In the midst of flu season, the COVID-19 pandemic, and winter, where respiratory illnesses like colds can run rampant, many of us are wondering how to help our immune systems fight off viruses and other bugs that can make us sick. Studies suggest that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve your immune system after menopause.
Several studies show that hormone imbalance treatment may help keep your immune system in good shape if you have low estrogen levels. Therefore, if you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, now may be the time to address them with our provider. We conduct a full blood panel to determine if your hormone levels are low and offer personalized care to help you take care of your health.
During our pre-menopausal years, the female immune system is generally stronger and more reactive compared to the male immune system. Many researchers believe this is due, in part, to higher levels of estrogen in our bodies. Studies suggest that estrogen may have an enhancing effect on immune response and our immune systems. Pre-menopausal women are less likely, on average, to experience infections like the flu or colds compared to after menopause. Also, post-menopausal women are more likely to experience more severe infections that may become life-threatening.
Both aging and low estrogen levels may have a negative affect on your immune system, potentially weakening it. After menopause, estrogen levels for most women are about 90% lower than they are before menopause. Therefore, during this stage in our lives, we experience a change in our immune system that may make us more vulnerable to infections. This is a concern at any time, but especially during the winter season where colds, influenza, and other illnesses are more common, as well as during the current pandemic. However, research suggests that hormone replacement may help regulate some of these immune changes.
Estrogens may enhance many different elements of the immune system. For example, estrogens may help stimulate an inflammatory response in your body. This inflammatory response helps you fight off infections if you come into contact with bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can make you sick.
After a hysterectomy, women experience many of the same symptoms as menopause, because they produce lower estrogen levels. Research suggests that estrogen replacement therapy may help reverse some of the immune system changes that happen after a hysterectomy. This suggests that menopausal women may benefit from a stronger immune system when taking estrogen. Other studies have found that hormone therapy was associated with an improved systemic immune response for post-menopausal women. Therefore, estrogen replacement therapy may not only help alleviate uncomfortable menopause symptoms, it may also help your body’s immune system fight infections.
There are several medical studies concerning how estrogen affects the immune system. Many of these studies involve the use of estrogen replacement therapy. For example, several studies show that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve menopausal women’s immune response to the influenza vaccine. In one recent study, women who received hormone replacement for menopause symptoms had better antibody responses to flu vaccines compared to those who didn’t take hormones. That study also saw a direct correlation between estrogen levels in the HRT group and the number of vaccine-specific antibodies in the blood.
Another study around estrogen replacement therapy and the flu is that estrogen may help reduce the amount of flu virus that can replicate in your body. When a virus infects one of your cells, it starts replicating itself. These replicated viruses then go on to attack more and more of your cells. The more the virus replicates itself, the more severe an infection can be. The researchers in the study suggested that this may be an added benefit of using hormone imbalance treatment for menopause symptoms.
Many medical studies look at the effects of declining estrogen levels during menopause on the immune system. Research has found that certain types of white blood cells decline after menopause. Post-menopausal women also generally have higher levels of cytokines, which can cause chronic inflammation. Also, studies have found that immune cell function are also reduced after menopause. Low estrogen levels are also associated with fewer B and T cells. However, estrogen replacement therapy may help reverse some of these effects on the immune system. One reason may be because of hormone receptors in immune cells. This may allow estrogen to help control immune response.
Also, estrogen levels may have an indirect influence on your immune system. Low estrogen levels during menopause may lead to some uncomfortable changes in your life that can affect your immune system. For example, many women experience insomnia during and after menopause. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your immune system and overall health. Another common symptom of menopause is anxiety, which may also affect your immune system the same way high stress levels might. Therefore, other changes during menopause could lead to a weaker immune system. Estrogen replacement therapy may help relieve these symptoms to help you feel your best and live a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle.
At HerKare, we are here to help you address your unique health needs at every stage of life. We provide comprehensive healthcare for women in a warm, welcoming environment. Our clinic is owned and operated by women who understand and take time to help you find underlying causes of your symptoms. Whether you’re experiencing uncomfortable menopause symptoms or are looking for preventative well woman care, our providers are here for you. We provide personalized treatment plans based on your lifestyle to help you feel better. Learn more about your health and how we can help you start feeling your best by booking an appointment today! Our team at HerKare is here for you.