Herbs And Supplements During Menopause
Many over-the-counter natural products are promoted in stores and online as helpful with menopausal symptoms. These include vitamins and soy-based and herbal products . There are also endless arrays of special blends of herbs and vitamins that claim to reduce the discomforts of menopause.
These products are considered dietary supplements . They have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration to be sure that they work or even that they are safe. Some supplements have been tested in small clinical trials, but often the studies only looked at taking the substance for a short time , so it isnt clear how safe it would be if taken for a long time. Another concern has been applying the results of a study of a particular version and dose of a supplement to others that werent tested.
Most of the plain herbs that are touted for menopausal symptoms carry a low risk of harm for most women, but some can interact with other drugs and/or cause unexpected problems. You should discuss herbs or supplements with your doctor before taking them.
Well-controlled scientific studies are needed to help find out if these products work and if they are any safer than the hormone therapy drugs now in use.
You can learn more in Dietary Supplements: What Is Safe?
Watch The Herbs For Menopause Mini
Give me 10 minutes, and I’ll show you how the hormonal puzzle fits together, so you can handle any menopausal symptom that appears with safe, natural herbal remedies.
What does estrogen dominance feel like?
It often feels like things are backed up, stuck, bloated, swollen, and puffy.
You know that feeling you get at the height of PMS when you just feel like a bloated blob ready to burst? It’s that feeling. And in perimenopause you can get that feeling, then skip a period, and stay that way without relief for weeks or months. It’s not a good feeling.
And it really is things being stuck, not flowing and moving around your body well. In Chinese medicine we call this stagnation.
And if things stay in this stuck, stagnant state for too long, the energy that’s stuck can turn into actual physical accumulations of stuk energy like lumps and nodules – think fibrocystic breasts, cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, nodules, and even tumors – all can be related to estrogen dominance.
Why is estrogen dominance common during menopause?
During the menpausal transition your estrogen and progesterone levels are both dropping. It’s common for progesterone to drop first and estrogen to drop later on. If progesterone drops too low too fast and estrogen stays high, you get the type of high estrogen to low progesterone ratio that can cause estrogen dominance symptoms.
Hrt: Benefits And Risks
Although there have been concerns raised about HRT and the potential risks to various aspects of womens health, more recently published findings show that although not entirely risk free, it remains the most effective solution for the relief of menopausal symptoms and is also effective for the prevention of osteoporosis. It may in certain age groups provide protection against heart disease.
This leaflet sets out the known facts about HRT. It summarises the results of studies regarding its safety and addresses the controversy that still surrounds it, together with current thinking about its suitability. It is written specifically for women wishing to know about HRT. Our medical advisory panel strongly recommends that you should discuss with your doctor both the benefits and the risks of HRT on an individual basis. The types of HRT available are listed below.
Read Also: Mtf Clinic
Who Shouldn’t Take Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy is not usually recommended if you:
- Have or had breast cancer or endometrial cancer.
- Have abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Less common side effects of hormone therapy include:
- Fluid retention.
- Skin discoloration .
- Increased breast density making mammogram interpretation more difficult.
- Skin irritation under estrogen patch.
Should You Worry About Estrogen Dominance In Menopause
Worry? No, but estrogen dominance does tend to occur more frequently as hormones change during menopause, so it’s worth knowing about and here’s why…
If you’re experiencing estrogen dominance during perimenopause you want to do something about it, and if you’re not, the steps below will help support a healthy estrogen to progesterone ratio helping to prevent your hormones from becoming estrogen dominant as you pass through menopause.
I’m doing a series of blog articles on individual symptoms that can be caused by estrogen dominance: Breast tenderness, Abdominal bloating, and Brain fog with specific solutions for each one…
But this article is an easy-to-understand overview of
- what estrogen dominance is
- why it’s common during menopause
- and the best natural strategies you can use to prevent it.
Read Also: How Much Do Estrogen Patches Cost
Types Of Studies Of Hormone Therapy And Cancer Risk
Different types of studies can be used to look at cancer risk from menopausal hormone therapy .
Randomized controlled trials: In this kind of study, a group of patients get the drug being studied , and another group gets a placebo . Results from this kind of study are powerful because which group a patient is in is based on chance. This helps assure that the groups are similar in all ways, such as risk for cancer, except for the drug thats being studied. This is the best way to see the effects of a drug. These types of studies can also be double-blinded, which means neither the people in the study nor their doctors know which group they are in. This lowers the chance that thoughts or opinions about treatment could affect the study results. Unfortunately, these kinds of studies are costly, which limits the number of people in the study, how long the study can continue, and the number of studies done.
A major drawback of observational studies is that the people getting the treatment being studied may have different cancer risk factors than the people who arent. Plus, the treatment can differ between the people being studied. This makes it less clear that the differences seen are only due to the drug being studied and not other factors.
When observational studies and randomized controlled trials have different results, most experts give more weight to the results of the randomized controlled trial.
What Is Known About Hormone Therapy And The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Taking combined hormone therapy can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Here are some important findings:
- Taking combination hormone therapy showed a rare increase of absolute risk of less than one additional case of breast cancer per 1000 person years of use.
- There was a nonsignificant reduction in breast cancer seen in women with hysterectomies on estrogen only therapy.
- If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer you should not take systemic hormone therapy.
You May Like: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Testosterone Therapy
Your Action Steps For Preventing Estrogen Dominance:
In my next few blog posts in this series on estrogen dominance, I’ll be giving simple powerful steps you can take to help your body keep estrogen and progesterone in balance.
Here’s an overview of how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Your action steps are to
- Eat right
- Avoid the worst hormone-disrupting chemicals
- Move enough & breathe deeply
- ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE
Bonus Tip: Include some broccoli sprouts in your diet each day, they have special micronutrients that support estrogen detoxification.
Watch for a blog coming soon on the most important hormone-disrupting chemicals to avoid & where you’ll find them.
Move! If you’re sitting, try to get up and move your arms and legs around and take some deep breaths every 30 minutes Try walking or bouncing on a rebounder a few minutes a day.
Get to the root cause! Make sure your hormones don’t drop too low by supporting them with HRT or customized herbal remedies. There’s simply no substitute for something powerful enough to support your body in keeping your hormone levels, including progesterone, high enough.
No hormonal care plan is complete without this hormonal support componenent. If you’re interested in using herbal remedies for this part of your hormonal care plan, they must be customized to your body and change with your hormones over time.
Learn more with the free resources below.
Estrogen Goes On A Roller Coaster Ride
Starting from your late thirties, your estrogen could start to fluctuate and soar to almost three times higher than when you were youngeronly to crash down again to almost nothing. Over and over again, month after month. I call this the estrogen roller coaster of perimenopause.
Symptoms of high estrogen include breast pain, heavy periods, fluid retention, irritable mood, and a histamine or mast cell reaction.
Symptoms of dropping estrogen include depression, weight gain, hot flashes, and night sweats.
Also Check: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Testosterone
Does Food Play A Role
Some have suggested that menopause was much easier for Asian women than for Westernersat least while women followed traditional, mostly plant-based diets. Hot flashes have been reported by only about 10 percent of women in China,1 17.6 percent of women in Singapore,2 and 22.1 percent of women in Japan.3 In contrast, it is estimated that hot flashes are experienced by 75 percent of women over the age of 50 in the United States.4 Whether these differences might be partly due to reluctance in reporting symptoms among Asians is not entirely clear. And as Asias diets gradually westernize, these differences are likely to disappear anyway.
But we do know that, throughout their lives, Western women consume much more meat, and about four times as much fat, as women on traditional Asian rice-based diets, and only one-quarter to one-half the fiber. For reasons that have never been completely clear, a high-fat, low-fiber diet causes a rise in estrogen levels. Women on higher-fat diets have measurably more estrogen activity than do those on low-fat diets. At menopause, the ovaries production of estrogen comes to a halt. Those women who have been on high-fat diets then have a dramatic drop in estrogen levels. The drop appears to be less dramatic for Asian women who have lower levels of estrogen both before and after menopause. The resulting symptoms are much milder or even nonexistent.
Menopause Hormones Affect The Brain Too
But whats happening, and why? In a word, the answer is hormones.
The constant change of hormone levels during this time can have a troubling effect on emotions leaving some women to feel irritable and even depressed, reports the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
When these hormone levels begin to decline, as they do in the months and years leading up to menopause, every system that has these hormone receptors registers the change, and that includes your brain.
And while most of us can recite chapter and verse about what happens to our uterus or ovaries around this time , we hear very little about what happens when the hormone receptors in our brain begin running on empty!
What does happen? A disruption in an entire chain of biochemical activity, which in turn affects the production of mood-regulating chemicals, including serotonin and endorphins.
The end result: Mood swings, temper tantrums, depression, surprising highs followed by equally unexpected lows and none of it seems to make any sense.
Your ovaries are failing and trying to keep up estrogen production. Some days they overshoot it, other days they cant produce enough, says Darlene Lockwood, MD, assistant professor at the University of California in San Francisco.
Don’t Miss: Estradiol Patch Generic Price
What Happens To Estrogen During Menopause
During women’s reproductive lives, estrogen levels are relatively consistent, guiding the menstrual cycle on a monthly basis alongside the hormone progesterone. Estrogen is produced largely by the ovaries with smaller amounts being produced by other organs.
Then, as women enter the menopausal transition, the ovaries wind down reproductive functions, and estrogen levels fluctuate unpredictably until postmenopause, which is when the hormone generally reaches consistently low levels.
As a matter of fact, after perimenopause ends, postmenopausal estrogen levels can be at 10 percent of what they are during premenopausal years.
As such, this hormonal imbalance brought on by estrogen’s fluctuations during perimenopause provokes various symptoms that are considered characteristic of this life transition.
Side Effects Of Estrogen After Menopause
They may be benefits of taking estrogen after menopause, but check out this drawbacks:
1. Inceased Risks of Breast Cancer
It is already wide known that any therapy involving estrogen increases risks of breast cancer, especially in older women . Therefore, a woman who wants to consume estrogen therapy should consult her doctor to get precise dossage of estrogen that she has to take every day.
In developing or third world countries, estrogen replacement therapy is very expensive, because most of the time it is not covered by social security or general insurance companies. Only rich people can afford artificial estrogen. It is really not economical and can lead to poverty.
Recommended Reading: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Testosterone Therapy
Progesterone May Also Deliver Some Cognitive Benefits
During menopause, many people describe a fogginess in their thinking, along with some memory problems.
Theres some evidence that progesterone may protect against cognitive decline if hormone replacement therapy starts early in the menopause process.
Some researchers found that progesterone improved visual and verbal memory for people in menopause.
However, the evidence isnt clear-cut. Some studies , for example, found no protective cognitive benefit to progesterone at all.
In any case, its important to note that theres no evidence that progesterone harms your thinking abilities.
- vaginal bleeding
Progesterone isnt recommended for everyone. Talk to your healthcare provider about alternatives to progesterone if you:
- are over 60 years old
- have been menopausal for longer than 10 years
- have a personal or family history of breast cancer
- are at a higher risk for dementia, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, osteoporosis, or liver disease
What Are Some Commonly Used Postmenopausal Hormones
The following list provides the names of some, but not all, postmenopausal hormones.
- Pills, Brand names: Cenestin®, Estinyl®, Estrace®, Menest®, Ogen®, Premarin®, Femtrace®.
- Creams, Brand names: Estrace®, Ogen®, Premarin®.
- Vaginal ring, Brand names: Estring®, Femring® .
- Vaginal tablet, Brand names: Vagifem®. Imvexxy®
- Patch, Brand names: Alora®, Climara®, Minivelle®, Estraderm®, Vivelle®, Vivelle-Dot®, Menostar®.
- Spray, Brand name: Evamist®.
- Modest improvement in joint pains.
- Lower death rate for women who take hormone therapy in their 50s.
Recommended Reading: Can I Give My Cat Melatonin
Menopause Symptoms And Hrt
Menopause symptoms that may be relieved by HRT include:
- hot flushes and night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- hair loss or abnormal hair growth
- dry and itchy eyes.
Other therapies, including vaginal oestrogen products, antidepressants or other medications, may be used depending on the symptoms and risk factors. Seek advice from your doctor.
Does Taking Ivermectin Cause Male Infertility And Sterilization
Another large study of hormone therapy, the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study , also halted its efforts after the 2002 report from the WHI. However, those women had already been in the study for 11 years at that point, and the Danish scientists continued to follow them for up to 16 years. They reported their findings in 2012, and the results were quite the opposite of what the WHI had found. Ill just quote them because their findings are so stark:
After 10 years of randomised treatment, women receiving hormone replacement therapy early after menopause had a significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failure, or myocardial infarction, without any apparent increase in risk of cancer, venous thromboembolism, or stroke.
These benefits were confirmed in 2020, when a long-term followup of the women from the original WHI study found that women who took estrogen-only had lower rates of breast cancer than women who did not.
The message now seems pretty clear: despite the hasty, scary announcements made by the Womens Health Initiative back in 2002, the accumulation of evidence suggests that estrogen-only hormone therapy for post-menopausal women is likely to convey a range of highly significant health benefits, not only for breast cancer, but also for osteoporosis and heart disease. The benefits vary by age, and by whether or not women have had hysterectomies, but the overly simplistic idea that hormone therapy causes breast cancer is simply wrong.
Recommended Reading: Nugenix Estro Regulator Reviews
Hormonal Causes Of Perimenopause
The relationship between perimenopause and hormones is very clear. As the female body approaches middle age, hormones – specifically estrogen and progesterone – begin to decrease in production. Because these hormones regulate various bodily functions, many women experience symptoms typically associated with menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, irregular periods, and loss of libido during perimenopause.
Despite the unpleasant symptoms that occur due to hormone fluctuations, having the right information can make the perimenopausal transition easier. Learn more about the relationship between perimenopause and hormones, as well as the different hormonal treatments available to alleviate symptoms.
Estrogen Side Effects And Risks
Hormone therapy is not without its risks. In fact, hormone therapy is not used as widely as it once was because research began revealing complications with long-term use, such as cancer and heart risks.
However, thanks to these studies, doctors and medical researchers have a better understanding of who will benefit most from estrogen therapy and who should try other treatments.
The risk factors and side effects associated with estrogen use include:
- Blood clots: Estrogen increases your risk of blood clots, which can cause stroke, heart attack, and even death.
- Cancer: Estrogen may increase your risk of certain cancers, specifically breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about your personal health history, your family history, and your risk of breast cancer.
- Birth defects: If youre using estrogen or hormone therapy and become pregnant, your pregnancy may end prematurely. If youre able to carry a pregnancy to full term, birth defects are common for babies born to women using estrogen.
- Dense breast tissue: Women who take estrogen may develop dense breast tissue. Dense tissue makes reading mammograms harder, so detecting breast cancer in its early stages may be difficult.
Recommended Reading: Can Having Your Tubes Tied Cause Hormonal Imbalance