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.
Do Otc Testosterone Boosters Really Work
At this point, its important to reiterate that testosterone replacement therapy involves medications that include testosterone hormone. In contrast, none of the over-the-counter drugs that claim to boost testosterone levels include testosterone. If these supplements do have an impact on hormone levels, its because theyre acting on secondary processes rather than supplying the body with exogenous testosterone.
As for whether or not these substances work, that depends on quite a few variables. The following substances have been researched in connection with testosterone and initial results indicate that they may have some impact on testosterone levels in the male body:
Estrogen Treatment: Topical Creams Gels And Sprays
- What are they? Estrogen gels , creams , and sprays offer another way of getting estrogen into your system. As with patches, this type of estrogen treatment is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. The specifics on how to apply these creams vary, although they’re usually used once a day. Estrogel is applied on one arm, from the wrist to the shoulder. Estrasorb is applied to the legs. Evamist is applied to the arm.
- Pros. Because estrogen creams are absorbed through the skin and go directly into the bloodstream, they’re safer than oral estrogen for people who have liver and cholesterol problems.
- Cons. Estrogen gels, creams, and sprays have not been well-studied. While they could be safer than oral estrogen, experts aren’t sure. So assume that they pose the same slight risk of serious conditions, like cancer and stroke.One potential problem with using this type of estrogen treatment is that the gel, cream or spray can rub or wash off before it’s been fully absorbed. Make sure you let the topical dry before you put on clothes. Always apply it after you bathe or shower.
Because the estrogen is absorbed right through the skin, don’t let other people in your family touch these creams or gels. If they do, they could get dosed with estrogen themselves. For the same reason, make sure your hands are clean and dry after applying the medication.
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Menopause Supplements Vs Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy is still the gold standard when it comes to treating the different symptoms of menopause. It is still the most effective and provides the fastest relief to different symptoms. However, it comes with several substantial risks thus it is not for many women.
Also, most women choose not to have HRT because of the various dangers related to the treatment option. For instance, HRT increases risk of breast cancer so it is not a viable option for high risk women. It also increases risk of stroke, heart disease and ovarian cancer. This is the main reason many women choose alternative treatments like the use of menopause supplements.
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.
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They Specialize In Hormone Health
Plenty of doctors administer hormone medications, but not all actually specialize in hormones. Thats why your primary care physician or your gynecologist may not be the ideal person to go to if you are interested in HRT; while these doctors are technically qualified to prescribe such medications, they may not have the specialized knowledge of a practitioner who focuses primarily on hormonal health.
Before choosing a doctor, ask which health concerns they deal with on a daily basis. A hormonal health expert primarily treats:
- Other disorders of the endocrine system
You want to partner with a doctor who spends the bulk of their time treating patients with similar concerns to yours. That way, theyre more likely to be familiar with your symptoms, understand your treatment options, anticipate your bodys reaction to various medications, and be familiar with the most up-to-date research in the field. We consider this the starting point for a good hormone replacement therapy experience.
Are There Natural Alternatives To Hrt
HRT is regularly prescribed to women to help manage the symptoms of the menopause.
The menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, when a womans body no longer produces enough oestrogen and progesterone to release an egg and menstrual periods come to an end. Its these fluctuations in hormone levels that can cause unpleasant symptoms like mood swings, hot flushes and joint pain.
HRT has been shown to help alleviate these symptoms by boosting the levels of female sex hormones in the body but whilst many women have found HRT helpful, it isnt suitable for everyone, and there are risks to taking it .
HRT isnt recommended for women with a history of breast cancer because oestrogen promotes the growth of breast cells. Some studies have also linked HRT to an increased risk of breast, womb and ovarian cancer, though this increased risk is small compared to many lifestyle risk factors like smoking and obesity.
So are there any natural alternatives for women who either cant undertake, or dont want to undertake, HRT?
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What Is Natural Estrogen Replacement
Natural estrogen replacement hormones are an alternative hormone replacement therapy for women going through menopause. During menopause, the body produces a much lower amount of estrogen and progesterone, and the woman no longer has a menstrual cycle because her ovaries have ceased releasing eggs on a monthly basis. Natural estrogen replacement therapy consists of consuming products and foods which stimulate or have a high level of phytoestrogen. Chemical estrogen replacement therapy is available, but there have been studies that have shown that these chemicals greatly increase the womans chance of developing breast cancer, so many women look for natural alternatives to chemical hormone replacement therapy.
Soy bean products are extremely rich in isoflavones, a group of foods that contain phytoestrogen. Tofu, edamame, soy milk, and supplements are the most popular food sources containing high amounts of soy beans. Soy bean consumption by menopausal women has been the subject of many studies, and it has been found to reduce the side effects of menopause while increasing the womans bone mineral density.
When To See A Doctor
Anyone experiencing symptoms of a hormonal change or imbalance should see a doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention may help prevent complications.
People should also see a doctor if their condition does not improve while taking a medication or herbal supplement, or if they experience side effects associated with these treatments.
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Choosing The Best Type Of Estrogen Therapy
When deciding what type of estrogen therapy to get, work closely with your doctor. While oral estrogen has been around for a long time and is well studied, some modes of taking hormone therapy are not. They may have lower risks or different risks that we don’t know about yet. Your doctor should be up to date on the latest research.
Right now, the full risks of hormone therapy are unclear. So if you do decide to get ERT, experts generally recommend that you get it at the lowest dose for the shortest time possible. Talk to your doctor about how long you should expect to take ERT and how you can limit your risks.
ACP Medicine web site: “Menopause.”
Canonico M et al, Circulation, Feb. 20, 2007; vol 115: pp 840-845.
MedicineNet web site: “Hormone Creams: Safe and Effective?”
National Cancer Institute web site: “How to Deal with Surgical Menopause.”
National Institutes of Health web site: “Facts About Menopausal Hormone Therapy.”
National Institutes of Health Medline Plus web site: “Estrogen,” “Estrogen Vaginal,” “Estradiol Topical,” “Estradiol Transdermal.”
National Women’s Health information Center: “Menopause and Menopause Treatments.” WebMD Medical Reference: “Estrogen Replacement Therapy,” “Low Dose Estrogen for Dryness and Atrophy.”
What Else Can I Do To Ease Menopause Symptoms
There are many things you can do to curb hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and lost libido. Lifestyle changes — such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, relaxation techniques, and keeping a regular sleep schedule — can help. If you smoke, quit . Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Lubricants can greatly ease vaginal dryness and heighten sexual sensation.Stay active to avoid depression and seek social support from woemn like you
Your doctor can give you more information about these techniques and other treatment options. The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors has become more common in women who are not good candidates for hormone therapy or prefer not to use hormones. Paroxetine is the only non hormonal therapy specifically approved by the FDA for hot flahes, but some relief has been found with gabapentin .
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Hrt For Breast Cancer Survivors
It is advisable for women with a history of breast cancer to avoid HRT unless other treatments are ineffective, and their quality of life is made intolerable by menopausal symptoms. In these circumstances, HRT should only be prescribed in consultation with the womans breast surgeon or oncologist.
Evidence has not conclusively shown that HRT will increase the risk of breast cancer recurring in a woman with a history of the disease. However, oestrogen and progestogens may stimulate some types of cells in the breast and some types of HRT use have been associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer in women without a history of breast cancer.
How Long Will I Have To Take Hormone Replacement Therapy
Most women take hormone therapy for the shortest time possible — and at the lowest dose. There is evidence that serious health risks such as blood clots, breast cancer, and stroke increase after five years of use. If you have personal or family history of these and other health risks, this will affect your decision regarding hormone replacement therapy.
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Warnings Of Estriol And Estradiol
Using estrogen can increase the risk of endometrial cancer, especially when its not taken with a progestin. Estriol and estradiol also have an increased risk of heart attack , stroke, pulmonary embolism , and deep vein thrombosis in postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years old. In the same population of women, estrogen use can also lead to an increased breast cancer risk, according to the Womens Health Initiative. Estrogen may also increase the risk of dementia in some postmenopausal women over 65 years of age.
Consult a doctor if you have risk factors including a medical history of:
- Heart attack
Women who smoke tobacco may be at an increased risk of blood clots. Estrogen-containing products should not be used in these women.
Estriol, estradiol, and other estrogen-related drugs can harm an unborn baby. They should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Lifestyle For A Lifetime
The most effective alternative to hormone therapy, however, doesn’t come in a bottle. Physicians say that preventing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer often boils down to lifestyle, one that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. A diet high in calcium along with weight-bearing exercise bolsters bones. Avoiding high-fat foods and participating in regular aerobic exercise keeps the heart healthy.
These habits can prevent the diseases; studies have proven it over and over again. Consider it, Greenwood advises. “Those things are so much more effective than any pill you can put in your mouth.”
Nelson Watts, MD, director of the Osteoporosis and Bone Health Program at The Emory Clinic in Atlanta, and principal investigator at the Atlanta site of the Women’s Health Initiative, offers a word of caution. “Often, diet and exercise are not enough by themselves.” he tells WebMD. “A woman needs to first talk with her doctor about what symptoms she wants to relieve, and look at the treatment options.”
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How To Use Premarin
If you are taking the extended-release tablets, do not crush, chew, or dissolve them. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day as directed. Follow your dosing schedule carefully. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often or for a longer time than directed.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Estriol Vs Estradiol
Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs containing estriol for humans. Therefore, it is not usually covered by Medicare and insurance plans. Incurin is the brand name for estriol that is approved for dogs with urinary incontinence. The cost can vary depending on the pharmacy you purchase it from. SingleCare discounts for estriol are not currently available.
Estradiol is available as a generic skin patch. Brand names of estradiol include Minivelle, Climara, and Vivelle-Dot. Brand name estradiol average cash price can differ with Medicare and insurance plans but you can purchase a generic version for $33-$63 with a SingleCare discount card.
|Discounts on Estriol are not currently provided through SingleCare
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What Are Common Side Effects Of Testosterone Pills
Using OTC testosterone pills regularly can cause your body to build a tolerance to these substances. Over time, your body may stop producing testosterone on its own and come to rely on OTC supplementation. Testosterone boosters may also permanently lower your sperm count, causing major problems with infertility.
Other side effects of OTC testosterone pills may include:
- Shrunken testicles
- Male pattern balding and hair loss
- Development of male breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia
- Increased risk for prostate cancer
- Increased risk for blood clots
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Liver damage and failure
If you are experiencing any of the above testosterone supplements side effects after using testosterone booster pills, you may want to ask your doctor about safe alternatives.
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.
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