.

“Not only are the effects of all these disruptors depressing to think about; they actually cause depression, along with countless other ailments such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and more. But the basic principle is this: decreasing the number of disruptions will improve your health.”

Dr. Colbert breaks down the top hormone disruptors affecting men and women along with ways to minimize the disruption or stop it:

Lifestyle choices. “Whether it’s weight gain and a lack of exercise, anger and unforgiveness, drinking too much alcohol or some other thing that can be controlled, your hormone levels drop and you begin a slow slide to poorer health,” Dr. Colbert says. “Make better choices, and that dramatically decreases the chances of having any hormone deficiency symptoms.”

Medications. Medications affect the body’s cells, and sometimes side effects manifest in major problems. For example, Dr. Colbert cites Mayo Clinic research showing a prescription statin drug that lowered cholesterol could result in liver damage, memory loss or type 2 diabetes. “I estimate that 55 percent of the entire US population is taking pills that directly and negatively affect hormone levels,” Dr. Colbert says. “Get off these harmful medications you hate.”

Things you touch. Chemicals entering the body through the skin can cause long-term damage. Dr. Colbert notes phthalates, disruptors found in household cleaners, cosmetics, toys and numerous other products. “Phthalates negatively affect both men’s and women’s ability to use the testosterone that is in our bodies,” Dr. Colbert says. “Another is BPA (bisphenol A), found on the inside of metal-canned foods and plastic food-storing containers. Specifically, BPA has been found to cause or contribute to cancer, fertility problems, developmental issues and heart disease. I recommend buying glass jars of food and storing in ceramic containers.”

Diet deficiencies. “The standard American diet is usually low in key nutrients that support a healthy thyroid,” Dr. Colbert says. “Many patients with hormone imbalances have low iodine. The best solution is eat more vegetables, ideally raw or steamed.”

Aging. Dr. Colbert says estrogen levels for women begin to decline around the age of 50; for men, testosterone levels can drop low around age 45-50. “Aging is a natural combatant as a hormone disruptor,” he says, “but we can slow the acceleration of the effects of aging by optimizing our hormones. Healthy habits can make a huge difference.”

“Symptoms of serious problems indicated by hormonal imbalance can be reversed by those who focus on health in their diet, lifestyle and living environment,” Dr. Colbert says. “Then they can enable all of their systems to function optimally.”

About Don Colbert, M.D.
Don Colbert, M.D., is the author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone. He has been a board-certified family practice doctor for more than 25 years and has offices in Orlando, Fla., and Dallas. The author of over 40 books, he wrote two New York Times best-sellers – The Seven Pillars of Health and Dr. Colbert’s “I Can Do This” Diet – has sold more than 10 million books and treated 50,000-plus patients. Dr. Colbert is a frequent show guest of Christian leaders Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, and Kenneth Copeland and has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, ABC World News Tonight, and in periodicals such as Newsweek and Reader’s Digest.

5 Hormone Disruptors

The 5 Biggest Disruptors

As 2019 dawns, some people are taking a “new year-new you” approach. They’re determined to make self-improvements that provide a fresh, positive outlook and strong sense of well-being.

But sometimes health factors undermine those good intentions, such as depression and its link to hormone imbalances. There are myriad ways both men and women suffer adverse effects to their hormones, says Don Colbert, M.D., and many of them are avoidable.

“We are exposed to thousands of toxic chemicals on a regular basis in the air, water and food,” says Colbert, author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone. “Some of them are hormone disruptors because they disturb your endocrine system, wreaking havoc and creating hormonal imbalances.

“Not only are the effects of all these disruptors depressing to think about; they actually cause depression, along with countless other ailments such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and more. But the basic principle is this: decreasing the number of disruptions will improve your health.”

Dr. Colbert breaks down the top hormone disruptors affecting men and women along with ways to minimize the disruption or stop it:

Lifestyle choices.

“Whether it’s weight gain and a lack of exercise, anger and unforgiveness, drinking too much alcohol or some other thing that can be controlled, your hormone levels drop and you begin a slow slide to poorer health,” Dr. Colbert says. “Make better choices, and that dramatically decreases the chances of having any hormone deficiency symptoms.”

Medications.

Medications affect the body’s cells, and sometimes side effects manifest in major problems. For example, Dr. Colbert cites Mayo Clinic research showing a prescription statin drug that lowered cholesterol could result in liver damage, memory loss or type 2 diabetes. “I estimate that 55 percent of the entire US population is taking pills that directly and negatively affect hormone levels,” Dr. Colbert says. “Get off these harmful medications you hate.”

Things you touch.

Chemicals entering the body through the skin can cause long-term damage. Dr. Colbert notes phthalates, disruptors found in household cleaners, cosmetics, toys and numerous other products. “Phthalates negatively affect both men’s and women’s ability to use the testosterone that is in our bodies,” Dr. Colbert says. “Another is BPA (bisphenol A), found on the inside of metal-canned foods and plastic food-storing containers. Specifically, BPA has been found to cause or contribute to cancer, fertility problems, developmental issues and heart disease. I recommend buying glass jars of food and storing in ceramic containers.”

Diet deficiencies.

“The standard American diet is usually low in key nutrients that support a healthy thyroid,” Dr. Colbert says. “Many patients with hormone imbalances have low iodine. The best solution is eat more vegetables, ideally raw or steamed.”

Aging.

Dr. Colbert says estrogen levels for women begin to decline around the age of 50; for men, testosterone levels can drop low around age 45-50. “Aging is a natural combatant as a hormone disruptor,” he says, “but we can slow the acceleration of the effects of aging by optimizing our hormones. Healthy habits can make a huge difference.”

“Symptoms of serious problems indicated by hormonal imbalance can be reversed by those who focus on health in their diet, lifestyle and living environment,” Dr. Colbert says. “Then they can enable all of their systems to function optimally.”

About Don Colbert, M.D.

Don Colbert, M.D. is the author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone. He has been a board-certified family practice doctor for more than 25 years and has offices in Orlando, Fla., and Dallas. The author of over 40 books, he wrote two New York Times best-sellers – The Seven Pillars of Health and Dr. Colbert’s “I Can Do This” Diet – has sold more than 10 million books and treated 50,000-plus patients. Dr. Colbert is a frequent show guest of Christian leaders Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, and Kenneth Copeland and has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, ABC World News Tonight, and in periodicals such as Newsweek and Reader’s Digest.