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    Can HRT Help with Menopause Brain Fog?

    Can HRT Help with Menopause Brain Fog?

    Where did I leave my keys? What’s their name again? I know I walked in here for a reason… Brain fog is a common menopause symptom that can be frustrating for many women. It can cause issues remembering things, difficulty concentrating, and confusion. An estimated 60% of women experience brain fog during menopause. However, HRT may be able to help reduce brain fog and help you feel more like yourself. Let’s talk about why hormones might affect your brain. 

    Can HRT Help with Brain Fog?

    Woman looking into the distance due to brain fog during menopause who may benefit from HRT

    Brain fog can be difficult to deal with for some women, which is why doctors may recommend HRT to help with your symptoms.

    Brain fog is a serious issue for many women. Some women experience mild symptoms and some won’t experience it at all. However, others may start to notice it interferes with their lives. Brain fog can be frustrating and isolating for many women during menopause. Some may even be alarmed and wonder if they’re showing early signs of dementia when brain fog is particularly bad. Brain fog has been associated with the menopause transition, which has led many researchers to consider whether hormones play a part in brain fog. Some studies are also looking at whether hormone therapy can help improve brain fog symptoms.

    What is Brain Fog? 

    Brain fog is different from memory changes that come with normal aging. Most people will experience forgetfulness and other cognitive changes as our bodies and brains change with age. These changes, much like normal aging, can come on gradually. 

    Brain fog, on the other hand, often happens suddenly with the beginning of perimenopause. Most women describe it as an increase in forgetfulness, whether forgetting someone’s name, why you walked into a room, or the password to your phone. Several studies have found that women during menopause score lower on tests for:

    • Verbal learning
    • Memory
    • Motor function
    • Attention
    • Working memory

    Brain fog may be to blame for these lower cognitive scores. With brain fog, you might notice it begins around the time of perimenopause and symptoms can continue into early menopause. The good news is that brain fog typically isn’t permanent and most women notice the symptoms fade away after some time. However, they may still deal with frustrating symptoms for several years, much like other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Depending on your symptoms and overall health, our providers may recommend HRT to help with perimenopause and menopause.

    Why Does Brain Fog Happen During Menopause?

    So, what does menopause have to do with brain fog? It turns out, quite a lot. 

    First of all, menopause can cause a whole host of symptoms, some of which can affect our brains. For example, night sweats can hinder normal sleep. Lack of sleep can make it feel like you’re walking through a fog and can affect your cognition. Mood changes, depression, and anxiety can all also affect your memory and attention. 

    However, researchers have found that there may be more at play than sleep and mood disturbances when it comes to menopausal brain fog. During menopause, our hormones start to fluctuate and decline, leading up to our very last period. Estrogen is one of the main hormones involved in this process. Some researchers believe decreasing estrogen levels may have an impact on memory and learning, which might explain why many women experience brain fog during menopause. 

    Estrogen May Help with Memory, Learning, and Cognition for Menopause Treatment

    Most of us associate estrogen with things like periods, puberty, and pregnancy. However, this important female hormone may also help our brains. Some researchers believe that estrogen can also help with memory and cognition. For instance, researchers have noticed that female mice notice major declines in memory when they lose estrogen. However, when that estrogen is replaced, mice in studies often improve. Therefore, there may be a link between estrogen and memory. This may also mean that HRT may help fight brain fog during menopause.

    One potential explanation of why estrogen may affect memory is that it might affect the hippocampus. Estrogen may influence many functions of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory formation and learning. 

    Estrogen’s Effects on the Hippocampus

    We have known for a while that estrogen is neuroprotective. In other words, it helps protect nerve endings. Therefore, estrogen may help protect the hippocampus from damage. In turn, this might help protect against brain fog and cognitive decline. 

    Also, there may be several other ways estrogen can affect the hippocampus. Researchers are still studying the effects of estrogen on the brain and hippocampus. However, what they have found is that estrogen may help increase the number of spines in the brain. Spines branch off of nerve cells in the brain and are essentially how brain cells communicate with each other. So, estrogen may help improve communication between brain cells in the hippocampus, which may also assist with memory. 

    HRT Can Help Replace Estrogen Lost During Menopause

    Estrogen replacement is often used as a form of menopause treatment. The idea is to help replace the estrogen that’s lost during menopause. This can help relieve some of the unpleasant and frustrating symptoms of menopause. 

    Some researchers theorize that if estrogen affects the hippocampus and other parts of the brain, then HRT may also help with brain fog. This may be due to estrogen reaching the receptors in the brain. Also, if brain fog is due to things like fatigue or mood changes, then estrogen may help reduce these symptoms which, in turn, helps reduce brain fog. For example, hormone therapy can help relieve night sweats that keep many women up at night and can cause foggy, tired thinking. 

    So, if you’re dealing with brain fog and other menopause symptoms, talk to one of our providers. You’re not alone, and there are many treatments available that may help you feel better. In addition to menopausal hormone replacement therapy, we can also help you design a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes like diet and exercise to help you address and relieve your symptoms. 

    Quality Care for Women at Every Stage of Life

    Looking for quality health care from a caring team of doctors and health professionals? Our team at HerKare is here for you. We offer quality women’s health care at every stage of life. Whether you’re dealing with brain fog from menopause or need well woman care, we are here for you. We believe in empowering women to address their health by listening to your concerns and providing quality care to help. Book an appointment at one of our convenient locations today and let’s talk about your wellbeing.

    Hormone Imbalance Treatment May Help Reduce Appetite

    Hormone Imbalance Treatment May Help Reduce Appetite

    Does menopause have you feeling hungry all the time? Hormone imbalance treatment may help curb your appetite! Many women gain weight during menopause, particularly around their midsection. Unfortunately, this weight gain may lead to being overweight or obese, which can cause some serious health consequences. However, our health providers can help you design a personalized strategy to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight.

    woman in kitchen cutting up vegetables after hormone imbalance treatment helps with her appetite

    Hormone imbalance treatment may help regulate your appetite after menopause by increasing estrogen levels in your body.

    Appetite Out of Control? Hormone Imbalance Treatment May Help

    A lot of changes happen during menopause, including appetite changes for some women. Many notice that they feel hungrier or even experience more cravings as they transition into menopause. This could be due to many different things, such as increased stress levels or emotional changes. What many people don’t realize is that hormone changes can also contribute to appetite changes during menopause

    Fortunately, if hormone imbalances are to blame, hormone imbalance treatment may be able to help regulate your appetite. For instance, low estrogen is a common issue for women during perimenopause that can cause a whole host of symptoms, from sleep issues, mood changes, and hot flashes. Estrogen also plays an important role in appetite and metabolism. So, low estrogen may increase your appetite and slow down your metabolism.

    How Estrogen Affects Appetite

    Declining estrogen levels are often to blame for many of the changes we experience during menopause. Therefore, many women choose to start an estrogen replacement therapy regimen during menopause. 

    You’ve probably heard of some common symptoms low estrogen levels during menopause can cause, like hot flashes and mood changes. Evidence now suggests that estrogen can play a role in increased appetite during menopause

    While many women have said for years that they felt hungrier after menopause, researchers weren’t sure why. Now there have been several studies about how estrogen helps regulate appetite, both during the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women as well as during and after menopause. It’s important to understand how estrogen affects appetite to understand why you might feel hungrier and how you might be able to help control your appetite and cravings.

    Estrogen Curbs Appetite in the Brain

    Scientists are still researching how estrogen affects appetite. However, some studies, including one from the Yale School of Medicine, have found that estrogen may act similarly to the hunger suppressing hormone leptin.

    Researchers in the Yale study found that estrogen regulates your metabolism, likely through the estrogen receptors in the brain. Estrogen may even use the same pathways in the brain as the hormone leptin to help reduce appetite. The study’s author theorized that low estrogen might be responsible for changes in metabolism during menopause, such as burning fewer calories and increased appetite. They also mentioned that estradiol may play a key role in helping reduce the risk of weight gain by helping regulate the appetite, especially for those who are leptin resistant.

    Estrogen can mimic a lot of the same effects of leptin, but what does that mean? First, let’s go over what leptin actually is. Leptin is a hormone made of fat cells. The more fat you have in your body, the more leptin you should have. Since fat is your body’s version of energy stores, the leptin hormone helps signal that you don’t need to continue storing as much fat. Basically, it tells your brain to cool it on appetite and ramp up your metabolism to help burn some of those energy stores. Estrogen can also help reduce appetite and increase metabolism similar to how leptin does.

    Essentially, for most women when estrogen is higher, they feel full and satisfied sooner and many have fewer cravings because of the amount of estrogen reaching the receptors in the brain. However, during menopause, your body produces less estrogen, which can make your appetite higher and your metabolism slower, as well as causing other menopause symptoms. Therefore, hormone imbalance treatment to help keep estrogen balanced may help reduce these symptoms. 

    Estrogen May Affect Hunger Hormones

    Estrogen levels can also affect your hunger hormones. For instance, chronic low estrogen levels, such as after menopause, can cause leptin resistance. Estrogen may also affect other hunger hormones like ghrelin and cholecystokinin (CCK). Ghrelin is a hormone that helps tell you when you’re hungry and need to eat. Estrogen may help suppress ghrelin, which can help reduce how hungry you feel. CCK is a hormone that helps tell you when you’re full. Estrogen can also increase the potency of CCK in your body to help you feel full and satisfied longer. Low estrogen levels can throw these hormones off as well, which can also increase your appetite during menopause. 

    Other Ways Menopause May Affect Hunger and Appetite

    Of course, there may be other reasons why many women have increased appetite during menopause. For instance, sleep deprivation can not only make you feel hungrier, but also have you reaching for fast energy, but low nutrient foods like sodas and sweets. Sleep issues are also common during menopause, especially for women who suffer from night sweats, or hot flashes at night. 

    In addition, other menopause symptoms can also cause lifestyle changes that might increase your appetite. Things like reaching for comfort foods due to mood changes, or feeling like you don’t have much energy can hold you back from getting exercise can also make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and control your appetite and cravings. 

    Hormone Imbalance Treatment Can Help Reduce Appetite During Menopause

    If you’re struggling with symptoms of menopause, our medical team may recommend hormone replacement treatment to help. Taking estrogen may help bring your hormones back into balance to help alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and sleep disturbances that interfere with your life and overall well being. Since estrogen may play such an important role in appetite, estrogen replacement therapy may also help your body regulate appetite and boost metabolism as well. 

    Other Lifestyle Changes to Consider

    In addition to hormone therapy, our providers may also recommend healthy lifestyle changes to help you improve wellness during menopause. If you’re dealing with increased appetite during menopause, there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of overeating.

    For instance, eating more slowly can help you better pick up on signals that your body is full. Also, eating a healthy diet with plenty of low calorie and high fiber foods may also help you control how many calories you’re taking in. Starting an exercise program can also help you burn more calories to help you manage your weight during menopause. 

    Our team takes a holistic approach to healthcare, which means we help design treatment and wellness plans that suit your lifestyle and take underlying causes of your symptoms into account. We may recommend multifaceted approaches as part of your treatment plan to help you tackle your unwanted symptoms head-on. 

    Hormone Replacement Treatment at HerKare

    When you need quality women’s health care, choose our team at HerKare. We specialize in providing treatment solutions to women at every stage of life, including during menopause. We also offer bioidentical hormone therapy to help keep your hormones in balance before, during, and after menopause. Make an appointment today and let’s talk about how you’re feeling and what we can do to help.

    HRT May Boost Serotonin to Help With Depression

    HRT May Boost Serotonin to Help With Depression

    Did you know an estimated 20% of women will experience depression during menopause? If you’re experiencing depression symptoms during menopause, HRT may be able to help. Estrogen injections may help increase the serotonin in your body, which may help boost your mood and reduce your risk for depression. 

    woman smiling with arms open because HRT helped boost her mood during menopause

    If you’re feeling depressed during menopause, treatments are available! Even HRT can help increase serotonin to help boost your mood.

    Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States, and women are about twice as likely to experience it than men. In some cases, this can be attributed to changes in serotonin due to fluctuating or low estrogen levels. For example, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and postpartum depression have all been linked to estrogen levels. Women who experience these or have been diagnosed with depression in the past may be more likely to experience depression during menopause. However, it’s important to understand that help is available!

    HRT May Help Relieve Menopausal Depression

    There have been many studies that explore how hormones may affect depression during menopause. In many cases, hormone replacement treatment has helped women feel better and improve their mood during menopause. These treatments help replace and stabilize your hormones as your body begins to transition to post-menopause. This may help alleviate your depression symptoms if they’re tied to the hormonal changes you experience during menopause. In fact, many doctors see hormones as a first line treatment for menopausal depression because of the link between estrogen and mood.

    Estrogen may play a complex role in depression for women. For instance, there are several areas of the brain that are rich in estrogen receptors, such as the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. Each of these parts of the brain plays a role in regulating your emotions. They all also have estrogen receptors. In fact, some studies have found that women using hormones for menopause symptoms may have larger hippocampuses. 

    However, another potential link between low estrogen levels during menopause and depression is its relationship with serotonin. Serotonin is an important chemical for mood and estrogen levels may play a key role in your serotonin levels during menopause.

    Why Might Menopause Bring on Depression?

    Menopause is complex, so there are many different reasons why you might experience depression during this time. Low levels of estrogen and serotonin may contribute to depression during menopause. 

    First, it’s important to define depression. You might think of sadness when you think of depression, and that can definitely play a role! However, sadness doesn’t always mean depression. For instance, you might feel sad when you’re under a lot of stress, or not getting a promotion you’ve been vying for. It’s also completely normal to feel sad when your children leave the nest. This type of sadness, while unpleasant, is normal. It typically doesn’t last long periods of time and you can often find relief from talking to someone, journaling, or even crying. 

    Depression, on the other hand, is a mental health problem that can last for long periods of time and may interfere with your life. For example, you may not enjoy the activities that you used to, or have a hard time focusing on work. 

    Generally speaking, if your low mood lasts for more than two weeks, it’s important to talk to a health care provider about your symptoms. 

    Some symptoms of depression include:

    • Low mood for most of the day, almost every day
      • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability
    • Appetite changes
    • Sleep changes
    • Fatigue
    • Lack of motivation
    • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
    • Lost interest in activities you previously enjoyed

    If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, then it’s time to book an appointment with one of our health care providers. Hormone levels might be contributing to your depression during menopause. 

    How Estrogen Affects Serotonin

    One of the main culprits for many different menopause symptoms is estrogen. For some women, low or fluctuating estrogen levels may increase the risk for depression. Estrogen may even impact your serotonin levels, which may explain why many women find HRT helps their menopausal depression symptoms.

    Researchers are still studying the complex relationship between estrogen and serotonin. However, estrogen may increase serotonin levels in your body, the number of serotonin receptors you have, and even how quickly and effectively the receptors use serotonin. Therefore, fluctuating or low estrogen during menopause may decrease serotonin in your brain and lead to low mood or even depression.

    What is Serotonin?

    Many of us have heard of serotonin, but a lot of us don’t know exactly what it is. Serotonin is a hormone that plays a really crucial role in your mood, among other things. It’s often called the “feel good” hormone, and many antidepressant medications work by increasing the amount of serotonin in your body.

    Serotonin can affect many different health factors, including:

    • Mood
    • Sleep
    • Social behavior
    • Sexual desire

    Essentially, serotonin is a pretty important chemical for your brain. Low serotonin levels may be linked to clinical depression. Therefore, there may be a link between low estrogen and serotonin levels during menopause and depression. 

    Estrogen HRT May Help Increase Serotonin to Help Fight Depression

    During menopause, your estrogen levels can fluctuate wildly and become much lower than your body is used to. This is because your ovaries are slowly transitioning to the post-menopausal state where they produce significantly less estrogen. These hormone changes can also wreak havoc on your serotonin levels. 

    If you’re experiencing depression during menopause, hormone imbalance treatment with estrogen (and progesterone if you still have your uterus) may help increase serotonin and decrease your risk for depression. Many women start hormone therapy to help with physical symptoms like hot flashes, but hormone replacement may also help alleviate emotional symptoms like depression symptoms and mood changes. Therefore, if you’ve noticed some of the signs of depression during your transition into menopause, consider talking to one of our providers about treatment options. 

    Other Possible Treatments for Depression During Menopause

    However, keep in mind that even if you’re not a good candidate for HRT, there are still treatments available! You don’t need to suffer through depression, and there’s no shame in seeking help when you need it. Depression is a serious health condition, so it’s important to address it as soon as possible. If you’re not a good candidate for hormones, some other treatment options include lifestyle changes, talk therapy, and antidepressant medications. In some cases, you might even experience depression because of other common health conditions, like an untreated thyroid disorder. Therefore, if you think you’re suffering from depression, talk to one of our health care providers about treatment options that suit your situation. 

    HRT and Treatments for Other Health Conditions at HerKare

    At HerKare, we’re a women’s clinic here to help you address your hormonal and overall wellness. We offer individualized care based on your needs. Whether you’re dealing with menopause symptoms, a hormone imbalance, or just need a well woman checkup, our team is here for you. Book an appointment today with our caring, compassionate medical team!

    How Long Should I Take Hormone Therapy?

    How Long Should I Take Hormone Therapy?

    Whether you’ve been using hormone therapy for a while or are planning to start for your menopause symptoms, you might wonder how long you should take it. This is all personal to you, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

    three happy women on hormone therapy for menopause symptoms

    Hormone therapy is personalized to you, so treatment may be different for every woman.

    Recommended Timelines for Menopausal Hormone Therapy

    To start, let’s look at some general guidelines and recommendations. One of the most common recommendations is to use HRT at the lowest dose and for the least amount of time needed to help relieve menopause symptoms. This means it’s individualized to you, your symptoms, and treatment goals.

    According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), benefits for hormone replacement therapy for menopause generally outweigh the risks for most women. If you’ve dealt with menopause symptoms, you might know what we’re talking about. Hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and more can take a toll on your health and quality of life. 

    In the past, recommendations were to use hormones for less than five years and stop completely before you turn 60. In fact, most women do successfully stop hormone replacement therapy within five years. However, NAMS and most healthcare professionals have updated their guidelines to be more personalized. Now, older women can stay on hormones after 60 if needed for symptom relief. 

    While most women notice their symptoms go away a few months or years after menopause, others have persistent symptoms that can interfere with their lives. For instance, hot flashes can last ten to twenty years after menopause. In these cases, stopping hormones could lead to dealing with symptoms that affect your wellbeing, so you might choose to use hormones for longer or find other treatments to help. 

    If you do choose to take hormones for longer than five years, then you and our provider will talk about benefits and risks to find a solution that suits you. For example, maybe it’s time for a lower dose, or even finding alternative treatments to help with your symptoms, or maybe it makes the most sense to continue with hormone treatments. 

    When to Stop Hormone Therapy: Talk to Your Doctor

    As we’ve mentioned, hormone replacement should be individualized to each woman. That’s why it’s so important to talk to the doctor about your specific situation. Our providers can help you decide the best time to start or stop hormones for menopause symptoms. We tailor your treatment to you and your needs. 

    If you’re thinking about stopping HRT, our providers can help you determine the risks and benefits. We can also help you determine when and how to stop as well as help you along the way. 

    Symptoms May Come Back When Stopping Treatment

    One of the risks of stopping hormone therapy is that your symptoms could return. For example, if you started hormones to help with hot flashes and sleep problems, they might come back after you stop using hormones.

    When stopping HRT, some women don’t have their symptoms return, while some do. In some cases, they may return but be much more manageable than before. In other cases, they may be just as severe as the day you started hormone treatments for your symptoms. 

    Some symptoms you might experience when stopping hormones include:

    • Hot flashes
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Mood changes
    • Depressive symptoms

    If these occur, our providers work with you to find a treatment solution for your needs. For instance, it might mean staying on therapy, gradually weaning off hormones, or even non-hormonal treatments. It’s important to understand that there are treatment options! Finding strategies and treatments to help manage your symptoms may help you successfully stop hormone therapy, or it may not be the right time for you to stop. Whatever the case, our team is here to help you feel your best and take care of your health. 

    Tapering off of HRT

    When you decide to stop hormones, you can stop suddenly or you can taper off of treatment. Once again, there is no right answer for all women who want to stop taking hormones. However, most doctors recommend tapering. 

    Tapering off of HRT involves slowly reducing your dose to nothing over a period of time. You can do this by lowering the dose, taking fewer doses each week, or a combination of both. Our provider will work with you to figure out which option is best for you. 

    Most commonly, tapering involves reducing the number of hormones you take by about 10% each week. This may help your body adjust to the lack of estrogen and progesterone in your bloodstream. 

    Also, if your symptoms return after tapering down to a certain level, we may recommend staying on that dose until your symptoms subside before reducing the dose again. This may help you feel more comfortable and help reduce the risk of lowering your quality of life due to menopause symptoms. 

    Tapering off of hormones can take months or even a year or two, depending on your situation. For example, if your current dose is a little higher, it may take longer than someone who starts tapering at a lower dose. Also, if your symptoms return, we may recommend tapering hormone therapy more slowly than for someone who doesn’t have their symptoms return.

    If you’re planning to stop hormone treatments, our doctors can help personalize your experience to help you continue to feel your best.

    Advanced Healthcare Before, During, and After Menopause

    Even after stopping hormones for menopause, it’s still important to see our providers regularly for checkups. Getting your regular health screenings and talking about your overall health can also help you feel good and keep doing the things you love. We’re here to help with everything you need to take care of your health.

    At HerKare, our clinic is run by women for women. We’re here to help you feel your best at every stage of life. Our team listens and understands to help you find personalized treatment options that suit you and your needs. We’ll even help you understand what’s covered and share financial information to help you make a plan that suits both your lifestyle and your budget. Make an appointment today to experience advanced and caring women’s healthcare solutions from HerKare!

    Bioidentical Hormones for Early Menopause

    Bioidentical Hormones for Early Menopause

    Early menopause and premature menopause can sound pretty alarming, but we’re here to help! Bioidentical hormones and lifestyle changes can all help you stay healthy even if you’re going through menopause earlier than expected.

    Professional woman smiling because bioidentical hormones have helped with her early menopause

    Bioidentical hormones can help reduce symptoms and health issues of premature and early menopause to help you feel great!

    Bioidentical Hormones May Help with Early & Premature Menopause

    If you’re going through early or premature menopause, bioidentical hormones may help reduce your symptoms and improve your health. Hormones are often used to help treat symptoms like hot flashes for menopausal women, and may also help reduce or relieve your early or premature menopause symptoms. 

    Also, many doctors recommend starting a hormone replacement therapy program if you start menopause before the age of 45. This can help reduce some of the health risks associated with lower estrogen levels. 

    What is Early Menopause? What is Premature Menopause?

    Both early menopause and premature menopause happen before the the normal age range for menopause, which is between 45 and 55. The average age is about 51.

    Menopause happens when your body produces less hormones and eventually stops menstruating. You’ve officially gone through menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Before this, you might have perimenopause symptoms, like irregular periods, hot flashes, mood changes, and other symptoms.

    Early menopause is when you experience menopause between ages 40 and 45. About 5% of women experience early menopause. Premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian insufficiency, is when you experience menopause before age 40. This is even more rare, affecting only about 1% of women. 

    Nonetheless, it’s important to know the signs of early and premature menopause. One of the first signs is if you haven’t had a period in three months and you’re under 45. This is a sign to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. 

    Now, missing a period for three months can be caused by a lot of different things. For example, pregnancy or even high stress levels. So, it’s important to keep this in mind and come talk to us about your symptoms. 

    Depending on your symptoms, we may use a few different things to diagnose premature or early menopause. For instance, we may talk about your symptoms, discuss family and medical history, run hormone tests, and evaluate you for underlying or contributing conditions. 

    If you are diagnosed with early menopause or premature menopause, we provide personalized treatment plans to help you stay healthy. We know diagnosis may be a shock and you might have a lot of feelings about it. However, there are many early menopause treatment options available, like bioidentical hormones, to help you live your best life!

    Symptoms

    A lot of the symptoms of early menopause and premature menopause are the same as menopause at the average age. You might notice irregular periods, skipped periods, and other symptoms. Some of these include:

    • Hot flashes
    • Night sweats
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Mood changes
    • Mental fog
    • Decreased sex drive

    For some women, early menopause symptoms come on quickly, while others experience more gradual symptoms. We’re here to listen and help you find answers. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms and think you may be experiencing premature or early menopause, book an appointment with our healthcare providers. 

    Why do Early and Premature Menopause Happen?

    So, what actually causes early and premature menopause? At the very basic level, any time your eggs don’t mature or don’t get released, this can cause early or premature menopause. Your ovaries are responsible for this process as well as making estrogen and progesterone. When your ovaries aren’t functioning at the level they did during pre-menopause, then menopause can set in, regardless of your age. 

    There are many different things that could cause premature or early menopause. Some women have a very distinct situation that directly points to the cause. In other women, the reasons may not be entirely clear. 

    For example, women who undergo chemo or radiation treatments may be at an increased risk for early or premature menopause, as these treatments can damage the ovaries. Certain autoimmune disorders and infections can also affect ovarian function and lead to early or premature menopause. 

    Surgery to remove the ovaries or the ovaries and uterus is another common cause of early and premature menopause. 

    Who’s at Risk?

    Generally, if you’re related to women who have also experienced early or premature menopause, then you may have an increased risk of it yourself. Many experts believe that the age of menopause is genetic. Most women experience menopause within a few years of the age their mothers did. So, if your mother went through early or premature menopause, you may have a bigger risk of doing so, too. 

    Smoking is another factor that may increase the risk of early or premature menopause. It can cause damage to your ovaries. This, in turn, can lead you to experience menopause at a younger age. 

    If you’re over 35, then your risk for early or premature menopause also goes up. Premature menopause before 35 is quite rare. 

    Also, if you have genetic conditions like Turner’s Syndrome or Fragile X Syndrome, you may also be at a higher risk for early or premature menopause. 

    Bioidentical Hormones May Help Reduce Risks Associated with Early Menopause

    If you’re experiencing early or premature menopause, our providers may recommend treatment with bioidentical hormones to help replace the ones your ovaries aren’t producing anymore. The North American Menopause Society recommends women who experience early or premature menopause take hormone replacement therapy until the average age of natural menopause (about 51). This is because there are many risks associated with low estrogen tied to premature and early menopause. 

    Estrogen plays some pretty important roles in the body. Women who go through early or premature menopause have lower estrogen levels earlier, which can lead to many different problems. Studies have found that women who experience early or premature menopause have an increased risk for heart disease, cognitive impairment like dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even death from any cause. 

    Bioidentical hormones may help reduce these risks by providing your body with the level of estrogen your ovaries would normally produce. Bioidenticals are the same molecular structure as the hormones your body produces. We use FDA-approved bioidenticals to help treat menopause symptoms. 

    How Hormone Replacement Therapy Differs for Early and Premature Menopausal Women

    When natural menopause occurs after 45, typically hormone replacement therapy includes taking doses much lower than what your ovaries produced during pre-menopause. However, for those with early or premature menopause, we try to mimic your normal ovarian function as closely as possible. This typically means giving you doses close to the levels your ovaries would produce.

    It’s important to note that these doses still aren’t high enough to effectively prevent pregnancy. It’s a common misconception that women who go through early and premature menopause cannot get pregnant. However, you may have intermittent ovulation and an estimated 5-10% of women can still get pregnant after being diagnosed with early or premature menopause. This differs from most other women who experience menopause at an older age. Therefore, if you want to prevent pregnancy, you’ll also need to use contraceptives, such as birth control or condoms. Our providers can talk to you about this, too, to help you make the right decisions for your health. 

    Other Things Our Healthcare Providers May Recommend

    In addition to bioidentical hormones, we may also recommend other treatments or lifestyle changes to help with early or premature menopause. We’re your source for total health solutions, and we’re here to help you feel your best. Depending on your situation, our providers may also recommend vitamin supplements, diet changes, exercise, and other healthy changes to help reduce the risk of complications from early or premature menopause as well as help with your symptoms and overall well being. 

    We Listen. We Understand. We Empower you to Take Care of Your Health at HerKare

    Whether you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms or want to take part in a preventative healthcare routine, our providers at HerKare are here to help. Above all, we’re here to listen and help you improve your health. As a clinic owned and operated by women for women, we get it. Finding good healthcare shouldn’t be frustrating or frightening! Whether you’re looking for advice for staying healthy or are interested in testosterone replacement therapy for your declining sex drive, we’re here to help and discuss your options. Book an appointment now at a HerKare location near you for caring, compassionate, high quality care.

    Hormone Replacement Therapy May Help Your Teeth & Gums

    Hormone Replacement Therapy May Help Your Teeth & Gums

    “Nothing you wear is more important than your smile,” according to Connie Stevens. However, did you know that your smile could be in danger after menopause? Post-menopausal women are more susceptible to dental health issues like gum disease and tooth loss. However, recent studies suggest that hormone replacement therapy may help keep your smile healthy.

    Hormone Replacement Therapy - HerKare

    Hormone replacement therapy may help reduce menopause symptoms and even help you protect your teeth and gums.

    During menopause, our hormone levels start to decline. This can lead to a higher risk of many different health issues. Now, you may have heard of the increased risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions. However, what many people don’t realize is that your mouth can also become more vulnerable after menopause. Some experts estimate that 1 in 4 women will suffer from tooth loss within five years after menopause. 

    Because the risk for oral health issues goes up after menopause, many researchers are studying the link between hormones and oral health

    After menopause, our risk for several oral health conditions goes up. For example, post-menopausal women are more likely to suffer from:

    • Dry mouth
    • Periodontal (gum) disease
    • Tooth loss
    • Loose teeth
    • Gum inflammation (periodontitis)
    • Gum bleeding
    • Altered taste
    • Tooth decay
    • Bone loss in the jaw
    • Increased oral sensitivity
    • Burning mouth syndrome

    There may be many different reasons for why post-menopausal women are more susceptible to these dental issues. Hormone changes during menopause may play a role in this increased risk. 

    How Does Menopause Affect Dental Health?

    Did you know your mouth contains estrogen receptors? Estrogen and progesterone do a lot of different things in our bodies, so it makes sense that they may also influence our dental health. 

    The two major concerns for women after menopause that may lead to dental issues include the increased risk for dry mouth and the risk for bone mineral density loss. 

    Dry mouth is where you produce an unusually low amount of saliva. This is important because saliva helps keep our teeth and gums moist. It also helps clean the mouth and neutralize acids from plaque. It’s your body’s natural defense against tooth decay and gum disease. Estrogen can affect how much saliva you produce, which means you may have a higher risk of developing dry mouth after estrogen declines during menopause. Some studies have suggested that hormone replacement therapy may help increase the amount of saliva peri- and post-menopausal women produce. 

    Also, many researchers believe that estrogen has natural anti-inflammatory characteristics. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, you may be more susceptible to a condition called periodontitis. This is an inflammation of the gum tissue that causes it to pull away from your teeth, which can increase your risk for cavities and tooth decay. 

    Bone mineral density issues are also a concern after menopause. While you may think of broken arms and hips when you think of low bone density, it’s also important to understand that this can affect your jaw as well. Jaw bone loss can contribute to issues with your gums and teeth. For example, bone loss in your jaw may lead to receding gums, which exposes more of the tooth’s surface. This can increase your risk for tooth decay. 

    How Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Help?

    Many believe that hormones may play a role in why post-menopausal women are more likely to suffer from dental health issues. One recent study published in the North American Menopause Society’s journal, Menopause, suggests that hormone replacement therapy may help reduce the risk for gum disease and, by association, tooth loss. 

    There are a few reasons why estrogen replacement therapy may help reduce your oral health risks after menopause. 

    Hormone Replacement Therapy May Help Reduce Your Risk for Gum Disease

    Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Hormone changes may influence our risk for gum disease. The study looked at 500 women ages 50 to 87 and looked at whether hormone replacement therapy had an effect on dental health. The women in the study were split into two groups. One group received hormone therapy as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements. The other group did not. The research showed some interesting results for the hormone replacement therapy group.

    In the group who received hormones, 44% fewer women had severe gum disease. The researchers looked at several different factors that indicate gum disease. This included how far down the gums attached to the teeth, damage to the structures that support the teeth, and bleeding from the gums. The women in the hormone replacement therapy group noticed significantly fewer issues with these. 

    Also, the study adjusted the information based on common risk factors for gum disease, such as smoking, frequency of dentist visits, and more. The researchers concluded that their study suggested women treated with estrogen may have a lower risk for severe gum disease compared to those who don’t receive hormone replacement therapy. 

    Other studies have found that women who receive hormones for menopause had better dental outcomes and even spent less for dental care. Therefore, hormone treatment after menopause may help reduce the risks of dental issues. This may be due to several factors, such as saliva production, bone mineral density, increased blood flow, and reduced inflammation. While research is ongoing, this is an exciting addition to hormone replacement therapy research. 

    Hormone replacement therapy isn’t right for everyone, so it’s important to talk to our provider about your options. 

    What Else to Do to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

    Whether you’re a candidate for estrogen replacement therapy or not, there are some other things you can do to help keep your teeth and gums healthy after menopause, including:

    • Avoiding tobacco
    • Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
    • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
    • Reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks in your diet
    • Eating a balanced diet
    • Flossing at least once a day
    • Getting regular dental checkups

    Let’s Talk about Your Health Today

    At HerKare, we are here to help you address your health at every stage of life. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms that interrupt your life, like hot flashes, night sweats, or mood changes, bioidentical hormones may help relieve some of your symptoms. Our providers are here to talk about your symptoms and help find personalized treatment solutions to help you feel better. Make an appointment today and let’s talk about your health and symptoms.