Approximately 290,000 women die each year in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease. This makes cardiovascular disease the leading killer of women. What most don’t realize is that low estrogen could play a role in your risk for cardiovascular diseases. Women have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease during and after menopause, which may be due to declining estrogen levels in the body.
Low estrogen could put extra stress on your heart. Take care of your heart health during menopause.
Low Estrogen and Cardiovascular Risks
Estrogen plays many important roles in the body. Low estrogen during menopause can lead to symptoms that many of us know about. For example, hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. However, declining estrogen levels can also cause other effects on your health. Some of these don’t even have symptoms like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Low estrogen levels may lead to cholesterol changes
Estrogen can help regulate cholesterol levels, which is an important part of heart health. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. There are good and bad types of cholesterol. However, when people say “high cholesterol,” most of them mean high bad cholesterol, which can affect your risk for cardiovascular disease. LDL cholesterol, commonly known as bad cholesterol, can start to collect and form deposits in your blood vessels, which affects how well your heart can pump blood and may increase the risk for blockages and overworking your heart. HDL cholesterol, a.k.a. good cholesterol, actually helps reduce bad cholesterol levels and makes it harder for LDL cholesterol to form deposits in your blood vessels.
Estrogen acts on the liver to help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in your blood. Therefore, low estrogen levels can lead to high cholesterol. This can put additional stress on your heart and increase your risk for heart attack and death from heart disease. Cholesterol level screenings are important at any age, but especially after menopause when you likely have low estrogen levels. Estrogen replacement therapy may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and help increase HDL levels for postmenopausal women.
Low estrogen affects the blood vessels
Also, low estrogen can increase your inflammatory response to cholesterol deposits in your blood vessels. This inflammation can constrict blood flow even further and increase the risk for blockages and undue stress on your heart. Low estrogen levels may also cause your heart and blood vessels to become stiffer and less elastic. This can increase your blood pressure, which can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk for stroke, heart disease, and heart failure.
Menopausal heart palpitations
Another common symptom that women experience during menopause due to low estrogen levels are heart palpitations. Lower estrogen levels can overstimulate the heart and cause arrhythmias. For most menopausal women, this is an increase in heart rate. These palpitations can be a sign of atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is irregular and rapid heartbeat due to the upper chambers of your heart beating out of rhythm with the lower chambers. AFib can increase your risk for heart complications like strokes, heart failure, and blood clots.
Estrogen levels may lead to other health effects that increase your risk for cardiovascular disease
Low estrogen can also work more insidiously to affect your heart health. Hormone changes can increase your risk for conditions that also increase your risk for cardiovascular risk. For example, low estrogen levels have been linked to increased insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Diabetes is another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, estrogen affects how your body distributes fat. Declining estrogen often leads to weight gain and increased visceral fat during menopause. This affects your health in many ways, one of which is putting extra stress on your heart. Therefore, estrogen also has other, more indirect impacts on your heart health. However, estrogen replacement therapy may help reduce these risks and help relieve menopause symptoms.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Help Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
Many researchers believe that estrogen plays a cardioprotective role in our bodies, which is why premenopausal women have less risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to men. Some studies suggest that starting estrogen replacement therapy may help reduce your cardiovascular risks. For example, one study followed women who started estrogen replacement therapy in their 50s after having a hysterectomy. That study showed that they had a reduced risk for cardiovascular death. Researchers looked at data from 10,000 women and found that the group who used estrogen replacement therapy after their hysterectomy had 12 fewer heart attacks and 13 fewer deaths over approximately 11 years.
Another study showed that women’s hormone care may also help reduce levels of atherosclerosis, which is plaque buildup in heart arteries. This plaque buildup increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. However, the group of women who used hormone therapy reduced their risk for plaque in their arteries. For example, the hormone therapy group was 20% more likely to have a coronary calcium score of zero, which is the lowest possible score for the test that indicates atherosclerosis. Additionally, women using hormones were 36% less likely to have a score higher than 399, which indicates plaque buildup in the arteries and also a high risk for heart attacks. Therefore, estrogen replacement therapy may help reduce cardiovascular risks during menopause.
Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
There are many symptoms of heart issues that women with low estrogen shouldn’t ignore. If you notice these signs, it’s important to schedule a checkup to help with early detection:
- Heart palpitations: Heart palpitations could be a sign of atrial fibrillation.
- Shortness of breath: Unexplained shortness of breath could be a sign of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and AFib.
- Pressure in the chest: Fullness, squeezing, or even a dull pressure in your chest could be a sign of heart disease or even heart attack. If chest pressure doesn’t go away or if it goes away and comes back, it’s vital to talk to your physician.
- Headaches: While headaches could be caused by many different things, they can also be a symptom of high blood pressure.
- Achy jaw: If your jaw aches this could be a symptom of health issues and can even be a sign of a heart attack for women.
- Lightheadedness: Lightheadedness can be a symptom of many things, like heart failure, diabetes, and heart arrhythmias.
- Swelling in your feet: If your feet start swelling, this could be a sign of congestive heart failure.
- Difficulty breathing when lying flat: Once again, this could be a sign of other conditions, but it can also be a symptom of pulmonary edema, or fluid buildup in your lungs, which is often caused by heart failure.
At HerKare, we provide advanced, compassionate healthcare for women. Our goal is to help you improve your quality of life. Whether you’re suffering from low energy levels, hot flashes, or just need a plan for overall wellness, our providers are here for you. To celebrate National Cholesterol Education month, schedule an appointment to learn more about your cholesterol levels, heart health, and learn strategies to help improve your health.
Hormone replacement treatment can help with many symptoms of menopause. For example, many women seek hormone care for hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. However, another common issue you may experience during menopause is bloating. Women who experienced bloating symptoms during PMS in their pre-menopausal years are more likely to notice these symptoms during perimenopause and after. Some characteristics of bloating include uncomfortable pressure or tightness in your abdominal area and changes in abdominal size or shape. Bloating is generally due to either gas retention or water retention. Either of these can occur due to hormone imbalances. While occasional bloating is normal for people of all ages, chronic bloating can negatively impact your quality of life. Therefore, if you notice frequent bloating, make an appointment to talk to one of our physicians about your symptoms.
Hormone replacement treatment may help with bloating during and after menopause.
Why Am I Bloating During Menopause?
Bloating is different from weight gain, though many people mistake the two. The way to tell the difference is bloating often causes sudden changes or fluctuations. For example, you may notice differences throughout the day or after meals. Weight gain generally doesn’t cause such quick changes and usually requires diet and exercise to change. There are many things that can cause bloating. For instance, many people bloat from eating or drinking too quickly, chewing gum, or taking certain medications. Additionally, bloating is common for those with gastrointestinal disorders and food intolerances.
However, hormone changes can also cause bloating. This is especially true during perimenopause when your hormone levels begin to fluctuate and often become imbalanced. However, even after menopause, low hormone levels can lead to bloating. Fortunately, hormone imbalance treatment can help keep your hormone levels in healthy ranges and may assist with symptoms like bloating and hot flashes.
High Estrogen, Low Progesterone
During perimenopause, a common hormone imbalance to see is estrogen dominance. This is where your body produces more estrogen and less progesterone. Estrogen can encourage water retention, which may lead to chronic bloating. Bloating caused by water retention may be different than bloating caused by gas retention. Generally, gas retention causes bloating only in the abdominal area, while water retention can cause bloating throughout the body. A common sign of water retention bloating is your hands or feet feeling “puffy.”
High estrogen and low progesterone levels can lead to water retention and bloating. Estrogen often acts as a fluid retaining hormone, while progesterone is a natural diuretic. Therefore, when these hormones are thrown off balance, you may notice bloating. This is commonly the cause of perimenopausal bloating. There are many strategies for handling bloating due to water retention, including hormone replacement treatment when the cause is hormone fluctuations.
However, even low estrogen can cause bloating. After menopause most women will have lower levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen doesn’t just play a role in water retention; it also aids in bile production. This means that low estrogen may lead to a reduction in bile, which may lead to symptoms that cause menopausal bloating. Bile is made in the liver and helps digestion in several ways. Notably, bile helps break down fats in food and turn them into fatty acids. Bile also helps lubricate the small intestine to help soften stool and promote bowel movements. Declines in bile production due to low estrogen levels can lead to constipation and other gastrointestinal symptoms that may cause bloating. However, hormone replacement treatment can help bring estrogen levels up to healthy levels to help with menopause symptoms.
Hormone Replacement Treatment May Help Menopausal Bloating
If you’re bloating during menopause, hormone therapy may be able to help relieve your symptoms. While menopausal bloating is often confused with other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, a common cause is simply hormone changes that naturally occur during perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. If you have bloating due to these hormone changes, hormone replacement treatment may help reduce bloating.
The aim of hormone replacement treatment is to help bring hormone levels up to healthy ranges and to help create hormonal balance. Our provider may recommend hormone imbalance treatment if your hormone levels are low or if you have too much of a hormone. Often, this may cause other symptoms in addition to bloating, such as:
- Mood changes
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Low libido
If you and your doctor decide to start hormone replacement treatment, our team offers hormone injections for fast, convenient, and advanced hormone care. Injections can help you absorb the hormones better and allow more dosage control so we can adjust your dosage to suit your needs and body.
Hormone therapy from our team also means regular monitoring to help us fine-tune your dosage. This also helps us keep track of how you’re responding to treatment and evaluate your overall health. Hormone care from our team means routine checks of your hormone levels to help personalize your treatment plan.
Lifestyle Changes Combined with Hormone Replacement Treatment
However, because we take a broad approach to healthcare, we may recommend combining hormone replacement treatment and lifestyle changes as part of your custom treatment plan. Depending on your specific circumstances, there are several changes you may be able to make to help reduce bloating. We understand that there are many factors that can influence bloating, which is why we often recommend making some healthy changes when you’re experiencing symptoms. Some of the changes we may suggest include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing sodium intake
- Eating smaller meals
- Avoiding foods that cause gas retention, like:
- Fatty foods
- Reducing stress
Therefore, if you’ve been experiencing chronic bloating, it’s important to talk to a physician about your symptoms to help you start feeling better.
At HerKare, we provide advanced, compassionate women’s healthcare. Whether you’re experiencing uncomfortable menopause symptoms or need a general wellness checkup, our team is here to listen and provide a warm, friendly environment where you feel comfortable to discuss all your health concerns. Our goal is to help you feel your best and help you remain healthy. Therefore, we work with you to find solutions tailored to your needs and your lifestyle. Book an appointment today and let’s talk about your health and wellbeing. We are here for you.
With so much marketing out there, it can be difficult to understand the different hormone options out there. Bioidentical hormones are identical to the hormones your body naturally produces. They come from natural sources like plants. Bioidenticals can help reduce symptoms of menopause and hormone imbalances by helping bring your hormone levels into healthy ranges. There are also many different bioidentical options to choose from for treating your symptoms. For example, our provider may prescribe bioidentical estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone to help you feel better. In any case, if you’re interested in bioidentical hormone therapy, it’s important to learn more about bioidenticals.
Bioidentical hormones can help reduce symptoms of menopause and hormone imbalances.
What’s the Difference Between “Natural” Hormones and Bioidentical Hormones?
You’ve likely heard of so-called “natural” hormones for relieving symptoms of hormone imbalance. However, it’s important to distinguish between these products and bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are natural, as they come from plant sources. However, bioidenticals take this a step further by being molecularly identical to human hormones. They’re altered to match the hormones that the human body produces.
By contrast, “natural” marketing campaigns can apply to almost any hormone, as most come from natural sources. For example, yam-based creams are natural. In addition, a commonly prescribed form of estrogen is actually made from horse urine. However, this is also considered natural. The difference is that these options aren’t bioidentical to the hormones your body produces.
Unfortunately, many of the hormones marketed as natural hormone imbalance treatment may not be effective. In some cases, your body can’t convert or use the hormones in these natural (but not bioidentical) options. This means that they likely won’t be effective at soothing or reducing your symptoms. Also, perhaps more concerning, is that some can cause side effects that may be even worse than the symptoms they claim to relieve.
Instead, bioidentical hormones are the same molecular shape, make up, and structure as hormones made in the human body. Essentially, your cells recognize these hormones because they look and act exactly like the hormones your body produces. Synthetic and natural versions that aren’t bioidentical may only resemble what your cells are familiar with. This may make them less effective than bioidentical options.
Why Bioidentical Hormones for Menopause?
So, why choose bioidenticals for hormone imbalance treatment during menopause? As we age, we begin to produce less and less estrogen and progesterone. These declining hormone levels cause your periods to stop. This can also lead to a whole host of life-altering symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy is one of the most effective ways to reduce symptoms, like hot flashes and night sweats, that may affect your quality of life by making it difficult to sleep and concentrate or lead to mood changes or uncomfortable intercourse.
Bioidentical hormones can help bring your estrogen and progesterone levels into healthy ranges, which may reduce or relieve symptoms of menopause. Since bioidenticals are generally well-tolerated and may help with symptoms, they are a common treatment for menopause.
If you have menopause symptoms but still have your uterus, then you will likely use combination hormone imbalance treatment. This means both estrogen and progesterone. This is because estrogen alone can cause the lining of your uterus to thicken, which may increase your risk for endometrial cancer. Progesterone can help control this and keep the uterine lining thin. However, if you don’t have a uterus, then you may only need estrogen hormone therapy for your symptoms.
While there are pros and cons to taking bioidentical hormones or hormone therapy of any kind, most doctors agree that the benefits outweigh the risks for women taking hormones who are under 60 years old and within ten years of menopause. However, taking bioidentical hormones is an individual choice, so our provider will discuss options and recommendations based on your specific circumstances and health status.
Is Bioidentical Hormone Imbalance Treatment FDA-Approved?
A common misconception is that bioidentical hormones aren’t FDA-approved. It may surprise you to learn that many of the hormones doctors prescribe today are bioidentical. Bioidentical hormones are hormones derived from plants and altered in a lab to be identical to human hormones. They come in both pharmacological forms and compounded forms. While one form is FDA-approved, the other is not. This comes down to how they’re formulated into a treatment, as well as consistency and control standards during mixing.
Pharmacological Bioidentical Hormones
Pharmacological bioidentical hormones have a mass quantity manufacturing process with quality and safety regulations. This means that pharmacological bioidenticals offer quality and consistency for each dose. Because of the strict quality and safety standards involved with the process, the FDA has approved several bioidentical hormones. These include forms of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. With pharmacological bioidentical hormones, you know exactly which hormones you’re taking and how much. This may not be so with compounded hormone mixtures.
What many think of when they hear the term “bioidentical hormones” is hormone compounding. These are hormone treatments that a compounding pharmacy mixes, often with various amounts of different types of hormones. While compounded mixtures use bioidentical hormones that are FDA-approved on their own, the final product is not. This is because the FDA cannot regulate the quality and safety of each individual mixture and the amount of each hormone can change with each batch.
At HerKare, our team listens and understands your health concerns. If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause or hormone imbalance, we are here to help find underlying causes and help you feel better with personalized treatment plans. We also work with you to monitor your progress on your treatment plan and make adjustments to help you feel better. Our team is with you every step of the way to help find solutions to your health concerns and questions. Our goal is to help you improve your wellness and quality of life. Reach out today to schedule an appointment and discuss your health concerns with one of our compassionate women’s health care providers.
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 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:
- Increased abdominal fat
- Brain fog
- 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!
By Raymond Westbrook, D.O.
National Medical Director at HerKare
Hormone imbalance treatment during menopause can help relieve your symptoms and help you feel better.
Hormone imbalance treatment helps many women feel better during menopause. Menopause is a normal part of aging but can come with uncomfortable symptoms. Because of this, many women notice their quality of life decreases and their mental, emotional, physical, and sexual health may suffer. If you’re experiencing moderate to severe menopause symptoms that disrupt your life, hormone replacement may offer several benefits for your wellbeing.
What is Hormone Imbalance Treatment?
Broadly speaking, hormone imbalance treatment involves using plant-based hormones to optimize your hormones to beneficial levels. During perimenopause, your estrogen and progesterone levels steadily begin to decline. This is what leads to the cessation of your menstrual cycles. Menopause occurs once you’ve reached twelve months without a period. The average age that women experience menopause is 51 years old.
HerKare uses a comprehensive approach to optimize hormone levels to improve symptoms while causing minimal to no side effects. Our approach is based on research that increases safety, effectiveness, and looks at the overall health of your individual needs before and throughout treatment.
Relieving Menopause Symptoms
Hormones perform many important functions in your body. They are messengers that help control your cells and organs and tell them what to do. When your hormone levels are low or out of balance, this can cause many different symptoms that we often associate with menopause. For example, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and low libido. These symptoms can also cause difficulty sleeping, brain fog, mood changes, and many other symptoms that can interrupt your life and decrease your quality of life.
Hormone imbalance treatment can help reduce or eliminate these symptoms for women who experience them. Many women notice improvements in their overall sense of wellbeing, including their emotional and sexual health, after beginning a HerKare comprehensive treatment program. In addition, hormone replacement therapy may offer other health benefits.
Other Benefits of Hormone Imbalance Treatment
In addition to helping many women reduce symptoms of menopause, women’s hormone care may also offer other health benefits. After menopause, your risk for many health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, increases. Many believe this is due to declining estrogen levels. However, several studies show that hormone imbalance treatment may help reduce your risk for these conditions.
Research shows that hormone replacement therapy can help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease in some circumstances.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. However, hormone imbalance treatment can help lower the risk of future cardiovascular disease. Studies show that women under 60 years old with menopause symptoms who start treatment within ten years of menopause experience a lower risk for heart disease.
Women who experience vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may be more likely to experience cardiovascular events like heart attacks, angina, and strokes. Recent research indicates that women who experience such symptoms after menopause are an estimated 70% more likely to have a cardiovascular event. There may be a link between hormone imbalance treatment, as estrogen can help reduce the number and severity of vasomotor symptoms.
Hormone Imbalance Treatment with Estrogen May Reduce Diabetes Risk
Additionally, hormone imbalance treatment may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes after menopause. Menopause is associated with an increase in waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. These factors can indicate an increase in abdominal fat. Also known as visceral fat, abdominal fat increases your risk for several serious health conditions, including diabetes. However, hormone replacement with estrogen can help your body redistribute fat away from the abdomen.
Also, studies show that many women also decrease the amount of physical activity they get within about two years before menopause. This could be due to declining energy levels and menopause symptoms that make it difficult to maintain an exercise regimen. Menopause symptom relief may help you feel better during menopause so that you can take part in healthy activities like working out, which can help reduce abdominal fat and your risk for diabetes.
Some research also suggests that estrogen may help improve several other factors that increase your risk for diabetes. For example, insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity may decrease after menopause. However, hormone imbalance treatment may help improve glycemic control and may improve insulin sensitivity.
“I’ve Heard Hormones are Dangerous”
This is a common phrase we hear when discussing options for relieving menopause symptoms. However, studies offer additional insights into the long-term effects of taking hormone replacement therapy. Researchers followed post-menopausal women for eighteen years to determine if they experienced higher rates of death if they used hormone therapy compared to a placebo. The women in the study took either hormone imbalance treatment or a placebo for five to seven years and then the researchers looked at the number of deaths from any cause to get a broad view of whether life-threatening outcomes are common. Instead, the study showed little difference between the hormone therapy group and the placebo group.
Overall mortality rates for the hormone imbalance treatment group were 27.1%, compared to 27.6% in the placebo group. The study also looked specifically at deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease and found that the differences between the two groups were also small. They found a 0.1% difference between the groups for cardiovascular disease and a 0.2% difference for cancer. This research seems to indicate that, when used correctly, hormone replacement generally doesn’t create life-threatening outcomes.
Who is a Good Candidate for Hormone Imbalance Treatment?
While hormone imbalance treatment offers many benefits, not everyone should start taking hormones. It’s important to talk to a medical provider about your symptoms and overall health. This can help you and your doctor weigh the risks and benefits and how they apply to your unique circumstances. You may be a good candidate for hormone replacement if:
- You have moderate to severe menopause symptoms
- Your symptoms affect your quality of life or interfere with your normal activities
- You’re in good health overall
If you have a history of certain health issues listed below, you will want to discuss with your medical provider if hormone therapy is right for you:
- Blood clots
- Liver disease
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
There are also lifestyle changes you can take to help reduce risks during hormone imbalance treatment. These changes can also help improve your overall health and quality of life. For example, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. These can help improve your wellbeing and also may reduce risks during menopausal hormone therapy.
At HerKare, our goal is to provide you with compassionate and personalized health care to help you feel your best. We understand how life-altering menopause can be. Our medical team takes the time to listen to your symptoms while considering a broad view of your health to determine the underlying causes of those symptoms. Then they will discuss a comprehensive menopause treatment plan with you which may involve lifestyle changes as well as hormone therapy. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your health status and symptoms with one of our providers. At HerKare, we’re here to help you take control of your health.
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 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.
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.
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!