Acupuncture Reduces Menopause Symptoms

Acupuncture therapy - Dr. Betty Keller Acupuncture NJ

Menopause can cause a variety of symptoms due to hormonal changes. Symptoms can include, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, changes in mood, and weight gain.
There are a number of non-hormonal options for treating Menopausal symptoms that are available to women.
Lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and stress reduction can help reduce these symptoms.
In addition studies have also shown that acupuncture can help reduce Menopausal symptoms.
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to balance and improve function. This is done by inserting very thin needling at precise acupuncture points. Acupuncture promotes health and can treat a wide range of conditions. It can be very effective in reducing hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, and help balance mood and in combination with lifestyle changes it can help with weight loss.
Acupuncture helps restore balance, by stimulating the body’s natural healing process and promoting physical and mental well being.
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For menopause symptoms the average number of treatments we recommend is 10. These sessions usually last about 45 minutes. Acupuncture treatments can be given alone or in combinations with supplements and or Bio identical Hormones to manage menopausal symptoms.
Dr. Keller is an expert in treating menopausal symptoms with Acupuncture, supplements and Bioidentical Hormones. Working with her patients to find what works best for them.

To see if Medical Acupuncture can help you, call us at 201-485-7930
Optimal Wellness is located at
172 Franklin Ave Suite 4A Ridgewood New Jersey

For more information about The Benefits of Medical Acupuncture go to our website at

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Perimenopause and Menopause: New Hope for Difficult Symptoms

Treatment for difficult menopause symptoms

Experiencing difficult menopause symptoms? Some women seem to go through perimenopause and menopause without missing a beat. But others find themselves ‘dazed and confused’ by what is happening to the way they feel every day.

Many people think of menopause as the time when periods stop, and symptoms start. But most symptoms actually begin long before menopause. They start to appear during perimenopause — the time leading up to the end of menstruation. This is a longer period than most women realize — on average, four years before menopause, the time when a woman has had no period for a year.

Menopause Symptoms are Common but Intensity Varies

Some of the more common perimenopause and menopause symptoms are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Changes in emotional well-being

Unfortunately for some women, some symptoms become intense enough to throw them off keel. They experience:

  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Body aches
  • Panic attacks or intense emotional distress
  • Excessive fatigue

These symptoms can be too disruptive to ignore.

You may have tried to tell your friends what you’re going through but they don’t understand. All the other women your age may seem to be getting along and coping just fine. They might even tell you, however nicely, that you “get a grip” or “snap out of it” or just relax and have a glass of wine. They can’t sympathize; it’s a lonely place to be!

Unfortunately, doctors can also misunderstand that some women experience menopause differently. Maybe you’ve tried to get help from doctors, but felt like they saw you as ‘a complainer’ or with a weak tolerance for discomfort. Because it’s a normal phase of a woman’s life, some people may expect you to just take it in stride. The fact is, perimenopause is a very individual experience.

Your Experience Is What’s Normal for You

While perimenopause lasts an average of four years, your personal experience may vary. You are a unique individual, and average does not equal normal. For many women, perimenopause takes place for much longer than they expected. For some women, it lasts only two years, or takes as long as seven, 12, or 15 years.

It is possible for women to begin to notice menopause symptoms in their early forties. The average age of actual menopause is 51 years for women in the United States.

Each woman will experience symptoms in her own way. Your own symptoms may change in intensity over time. You may be surprised to know the number of women who experience severe perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Here are three groups of symptoms that may cause concern.

Sleep Problems

As many as 40-60% of women suffer from insomnia during perimenopause (says Medscape). Insomnia isn’t just a bad night’s rest. This is night after night of difficulty falling asleep, or of getting poor quality sleep. Insomnia often makes it hard for you to function during the day. It can be acute (noticed over days or weeks) or chronic (you’re wondering, after a month or more, if this will ever stop).

Emotional Symptoms

Many women notice changes in their emotional outlook, or shifts in their sense of well being during menopause. Unfortunately, the term ‘mood swings’ tends to lump together a wide range of experiences. It doesn’t mean these emotional changes should be a simple walk in the park for you.

Emotional symptoms during perimenopause range from mild crankiness, to feelings of depression or panic that are very intense and very real. Some medical experts estimate that 20% of women will endure depression during menopause (reports Medscape).

Women may be ashamed to admit anxiety, depression or panic attacks during the transition to menopause. High anxiety during perimenopause may be more common than most people imagine. The symptoms may include feelings fearful for no clear reason, feeling tense or irritable, or feeling the heart pounding, racing or palpitating.

One study found, for women with low baseline anxiety before perimenopause, about 13% experienced anxiety symptoms for years, reaching a peak level of high anxiety late in perimenopause. The good news, the study found, was that anxiety levels decreased for these women later in postmenopausal years.

Emotional health is complex. A woman may have good reasons for depression or anxiety in addition to hormonal changes. So it is important to discuss your emotional health with appropriate, qualified healthcare professionals you trust.

Changes in the Ability to Enjoy Sex

With decreasing estrogen levels, the walls of the vagina become thinner, and the skin of the vagina becomes more dry. This is because the number of folds in the lining of the vagina decreases over time with lower estrogen levels.

During perimenopause, the vagina begins to secrete less lubrication. The skin of the vulva, around the opening of the vagina, may become drier and prone to irritation. The vagina can shape too — becoming shorter, narrower, and less elastic. These changes tend to occur especially for women who do not have regular sexual intercourse.

If a woman has not been sexually active during perimenopause, and then wants to have more sex, she may experience pain, even when using familiar lubricants. The discomfort can be so great that it interferes with a woman’s ability to enjoy sex or may dampen her level of sexual desire.

Fortunately, these symptoms usually respond well to low-level estrogen therapy. Vaginal estrogen with bioidentical hormones can help by providing estrogen directly where it’s needed, with minimal impact on the rest of the body.

Hormone Replacement and Bioidentical Hormones 

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a reliable approach to treatment for menopausal symptoms. There are many new forms of HRT available: tablets, skin patches, vaginal lubricants, and lotions.

How do you know if HRT is safe for you? That is where talking to an informed doctor comes in. Not all hormones therapies are the same. In recent years, extensive studies show that the chemical makeup of the hormones plays a key role in their safety and effectiveness.

Bioidentical hormones are formulated to match the body’s own chemistry, that so that the body processes them safely, just as it would the natural human hormone. Bioidentical hormone therapy offers health benefits with lower health risks than the earlier generations of synthetic hormones used decades ago.

You can learn more about bioidentical hormone therapy. We’ve addressed many questions patients have in these articles:

We are Here to Listen and to Help You

I welcome your questions about how Bioidentical Hormone Therapy can help you.

If you live in or near Ridgewood, New Jersey, come to the Optimal Wellness Center and learn about our individual approach to your perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Hormone balancing is can help you if you are suffering from sleep disturbances, low libido, or emotional and memory changes with perimenopause. So can a doctor who listens carefully and understands that you have your own set of symptoms.

Contact Dr. Keller at the Optimal Wellness Center in Ridgewood New Jersey, at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.

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Bioidentical HRT: The Truth About Hormone Therapy for Menopausal Women

bioidentical hrt
Dr Betty Keller is a menopause specialist and bioidentical hormone doctor who helps you understand and care for your menopause symptoms.

Menopause is a normal stage of life, and some women have symptoms they can take in stride. But for others, mood changes, disturbed sleep, increased urinary issues, and discomfort during sex have too much impact on quality of life and well-being.

Many women have heard that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bioidentical HRT) can help. But there is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion about the safety of HRT medications. More women need access to updated information so they can learn about treatments without fear.

When Menopause Occurs

Menopause is an important health milestone in a woman’s life. A medical definition of menopause refers to the 12 months after a woman’s last period. However, changes in hormone levels occur for most women between the ages of 45 and 55.

Common Symptoms of Menopause

Many women are satisfied that the issues of pregnancy and monthly periods are over. But for some women, these hormonal changes have a major negative impact on their well being:

  • Negative Changes in Mood: Changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect mood. As the body adjusts, some women find it difficult to concentrate or keep from becoming irritable.
  • Painful Intercourse: Lower levels of these hormones make the skin around the vagina thinner and less lubricated. This can make sex painful or uncomfortable.
  • Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: Hot flashes are symptoms of menopause that cause sensations of sudden heat in your upper body, neck and face, and may trigger increased perspiration. And when a hot flash is over, you may feel a damp chill. Night sweats (hot flashes that occur during bedtime) can disturb sleep for months at a time for some women.
  • Bladder Control Problems: During menopause, changes in vaginal tissue can impact bladder function. As these tissues become thinner, less elastic, and lose strength, some women find that normal coughing, sneezing or lifting causes uncontrollable leaks. It may be hard to sleep through the night without having to get up and use the bathroom. Some women get painful urinary tract infections more often.
  • Bone Health: If menopause is premature or early, some women may be concerned about bone health.

Women who want to improve their quality of life during menopause have good questions, but may also have doubts about the safety of hormone replacement therapy. The level of distrust and misinformation around HRT is unfortunate.

It is important to inform women about bioidentical HRT, especially those who do not know the benefit of new forms of these hormones.

The Checkered History of HRT

Hormone replacement therapy began to be widely prescribed for menopausal women during the 1980’s and 1990s. HRT usually came in the form of oral tablets called Premarin and Prempro. But many stopped in 2002 with the public reports of health risks by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).

The media widely reported the finding that combinations of hormones used at the time were linked to increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Women were suddenly told to discontinue taking their medications, and there was widespread alarm about unwanted health risks.

What these studies could not show, because of their design, was the role of the synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone used.

Premarin, for example, was processed from the urine of pregnant mares (as the name Premarin reflects). These drugs had adverse affects because the hormones extracted and synthesized in the lab had a different chemical structure than the body’s own forms. As the body processed the synthetic forms, they released harmful byproducts.

What is Bioidentical HRT?

Bioidentical hormone therapy uses hormones that match those made by the human body. In other words, the chemistry of these hormones matches the body’s own estrogen, and the body processes them the same way.

Bioidentical hormones are sometimes called “natural” hormones, which can be very confusing. Many HRT products can claim a “natural” origin, be it plant or animal. The important difference is that bioidentical HRT medications are formulated to act just like the body’s own hormones. The FDA has approved many bioidentical HRT medications for use in treating women with concerns about menopausal symptoms.

More Recent Findings

Research after the WHI study identified important factors that impact the safety and outcome of HRT, such as how soon it begins after menopause, and whether it is taken orally or in other forms. Unfortunately, the news of these findings is much less widespread.

Follow up studies found that the way a treatment delivers hormones also plays a part in how safely the body can use them. Some hormones in pill form carry different risks than those taken through the skin as a cream or gel, for example.

If you were to try to get information on the Internet, it is difficult to know who to believe. Some medical sites continue to share findings of older studies, and some focus on some of the newer studies without making clear what the full range of risks and benefits are.

Talk with a Doctor Who Is Informed about Bioidentical HRT

If you are concerned about symptoms and the safety of HRT, the best step for your health is to become better informed by talking with a knowledgeable doctor you trust.

HRT safety and effectiveness depends on when it starts, how long treatments last, what preparations are used, whether hormones are combined, and how the hormones themselves are formulated.

The benefits of any treatment must certainly outweigh the risks. And you deserve the opportunity to work with a doctor who will carefully assess and diagnose your symptoms and talk with you about the safest, most effective therapy for you.

Bioidentical HRT in Ridgewood, New Jersey

If you are in the Ridgewood, New Jersey area, and want to see bioidentical HRT can help, speak to Dr. Keller at 201-485-7930 or request an appointment online.

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Fed up with Hot Flashes and Nights Sweats? Tips to Manage them Naturally

manage hot flashes naturally

Discover natural ways to ease night sweats and dietary supplements that help. For night sweats bioidentical hormones may also help you get the rest and relief you need.

Hot flashes and night sweats can be very disruptive, even if you expect them as part of menopause. Sometimes their severity can come as a surprise. Symptoms may be so intense they wake you up at night.

Night sweats are related to daytime hot flashes, and are usually associated with menopause. However, both hot flashes and night sweats can happen in younger women, pregnant women, and those with an underlying medical condition, or high levels of stress.

What Causes Night Sweats

Night sweats occur when blood vessels open in the skin to release heat. You can perspire enough to soak your nightclothes and be awakened by cold wet sleepwear and damp sheets.

Night sweats happen when the body-temperature control system in the brain — the hypothalamus — triggers your body’s cooling system. The hypothalamus also controls stress hormones, sex hormones, and is sensitive to hormonal changes, including changes in estrogen levels. It can trigger the body to rapidly cool down in response to lower levels of estrogen.

Natural Ways to Manage Symptoms

The foods you eat and the way you manage stress can have a big impact on night sweats and hot flashes. You can reduce and manage the symptoms by knowing how to manage stress, take care of your body, and by learning which foods to avoid and why.

For example, excess sugar in the diet triggers a stress response in the body – including an increase in blood pressure, and heart rate, which can elevate body temperature. The hypothalamus is already hypersensitive to signals of overheating, and is can contribute to hot flashes and night sweats.

What other foods can you avoid to help you minimize night sweats? Here are a few to avoid:

  • Hot foods (served at a high cooking temperature)
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine or other stimulants

Here are some simple lifestyle changes that can help you calm your temperature regulation system:

  • Practice meditation to decrease adrenal hormones
  • Dress is loose clothing – for easier temperature regulation
  • Keep room temperature lower especially at night (ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees)
  • Exercise daily – do aerobics to get your heart rate up; and sweat will help decrease stress hormones
  • Eat a low glycemic whole food diet
  • Get 8 hours of sleep

These Dietary Supplements Can Help

Dietary supplements and herbs can be beneficial but should be taken under the guidance of your physician.

I recommend these 4 essential supplements for optimal health (Four Essential Supplements):

  • A good multivitamin
  • Fish oil
  • Probiotic (“good bacteria” in yogurt, sourdough bread and also capsule form)
  • Vitamin D

Two additional supplements have been shown to reduce night sweats. The first is Estrovera by Metagenics, a tablet formulated using the extract of Siberian rhubarb, which has been clinically proven to reduce symptoms. I have found it to be especially  helpful in reducing night sweats.

I also find many of my patients find Kavinace Flash-Ease by Neuroscience to be effective in reducing hot flashes, night sweats and helping them get and stay asleep. It contains black cohosh in addition to ashwagandha (a restorative herb which helps balance stress hormones). A naturally occurring amino acid known as 5-HTP which helps increase serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone).

It is important to discuss your options fully with your doctor. If you plan to take herbs or supplements, it is important to do so under the guidance of your physician. Just because a preparation is ‘natural,’ does not mean it’s free of side effects or possible interactions with other treatments you are taking. Herbs and supplements can have an impact on each other, or interact with prescription medication or over-the-counter medications.

Night Sweats and Bioidentical Hormones

I find that for many patients, a personalized treatment plan that combines, lifestyle changes, diet changes, exercise, stress reductions, and supplements helps provide relief from night sweats. But for other patients, these changes may not provide enough relief or control over symptoms. In these cases, low dose bioidentical hormones may provide the relief you are looking for.

Find many of the supplements we recommend at:

http://drkeller.metagenics.com. Use code: drkeller