Virginia Hopkins Health Watch – Vol 3, Issue 6

Natural Hormone
& Nutrition News,
Drug Watch and More…




MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery Will Improve the Lives of Millions of Women

Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure for relieving fibroid-related symptoms that has finally received the official blessing of Harvard Medical School researchers who published a study involving 160 women in the June 2007 issue of the journal Radiology.

Fibroids, those benign but troublesome uterine tumors, have been the leading cause of women having a hysterectomy for many years. The National Uterine Fibroids Foundation estimates that over the past 20 years, some 3 to 7 million women have undergone a hysterectomy due to fibroids.

Fibroids become troublesome when they cause heavy bleeding and anemia, abdominal pressure, frequent urination and painful sex, for example. Fibroids disappear at menopause, when hormone levels drop, but women with severe symptoms often can’t wait. Creating hormone balance can stall fibroid growth (read Hormone Balance Made Simple) when it’s caught early, but large fibroids often need more radical treatment. Until now, all the treatments have involved invasive surgery or drugs with terrible side effects.

The focused ultrasound procedure involves the patient lying on her stomach in a magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI) and having a high intensity
focused ultrasound energy beam heat up the fibroids enough so the tissue dies. The MRI helps guide and control the treatment, showing doctors where the fibroids are and how hot they’re getting. The procedure takes about three hours and has minimal side effects. Most women resume their normal lives within 24 hours. That’s a far cry from the months of pain caused by a hysterectomy!

Focused ultrasound is new enough that doctors are only recommending it for women who have completed their families, and who don’t have multiple large fibroids. The treatment doesn’t totally remove the fibroids, but it shrinks them enough so that many women can comfortably make it to menopause, when the fibroids will go away on their own.


Q: I'm 36 and have a regular cycle. I suffer from terrible migraines right before and during my period. Would it be good to use progesterone cream during my period in this case? I know normally you are supposed to stop. I also take natural estrogen drops during this timeframe to help but it's not working. Please advise… Thanks!

A: Premenstrual migraines are one of the hallmarks of estrogen dominance. Dr. Lee always said that if you're having periods, that's evidence that you're making enough estrogen. You might want to consider stopping the estrogen drops and see if that helps.

Here’s where to find a list of estrogen dominance symptoms.

Have you considered having a saliva hormone levels test to find out if you really do have a hormone imbalance?



Q: You mentioned yogurt as one of your personal favorite top five healthiest foods. What are the other four?

A: My personal list changes from time to time, as it probably does (and should) for everyone depending on age, health concerns, lifestyle and season. Lately it's been nuts and seeds (excluding peanuts), avocados, eggs, and carrots. Food for Life Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin bread also ranks way up there—sprouted grains are digested like vegetables yet have the comfort food value of a carbohydrate. And no, I'm not advertising for Food for Life, I just think they make amazing bread!


Letter from a Friend

“I really enjoy your newsletter and look forward to it arriving. I've also passed it on to a lot of friends. I wanted to share something with you that may be of interest to your readers. As you know, I stand on the soapbox of bioidentical hormone balancing. That is one of the ways I was able to conceive fairly easily at 43 and 46. You were also very helpful to me with your “moo” theory of conception! [See below.] I just read with interest your info about fertility and the “rhythm” method. I used that method to help in conceiving and for the past few years have used it to avoid conceiving.
The main reason I'm writing is that I am now 49 and haven’t used any birth control other than “rhythm” since the birth of our daughter at 46. My mother, sister and health care workers kept hounding me about not “being careful.” The last nurse practitioner, who is an bioidentical advocate, suggested I use an IUD. I went in for some bladder surgery in December 2006 and asked the urogynecologist at Duke about an IUD. She explained it would be a great option for me, since I am finished having children and it could be removed in 5 years when I would probably be too menopausal to worry about conception. Since its insertion, I have not had a period. That has bothered me, and I figured I was now in full fledged menopause (so fast?!!). I finally checked into the IUD that was inserted, only find out it “delivers small amounts of the progestin levonorgestrel directly into the lining of the uterus to prevent pregnancy.” During my discussion of the IUD with the Duke physician, no mention was made about it releasing hormones of any kind, let alone synthetic. I thought that IUDs were inert and had no idea to even ask about the topic. Obviously, I should have researched  the topic before discussing it with the physician.

Perhaps it would be helpful to mention this to your readers so they can be better informed. If it can happen to me, it could probably happen to anyone. The IUD is called the Mirena, and I’ve made an appointment to get it removed.”

For more information, read Buyer Be Aware Report on Mirena.



My friend who wrote the letter above referred to my “Moo” theory of conception.” In a nutshell, the theory is that women are zooming and zipping around so much that their ovaries get the message that it’s not a good time to get pregnant. You’re much less likely to pop an egg if you’re stressed. No egg, no pregnancy. Women who are having trouble conceiving often need to slow way down, chew their cud and be more cow-like. Moooooo. Sometimes that involves gaining a little weight, getting 8 hours of sleep, giving up caffeine, taking a nap. If you have an over active friend who is trying to get pregnant, I recommend mooing at her at least twice a day. I have a number of friends who have conceived using the “moo” theory of conception—along with hormone balancing.

And by the way, progesterone would be the “moo” hormone—it’s mellow. It hits GABA receptors in the brain and things don’t bother you quite as much. That’s why huge doses can be sedating. (Please don’t take huge doses—that will eventually backfire and create progesterone deficiency.)

Here's where to find an article by John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins on Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant.



It was all over the news—older men with the lowest levels of testosterone had a 33 percent greater risk of death during an 18-year study, compared to men with higher testosterone. This was according to data taken from the ongoing Rancho Bernardo Heart and Chronic Disease Study.

To doctors who use natural hormones and prescribe them for men, this will come as no surprise. Natural testosterone in physiologic doses (what the body would normally make) has many beneficial effects in older men, including weight loss, increased muscle mass, better energy, increased libido and younger-looking skin.

What concerns me is that most conventional doctors do not understand the importance of using natural testosterone or of using physiologic doses. Men who are put on excessively high doses of testosterone, or on a synthetic testosterone such as methyltestosterone will not be happy campers. Neither will their families, because one of the most noticeable side effects of excess testosterone is “testiness” otherwise known as grouchiness. Ironically, excess testosterone in men and women tends to be converted into estrogen, and that’s why typical excess testosterone symptoms eventually include shrinking testicles, gynecomastia (breast growth), decreased sex drive and decreased sperm production.

Is his booklet Hormone Balance for Men,  Dr. John Lee recommends just 1 to 2 mg per day of transdermal testosterone (cream, gel or patch). I would recommend this informative and enlightening booklet to any man with prostate problems or who is considering testosterone replacement.

It’s also a good idea to get a baseline saliva hormone test before starting testosterone, to track and monitor results. Good baseline tests for men include estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. Men who are experiencing unusual fatigue may also want to check their cortisol and DHEA levels.


Remember Xenical (orlistat), the weight loss drug that blocks fat absorption that was supposed to be added to potato chips and other fatty foods to assist with weight loss? It sank out of side amidst late night TV jokes about its side effects, which include “uncontrolled anal discharge,” which has a way of staining clothes and repelling other humans.

Well, it’s baaaack. GlaxoSmithKline has bought the rights to market an over-the-counter low dose version called Alli, which is being heavily marketed this summer. The side effects haven’t changed. In fact, you’re advised to stay home (close to the bathroom) for the first few days of use. In testing, participants only lost an average of one pound a month—does that really count? Like Xenical, Alli can block the absorption of fat-based nutrients such as vitamins A and D, and the diarrhea that accompanies it can cause dehydration. (See kidney stone article above.)

Eathing fewer fatty foods will have the same effect, without social embarrassment.


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