Be Wary With Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many women experiencing the negative side effects of menopause are often told to just use hormone replacement to improve symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy can significantly reduce perimenopausal symptoms. They work by reducing the extremes sometimes experienced with the decline of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone production.
However, HRT can also make symptoms worse in the long run.
This is especially true if the other causes of hormone imbalance are NOT addressed in the first place.
Why Fake Hormones Dont Help
When you take exogenous hormones, the levels of those hormones go up in the bloodstream.
In response, your pituitary gland reduces your own natural production of that hormone.
Now, this may not be much of a problem when youre actually taking that hormone. But another problem begins to develop behind the scenes: Hormone resistance.
When we have chronically higher levels of hormones in our blood , the receptors for our hormones throughout our body get down-regulated.
Thus, the HRT hormones in our blood begin to have a lesser and lesser effect over time because our hormone receptors arent sensitive to that hormone anymore.
Long-term side effects of HRT in our blood are associated with heart disease, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, and further adrenal imbalances.
Why It Is Important To Keep Your Estrogen Levels
Estrogen is responsible for regulating many functions in females and is a crucial hormone in the female health journey. From puberty, through fertility and menopause, estrogen also plays an important role in reducing the risk of certain diseases and has even been shown to play a protective factor in heart health.
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life
After menopause, your body has less estrogen. This major change in your hormonal balance can affect your sex life. Many menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women also may be less sensitive to touch and other physical contact than before menopause.
These feelings, coupled with the other emotional changes you may be experiencing, can all lead to a decreased interest in sex. Keep in mind that your body is going through a lot of change during menopause. Some of the other factors that can play a role in a decreased sex drive can include:
- Having bladder control problems.
- Having trouble sleeping through the night.
- Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
- Coping with other medical conditions and medications.
All of these factors can disrupt your life and even cause tension in your relationship. In addition to these changes, the lower levels of estrogen in your body can actually cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina. This can cause dryness. When you dont have the right amount of lubrication in the vagina, it can be thin, pale and dry. This can lead to painful intercourse.
Types Of Hormone Imbalances
Estrogen Dominance Estrogen dominance is a quite common cause of hormone imbalance that occurs when estrogen levels are too high relative to progesterone levels. This can happen in a few ways:
Symptoms of estrogen dominance include: Tender breasts, irregular cycles long or short, bloating, acne, breast cysts, PMS, headaches, anxiety, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, hair loss, and difficulties getting pregnant. However, this is not an all-inclusive list.
The graphic above shows a healthy pattern and 3 patterns of estrogen dominance. Please take note that all of the unhealthy patterns are still within a typical lab reference range. Your hormones will come back normal. Its the ratio between the hormones that are important! Adding a healthy pattern to the previously mentioned reasons for Estrogen Dominance leaves us with the following patterns for your hormones.
Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some women may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
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How Is Menopause Diagnosed
There are several ways your healthcare provider can diagnose menopause. The first is discussing your menstrual cycle over the last year. If you have gone a full year without a period, you may be postmenopausal. Another way your provider can check if you are going through menopause is a blood test that checks your follicle stimulating hormone level. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland this gland is located at the base of your brain. However, this test can be misleading during the beginning of menopause when your body is transitioning and your hormone levels are fluctuating up and down. Hormone testing always need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening with the menstrual period.
For many women, a blood test is not necessary. If you are having the symptoms of menopause and your periods have been irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose menopause after your conversation.
Tips To Balance Your Hormones Naturally During Menopause
When youre going through menopause, learning how to balance hormones naturally can be a great way to help you manage the more uncomfortable side effects of this transition.
Menopause can be a really challenging period in a womans life.
Hot flashes, weight gain, night sweats, anxiety, mood swings, hair loss, and a decreased sex drive are some of the most well-known symptoms that women, and people with a female reproductive system, may encounter during this critical time.
The physical and emotional changes can sometimes feel like a roller coaster that we cant wait to get out of.
Hormones are chemical messengers that help regulate multiple vital bodily functions. Estrogen, testosterone, insulin, adrenaline, cortisol, and ghrelin are all hormones that affect everything from your reproductive system, sleep , and energy, to hunger levels.
When hormones are out of balance, even the most mundane tasks can feel huge.
You can feel tired, out of sync, low energy, too hungry, or not hungry at all – you get the gist. Most people go after hormone-balancing medication, but not everyone qualifies for them. Thats why finding ways to balance hormones naturally can be really helpful.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing some of the symptoms of menopause, these useful tips will help you feel better and get back into your personal groove.
Learn how to balance hormones naturally to slay your day and feel like you again.
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Weight Gain Or Difficulty Losing Weight
Why do so many people struggle with weight loss and maintenance? Usually, its because they are eating nutrient-poor foods and working too hard. The body processes this hard work as stress and when the body is stressed, it goes into survival or fight or flight mode, producing cortisol. When youre chronically stressed, your cortisol is always high and in an effort to protect itself from whatever danger it senses, your body holds onto fat as a form of energy.
Will Hormone Therapy Help Prevent Long
The benefits and risks of hormone therapy vary depending on a womans age and her individual history. In general, younger women in their 50s tend to get more benefits from hormone therapy as compared to postmenopausal women in their 60s. Women who undergo premature menopause are often treated with hormone therapy until age 50 to avoid the increased risk that comes from the extra years of estrogen loss.
What Are Hot Flashes And How Long Will I Have Them
Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. It is a brief sensation of heat. Hot flashes arent the same for everyone and theres no definitive reason that they happen. Aside from the heat, hot flashes can also come with:
- A red, flushed face.
- A chilled feeling after the heat.
Hot flashes not only feel different for each person they also can last for various amounts of time. Some women only have hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others can have some kind of hot flash for the rest of their life. Typically, hot flashes are less severe as time goes on.
The Negative Impact Of Hormone Imbalance And How We Can Help
Hormones help regulate many of your bodily functions. They help you sleep through the night, have babies, grow hair, grow your body, metabolize food, and keep you warm, to name just a few functions that rely on hormones.
If your hormones are imbalanced, this imbalance can have a significant impact on your body, mind, or mood. Everyone has imbalances on occasion like during times of intense stress or, for women, just before or after a menstrual period. Women also experience imbalances during pregnancy, perimenopause , and menopause.
Hormone imbalances usually happen when your endocrine glands, which produce and release hormones, are out of whack. The improper functioning of your endocrine glands can be brought on by many things including:
- Certain medications
Addressing the causes directly is the first step in balancing your hormones.
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Skin And Hair Changes
Acne. A sudden increase in acne is one easy way to identify a possible hormonal imbalance. One of the few hormones involved is androgens. Androgens, typically referred to as male hormones, but found in both males and females, regulate your skins sebum production. If your body produces androgens in excess, sebum can build up in your pores and cause a pimple to surface.
Hair loss. The quality and vitality of your hair is also directly related to your hormones. Thyroid abnormalities, for example, may cause dry hair or skin, thinning hair, or brittle nails. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and parathyroid disorder can also cause hair loss.
How To Increase Estrogen
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Windham is a board certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Tennessee. She attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and completed her residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2010, where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, and Most Outstanding Resident Overall.There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 14 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,899,504 times.
Estrogen is a natural hormone found in both men and women. Keeping estrogen at a healthy level is important for both sexes, but women need more estrogen for normal bodily functions, such as conceiving children. During menopause, estrogen levels in women decrease significantly. Learn about how simple changes to your lifestyle and diet may increase your estrogen.
Period Problems And Period
A common complaint of women who visit Madison Womens Health is irregular periods or unexpected changes to their periods. A period is considered irregular when it occurs more often than before or less often than before, or if the amount and duration of bleeding has changed significantly for repeated months. Is your period suddenly much heavier than it has been? Or are you not having a period at all?
Keep track of your cycles, when you begin to bleed, and for how long. A popular app among our patients for tracking cycles is Period Tracker Period Calendar , although there are many options. Let your doctor know how many days there are between your periods and what your typical flow is like. Discuss what is different and why you are concerned. Let them know if youre under more stress than before, if youve changed your diet or exercise recently, or if you have a family history of irregular periods.
These changes could have a structural cause having to do with your cervix or uterus or a hormonal cause. Your doctor will likely want to perform a physical exam and may also check specific hormones on a specific day of your menstrual cycle.
Progesterone Helps You Sleep Better
If you can’t sleep or you don’t get good quality sleep, hormone balance may be to blame. Progesterone is one compound released by the ovaries that helps you sleep. Low levels may make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. A small study in postmenopausal women found that 300 milligrams of progesterone restored normal sleep when sleep was disturbed. Estrogen levels decrease in perimenopause and after menopause. This may contribute to night sweats and hot flashes, which often disrupt a woman’s ability to sleep. See your doctor if you believe an imbalance in hormones is contributing to sleep problems.
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Basic Dietary Guidelines For Menopause
During menopause, eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Since women’s diets are often low in iron and calcium, follow these guidelines:
Get enough calcium. Eat and drink two to four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day. Calcium is found in dairy products, fish with bones , broccoli, and legumes. Aim to get 1,200 milligrams per day.
Pump up your iron. Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods a day. Iron is found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and enriched grain products. The recommended dietary allowance for iron in older women is 8 milligrams a day.
Get enough fiber. Help yourself to foods high in fiber, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Most adult women should get about 21 grams of fiber a day.
Eat fruits and vegetables. Have at least 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables each day.
Read labels. Use the package label information to help yourself make the best choices for a healthy lifestyle.
Drink plenty of water. As a general rule, drink eight glasses of water every day. That fulfills the daily requirement for most healthy adults.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, cut down on portion sizes and eat fewer foods that are high in fat. Don’t skip meals, though. A registered dietitian or your doctor can help you figure out your ideal body weight.
Limit alcohol to one or fewer drinks a day.
How To Control Menopause Hormone Levels
In fact, there is no one magic pill that can control hormone levels in menopause. But, there is an efficient therapy that can eliminate most of these symptoms. Have you ever noticed that West women are more active at this age? They take hormone replacement therapy and live longer. The designated preparations contain estrogens and progesterone needed in our body in a small amount. So, hormone levels after menopause or during it will be stable, and women can feel comfortable.
Keep in mind, there is one myth around this therapy aimed to affect hormone levels in menopause, that a woman will get fat from these hormones. It is completely untrue. A woman is gaining weight only because of a lack of estrogens that once were normal. Without them, fat accumulates.
Accordingly, hormone therapy will help you to avoid such things, and menopause and hormone levels care will keep you fit. Moreover, doctors are trained enough to determine the right strength and dosages of a hormonal treatment so that a woman does not even notice any ailments or negative consequences. If you have a chance to undergo it, use this option because as of now it is the most efficient solution invented by dedicated experts for moderating and controlling hormone levels in menopause.
What Is The Menopause
Simply, the menopause is when the ovaries no longer respond to the hormonal messages sent from the pituitary gland in the brain. Eventually, this leads to the end of ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
During the build-up to the menopause, known as perimenopause, our hormones go through a transformation process. Their levels fluctuate and can alter our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Im feeling hormonal can sometimes be bandied about to describe how we feel at a given moment in time, but that feeling can soon become a reality for many women entering the menopausal transition.
Appetite And Weight Gain
You may gain weight during hormonal shifts, such as menopause. But hormone changes donât directly affect your weight. Instead, it likely happens because of other factors, like aging or lifestyle. For example, when youâre feeling blue or irritated, as you can be when your estrogen levels drop, you may want to eat more. It can also impact your bodyâs levels of leptin, a hunger-revving hormone.
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Reasons Your Doctor Cant Give You A Hormone Imbalance Test
You may wonder why your doctor cant give you a quick test to determine if all your hormones are in balance. Testing hormones is very different from testing cholesterol or iron in your blood because your hormone levels are always changing, day by day, even hour by hour. They change based on where you are in your menstrual cycle, when you last ate, what your other hormones are doing, how stressed you are, and many other factors. Thats why a single hormone check cant really tell you if all your hormones are balanced.
Secondly, asking your doctor to check your hormones is a huge request. The human body produces more than 50 hormones! Hormones include melatonin adrenaline , oxytocin , cortisol , and progesterone , just to name a few.
The best way to discover if specific hormones are out of balance is by telling your doctor which symptoms you are experiencing so they can narrow down what should be checked and when. Your symptoms are your doctors first clues about what could be wrong.