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    Estrogen Hormone Replacement & Cortisol Levels

    Estrogen Hormone Replacement & Cortisol Levels

    Hormone replacement during menopause can help reduce unwanted symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and other symptoms that can disrupt your life. However, studies show that estrogen may also play a key role in reducing cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Keeping your cortisol levels in balance offers many benefits for your overall health. Therefore, estrogen replacement therapy may offer even more advantages for women during menopause.

    Hormone Replacement - HerKare

    Hormone replacement with estrogen may help reduce symptoms of menopause and may even help lower stress responses.

    Today, people are under even more stress than ever before. Many women are at risk for these rising stressors. During menopause, changes like hot flashes, night sweats, and poor sleep can take an even bigger toll on our health by increasing stress. Many women begin a hormone replacement regimen to help reduce symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. However, estrogen may also help keep cortisol levels in control.

    What is Cortisol?

    Imagine you’re driving when someone suddenly swerves into your lane. If you’ve ever been in a scary situation like this, then you can thank cortisol for the rush of energy you get as you try to avoid the accident.

    Cortisol has earned the nickname “the stress hormone,” as it’s responsible for the fight or flight response. It quickly increases your blood sugar so your body has quick access to energy. It also helps increase your blood pressure. This can help you get out of life-threatening situations. However, cortisol also responds to other stressors that aren’t dangerous, like meeting a deadline at work or getting stuck in a traffic jam.

    However, cortisol still plays an important role in your everyday life. For example, your body normally has higher cortisol levels when you wake up and when you exercise. This hormone can help give you energy and stabilize blood pressure. The problem is, most of us are walking around with higher than normal levels of cortisol. Even worse, women tend to have higher cortisol levels than men. This can cause many issues in your body. For example, it can cause many of the same symptoms you might experience during menopause, such as:

    • Fatigue
    • Increased abdominal fat
    • Brain fog
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Mood changes

    Hormone replacement with estrogen can often help with these symptoms and may even help with cortisol levels. This can help reduce your symptoms and help you feel better.

    Estrogen Hormone Replacement and Your Cortisol Levels

    So, what does estrogen hormone replacement have to do with the stress hormone? Well, studies suggest that estrogen replacement therapy may help counteract the effects of cortisol. During menopause, your estrogen levels start to decline. This may also allow cortisol levels to rise and trigger stress responses. Add that in with all the other changes happening during menopause and you have a recipe for high levels of stress.

    However, recent studies show that women on hormone replacement treatments may have lower levels of cortisol and may react differently to stress. Researchers set out to determine whether estrogen has a protective quality against stress when it comes to working memory. To increase stress, researchers had some women keep their hands in a bowl of cold water for a period of time. Others put their hands in a bowl of warm water. The cold water is meant to trigger a physical stress response. Then, the women were given a test for short-term working memory.

    The cold-water placebo group in the study showed elevated cortisol levels and performed worse on the test compared to the placebo warm-water group. However, the women on an estrogen hormone replacement regimen had lower levels of cortisol and also performed at the same level on the test as the warm water placebo group, even when they were exposed to the cold water stress test. Therefore, this study provides evidence that estrogen replacement therapy may play a key role in reducing cortisol and stress responses for women during and after menopause.

    Benefits of Estrogen Replacement Therapy Reducing Stress Responses

    High cortisol levels don’t just make you feel stressed out or cause symptoms like fatigue. Stress can have pretty major impacts on your health. Cortisol can affect your cognitive functions. Often described as “brain fog,” this might make it difficult for you to focus or remember things. High cortisol levels can also lead to high blood pressure and even lower your immune system.

    In addition, high stress responses and cortisol levels can cause your body to alternate between high blood sugar and high insulin levels. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for many life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Therefore, high cortisol can create a lot of negative consequences.

    Since estrogen hormone replacement may help reduce your free cortisol response, you may benefit from estrogen injections during and after menopause. Estrogen replacement therapy can also help reduce symptoms that may be elevating your stress levels during menopause, such as mood changes, trouble sleeping, or low sex drive. If you’re feeling overly stressed during menopause or are experiencing unwanted symptoms, consider talking to one of our physicians about treatment options to help you feel your best. Your doctor will work with you to determine the right options for your symptoms and your life to help you improve your health.

    Hormone Replacement and Lifestyle Changes Can Help Reduce Stress

    So, what can you do during menopause to help reduce stress and help decrease high cortisol levels? Our provider will talk with you about your options. For example, your personalized treatment plan for menopause symptoms and the stress that goes along with these changes may include lifestyle changes and hormone replacement injections.

    If you’re experiencing higher stress levels, but not necessarily symptoms of menopause, then lifestyle changes may be the first course of action. Small changes like eating a balanced diet and exercising three to five days per week can help reduce cortisol levels. Also, stress reduction techniques may help you feel better and more relaxed, which can also reduce cortisol and stress responses during menopause.

    However, in other cases you may need hormone replacement to help reduce symptoms and stress. For example, hot flashes and mood changes are common symptoms of hormone changes during menopause that can also cause extra stress in your life. If these are starting to disrupt your life, our provider may recommend starting on bioidentical hormones to help bring your hormone levels back into balance and help you feel better.

    At HerKare, we are dedicated to women’s wellness. Our providers take the time to listen and understand what you’re experiencing. Then, we collaborate with you to design a personalized treatment plan to help you feel better, whether it involves bioidentical hormones for menopause or vitamin optimization for vitamin deficiencies. We take a holistic approach to health to help address underlying causes of your symptoms to help you feel like yourself again. Schedule an appointment online today to talk to our doctors about your symptoms. We are here for you!

    Hormone Therapy & COVID-19 in Women

    Hormone Therapy & COVID-19 in Women

    Recent studies show that men are more likely to suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19 compared to women. They are also three times more likely to die from the disease. Some researchers are looking at estrogen to help solve this mystery.

    In addition to differences between men and women with COVID-19, there are some other differences that may point toward estrogen’s role in COVID-19 protection. Menopausal women who use estrogen hormone therapy are less likely to have severe symptoms compared to women who don’t use HRT. In fact, in Stony Brook, New York, researchers noticed that they didn’t have any pre-menopausal women or women on hormone therapy in their intensive care unit. Therefore, estrogen may offer some protection against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

    Hormone Therapy – HerKare

    Hormone therapy with estrogen may help make your immune system more efficient at fighting infections.

    As scientists work to understand many of the different implications of COVID-19, a common theme is that men and women are different. While men and women contact the virus approximately at equal rates, women seem to be experiencing fewer complications. They’re also less likely to die of COVID-19 compared to men. Also, because women on estrogen hormone therapy are less likely to have severe symptoms, scientists suspect hormones may impact how the infection affects people.

    Women on Hormone Therapy May Have Better Immune Responses to COVID-19

    Researchers are now looking toward estrogen to learn if it has potential protective effects against SARS-CoV-3, the virus that causes COVID-19. Many scientists suggest this hormone may help the immune system fight the infection with less severe effects. This may be why women are experiencing fewer complications from the novel coronavirus.

    During menopause, your hormone levels start to decline. However, many women turn to hormone therapy to help bring estrogen levels back into baseline ranges to help reduce menopausal symptoms. Now, some researchers suggest that HRT may also help with COVID-19 during menopause.

    Estrogen’s Role in the Immune System

    Why might pre-menopausal women and menopausal women on hormone therapy experience less severe symptoms of COVID-19? This may be due to estrogen’s role in the immune system, as women with low estrogen levels also tend to have more severe symptoms from COVID-19. There is still much to learn about estrogen and COVID-19. However, many studies show that estrogen may help your body respond to infections.
     
    Those with healthy estrogen levels may experience more efficient immune responses to viruses like COVID-19. For example, pre-menopausal women and women on hormone replacement treatment. Estrogen may influence the number of immune cells your body produces, like interferons and antibodies. Interferons help turn on the immune cells that help fight infections. Antibodies attack the germs that make you sick. Therefore, estrogen may help your immune system respond to COVID-19 and other infections.
    In addition, estrogen may also offer anti-inflammatory benefits. This may help with lung inflammation with COVID-19. This inflammation may cause the difficulty breathing and lung damage associated with the infection. The cells that help produce inflammatory responses are called cytokines. Estrogen has been shown to help reduce the number of cytokines in your body. Pre-menopausal women and those on estrogen hormone therapy may experience less inflammation during COVID-19 because of this.

    In a recent study, researchers decided to test how estrogen affected female mice with SARS, a viral infection similar to COVID-19. The mice with lower estrogen levels had fewer inflammatory cells in their lungs. Therefore, estrogen hormone therapy may help reduce the risk of serious lung inflammation.

    Common Conditions During Menopause That May Worsen the Effects of COVID-19

    Also, several conditions can increase your risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. Your risk for many of these conditions increases with menopause. For example, obesity and diabetes. During menopause, declining hormone levels can affect how your body distributes fat. Many women notice that they have more belly fat, also called visceral fat, during menopause. Visceral fat increases your risk for diabetes and many other serious conditions. Diabetes and obesity are also both associated with inflammation. This may explain why these conditions are often linked with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

    Hormone therapy during menopause, however, may help fight belly fat and help you maintain a healthy weight. This can help reduce your risk for the health complications often associated with severe COVID-19 symptomsEstrogen hormone replacement treatment can help your body redistribute fat. Also, it can help reduce menopause symptoms that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. For example, hot flashes can make it hard to keep to an exercise regimen. Additionally, it can help improve mood changes that may affect your motivation with diet and exercise. Therefore, HRT may also help you improve your overall health. This may, in turn, help your body fight COVID-19 if you become infected.

    Hormone Therapy for Menopause Symptoms

    In addition, many of the symptoms of menopause may also increase your risk for complications from COVID-19. For example, you might experience higher levels of stress or sleep difficulties. These common issues can affect your life and sense of wellbeing. They can also negatively impact your immune system.

    Studies show that stress and sleep deprivation can lower your immune response. They can also increase the number of cytokines your body produces, which are often responsible for lung inflammation during COVID-19. Many women experience heightened stress and anxiety during menopause, as well as difficulty sleeping.

    However, hormone replacement treatment may help reduce these symptoms of menopause. For example, night sweats are a common reason women have difficulty sleeping during menopause. Estrogen hormone therapy can also help with mood changes and other factors that may affect your immune system.

    Therefore, it’s important to take care of your overall health during these uncertain times, as even elevated stress levels may affect your immune system. If you have menopause symptoms like hot flashes or mood changes, our provider may recommend hormone therapy to help you feel better. Additionally, our team can help you develop healthy habits for diet and exercise to help you maintain your health during menopause.

    At HerKare, we’re dedicated to helping women feel their best. Our providers listen and offer personalized solutions to help you improve your health and wellbeing. Whether you’re experiencing menopause symptoms or you need help with other conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or allergies, we are here for you. Schedule an appointment today to talk to our team about your health concerns and learn how we may be able to help. We are here for you.

    How Hormone Replacement Treatment Affects Your Hair

    How Hormone Replacement Treatment Affects Your Hair

    Most of us have heard about hot flashes and mood changes during menopause, but what about hair thinning? Many women experience hair loss during menopause, but hormone replacement treatment may be able to help. Thinning hair during menopause can seriously affect your sense of well-being and your self-esteem. However, you’re not alone with menopausal hair loss. An estimated 21 million women in the U. S. will experience hair loss at some point in their lives, many of them during and after menopause. Our providers can help you determine underlying causes of hair thinning during menopause and help you find personalized treatment plans to help you feel better.

    Hormone Replacement Treatment – HerKare

    Hormone replacement treatment can help improve your quality of life during menopause.

    What Causes Hair Loss During Menopause? Why Could Hormone Replacement Treatment Help?

    During menopause, you’re likely experiencing a lot of changes, from irregular periods to night sweats and mood changes. Thinning hair can also occur in post-menopause. Many women notice that hormone replacement treatment can help reduce hot flashes and may even help their hair. However, what is it about menopause that makes your hair more vulnerable? In many cases, it’s hormones.

    Estrogen and Progesterone

    Estrogen and progesterone are hormones in your body that perform a lot of functions. For example, they’re responsible for menstruation and can help keep your bones strong. These hormones also help with hair growth. Estrogen and progesterone can help keep your hair in the growing (anagen) phase. Therefore, these hormones can help your hair stay on your head longer and may even help your hair grow faster. This may be why many women notice their hair thinning starts to improve with estrogen replacement therapy.

    During menopause, your estrogen and progesterone levels naturally start to decline. This is what causes your periods to become irregular and eventually stop. Low progesterone and estrogen are also often to blame for thinning hair during menopause. Hair loss from menopausal hormone deficiencies can take many forms. Most women notice thinning throughout their scalps, which may be visible when you part your hair or you might notice a thinner pony tail. You may also notice thinning along your hair line, but this is less common for women. Low levels of estrogen and progesterone means your hair may start to fall out sooner and grow more slowly. The goal of hormone replacement treatment during menopause is to help your body attain healthy, balanced hormone levels, which is why many women may notice changes in hair thinning once they start treatment.

    Testosterone

    Declining estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause can also lead to having higher than usual testosterone levels, as your hormones may become imbalanced. Generally, your body has more estrogen and progesterone than testosterone. Just like other hormones, your testosterone levels decline with age as well. However, in some cases, your estrogen and progesterone levels may decline so quickly that your testosterone may become more dominant in your body. Even if your testosterone levels are the same or within healthy ranges, without estrogen and progesterone to keep testosterone in check, you may experience changes related to this imbalance, including thinning, fragile hair.

    Testosterone can also affect your hair, as certain forms of testosterone your body produces can shrink hair follicles. The most common culprit is dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT. When testosterone becomes out of balance with estrogen and progesterone, your body may have higher concentrations of DHT, which may affect your hair. Shrinking hair follicles can make your hair finer, or smaller in diameter, which can make it more brittle. This can make your hair weaker overall, as the individual hair strands that you grow are more delicate. You may notice your hair breaks easier than it used to, or that your pony tail is thinner. In these cases, hormone imbalance treatment for your other symptoms may also help your hair become stronger.

    Stress

    However, hormones aren’t all to blame for thinning hair during menopause. Other common symptoms of menopause can also lead to hair loss. For example, stress is a common cause for hair loss and thinning for women at any age. Stress can cause your hair follicles to get “stuck” in the dormant phase of hair growth. If this happens, you may notice thinning throughout your scalp.

    Many women experience high levels of stress during menopause. For example, hormone imbalances can lead to anxiety and depression symptoms. Another reason many women feel more stress during menopause can be due to other symptoms like hot flashes or difficulty sleeping. Not only can this affect your overall health, it can also lead to thinning hair.

    How Can Thinning Hair Affect Me?

    While thinning hair itself doesn’t usually affect your physical health directly, there are many ways hair loss can negatively impact your well-being. One study showed that 55% of women who were experiencing some form of hair loss also experienced symptoms of depression. In this same study, about 89% of those women noticed improvements in their depressive symptoms after receiving treatment for hair loss. Many women notice they have lower self-esteem, confidence, and negative body image after experiencing hair loss.

    The problem with hair loss during menopause is that it doesn’t just signal hormone imbalances or extra stress, it can also cause negative consequences for your mental, emotional, and social health. Many women notice that they’re less likely to engage in social activities if they experience menopausal hair loss. They may also feel anxiety and stress about their hair. Over time, this can also affect your overall well-being and quality of life. Therefore, if you’re experiencing thinning hair, it’s important to talk to your doctor. If you’re experiencing other symptoms as well, our provider may recommend hormone replacement treatment.

    What Role Does Hormone Replacement Treatment Play in Hair Thinning During Menopause?

    Hormone replacement treatment during menopause may help with thinning hair if it’s related to hormone changes. Our provider may prescribe estrogen replacement therapy to help bring your hormones back into balance and back up to healthy baseline levels if you have low estrogen during menopause. This may help your hair in a few ways.

    First, as we learned, estrogen plays a significant role during hair growth. Increasing estrogen levels during hormone replacement treatment may help your hair stay in the growing phase for longer than it would without hormone injections. It can also help your body keep testosterone levels in balance to help reduce the shrinking effects testosterone can have on hair follicles. In addition, some studies show that if you start hormone imbalance treatment early on for menopause symptoms, it may help you maintain your current hair density. This can help you reduce how much hair you lose throughout the course of menopause.

    Also, hormone replacement treatment can help with symptoms that may cause stress, which can also contribute to hair loss. Hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulties, and mood changes can all play a significant part in high stress levels during menopause. However, estrogen shots can help reduce these symptoms and can also help you manage them more easily. This often results in lower stress levels, which can also help with hair loss when it is stress-related. Therefore, if you notice symptoms of menopause that are affecting your quality of life, it’s important to reach out and discuss your options.

    Let’s Talk About Hormone Replacement Treatment for Menopause

    At HerKare, our focus is to help women feel their best with personalized health care solutions. We understand the many ways menopause can impact your life, so we work with you to find treatments that are tailored to you. Our providers take the time to listen, then we’ll work together to find ways to help you improve your physical, emotional, and sexual health. We’re here to help you enjoy life, not just push through unwanted menopause symptoms. Schedule an appointment online today!

    Short, Irregular Cycle? Talk to Your Hormone Doctor

    Short, Irregular Cycle? Talk to Your Hormone Doctor

    When you notice changes in your period, a hormone doctor may be able to help. Short, irregular periods may indicate hormone imbalances, like low progesterone. A simple blood test can help your hormone doctor determine if you have low progesterone levels. If this is the case, they may recommend a personalized treatment option to help you get back on track and reduce your risk for more serious complications.

    Hormone doctor – HerKare Women’s Health Clinic

    Your hormone doctor listens to your concerns about short or irregular periods and helps you find personalized solutions.

    What Can My Hormone Doctor Do About Irregular Cycles?

    Your hormones help control your periods, which is why visiting your hormone doctor may help if you notice changes in your menstrual cycle. Progesterone plays a pretty significant role in your cycles. After ovulation, when your body releases an egg for fertilization, your body begins to produce progesterone. This helps thicken the lining of your uterus to prepare for pregnancy. However, if you don’t become pregnant, then your body decreases your progesterone levels and your period begins. This part of your cycle, between ovulation and your period is called the luteal phase. This phase typically lasts between 12 and 16 days. By contrast, anything less than 11 days is considered abnormal and could be due to low progesterone levels.

    However, progesterone isn’t just for pregnancy. Research shows that progesterone helps with bone health and may help you sleep better. Also, progesterone can help keep your estrogen levels in check to prevent health complications from too much estrogen. Therefore, if you notice that your periods are shorter than normal or starting to become irregular, your hormone doctor can help determine if your hormones are the cause.

    If you also notice these other symptoms, you should also mention them to your hormone doctor:

    • Spotting between periods
    • Fatigue
    • Irritability
    • Low libido
    • Mood changes
    • Headaches
    • Frequent urinary tract infections
    • Frequent vaginal infections

    These can all be signs of low progesterone, which can contribute to short or irregular periods.

    The Role of Progesterone Replacement Therapy

    If you do have low progesterone levels, your doctor may recommend progesterone replacement therapy. This treatment can help get your periods back in check, reduce symptoms, and help you feel better overall. Also, if your periods become irregular during the transition to menopause, your doctor may recommend bioidentical progesterone and estrogen to help reduce symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes to help you stay comfortable and feel great.

    At HerKare, we provide advanced, personalized healthcare for women at every stage of life. We are a woman owned and managed clinic where women can feel heard and empowered to improve their health. Our physicians work with you to find treatment solutions based on your needs and lifestyle, whether you need help with diabetes management or testosterone replacement therapy. Schedule an appointment online today to address your symptoms and start an individualized treatment plan.

    When Sex Hurts: Low Estrogen Could Make Intimacy Painful

    When Sex Hurts: Low Estrogen Could Make Intimacy Painful

    Low estrogen during menopause can cause many undesirable symptoms. For example, many women notice that sex becomes painful after menopause due to low estrogen levels. Between 17-45% of postmenopausal women say that sex is painful for them. If you’ve noticed this change in your own life, you are not alone and there are treatments available to help you feel better and enjoy intimacy again.

    Low estrogen – HerKare Women’s Health Clinic

    Low estrogen during menopause can affect your life in many ways, but treatments can help you feel your best.

    How Low Estrogen Can Make Sex Painful

    Low estrogen during menopause can cause many physical symptoms that can affect your sex life. For example, decreased estrogen levels can cause your vaginal tissues to become dry and thin. This may make you feel a sense of dryness, “tightness” or even unbearable pain during sex. You may also notice soreness or a burning sensation in your vagina or vulva after sex. Vaginal dryness due to low estrogen can even lead to tearing, bleeding, or inflammation.

    However, painful sex during menopause isn’t all physical. Once you notice that sex can hurt, you may notice other symptoms that make it even worse. For example, fear of pain during sex can make it difficult to become aroused and create anxiety around intimacy. This can lead to even more vaginal dryness. Also, the anticipation of uncomfortable sex can sometimes make you involuntarily tighten your vaginal muscles. This is called vaginismus and can make sex hurt even more. Therefore, painful sex during menopause can become a cycle that is hard to break. However, our doctors are here to help you treat these symptoms so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.  One option is hormone replacement therapy.

    Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be Able to Help

    If sex is painful due to low estrogen levels, hormone replacement therapy may help with your symptoms. Estrogen injections may help with vaginal dryness and help prevent thinning vaginal walls. Painful sex can affect your health in many ways. For example, you may feel generally anxious or depressed, experience low self-esteem, and you may even notice it affects your relationships. However, seeking help can help you avoid these negative consequences and help you take pleasure in your sex life again.

    Hormone imbalance treatment during and after menopause can help improve your vaginal health and combat vaginal dryness, irritation, and painful sex. Hormone replacement during menopause may even increase your libido and fight off other symptoms that affect your quality of life like mood changes and anxiety. These benefits can all lead to more enjoyable sexual experiences. Therefore, if you’ve noticed that intimacy is painful, talk to your doctor about treatment plans that may be able to help.

    At HerKare, we provide personalized health care for women. We understand that your sex life, physical health, and mood are all important to your wellbeing. Our providers listen to you, help you identify underlying causes of your symptoms, and then collaborate with you to find a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle. Schedule your appointment online today to take the first step toward feeling better. We are here for you.