Why Estrogen Dominance Occurs After Menopause
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Risks Of Heavy Drinking
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines high-risk drinking as more than 7 drinks a week, or more than 3 on a given day. They break it down by types of alcohol:
- 1 glass of wine at 12% ABV
- 1 can of beer at 5% ABV
- 1 shot of 80-proof distilled alcohol such as whiskey or gin
Note that a single cocktail may go over these daily amounts. For example, a small martini is equal to 1.5 drinks, while a margarita may be the equivalent of two drinks. So, if you enjoy a cocktail one day, consider abstaining the following day or two.
Heavy drinking is more dangerous as we age. Its associated with the following health risks:
- All cancers, especially breast cancer
- Heart disease
- Organ damage, including brain, nerve, heart, and liver
- Irreversible bone mass loss
- Depression, even for people who were not previously depressed
- Interactions with medications
- Accidents leading to bone fractures
- Sleep disruption
Alcohol has been known to disrupt the sleep of both genders. But women appear to be even more susceptible to insomnia after drinking than men.
What Hormones Are Used To Treat The Symptoms Of Menopause
The hormones most commonly used to treat symptoms of menopause are estrogen and progesterone. . Often, these 2 hormones are used together, but some women are given estrogen alone. Its important to know which hormones you are talking about when looking at the risks.
Common estrogen preparations used to treat menopausal symptoms include conjugated equine estrogens and estradiol, but several forms or types of estrogen are available.
There are also many progestins available, but medroxyprogesterone acetate , is often used with an estrogen to treat menopausal symptoms. Some preparations contain both an estrogen and a progestin.
Androgens are also sometimes used to treat menopausal symptoms. This is not common, though, and because only a few studies have looked at this practice, it isnt clear how safe it is in the long run.
Tibolone is a synthetic hormone drug that can act like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in different tissues of the body. Because this drug isnt available in the US, its not discussed here.
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Taking Estrogen With A Progestin Vs Estrogen Alone
Treating menopausal symptoms with estrogen and progestin together is known as estrogen-progestin therapy or combined hormone therapy. Although estrogen alone improves the symptoms of menopause, it increases the risk of cancer of the uterus . Adding a progestin to the estrogen lowers the risk of endometrial cancer back to normal. Because of this, EPT is given to women who still have a uterus . EPT can be given 2 ways:
- Continuous EPT;means the same dose of estrogen and progestin is taken each day. Women often prefer continuous EPT because it rarely leads to menstrual-like bleeding.
- Sequential EPT;means different amounts of each hormone are taken on specific days. There are different ways to do this. For example, estrogen can be taken by itself for 14 days, then estrogen plus progestin for 11 days, then neither hormone for 3 to 5 days. Other schedules involve taking progestin only every few months. This lowers the amount of progestin that you are exposed to. Monthly regimens are also thought to result in hormone levels that are more like the natural menstrual cycle. Cyclical EPT can produce bleeding like a menstrual period, but it can occur less often than monthly.
What Causes Hot Flashes
Its not exactly clear what causes hot flashes. Multiple studies are attempting to understand them. There is clear evidence that hot flashes result from hormonal changes in the body. Their connection to other health problems, such as diabetes, is also being studied. Obesity and metabolic syndrome are thought to increase the incidence of hot flashes. Some women barely notice hot flashes or consider them a minor annoyance. For others, the intensity may affect their quality of life in a rather negative way.
- smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke
- bending over
You may want to start keeping a journal about your symptoms. Write down what you were doing, eating, drinking, feeling, or wearing when each hot flash began. After several weeks, you may begin to see a pattern that can help you avoid specific triggers.
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What Are The Benefits Of Hrt
Benefits of hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women, include:
- Increased elasticity of the blood vessels, allowing them to dilate and let the blood flow more freely throughout the body
- Improved short-term symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and mood swings, as well as vaginal dryness, dry skin, sleeplessness and irritable bladder symptoms
- Possible decreased incidence of Alzheimers disease
- Possible improvement of glucose levels
Are There Alternatives For Women Who Choose Not To Take Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Women who are concerned about the changes that occur naturally with the decline in hormone production that occurs during menopause can make changes in their lifestyle and diet to reduce the risk of certain health effects. For example, eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D or taking dietary supplements containing these nutrients may help to prevent osteoporosis. FDA-approved drugs such as alendronate , raloxifene , and risedronate have been shown in randomized trials to prevent bone loss.
Medications approved by the FDA for treating depression and seizures may help to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes . Drugs that have been shown in randomized clinical trials to be effective in treating hot flashes include venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine;, fluoxetine , citalopram , gabapentin , and pregabalin .
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Take Vitamins To Increase Progesterone Levels After Menopause
For full work, the body needs all the vitamins and minerals. However, some of them are especially important for progesterone production.
- Vitamin C
The latest research works show that vitamin C enhances the production of progesterone after menopause. Sources: kiwi, wild rose, red pepper, citrus fruits, black currant, and other berries, especially sour ones.
It helps a person to relax and reduce stress. Due to this, it has a beneficial effect on the hormonal system. Sources: green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and cocoa.
- Vitamin B6
Known for the ability to reduce stress and restore the functioning of the nervous system. It assists the liver to break down and excrete estrogen degradation products. According to studies, it helps lower estrogen levels and increases progesterone levels after menopause. Sources: walnut, hazelnuts, spinach, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, salmon, tuna, bananas, beef, chicken, and legumes.
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Supplements You Should Be Taking After Menopause
Hormonal shifts are responsible for most of the wonderful side effects of menopause, including an increased risk of certain diseases and conditions. When estrogen drops, the risk for osteoporosis and heart disease risesas does the tendency to suffer from symptoms such as;hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness.
To combat this, vitamins and supplements can be a key component of a woman’s care during and after menopause, but the process of deciding which ones to take can be overwhelming. “When it comes to supplements for menopause, there isn’t just one pill,” says Jacqui Justice, a clinical nutritionist at the NY Health & Wellness Center. “It’s a process. It’s a complex system.”
Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, but you can often get a better quality supplement with fewer fillers and more of the key ingredient when you purchase them through a certified practitioner, says Mark Menolascino, MD, a board-certified physician in internal medicine, holistic medicine, and advanced hormone management and anti-aging medicine, and key medical opinion leader at Lycored.;”Functional medicine practitioners like me use pharmaceutical-grade supplements that have been tested prior to and after manufacture. They are 99% pure, whereas the average retail supplement may be only 1 to 20% pure and full of binders,” explains Menolascino. “If you work with a practitioner who understands the quality, then there is a huge benefit.”
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Peri Meno & Post: When Does The Change Happen
Your hormones can begin decreasing in your 30s and may continue well into your 40s and 50s. This is called perimenopause or the transition to menopause for most women.
The average age of menopause for US women is 51. Most women reach this milestone somewhere between ages 45 and 55.
Once your period has stopped for 12 months, you are considered in menopause and enter the postmenopause stage of life.
When To See A Doctor For Hormone Replacement Therapy
Menopause is a normal part of aging and most symptoms will pass on their own. Some people find them mildly uncomfortable and others find they interfere with normal living. When you begin to experience menopausal symptoms or find them unbearable, you can see a doctor to discuss how to proceed.
If you have symptoms related to other conditions, like early menopause before age 45, or chronic period problems, abnormal periods or bleeding, or infertility, you should see your doctor to determine the cause.
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When Mht Is Not An Option
For some women, the risks in using hormone therapy are definitely very high. MHT would not be recommended for women who:
- Are pregnant or think they might be pregnant
- Have irregular or unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Have breast cancer or uterine cancer
- Have a history of heart attack or stroke
- Have a history of getting blood clots
- Have liver disease
Postmenopause And Synthetic Hormones
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most popular treatments used by premenopausal and postmenopausal women in the United States. HRT works much in the same way that phytoestrogenic herbs do, by reintroducing estrogen into a woman’s body, thereby balancing her hormone levels.
HRT also has some serious disadvantages. Most notably, a 2002 study revealed that women who take synthetic hormones in the form of HRT are significantly increasing their risk of developing heart disease, blood clots, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
Hormonal changes associated with postmenopause are what causes uncomfortable symptoms that many women experience. While these symptoms are normally not debilitating, they can be frustrating, and many women seek to treat them naturally. Check out the following link to learn more about the different symptoms of postmenopause.
- Love, S. . Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. . Menopause. Retrieved April 1, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause
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How We Can Help
Medical providers have changed their views about HRT. There is a great deal of information to discover. The studies already done dont address all of the issues that women face.
Women have many issues to address before deciding to use HRT. These include risks, age, preferences, options available, and the cost of the treatment.
Questions for your doctor include:
Once you evaluate and understanding your situation, you can make an educated decision. Make sure to talk to your doctor and ask as many questions as you need. Re-evaluation of the treatment options may change as new therapies become available and as you age.
Now is the time to treat yourself and learn what your body needs. Maintain a healthy lifestyle through healthy foods, exercise, and good sleep. Do what feels good for your body. Enjoy feeling comfortable within your body when your menopausal symptoms disappear with HRT.
If your goal is to reduce your risk of future health issues or maintain your quality of life, there are a variety of treatments to choose from. Have a discussion with your doctor and weigh all your options.
Information about HRT is consistently evolving. As new information is discovered through research, your options increase.
Check out many of the;issues women face;when going through menopause.
Do You Still Experience Hot Flashes Or Night Sweats Youre Not Alone
Going into this video interview, I had the perception that most women stopped experiencing night sweats when menopause ended. Julie assures us that these symptoms can continue well into our 70s. In the interview, she makes some specific suggestions, including keeping a food journal, reducing our alcohol intake and dressing in layers.
The bottom line here is that understanding how our hormones impact our bodies can help us to take control of our lives.
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How Postmenopause Affects The Body
We dont fully appreciate the natural hormone estrogen until its gone. This humble hormone is essential for maintaining health throughout a womans body not just the reproductive system. With a decrease in estrogen, your bodys major systems can be affected too.
Heres how estrogen relates to the rest of your body once youre postmenopause.
Menopause And Excessive Sweating: What You Can Do
Some changes to your regular routine may help cool hot flashes.
Work on your weight. Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have frequent hot flashes, Omicioli says. A study of 338 overweight or obese women found that those who lost weight over 6 months had a bigger improvement in hot flashes than those who didnât lose weight.
Exercise. Although studies havenât been conclusive, itâs thought that regular physical exercise lowers hot flash frequency.
Stop smoking. Several studies have linked smoking to hot flashes. One study found that heavy smokers were four times more likely to have hot flashes than women who never smoked.
Include soy in your diet. According to the National Center for Complemetary and Alternative Medicine, results of studies showing that soy reduces hot flashes has been inconsistent. To see if it works for you, you might try adding two to three servings of soy to your diet, Omicioli says. Try soybeans, tofu, tempeh, or miso.
Stock up on tanks and cardigans. Wear lightweight clothes and dress in layers so you can shed heavier clothing when a hot flash strikes. Wearing a material at night that wicks away moisture may help you sleep
Control the air temperature. Lower the heat, run the air conditioning, open a window, or run a fan during the day and while you sleep.
Pay attention to potential triggers. Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food may trigger hot flashes in some women.
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What Can You Do About Your Symptoms
There are two approaches to treat symptoms. They are medical and behavioral.
- HRT is the best treatment for hot flashes
- Anti-depressants known as selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors are another option if you dont want to take HRT
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and gabapentin treat hot flashes
If HRT is not right for you, there are alternative treatments you can try. These include yoga, mindfulness meditations, hypnosis, or exercise and weight loss. Talking to a therapist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy is another option.
Keep in mind that everyone is different. Hang in there and dont get frustrated if the first treatment doesnt help. You may have to experiment a bit to find the right treatment for you. It may take a combination of HRT and alternative therapies to get relief from symptoms.
Do You Need Hormone Therapy After Menopause
During menopause and postmenopause, many women search for fast relief to the unpleasant hormone changes they may be feeling. When symptoms are severe, hormone replacement therapy is definitely a viable option.;
At Whole Health JC, we specialize in HRT for women experiencing hormone imbalances from perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Do you need hormone therapy after menopause? Learn the benefits of hormone replacement therapy with an HRT consultation!
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Signs You Need Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is not for everyone, but some people find the treatment provides relief from the symptoms of menopause.;
Signs that you may need hormone replacement therapy include:;
Other conditions caused by hormone deficiency may also benefit from hormone replacement therapy.
Putting The Risks And Benefits Of Hrt In Perspective
If you’re just glancing at list above, some of the risks of HRT might seem to overwhelm the benefits. Could a reduction in vaginal dryness possibly be worth an increased risk of cancer?
But look at the details. The risks of HRT — while real — are quite small for an individual person. For example, the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study found that ERT increased the risk of strokes by 39%. That sounds frighteningly high. But the actual number of people affected is very small. Out of 10,000 women who are not taking ERT, 32 have strokes each year. Out of 10,000 who are taking ERT, 44 have strokes each year. That’s an increase of just 12 people out of 10,000.
On the other hand, when it comes to controlling the symptoms of surgical menopause, a huge number of women feel the benefits. One out of four menopausal women has severe hot flashes. Treatment with hormone therapy cuts down the number of hot flashes per week by 75%. So if a woman had 24 hot flashes per week, HRT would drop that number to six. That could make a big difference in the quality of their day-to-day life.
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