What Does Estrogen Do
Estrogen and progesterone are steroid hormones naturally occurring in the body. Though commonly known as female sex hormones, males also have estrogen and progesterone in low levels.
Estrogen plays an important role in the development and regulation of the sexual and reproductive system. Estrogen also stimulates egg production by the ovaries. Apart from the reproductive system, estrogen has effects on almost the entire body including:
- Gastrointestinal system
The central nervous system functions such as:
The body produces three forms of estrogen:
- Estradiol: Produced by the ovary and predominant in premenopausal women.
- Estrone: Formed from estradiol in a chemical reaction predominant after menopause.
- Estriol: Secreted by the placenta during pregnancy, and also derived as a metabolite from estradiol and estrone.
Progesterone is a form of progestogen, another important hormone produced by the body. Progesterone prepares the uterus to receive the fertilized egg by thickening the uterine lining , and supports pregnancy. Progestin is a synthetic progestogen used in the preparation of hormonal medications.
Why Are These Restrictions Happening Now
The FDA has always had the authority to regulate the substances used in making compounded drugs however, until now, the agency has chosen to leave oversight to the states. Now, all of a sudden, the FDA has decided to regulate substances used in compounding. By doing this, the FDA is, in effect, regulating the practices of medicine and pharmacy rather than regulating the drugs being prescribed and sold. In my opinion, this is a huge overreach of power, and it waves a big red flag for me during this time of increasing government control over our bodies and our lives.
Further, the committees calling for the education of health care providers and pharmacists who currently prescribe, compound, and dispense cBHT is nothing more than a thinly veiled threat against these practitioners, who will be forced to practice medicine the way Big Government and Big Pharma dictate or risk losing their licenses and practices.
And, according to a newly proposed rule on September 5, 2020, it appears that the FDA is on a mission to ban other compounded natural therapies as well, including homeopathic remedies and natural substances, such as curcumin, that have been proven safe and effective for decades!
Who Should Buy An Estrogen Blocker
Estrogen blockers are popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and men looking to maximize their testosterone levels. Estrogen, a female sex hormone, directly counteracts many of the effects of male sex hormones: it lowers metabolism, increases body fat, and makes it more difficult to add muscle massnot to mention significantly diminishing male sex drive.
If you are looking to keep your testosterone and growth hormone levels high, and your estrogen levels low, an estrogen blocker is a smart choice. High estrogen levels are associated with obesity, low sex drive, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The excess body fat that comes along with higher estrogen levels is a real problem because fat cells actually produce estrogen: the more fat you have, the more endogenous estrogen your body produces. If you are overweight or obese, and finding that you have many of the symptoms of low testosterone and high estrogen, your fat cells might be part of the problem.
An estrogen blocker could be a way to counteract this problem. Estrogen blockers are far more common among strength and power athletes, though, who are looking to squeeze out every last drop of performance.
While an estrogen blocker alone wont guarantee better performances, it fits in well to a supplementation routine that also contains testosterone boosters, protein shakes, and post-workout supplements if you are trying to maximize physical performance.
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Do Menopause Supplements Work
As already mentioned, menopause supplements may work for some women, but because the studies on these products and their ingredients are inconclusive, we cannot know for sure.
What we do know is that women taking these supplements claim they offer relief and these claims often come from clinical trials.
Menopause supplements containing black cohosh are most likely to work, but so are those containing other botanicals that affect the hormones, and neurotransmitters.
Some of the botanicals used in menopause supplements address anxiety and depression symptoms, which might directly impact the severity of menopause symptoms.
This is because the severity of hot flashes and night sweats can become worse as a result of depression and anxiety as found in one study published in the journal Menopause.
Indications And Contraindications For Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Menopausal hormone therapy is prescribed in the perimenopausal period or during early menopause based on an individual patient’s benefit-versus-risk profile. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved menopausal hormone therapy for moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms and moderate to severe vulvar and vaginal atrophy. Women who have had a hysterectomy should receive estrogen alone, and women with an intact uterus should receive estrogen plus a progestational agent to lower the risk of hyperplasia and endometrial cancer.
Table 1 lists FDA contraindications for menopausal hormone therapy. Therapeutic trials of prescription nonhormonal alternatives may be considered for the treatment of menopausal symptoms with no contraindications. However, over-the-counter supplements should be used with caution because they are not regulated by the FDA and may interact with other drugs. Table 2 lists alternatives to estrogen therapy for treating menopausal symptoms.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Contraindications to Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Active liver disease
Active or recent arterial thromboembolic disease
Current, past, or suspected breast cancer
Known hypersensitivity to the active substance of the therapy or to any of the excipients
Known or suspected estrogen-sensitive malignant conditions
Porphyria cutanea tarda
Previous idiopathic or current venous thromboembolism
Undiagnosed genital bleeding
Active liver disease
Centrally acting alpha-adrenergic blocking agents
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. You should have a complete physical exam, including blood pressure measurements, breast and pelvic exams, and a Pap test at least yearly. Follow your doctor’s directions for examining your breasts report any lumps immediately.
If you are taking hormone replacement therapy to treat symptoms of menopause, your doctor will check every 3 to 6 months to see if you still need this medication. If you are taking this medication to prevent thinning of the bones , you will take it for a longer period of time.
Before you have any laboratory tests, tell the laboratory personnel that you take hormone replacement therapy, because this medication may interfere with some laboratory tests.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Increases Skin Collagen Hydration And Thickness
Studies have found that various estrogens, including progesterone, have a significant effect on skins physiology, from its very cell structures to hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Certain estrogen replacement therapies, like using progesterone cream, may reduce signs of skin aging.9
One study from 2005 evaluated the effects of 2% progesterone cream on skin health, texture, and function among 40 perimenopausal and post-menopausal women. This double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled study used objective methods to measure skin elasticity, skin surface lipids, epidermal hydration, self-assessments, and measures of blood hormone levels . The study occurred over four visits during a 16-week period. While the study found no changes in skin surface lipids or hydration, the results of the study found significant increases in skin elasticity and firmness and reduced wrinkle count and depth in the group of women who used the progesterone cream without any serious side effects.10
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Moisturizers And Lubricants Often Help
For vaginal dryness by itself, I recommend trying over-the-counter moisturizers and lubricants.
Vaginal moisturizers add moisture around and inside the vagina. There are two types. Internal moisturizers are inserted into the vagina, where they help build up vaginal tissue. External moisturizers are made for the vulva.
Lubricants decrease discomfort during intercourse. Sexually active women should use lubricants in addition to a vaginal moisturizer. I prefer water-based lubricants, though they dont last as long as silicone-based products. Skip oil-based lubricants. They can cause irritation and make condoms less effective.
See your ob-gyn if irritation and pain during sex dont improve after 2 months of use, or if you have other symptoms.
Aace Releases Guidelines For Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Am Fam Physician. 2012 Nov 1 86:864-868.
Guideline source: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
Evidence rating system used? Yes
Literature search described? Yes
Guideline developed by participants without relevant financial ties to industry? No
Menopause is diagnosed in women who have not had menses for one year. After menopause, up to 85 percent of women have symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, and vaginal dryness and discomfort. Although most symptoms resolve spontaneously after about five years, symptoms continue in a substantial number of women. Menopausal hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for these symptoms. The goal of this therapy is to improve quality of life, but possible risks must be weighed against the benefits of therapy. Chronic disorders are associated with aging and menopause. The role of menopausal hormone therapy in the prevention of these conditions is controversial.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists convened a task force to review available evidence on therapies for menopausal symptoms. The task force’s guidelines include recommendations for prescribing menopausal hormone therapies, and for weighing the risks and benefits in individual patients.
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Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Women who go through early menopause or have temporary ovarian suppression due to breast cancer treatment may have hot flashes and night sweats. They may have worse symptoms than women who go through menopause at later ages.
Hot flashes can also be a side effect of hormone therapy.
Ways to relieve hot flashes in women whove had breast cancer are under study. These include :
Adapted from the North American Menopause Society .
Which Bioidentical Hormones Should You Take
The molecules naturally produced in the human female body for which we most often seek replacement include:
- Estrone , estradiol , and estriol
- DHEA, an adrenal precursor to testosterone.
These truly natural hormones are available by prescription. Estradiol is available as Estrace pills, Estrace vaginal cream, or transdermals as the Vivelle Dot, and Climera. (Pharmaceutical companies have been able to patent the delivery system on these hormones, though the hormone itself is still bioidentical. Estriol is available only through formulary pharmacies. Most women do fine with just estradiol plus or minus some progesterone. And sometimes a bit of testosterone, which is available by prescription as AndroGel.
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What To Look For When Choosing Menopause Supplements
When choosing a menopause supplement, look for ingredients such as black cohosh, red clover, and saint johns wort. These ingredients were found to be highly effective in peer-reviewed clinical trials. A lot of menopause supplements also contain phytoestrogens from soy and other plants, but their efficiency is still unknown.
Other than that, you will find many different ingredients in menopause supplements that treat symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, depression, and vaginal dryness. Because the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, it can be hard to tell if the ingredients in your product are safe.
However, some products are manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and by the Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines, which is a sign that a product is safe for use.
Furthermore, look for products offering a money-back guarantee as this also is a sign that the manufacturer has your safety and satisfaction in mind. This also means you wont be throwing money away on products that dont offer any relief.
Symptoms Of Progesterone Overdose
Continuous usage of progesterone higher than the amount recommend will result in a buildup of progesterone levels in the body. As progesterone levels build up, you may experience a variety of negative side effects:
Excessive progesterone use is associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism, or blood clots in the legs, arms, or groin. This risk appears to be even greater for women with preexisting factors for blood clots, including obesity, fractures, or immobility. Thankfully, studies suggest that this risk mainly applies to those taking orally administered progesterone. Transdermal or topical forms of progesterone have shown little to no effect on prothrombotic substances.13 Other potential symptoms of taking too much progesterone include:
- Swelling in the extremities
- Vaginal discharge
- Problems urinating14
Some women also report developing PMS-like symptoms. You may also experience oily skin, sudden acne breakouts, and hirsutism . Most doctors also recommend alternating where you apply the progesterone cream as repeatedly applying the cream to the same area of skin can lead to irritation.4
Many women report less severe side effects when using naturally derived progesterone as opposed to synthetic products. General side effects may occur when starting progesterone and subside over time.15 However, if side effects persist or if you experience serious side effects that disrupt your quality of life, contact your doctor immediately.
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What Estrogen Does For Men
We all know that estrogen plays a pivotal role in a womans body, regulating the reproductive cycle, protecting bone density, and even regulating mood. But it also does similar things, to different levels, in a mans body. In fact, estrogen is found throughout a mans body. It is produced in a mans skin, brain, bones, and testiclesso we can already guess that it is pretty important.
Much like in women, estrogen is important to bone health in men. As one study on estrogen inhibitors pointed out, Men with estrogen deficiency caused by a mutation in the CYP19 gene suffer from low bone mineral density and unfused epiphyses. This does not mean that estrogen inhibitors will necessarily hurt bone density, but it is an example of the importance of estrogen to structural health.
Equally interesting is the role estrogen plays in the brain, where it works as a neuroregulator, helping to promote impulse control and curb anti-social behavior. Essentially, they modulate reactions. Of course, the brain is also a vital part of sexual health, and estrogen levels in both the brain and the testicles are instrumental in the functioning of the libido, sexual performance, and reproductive capacity. As noted in a 2016 study:
In myriad ways, estrogen is vital for mens health, and low estrogen in men could be more dangerous than you think. Blocking it unnecessarily is not just dangerous, it can produce effects that are counterproductive to your goals.
Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What is the treatment?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it effective?
- How much does it cost?
Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment.
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Are There Other Things I Can Do To Protect Myself Against Osteoporosis
Doctors have long known that estrogen therapy helps prevent osteoporosis . There are many other ways to protect your bone health. Regular weight-bearing exercise and a diet high in calcium and vitamin D strengthen bones. There are also many bone-building medications available to women today. Your doctor can help you decide the best bone health strategy for you.
Man Sports Nolvadren Xt
MAN Sports Nolvadren XT provides an unusual take on estrogen blocking. It uses diindolylmethane to block estrogen, which is standard practice, but it uses some unconventional compounds to boost testosterone and to control cortisol levels as well.
This is great to see, because as important as testosterone and estrogen are, cortisol is an underappreciated factor when it comes to muscle gains and energy levels.
The testosterone booster and the cortisol blockers are advanced metabolites, and you wont find them anywhere else. If standard estrogen blockers arent cutting it, give Nolvadren XT a try.
Menopausal Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk
For decades, women have used hormone therapy to ease symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and sweating. This is called menopausal hormone therapy, and you may see it abbreviated as HT or MHT. You may also hear it described as hormone replacement therapy , postmenopausal hormone therapy , or postmenopausal hormones .
In the past, many doctors and their patients believed that MHT didnt just help with hot flashes and other symptoms it had important health benefits. But well-conducted studies have led many doctors to conclude that the risks of MHT often outweigh the benefits.
This information covers only how MHT can affect a womans risk of getting certain cancers. It does not cover other possible risks of MHT such as heart disease or stroke.
You can use this information when you talk to your doctor about whether MHT is right for you.
Diet Supplements And Plant
Theres little evidence that diet supplements or plant-based remedies reduce hot flashes or vaginal symptoms.
Randomized controlled trials of the following dietary supplements have found no benefit over a placebo for hot flashes or vaginal symptoms :
- Black cohosh
|For a summary of research studies on other supplements for menopausal symptoms, visit the Breast Cancer Research section.|
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