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Category Archives: Women’s Health

Let’s talk CBD: 5 Healthy Benefits for Women


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

Natural approaches for promoting better health are steadily on the rise, and every January, National CBD Month shines a spotlight on the powerful benefits of a natural product, cannabidiol.

Recognized for helping to address common health conditions including anxiety, appetite/hunger, depression, immune function, memory, mood, motor control, pain, pleasure, reward, reproduction, fertility, sleep and temperature, CBD is a popular tool used by men and women of many ages and lifestyles. It has become increasingly favored among women for its help with a wide range of women’s health concerns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 36 million women are living with a condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult to do certain activities and interactions on a day-to-day basis. A 2019 Consumer Reports survey found more than 64 million Americans used CBD, the majority of whom were female.

So, what makes CBD attractive to women?

CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, the part that doesn’t get you “high,” has been a game-changer for many struggling with underlying physical and mental health conditions.

The Consumer Reports survey shows a large majority used cannabidiol in pill form, oils and topicals to relieve pain, anxiety, insomnia and arthritis.

Several health-focused benefits of CBD for female users include:

Boosting Mood

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, women experience depression twice as often as men.

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders and can be treated with medications that can result in undesirable side effects such as fatigue, sexual dysfunction and even substance abuse.

Many women find CBD oil as a natural holistic approach for helping to boost mental states.

This alternative has shown promising results due to cannabidiol’s effect on parts of the brain that regulate mood and behavior.

Balancing Hormones

Hormones play a large part in women’s daily functions, affecting everything from mood to metabolism, as well as critical life stages like puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

As women age, the body produces lower amounts of essential hormones, sometimes creating unpleasant challenges caused by imbalance that can include weight gain, vaginal atrophy and hair loss.

With CBD’s ability to act on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates hormone production, it can be especially helpful to promote balance and reduce symptoms.

Reducing Pain

CBD can help alleviate painful, debilitating cramps and bloating associated with menstruation. Furthermore, it has also been found to provide relief for chronic health problems including endometriosis, a painful chronic condition that affects more than 6.5 million women in the U.S.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Symptoms can be excruciating menstrual cramps, painful sexual intercourse and chronic back and pelvis pain. Research indicates CBD can help endometriosis by minimizing cell migration and relieving pain.

With guidance from a health care professional, women struggling with endometriosis and painful menstrual cramps can explore CBD-infused creams and oils to help ease discomfort and manage symptoms. Specially designed products can also be used intravaginally for targeted relief and improved absorption.

Sexual Health

Research suggests up to 50% of women will experience some type of sexual dysfunction during their lifetime. Female studies often cite pain during intercourse and reduced desire as some of the biggest problems.

Along with CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, certain infused oils can also enhance intimate moments and empower a healthier sex life.

Flora Balancing

While many people have heard about the gut microbiome and the benefits of probiotics for digestive health, few know that the vagina also requires a healthy microbiome to prevent problems such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginal dryness. CBD combined with prebiotics and other natural ingredients can help restore vaginal flora to a healthy, balanced state and also alleviates dryness, pain or itching.

So, if CBD can offer this many healing benefits, what is stopping many people from getting started?

For some, the thought of cannabis use – even the non-intoxicating part – is misunderstood. In addition, a dizzying array of CBD products are available, from infused food products to CBD sold at convenience stores. To get the most out of CBD’s benefits, it’s important to know the quality of CBD and that it comes from a trusted source.

In addition, before using any CBD product, consult a medical professional or pharmacist to determine any possible side effects based on your current medications. A knowledgeable natural health professional can provide guidance on CBD quality and safety as well as the different forms, usage and application to get the best natural benefits from this natural powerhouse.

Natural Remedies for Lupus


Most people who are diagnosed with lupus, and those who know someone affected by this condition, appreciate that it can be a challenging process for both the patient and their provider. Typically, a diagnosis is made by a rheumatologist skilled at diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and joint diseases after a complete full physical examination and multiple specialty blood tests. Some patients are fortunate to go into remission with standard medical treatment, but,  more and more patients are turning to natural remedies to help control daily symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect many of the body’s organs. It is an autoimmune disease- meaning it occurs when the immune mechanism forms antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues. Many experts believe that it is due to an as-yet-unidentified virus. According to this theory, the immune system develops antibodies in response to the virus that then attack the body’s own organs and tissues. This produces the inflammation commonly seen in the skin, blood vessels, joints, and other tissues. Heredity and sex hormones are two other possible factors in the development of this condition.

This disease was named lupus, which means “wolf” because many people who got it developed a butterfly-shaped rash over the cheeks and nose that was considered to give them something of a wolf-like appearance. In fact, rashes may appear on different parts of the body as well, such as the chest, ears, hands, shoulders, and upper arms. At least 90 percent of those who contract lupus are women. Lupus usually develops between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, although it may occur at any age.


There are two types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). As the name implies, SLE is a systemic disease that affects many different parts of the body. The severity can range from mild to life-threatening. The first symptoms of SLE resemble those of arthritis, with swelling and joint pain in the fingers and other joints. The disease may also appear suddenly, with acute fever. The characteristic red rash may appear across the cheeks, or there may be red, scaly lesions elsewhere on the body. Sores may also form in the mouth. Other symptoms may include abdominal and chest pains, blood in the urine, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, shortness of breath, and weight loss, making the diagnosis difficult since it resembles many other symptoms related to other more common diseases. The lungs and kidneys are often involved as well. Approximately 50 percent of those with SLE develop inflammation of the kidneys. In more severe cases, the brain, lungs, spleen, and heart may be affected.

Discoid type of lupus is a less serious disease that primarily affects the skin. The characteristic butterfly rash forms over the nose and cheeks. There may be lesions in other areas of the body also, commonly on the scalp and ears, which may persist for years. Both types of lupus follow a pattern of periodic flare-ups alternating with periods of remission. Excess exposure to the sun may result in a flare-up of DLE and may even induce the first attack. Other contributing factors may include fatigue, chronic stress, unidentified viral infections, and certain prescription medications may also trigger a flare-up.

According to the American Rheumatism Association, four of the following eight symptoms must occur, before a diagnosis of lupus can be made:

  1. abnormal cells in the urine
  2. arthritis
  3. butterfly rash on the cheeks
  4. low white blood cell count or low platelet count
  5. mouth sores
  6. seizures
  7. sun sensitivity
  8. ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) test positive


There are many different treatment options used for lupus. Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually used first. Even the recently publicized antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) may alleviate the skin problems and sun sensitivity that affects those with lupus. In severe cases, physicians may have to use cortisone and immunosuppressive agents to induce remission. Other steroids like prednisone can be helpful in some cases. Warfarin (Coumadin) or other anticoagulants may be used to prevent blood clotting and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.  Many of these drugs, unfortunately, have some potentially serious side effects. Because natural remedies are becoming more popular as an adjunct to prescriptions, or in some cases as a stand-alone therapy, more and more patients are moving towards natural approaches due to their gentle effect on the body and increased success in reducing everyday symptoms associated with lupus.


The primary approach when choosing to use natural remedies to help support the body and alleviate symptoms associated with lupus revolves around natural products which reduce inflammation, improve digestion, enhance normal sleep patterns, and improve moods and overall outlook. The real focus is identifying the possible underlying root causes leading up to the diagnosis of lupus. This takes some effort in evaluating your lifestyle and daily behavior patterns, but in the end, it can pay great dividends.

For starters, it is essential to only take pharmaceutical-grade, standardized, science-based natural products. Remember, quality matters if you are looking to get results.

The following are supplements and natural remedies with a proven track record of success in improving any condition where inflammation is the primary concern as in lupus:

  1. probiotic with proper strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria to balance gut bacteria and reduce inflammation (70 percent of inflammation begins in the gut)
  2. digestive enzymes (break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats while reducing edema or swelling)
  3. turmeric
  4. glucosamine- chondroitin complex to rebuild connective tissue and cartilage
  5. collagen
  6. omega-3 fish oils with proper ratios of EPA/DHA for improved circulation, blood flow and reduction of inflammation
  7. vitamin D3
  8. calcium-magnesium complex
  9. InflamMove– a combination of herbal medicines and vitamins to reduce inflammation and pain
  10. multivitamin and mineral formula
  11. apple cider vinegar to balance pH levels
  12. Epsom salt soaks daily for soothing the joints

Also, it is prudent to eat a well-balanced diet (the Mediterranean diet is a great choice), drink plenty of water and green tea, exercise daily, stretch, deep breath, and maintain a positive attitude. When combined, natural remedies and mental and physical exercises can contribute to an increased probability of overcoming the quality of life issues associated with lupus.

Before introducing new lifestyle changes or supplements into your routine, it is important to speak to a medical professional or pharmacist that can help determine any risks, side effects or negative interactions with other medications you are taking.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis with Lifestyle Management


According to recent statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one-third of women over the age of 50 years and one out of five men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk. What this means is that half of all adults age 50 years and older are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health. Osteoporosis is a silent epidemic that needs both physician and patient attention moving forward.


Osteoporosis is a progressive disease in which the bones gradually become weaker and weaker, causing changes in posture and making the individual extremely susceptible to bone fractures. The term osteoporosis, derived from Latin literally means “porous bones.” Because of the physiological, nutritional, and hormonal differences between males and females, osteoporosis affects many more women than men.  However, men also suffer from bone loss, often as a side effect of certain medications like thyroid medications, steroid medications, including prednisone, and as a result of other illnesses. Half of all women between the ages of forty-five and seventy-five show signs of some degree of osteopenia ( low bone mass) or osteoporosis. Bone is live growing tissue when healthy and is continuously restoring itself. Cells called osteoblasts are responsible for making bone, and other cells, called osteoclasts, are needed to remove old bone as its minerals are absorbed for use elsewhere in the body. If the osteoclasts break down the bone more quickly than it is replaced, then bone tends to become less dense and is, therefore, likely to break more easily. Bone is at its strongest when a person is around age 30, and after that, it begins to decline. In women, this decline begins to accelerate at menopause. If you have not accumulated sufficient bone mass during those formative times in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, or if you lose it too quickly in later years, you are at increased risk of osteoporosis. A diagnosis of osteoporosis is made by measuring bone density. Standard practice is to use a non-invasive test using dual-energy X-ray absorption called a DEXA scan. Exposure to radiation from this test is less than other methods used to detect this condition.


According to bone health experts, there are three basic types of osteoporosis. Type I is believed to be caused by hormonal changes, particularly a loss of estrogen, which causes the loss of minerals from the bones to accelerate. Type II is linked to dietary or nutritional deficiencies, especially a lack of sufficient calcium and vitamin D3, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Type III occurs in men and women at any age and is caused by drugs or medications used to treat other illnesses or other diseases unconnected with osteoporosis.


Many women mistakenly believe that osteoporosis is something they need to be concerned about only after menopause. However, recent evidence indicates that osteoporosis often begins early in life, and is not strictly a postmenopausal problem. Although we know that bone loss accelerates after menopause as a result of the drop in estrogen levels, it begins much earlier. Several factors are known to influence an individual’s risk of developing osteoporosis. The first, and probably the most important, is the peak bone mass achieved in adulthood: the larger and denser the bones are to begin with, the less debilitating bone loss is likely to be. Small, fine-boned women, therefore, have more reason for concern than women with larger frames and denser bones.


Bone disintegration with pain in the hips, lower back, or legs and vertebral fractures (usually affecting people over 50 years old) is common. The vast majority of all fractures in older women result from falls. Fall risk factors include leg weakness, impaired gait, and balance dysfunction. Other related and important factors, especially in older adults, include fear of falling, decreased knee extension strength, and poor distance visual acuity.


The challenge for all of us to make sure we continue to maintain healthy bone function is a foundation of several integrated components working together in tandem to improve the strength, the quality, and density of your bones at any age. The following suggestions should be given strong consideration:

  1. Diet – eat plenty of foods that are high in and rich in calcium and vitamin D. Good sources include broccoli, chestnuts, clams, most dark green leafy vegetables, flounder, hazelnuts, kale, kelp, oats, oysters, salmon, sardines, shrimp and turnip greens. Include garlic and onions in your diet, as well as eggs. If you are a menopausal or postmenopausal woman with osteoporosis, include soy products since they are rich in phytoestrogens (plant estrogen).
  2. Exercise – keep moving. The old saying, “move it, or lose it” applies here. A lack of exercise can result in loss of calcium, but this can be reversed with sensible exercises. Walking probably is the best for maintaining bone mass. Other good exercises are tai chi, pilates, biking, and swimming. When swimming, do water aerobics and isometric stretches using the side of the pool.
  3. Nutritional Supplementation– This is a vital piece that many people overlook, unfortunately. Considering that 90 percent of adults are nutritionally deficient and have significant “nutrient gaps,” taking vitamins, minerals, and other bone-building supplements is critical. Here are a few of the top recommendations:
    • JOINT HEALTH SUPPORT – This supplement combines key ingredients including glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, Boswellia, bromelain, ginger, and more to help support healthy joint function.
    • HYALURONIC ACID– this nutrient helps to lubricate the bones and joint spaces for improved mobility.
    • BONE HEALTH SUPPORT–  this product includes proper amounts and ratios of calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin K, ipriflavone, which is shown to build bone, manganese, boron, and other bone-building ingredients.
    • COLLAGEN FACTORS– this product contains essential components that work together to increase collagen levels for improved elasticity of bone and joints. Collagen levels drop with age and should be supplemented.
  4. OsteoStrong – this is the next-generation technology for developing bone density, bone strength, posture, joint health, balance, and energy. This new system utilizes osteogenic loading to optimize your skeletal foundation. It is non- invasive, non-drug, and takes literally a 15-20 minute session per week to help build bone density.

I encourage you to discuss your bone health with your doctor, and even better to have a DEXA bone scan to determine your level of bone health and subsequent risk of fractures. Don’t wait until it is too late, because a fall or fracture of the hip, lower spine or elsewhere can dramatically change the quality of your life. Be proactive, and remember you are in control of your own bone health journey.

A fresh start for 2021: Natural tips for navigating stress, anxiety and depression


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

The new year brings the promise of a fresh start. Yet, while many are feeling joyful and recharged after the holiday season, others have found that financial demands, family obligations and altered traditions have been a source of added stress compounded with the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With isolation, anxiety and worry over health concerns and job loss due to the pandemic, it’s no surprise some are struggling to find a renewed outlook for the year ahead. While managing the pressures and stresses of life looks different for each person, we must make the commitment to take extra care of our minds and bodies in 2021.

About 16.1 million adult Americans suffer from major depression, and approximately 40 million struggle with anxiety disorders. The pandemic has also led to higher rates of depression, with a recent study reporting that the number of U.S. adults experiencing depressive symptoms has tripled compared to before the pandemic.

Many who are suffering with stress, anxiety and depression are turning to natural solutions for helping ease symptoms and improve their mental states.

Full-spectrum, pharmaceutical-grade CBD, or cannabidiol, continues to rise as a popular natural approach for calming stress, anxiety and depression. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of receptors that act as messengers to give your body specific directions in regulating anxiety, depression, appetite/hunger, mood, sleep and more. We have cell receptors everywhere in our bodies, and external sources like CBD can help to balance and maintain the ECS by binding to the brain receptors responsible for controlling your nerves, which keep you feeling less anxious and more in control.

The quality of CBD is a key factor in its effectiveness, so consumers must ensure that they are purchasing CBD products from a trusted source. The amount of CBD oil in a product will have a direct effect on its efficacy, and the methods used to manufacture CBD oil will impact the safety and quality of products you might buy. A knowledgeable health care professional can provide guidance on product quality and safety as well as formulation selection, drug interactions, usage and application.

Additional steps for enhancing mental health include:

  • Get moving. In addition to its many physical health benefits, exercise is also an all-natural mood booster. Exercise releases endorphins that help us feel good, which play a key role in enhancing our mental outlook.
  • Get enough sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep is a critical factor for health and wellness, especially when navigating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Balance your diet. Maintaining a balanced diet is a major step to helping reduce stress. Follow a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and whole grains, and remember to drink enough water.
  • Consider supplements, including probiotics. Probiotics provide a safe, powerful way to help alleviate some of the symptoms regarding anxiety and depression when taken daily. They have also been shown to boost overall mood and outlook. Additional supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, amino acids, iron, GABA and CoQ10, can also help provide a mental health boost.

While natural solutions can help mitigate some of the effects of stress, it’s important to speak with a trusted medical professional or pharmacist about changes to your health care regimen to determine any risks, interactions or unwanted side effects with other medications you may be taking.

Feeling our best helps us be better prepared to handle life’s stressful situations. With a new year ahead, developing practices that support our mental and physical health offers a great fresh start.

Do You Know Your Omega 3 and Vitamin D Levels?

omega 3

Since February is American Heart Month, creating awareness of the real risk of heart disease is timely. When people think about cardiovascular or heart health in general, they typically are not focused on what their blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids or Vitamin  D3 are as part of the big picture.

Omega 3 fish oils in therapeutic dosages, with the proper ratios of EPA to DHA, have proven in clinical studies and patient outcomes, to demonstrate tremendous health benefits for the heart, cardiovascular system, and brain. Research shows that Omega 3s and Vitamin D offer protection against cardiovascular disease of all types.

Several studies have shown a close link between high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil and protection from various aspects of coronary heart disease. One such study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that the greatest protection from sudden death by cardiovascular causes was seen in individuals with an Omega 3 index greater than or equal to 8%. Another study published in Atherosclerosis found that an Omega 3 index of 8% or higher reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease by 30%.

A similar link between Vitamin D3 levels and cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated in medical research. Several studies have shown that lower Vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, atherosclerotic plaque in blood vessels, arterial stiffness, and higher rates of cardiovascular events.

Experts suggest maintaining blood levels between 50ng/dl and 80 ng/dl for Vitamin D and an Omega -3-index of 8% to 12%. Be sure to take a third party validated, pharmaceutical-grade quality Omega 3 and Vitamin D3 supplement daily, and tell your doctor you are taking it, to ensure they avoid any prescription medications for your heart health that might interfere.

The lifeblood of heart health is really not the pump itself, but, the vascular system composed of approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels including the capillaries, arteries, and veins that distribute blood to nourish every cell in the body that really matters. Keeping these hard-working vessels supple and open is the key not only to avoiding disease, but also to ensure vitality and longevity.

The alternative, arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries can slowly and sometimes silently bring on cardiovascular (CVD) which can result in a heart attack, stroke, vision loss or cognitive mental decline. CVD is the leading cause of death in America, killing one in four people.

According to the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly 45% of the U.S. population will be predicted to have some form of heart disease by 2035. Only 15% of CVD is related to genetics: the rest is attributed to lifestyle, and the right choices can make all the difference. The key is to adopt heart-healthy habits before the body delivers a potentially fatal warning. The initial presentation of heart disease can be an acute event or sudden death in half of men and two-thirds of women. That is not treatable.

The first step toward cardiovascular health is awareness. Here are some of the most important indicators of CVD risk: high blood pressure ( over 140/90), high cholesterol (over 240 mg/dl), elevated triglycerides (over 200 mg/dl), high blood glucose (over 140 mg/dl), obesity (BMI over 30), Inflammation (hsCRP test above 2 ml/dl), physical inactivity (less than 30 minutes daily), smoking, and chronic stress lead the way.

Any of these factors can increase the risk of heart disease, but when you have a cluster of 4 or 5 of these, it can lead to a condition called metabolic syndrome, which significantly increases your potential for heart disease and type II diabetes. Metabolic syndrome, like CVD, is now very common, and according to the CDC affects about one-third of adults. The one most distinct marker for metabolic syndrome is an accumulation of fat around the waistline characterized by a measurement of over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

Newer preventive tests are now being recommended by cardiologists and primary care physicians, including computerized tomography (CT) scan to determine your calcium score. This procedure checks for the hardening of the arteries and predicts the risk of a 10-year future cardiovascular event. This identifies people who have preclinical atherosclerosis, regardless of risk factors, and convinces people to begin a heart-healthy lifestyle by modifying their behaviors. These guidelines are issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association ( AHA) jointly, targeting patients over age 50 years.

When examining lifestyle factors and reducing the risk of CVD, the most important change that people can make is diet. But, many times, unfortunately, people are not willing to make the necessary healthy food choices that can improve overall health, and specifically heart health. This typically means avoiding processed foods and consuming less salt, trans fats, saturated fat, and cholesterol, while adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, wild-caught fish, nuts, and seeds. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all diet, but, the Mediterranean diet continues to be considered as maybe the best diet for most. It has withstood the tincture of time and continues to show many health benefits including for the heart.

Here is a list of some other cardiovascular boosting foods to consider adding to your daily diet:

  • Leafy greens flush out excess sodium and can reduce inflammation.
  • Berries improve circulation by boosting nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow.
  • Pomegranate lowers blood pressure and reduces plaque formation.
  • Walnuts and almonds lower LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Wild-caught fish including salmon, anchovies, albacore tuna, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and omega 3 oils lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbal medicines can also be an important part of a healthy heart program. Such supplements including gugulipid, red yeast rice, CoQ10, Omega 3 fish oils, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid, garlic, nattokinase, and others are critical if one is serious about being proactive and making the necessary diet and lifestyle changes that will reduce their relative risk of developing heart disease or suffering from some type of CVD in the future.

In summary, there are known risk factors that increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, which can be managed through personal discipline, by making the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes as part of your daily routine.

Here are the top 10 personal risk factors which may be modified in most cases:

  1. high blood pressure
  2. high cholesterol
  3. elevated triglycerides
  4. metabolic syndrome
  5. obesity
  6. high stress
  7. poor diet
  8. chronic inflammation
  9. physical inactivity
  10. smoking

It is important to know your numbers and keep working towards a healthier lifestyle especially if you have a strong family history or other known risk factors. Just remember, that heart disease is modifiable, and in many cases can be reversed or modified with diet and exercise.

If you have any questions, feel free to call 239-481-7322 to speak with one of our healthcare professionals, to learn how we can help you improve your heart health today. You may also go to cypresspharmacy.com for more information.

Could it be your Thyroid?


According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, nearly 30 million Americans have thyroid disease. Unfortunately, many go undiagnosed or undetected for years.  This number includes three times more women than men and includes something called subclinical hypothyroidism.

Subclinical hypothyroidism presents clinically with many of the same symptoms as classic hypothyroidism, but, is just below the threshold in terms of diagnostic lab values regarding TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), and T4 or thyroxine.

If you suspect a thyroid problem, the first thing your doctor will probably do is order a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test.  This is covered by insurance and typically might be the only component of the thyroid test panel to be checked by the doctor. Typically, the higher your score, the more likely you are to be hypothyroid.  The American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists believes levels between 0.3 and 3 are indicative of an underachieving thyroid.  However, many functional or natural medicine practitioners believe any score higher than 2.0 on the TSH score, plus classical symptoms is indicative of hypothyroidism.

Conventional doctors will follow the standard of care and recommend Synthroid or Levothyroxine, which may temporarily improve symptoms, but not address the underlying cause.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman M.D. functional medicine expert and Chief of the Functional Medicine Division at the Cleveland Clinic, it is important to consider changes in diet, lifestyle, and to prescribe a natural prescription form of thyroid like Armour Thyroid or Natur-Throid as a starting point, with combinations of both T4 thyroxine and T3 or triiodothyronine, which is the active form of thyroid.

Classic Low Thyroid Symptoms to Consider

If you experience some of the following, you may want to rule out classic hypothyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as the underlying cause of why you are not feeling like yourself or feeling your best.

Do you experience any of the following symptoms?

  • thick or brittle fingernails
  • dry skin
  • cold hands and feet regardless of warm temperature
  • fatigue
  • lack of stamina
  • brain fog
  • course or thinning hair
  • thin eyebrows
  • excessive sweating
  • menstrual irregularities
  • swollen hands or feet
  • palpitations
  • high cholesterol
  • changes in weight with difficulty losing weight
  • mild depression
  • anxiety
  • muscle aches or joint pain

Many times this exhaustive list of symptoms or a cluster of these signs is indicative of a disturbed thyroid which deserves further clinical investigation.  Doctors may overlook thyroid disease because sometimes the symptoms are non- specific, and the lab results fall within the normal reference range.

Typical Patient Story of Missed Thyroid Diagnosis

Angelina Smith is a busy mother of two young boys who suddenly found herself exhausted in the middle of the morning.  Her doctor told her to “get more sleep” and to try to relax.  When she reported that her hair was falling out and she was feeling more sad or depressed, her doctor attributed her symptoms to everyday ups and downs of life.  Angelina also noted, that her regular clothes were fitting tighter, and she was gaining some weight despite some regular moderate exercise, and no change in diet.  The doctor shunned this off as just her age of 35 years, and that her “metabolism was changing”.  Angelina knew something was just not right with her body and decided to change physicians for another opinion. After deciding to step outside the traditional medicine box and make an appointment with a functional medicine doctor educated on hormonal imbalance, Angelina’s issue was uncovered as hypothyroidism with an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone which was contributing with her present symptoms. Once these hormone issues were addressed and treated with compounded formulations specific for her body, Angelina began to regain her health and feel once again like her old self.

What are the Different Types of Thyroid Disease? 

Thyroid disease can be classified according to overactivity or under activity of the gland.  The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located anatomically at the base of your throat and produces hormones that control every function in your body.

Thyroid disease consists of hyperthyroidism, goiters, nodules, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and sub-clinical hypothyroidism.  Thyroid hormone, when it is in balance, helps improve moods, skin, hair, sex drive, heart function, cholesterol, infertility, muscle aches, joint pain, body temperature, and metabolism to name a few.  In addition, hypothyroidism has been associated with fibromyalgia and osteoporosis according to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum M.D., medical director of the National Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers.

Trusting the Thyroid Thermostat

According to Brian F. Mandell M.D., Ph.D. contributing author in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 2019 February:86 (2):77-78 who suggests that the natural history of all patients with subclinical hypothyroidism is not alike, and it thus should not be surprising that there does not seem to be a one-size-fits-all approach to management of the disorder.  Furthermore, the management of subclinical hypothyroidism or other forms of thyroid disorder should be based on both good clinical examination and laboratory testing that includes complete thyroid profiles with TSH, T3, free T3, T4, free T4, TPO, and reverse T3.

Simple, At-Home Thyroid Testing

Many functional medicine or holistic medical doctors recommend doing your own thyroid screening test in the comforts of your home.  This can be accomplished by placing a thermometer under the arm ( axillary area) upon awakening.  Hold still for 5 minutes, then record your time and temperature.  Do this for three consecutive days to see a pattern of your basal body temperature.  If your reading is below 97.2 consistently, and you suffer from the cluster of symptoms mentioned above, it is likely your thyroid is underactive and needs some medical attention.

Proactive Approach to Managing Your Thyroid

Early detection of thyroid disease is very important, just like any other major condition.  The sooner you have a definitive diagnosis, the faster you can begin to get your life back and expect to feel as if you are in control again.  Encourage your physician to order a complete thyroid profile, take your own basal body temperature test at home, and start appropriate therapy to regain homeostasis once again. In addition, there are some very good nutritional supplements that support the thyroid gland and can help rebalance your metabolism and give you more energy.  One, in particular, called THYROID SUPPORT WITH ZINC improves low thyroid and metabolic function by combining key vitamins, minerals, and herbal ingredients specifically targeted at this gland.  This supplement can be taken as an adjunct to prescription natural thyroid medicine, or as a stand-alone product for milder symptoms.

If you have questions, you may reach us at Cypress Pharmacy by calling (239)-481-7322 or stop by to discuss with one of our healthcare professionals.

Menopause and Perimenopause: Will it Ever End?


Ladies, you don’t have to suffer with symptoms!

Many women who have gone through or are going through menopause may wonder why anyone would want to create World Menopause awareness events.

To spotlight women’s midlife health, the World Menopause Society and the World Health Organization have designated October as World Menopause Awareness Month.

One out of three women experiencing a variety of menopause symptoms – anxiety, insomnia, headaches, night flashes, moodiness, weight gain, joint pain, low sex drive, increased cardiovascular risk, hot flashes and more – are likely already very aware of menopause and its impact.

In the decade after menopause, defined as a full year without having a period, women also become vulnerable to chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, cognitive decline and cancer.

When I talk about menopause awareness, I want women to be aware they don’t have to suffer. There are ways to relieve the symptoms of menopause and improve their quality of life and well-being. After all, about one-third of women’s lives are lived after menopause!

The whole key to a healthy body is balance. Shifting hormones, complicated by stress, lack of exercise and poor diets with too many carbs, sugars and alcohol, put our bodies out of balance, resulting in various symptoms associated with PMS, perimenopause and menopause.

As women age, sex hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone can drop by 90%! Hormones are tricky chemical messengers that change every day and are so important because they regulate many bodily processes, particularly impacting how we feel.

As a natural health practitioner, I believe that lifestyle choices impact well-being. Getting adequate sleep, drinking plenty of water, reducing alcohol intake and stress and not smoking will help keep the body in balance. Lifestyle measures including a healthy diet, exercise and regular health checks for chronic conditions are critical.

During perimenopause and menopause, many doctors prescribe synthetic hormones to get the body back in balance through medications that replace female hormones the body no longer makes.

At Cypress Pharmacy, we offer another option: bioidentical hormone replacement, hormones that are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies in combinations not commercially available.

As a compounding pharmacy, our pharmacists can create bioidentical hormone formulations to fit the unique needs of each biochemically diverse woman. Bioidenticals are natural and closely mimic what the hormones the body produces on its own.

The formulas are created with a doctor’s prescription following blood or saliva tests to determine hormone levels. Tests can be ordered by a doctor, or Cypress Pharmacy offers a saliva test kit that can be completed at home. Once lab results pinpoint hormonal imbalances, we can work with your doctor or connect you with a bioidentical prescribing doctor who can talk about treatment options.

Be aware of this: the key to quality of life is balance. It’s important to make sure the symphony is in tune.

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