The Psychology Of Menopause
Hormone shifts can affect moods. It can be disturbing to find yourself feeling uncharacteristically nervous or depressed or having memory lapses. Sometimes these feelings can even strain your relationships with others. It helps to know that the psychological effects of menopause are temporary. In all likelihood, youll soon get back on an even keel. Here are the most common psychological accompaniments of menopause.
Anxiety. Women who have never had a problem with anxiety before may become more self-conscious and worried about minor events. In some cases, panic attacks occur. Mental health professionals have a variety of effective treatments. Many people feel much better just knowing what the condition is. The most important piece of advice is not to let anxiety restrict your activities. When anxiety or panic disorders cause people to avoid stressful situations, the result can be an ever-tightening leash that keeps them from enjoying life. Anxiety can lead to avoidance of many aspects of normal life. Prompt treatment prevents this.
Poor Memory and Concentration. Some women find that menopause brings occasional memory lapses, often related to reduced ability to concentrate. This can be upsetting and annoying, but fortunately it seems to go away on its own with time.
Permission To Eat Healthy Fats
Good saturated fats are essential to produce hormones. Have them in avocados, fish like salmon and sardines, nuts, and coconut oil in baked goods.
Our Tip: learn about the benefits of olive oil and other cooking oils, how to read labels, and identify the smoke point. This may help you balance hormones naturally with cholesterol management.
Breast Cancer And Menopause
Estrogen therapy is known to benefit postmenopausal women in a multitude of ways, mostly through the relief of vasomotor symptoms associated with postmenopause. Estrogen is also beneficial for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Much controversy exists about the use of estrogen and breast cancer. Some studies show an increased risk of breast cancer with postmenopausal estrogen use others show a decrease. A possible link to cancer is also suggested by the finding that breast cancer risk is increased in women with an earlier age at menarche and a later age at menopause. However, a reduction in risk is observed with early age at pregnancy and the interruption of menstrual hormonal changes. The role of estrogen in the development of breast cancer continues to be studied.
In the Womens Health Initiative , the incidence of breast cancer increased in the estrogen-plus-progestin versus placebo arm of the study however, the incidence of breast cancer decreased in the estrogen-only versus placebo arm of the study .
Additional follow-up in patients from the WHI suggested similar results: Breast cancer incidence and mortality were increased in the estrogen-plus-progestin group as compared with the placebo group. The role of combined estrogen-plus-progesterone therapy continues to be puzzling in the development of breast cancer.
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Black Cohosh: Benefits Dosage Side Effects And More
The popular womens health supplement Remifemin contains black cohosh as an active ingredient.
Its flowers and roots were commonly used in traditional Native American medicine, and today its a popular womens health supplement claimed to help with menopause symptoms, fertility, and hormonal balance.
It may be effective because it functions as a phytoestrogen, a plant-based compound that mimics the action of the hormone estrogen. However, theres some debate as to whether black cohosh can be classified as a true phytoestrogen .
Regardless, black cohosh appears to be beneficial for relieving menopause symptoms. Still, evidence for its other uses is lacking.
Black cohosh has a number of potential benefits most of them related to womens health or hormonal balance. Yet, with the exception of menopause symptoms, there is little evidence to support its use for any of these conditions.
Does Having Or Not Having A Uterus Make A Difference In Deciding What Type Of Hormone Therapy I Should Take
Yes, it does.
If you still have your uterus:
Progesterone is used along with estrogen. Taking estrogen without progesterone increases your risk for cancer of the endometrium . During your reproductive years, cells from your endometrium are shed during menstruation. When the endometrium is no longer shed, estrogen can cause an overgrowth of cells in your uterus, a condition that can lead to cancer.
Progesterone reduces the risk of endometrial cancer by making the endometrium thin. If you take progesterone, you may have monthly bleeding, or no bleeding at all, depending on how the hormone therapy is taken. Monthly bleeding can be lessened and, in some cases, eliminated by taking progesterone and estrogen together continuously.
If you no longer have your uterus :
You typically won’t need to take progesterone. This is an important point because estrogen taken alone has fewer long-term risks than HT that uses a combination of estrogen and progesterone.
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Added Benefits Of Hrt
HRT reduces the risk of various chronic conditions that can affect postmenopausal women, including:
- diabetes taking HRT around the time of menopause reduces a womans risk of developing diabetes
- osteoporosis HRT prevents further bone density loss, preserving bone integrity and reducing the risk of fractures, but it is not usually recommended as the first choice of treatment for osteoporosis, except in younger postmenopausal women
- bowel cancer HRT slightly reduces the risk of colorectal cancer
- cardiovascular disease HRT has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease markers when used around the time of menopause.
Where Can You Find Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
BodyLogicMD bioidentical hormone therapy starts by measuring the various hormone levels in your body using a comprehensive blood, urine, or serum test. By determining the baseline levels, our BodyLogicMDs highly trained practitioners will customize a natural hormone therapy replacement plan specifically for each woman based on her individual needs. If your body lacks normal levels of estrogen, your BodyLogicMD-affiliated bioidentical hormone practitioner will start you on bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy. In an optimal situation, your bodys hormones work together in concert a change in one hormone inevitably changes others. By determining your exact hormone levels and using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, in combination with a fitness and nutrition program, you can join the thousands who have improved their quality of life with BodyLogicMD. Contact your local BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioner today!
What is estrogen?
Your bodys hormones are like a seesaw. When theyre perfectly balanced, your body works as it should. But when theyre unbalanced, you may begin experiencing problems.
Estrogen is known as the female hormone. Testosterone is known as the male hormone. Although each hormone is identified with a specific sex, both are found in women and men. On average, women have higher levels of estrogen and men have more testosterone.
In men, estrogen also plays an important role in sexual function.
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What Is The Impact Of Testosterone Deficiency
This can lead to a number of distressing sexual symptoms such as low sexual desire, arousal and orgasm. Other contributory factors which should be taken into account when assessing women with these symptoms include psychosexual, physical, iatrogenic and environmental. Testosterone deficiency can also contribute to a reduction in general quality of life, tiredness, depression, headaches, cognitive problems, osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Treatment Of Low Estrogen
If you are post menopausal and checking off multiple symptoms on the list above, you may consider getting a blood test to check your hormone levels. As science is still discovering all of the very important roles that hormones play, it is common for doctors to dismiss the idea of hormone testing as wasteful or inefficient, but the truth is that it is as valuable to track and compare your hormone levels for your own health and understanding of where you are in the hormone change process. There are saliva, urine, and blood tests available to test estrogen levels in the body, though there is some confusion over which method is best, and even debate as to the optimal levels of estrogen for post-menopausal women.
The hormone changes of menopause are a natural process and not an illness and for most women no treatment is needed.
Lifestyle and dietary changes should be adopted before any more intensive therapy is pursued. Hormone replacement therapy , phytoestrogens , and anti-depressant medications are also all used successfully to treat low estrogen and the side effects that it causes. However, the latter three treatments come with a range of side effects, particularly HRT and antidepressant pharmacotherapy, and should again only be adopted when lifestyle and diet interventions are unsuccessful.
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How To Increase Libido After Menopause Naturally
There are ways to increase libido after menopause naturally. The cessation of menstruation due to a decrease in the production of female hormones, known as menopause, is for many women one of the most feared life stages. The annoying symptoms represent big changes in the lives of those who experience them. Those can also affect their partners as they often notice a sexual appetite. But at OneHowTo.com we want to give you some tips so you know how to increase libido after menopause naturally.
What Causes Hot Flashes At Night
There are many reasons for having hot flashes at night including hormone fluctuations, a hot sleeping environment, an infection, or the food or prescription medications recently consumed.
While less common, having hot flashes at night can be a symptom of certain cancers, like lymphoma.
There are also normal body temperature variations that happen while sleeping, which can lead to excessive sweating and feeling hot overnight.
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Importance Of Correcting Low Estrogen
The reason why its so important to correct low estrogen levels is that it will greatly improve your experience of both perimenopause and menopause. Not only that, but consider all the benefits of estrogen listed above your cardiovascular and cognitive health would probably be on top of your list.
Low estrogen levels are associated with these conditions:
How Can I Reduce These Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy
In most cases, these side effects are mild and dont require you to stop your HT. If your symptoms bother you, ask your healthcare provider about adjusting either the dosage or the form of the HT to reduce the side effects. Never make changes in your medication or stop taking it without first consulting your provider.
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Hormone Therapy Phytoestrogens And Antidepressants
If the above interventions do not provide relief, talk to your doctor about treatment with phytoestrogens, hormone replacement therapy and/or antidepressant therapy. HRT with estrogen will help to raise serotonin which will likely improve mood, sleep, appetite, and sex drive according to Dr. Gottfried. Estrogen therapy will help with the emotional and physical depressive and/or anxiety problems you may be experiencing. The drawback is that hormone replacement therapy comes with side effects, and this is the reason doctors are likely to pushback against it, if they even provide it at all. If you have a history of fibroids or blood clots in the leg or lungs, if you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, active gall bladder disease, or liver disease you should not consider HRT. Taking estrogen can worsen symptoms in some cases. However, despite the possible risks, many women find relief using HRT. Estradiol patches are FDA approved and considered safe when used appropriately. Estrogen needs to be used in combination with progesterone to protect from breast cancer and other risks of unopposed estrogen.
Here are some of the potential risks associated with longterm use of HRT based on Womens Health Initiative studies:
A few interesting trends that the researchers also found:
Women who used HRT for less than 2 years reported higher satisfaction with its efficacy than women who used it for over 2 years
Avoid Plastic Containers And Bottled Water
When plastic freezes, it tends to break down into smaller particles that become toxins, our bodies inadvertently consume them when they seep into water or food they contain. The body takes these compounds as xenoestrogen, and it adds to the hormonal imbalance, not to mention the strain on your liver for detox.
Xenoestrogens also make it hard to lose weight. Learn more about the female hormone weight lossconnection.
Our Tip: Balance hormones naturally by simply ditching plastic! Switch to a reusable glass or metal water bottle.
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Possible Side Effects Of Mht
You may or may not have any of these side effects when you take MHT.
|Nausea, Fluid retention, Feeling bloated, Breast enlargement and discomfort|
These symptoms may be experienced when you first start taking MHT and become less with time â if they interfere with your daily life, discuss the symptom with your doctor.
Theres No Shame In Rebalancing Yourself With Medications
For some, the desire for sex may still be strong, but other physical symptoms can get in the way. For example, the effects of decreased estrogen can cause vaginal atrophy, which narrows and shortens the vagina. The uterus can also prolapse and lead to discomfort, painful sex, and urinary leakage.
These symptoms can be managed using medications, including hormonal replacement therapy . HRT can come in various forms, like pills, foams, patches, and vaginal creams. The goal of this therapy is to help vasomotor symptoms and vulvovaginal atrophy.
HRT is an effective treatment for vaginal changes and libido, but discuss your needs in detail with a medical professional before starting a regimen. They can ensure that no medical risks are overlooked.
Another option is testosterone. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved this option yet, some clinicians do administer it. A few studies have shown that its led to a noticeable improvement in sexual dysfunction. Testosterone therapy options include pills, patches, creams, and oral therapies. All of these should be monitored carefully. Theres specific dosing for each type of transdermal testosterone product.
If youd like to go natural, there are herbal supplements that may help increase libido. Some supplements that have been recommended to increase libido in women include:
- black cohosh
- red clover
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Menopause And Menopause Symptoms
Alleviating menopause symptoms is the reason most people use black cohosh, and its one of the uses that has the most compelling evidence to support it.
In one study in 80 menopausal women who were experiencing hot flashes, those who supplemented with 20 mg of black cohosh daily for 8 weeks reported significantly fewer and less severe hot flashes than before they started the supplement .
Whats more, other human studies have confirmed similar findings. Though larger studies are needed, black cohosh appears to be beneficial for alleviating menopause symptoms .
Estrogen Therapy And Cancer Risk
In women who still have a uterus, using systemic ET has been shown to increase the risk of endometrial cancer . The risk remains higher than average even after ET is no longer used. Although most studies that showed an increased risk were of women taking estrogen as a pill, women using a patch or high-dose vaginal ring can also expect to have an increased risk of endometrial cancer.
Because of this increased cancer risk, women who have gone through menopause and who still have a uterus are given a progestin along with estrogen. Studies have shown that EPT does not increase the risk for endometrial cancer.
Long-term use of vaginal creams, rings, or tablets containing topical estrogen doses may also increase the levels of estrogen in the body. Its not clear if this leads to health risks, but the amounts of hormone are much smaller than systemic therapies.
ET is not linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. In fact, certain groups of women taking ET, such as women who had no family history of breast cancer and those who had no history of benign breast disease, had a slightly lower risk of breast cancer.
The WHI study of ET did not report any results about ovarian cancer.
To put the risk into numbers, if 1,000 women who were 50 years old took estrogen for menopause for 5 years, one extra ovarian cancer would be expected to develop.
ET does not seem to have any effect on the risk of lung cancer.
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So What Can You Do Now
Make an appointment with a doctor who can help to determine what medications or supplements to balance hormones are appropriate for your type of hormone imbalance.
Hudson, T. Womens Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine . .