new approaches

Flashfree…time for a new journey

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in menopause, new approaches | 0 comments









Hello there! I’ve been gone for about four years but I’ve been eager to get the site back up and running to provide women (and men) access to six some-odd years of posts and information. In the coming weeks, the site will be undergoing a revamp and slight change in direction, a new journey, if you will.  While we would like to believe in the utopian fantasy that health is created equally, and that health needs are likewise, the same between women, data suggest otherwise. Women of color have increased rates of hypertension (aka high blood pressure), diabetes, death from breast cancer, etc. And as you may know, menopause is a prime time for the body to go haywire and certain disease risks, elevate markedly. So, stay tuned as I have a few thoughts about devising content that is specific to women of color, in addition to content that applies across the gender spectrum.


Blogging may be dead. However the search for current information never goes away.

Welcome back!

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She’s a lady. Treat her with…

Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in new approaches | 0 comments

Care? Or with LadyCare?! This nifty, palm-sized device snaps onto your underwear and actually resets your autonomic nervous system, not to mention stimulating blood flow in order to boost the body’s ability to heal itself and restore its hormonal balance. And, it’s backed by anecdotal survey data showing significant improvements in a host of menopausal symptoms ranging from anxiety and weight gain to hot flashes, inability concentrate and sexual libido issues. What’s more? LadyCare is evidently used by more than 250,000 women worldwide. Wow! So why haven’t we heard of it before? Aren’t magnets supposed to attract, not repel? Oh wait! That depends on its magnetic field, right?

Did you know that the strength of a magnet is referred to as its ‘magnetic moment?’ Neither did I. But it seems perfect for this post because LadyCare’s moment in the spotlight is pretty repellent. Notably, if you do a search on PubMed, you may stumble across a thorough analysis of the use of static magnet therapy, not for menopause but for pain. The conclusion?  “The evidence does not support the use of static magnets for pain relief, and therefore magnets cannot be recommended as an effective treatment.”

She’s a lady. Always treat her with respect. Whoa whoa whoa…

This one’s a likely dud; save your $$.


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Botanically speaking…EstroG-100

Posted by on Sep 9, 2011 in estrogen, herbal medicine, hot flash, menopause, new approaches, nightsweats | 0 comments

Got botanicals? You might want to get this one. Although the traditional Japanese medicine Kampo supplement TU-025 doesn’t appear to offer  much hope in the hot flash department, a well-known botanical supplement widely used in Korea, EstroG-100, may. In fact, it appears that the proprietary blend of Korean herbs in EstroG-100, including Cynanchum wilfordii, Phlomis ubrosa and Angelica gigas are not only safe but help in a number of menopausal symptoms in addition to hot flashes.

So, what’s the lowdown on EstroG-100? Basically, the supplement has been studied in Asian women and we know from other alternative strategies that effectiveness among different ethnicities don’t always translate. Hence, I was pretty interested to learn that researchers decided to see if EstroG-100 would work on menopausal symptoms in a small group of white- and non-White Hispanics and African American women who were pre-, peri or menopausal. Over a three month time period, women either took 2 EstroG-1oo tablets or placebo twice daily and then using a scientific index, self-reported and rated symptoms, including:

  • hot flashes
  • cold swewats
  • numbness, tingling
  • insomnia
  • nervousness, depression or feeling blue
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • muscle and joint pain
  •  headache
  • pounding heart

The study results suggest that EstroG-100 is not only safe, but it has a significant impact on a few very troublesome symptoms, namely hot flashes and sweats, insomnia, nervousness, feeling blue, dizziness and fatigue. Overall, menopausal symptom scores declined by more than half in women using EstroG-100 compared to women taking placebo. Moreover, initial, favorable changes were seen as early as 6 weeks. Estro-G also appeared to have a beneficial effect on the severity of vaginal dryness, a condition that plagues many menopausal women as estrogen levels decline. Even better were findings that EstroG-100 does not have any sort of estrogenic effect, indicating that it may potentially  be safely used in women at risk for gynecological cancers. And, use of EstroG-100 does not appear to affect weight, body mass index or liver enzymes, all of which are affected by hormone replacement.

Less clear is how EstroG-100 will work in non-Hispanic white women and that study, along with studies in larger numbers of women may determine it’s overall benefit in menopause. Meanwhile, I’m pretty encouraged. This study addresses a lot of complaints about studies of alternatives; it is well designed, randomized, looks closely at adverse events and includes a variety of ethnic groups and menopausal status. Stay tuned for more on EstroG-100. This botanical may be here to stay!


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Wednesday Bubble: Don’t Pause!

Posted by on Dec 8, 2010 in menopause, musings, new approaches | 0 comments

Hey, stop the presses! There’s a brand new, one-size-fits-all solution to menopause – Don’t – as in,  Don’t Pause. Billed as a breakthrough advancement in treating early menopause symptoms (according to the press release), Don’t Pause contains a proprietary mixture of pomegranate extract, green tea, chromium and selenium especially geared towards helping you ‘grow young responsibly.’

Um, okay. So what does that mean? It appears to mean that this wonder formulation will not only halt symptoms of menopause but also improve youthfulness and sexuality, reduce the risk of cancer, osteoarthritis, heart disease and epilepsy and enhance the effects of exercise on weight distribution. Wow! All that in a single pill. Have I mentioned that it’s also Hallal and Kosher?

There is one bit of messaging surrounding this wonder product that I believe is responsible and right on: the time to start addressing menopausal symptoms is before they start. That means you – 30 some year-olds and 40 some year-olds – there is no time like the present to build bone and preserve bone health, get into shape and start managing your weight, eat healthy, address stress and build those support networks. These are the type of steps that can go a long way to addressing menopause symptoms and also to take poetic license, truly help you grow older responsibly.

Don’t pause? What do you think?

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Wednesday Bubble: News Flash – there’s a new kid in town

Posted by on Sep 29, 2010 in hot flash, new approaches | 0 comments


Hey Ladies:

There’s a new kid in town: Menerba®. Although it’s not yet available, the Food & Drug Administration has cleared the way for its manufacturing and production.

Menerba is characterized as an oral botanical drug because its activities are derived from botanical sources, implying that although it is is a pharmaceutical agent, it acts like a plant-based formulation.  Nevertheless, Menerba, which is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (or SERM) is apparently a safe alternative to both selective and non-selective SERMS, as well as HRT, for the treatment of hot flashes/vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. The reason it is considered an alternative is that unlike traditional SERMS, which activate estrogen pathways that have been implicated in breast and uterine cancers, Menerba specifically targets the estrogen pathway in the body that is directly associated with hot flashes. So, theoretically it should be equally if not more effective for addressing hot flashes and also, safer than agents that have come before it.

Thus far, Menerba has been shown in clinical studies to reduce hot flash frequency by as much as 50% and also significantly improve sleep disruptions due to night sweats, with higher doses yielding the best results. Generally, it is well tolerated  and has not had any noted impact on uterine or breast tissue. A larger trial of 600 postmenopausal women is slated to begin this year and is currently recruiting.

The bottom line?

Menerba looks pretty promising. I’m not quite sold on the characterization of Menerba as a botanical and would like to see more information on this, especially because its characterization as such could certainly be confusing once clinical trials are completed and the drug reaches the market. Nevertheless, you may want to keep an eye out for this new kid in town.

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Wednesday Bubble: Time to debunk the hype about traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by on Sep 15, 2010 in menopause, new approaches | 2 comments

This week is dedicated to the debunk – debunking the absolute need for anti-anxiety medications (it may be your flashes, not your mood), debunking the myth underlying the lack of published data supporting the use of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM, e.g. acupuncture and herbal medicine) and debunking the one-sided, endless loop about hormone replacement therapy.

Because Wednesday falls in the middle of the week, I want to focus on traditional Chinese medicine, which is considered part of the offerings that fall under the umbrella of “complimentary and alternative medicine.” As a practice, TCM was created roughly two thousand years ago and refined in the centuries that followed. And yet, Western practitioners continue to question its value because they claim that there is no real evidence supporting its therapeutic effectiveness. No evidence? A quick search on Google yields countless databases, with one example housing over 400,000 studies and abstracts, many of which have been published in reputable Chinese biomedical journals over the past several decades.

The challenge and the solution

Unquestionably, the evidence doesn’t look quite as strong when strict Western methodology is applied to Eastern philosophies without addressing their distinctions. In fact, a prime example of what happens when the paradigm shifts is the ACUFLASH study, which as I reported earlier this year and late last, demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture when the investigator practitioners were allowed to incorporate some invidualized therapy into the mix.

So what exactly does that mean – to incorporate individualized therapy into the mix?

A unique aspect of the ACUFLASH study was the ability of the practitioners to work within a defined framework but with the addition of directing therapy to each participant’s specific needs. In other words, the practitioners met before treatment and agreed on the specific symptoms or conditions they would include in the study as well as the specific acupuncture treatment points they could work on.  This organized system meets some of the strict criteria of Western scientific study. However, they could then choose which of the the treatment points would most benefit a given participant’s system imbalance as well as provide  possible diagnoses and  self care recommendations (e.g. soy, herbs, physical activity and relaxation techniques) which participants were free to add at their own discretion. This ability to work within the confines of both Western and Eastern practice resulted in significantly beneficial results.

TCM versus Western Medicine

TCM and other similar philosophies emphasizes various body systems that together, form a network or grid connected by a meridien, if you will, as well as the relationship of the body to its social and natural environment.  Its primary focus on maintaining health and enhancing the body’s ability to fight off disease. TCM will not focus, for example, on treating specific pathogens but rather, on addressing non-specific factors that create disturbances or imbalances within a certain network. TCM also examines how these imbalances may occur in unique parts of a specific system, such as the heart and blood vessels and small intestine (all of which are part of the heart system) and how they change over time. Western medicine, on the other hand, focuses primarily on treating morbidities, or symptoms related to various conditions and diseases.

Another point of distinction is that while Western practice is geared towards treating specific causes and symptoms of a disease, it doesn’t do so well when the causes or influences are less specific or more importantly varied. Sexual desire, or lack thereof, is a perfect example. It’s been demonstrated time and again that certain aspects of menopause or aging, for example, sexual desire, are not only related to physiology but also to environmental factors. And while the addition of estrogen can certainly help to keep vaginal juices flowing, so to speak, it can’t address social, psychological or behavioral factors that might also be influencing that desire.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: my dream will be fulfilled when East meets West. I’d like to see greater integration of of the two philosophies and less push back from the Western Medical Establishment against TCM. Calling it a ‘sham,’ because it doesn’t fit into the traditional mold, calling it snake medicine because it isn’t based on medical school learnings, and refusing to examine published scientific papers that have been translated, however roughly, into English, does a disservice to the patients who might benefit from the integration of the two.

Since when are hot flashes and mood swings ‘pathologies,’ symptoms of a disease that requires drug treatment?

Isn’t it time to separate fact from fiction, hype from hope and myth from truth. TCM isn’t a sham. And menopause? It can truly be addressed without drug therapy.

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