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    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!

    Staying Healthy After Menopause

    Staying Healthy After Menopause

    Life doesn’t stop after menopause, so make sure you’re getting the women’s health care you need! Staying healthy is important for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. You’re in control and we’re here to help! Our providers are here to help you understand your health risks and help reduce them with healthy lifestyle changes and quality healthcare services.

    Health Risks After Menopause

    Most women reach menopause around age 51. Around this time, due to normal aging and low estrogen levels, your risks for some health conditions go up. This might mean making some changes and working with your women’s health clinic to reduce your risks. It can also mean getting regular screenings to help with early detection and treatment. Whatever the case, we’re here to help you take control of your health. 

    Around this time, your risks increase for conditions like:

    • Osteoporosis
    • Heart disease
    • Obesity
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Dry skin
    • High blood pressure
    • Cholesterol
    • Diabetes

    This might seem pretty frightening, but the good news is there are many things you can do to help reduce your risks. For example, making healthy lifestyle changes may help lower your risk for most of the conditions on that list. You’re in the driver’s seat and our women’s health care professionals are here to help you design a personalized plan to stay healthy after menopause.

    Maintaining (or Starting) a Healthy Lifestyle

    Around middle age, it’s more important than ever to lead a healthy lifestyle. Like we mentioned, your health risks do go up with age, so the healthier you live, the better. Getting serious about making healthy choices not only helps reduce risks for preventable conditions, but it can also help you feel healthier, stronger, more energetic, and happier. So, it’s time to make a commitment to treat your body the best you can!

    Now, even if you haven’t led the healthiest lifestyle until now, there’s still plenty you can do! It might take a little extra work and you might have to take smaller steps to get there, but you’ve got a women’s health care team on your side. Don’t forget to enlist some daily cheerleaders through friends and family to help you make healthier choices. 

    Diet After Menopause

    Eating healthy is another way you can follow a healthy lifestyle after 50. What you eat has a pretty big impact on a lot of different things, from mood and energy levels to weight gain and cholesterol levels. Making healthy diet choices empowers you to get the fuel and nutrients you need for a healthy, active lifestyle.

    What many women don’t realize is that you need fewer calories after menopause. Most women around this time lose some muscle mass as a part of normal aging. Muscles burn a lot of calories, so with less muscle tissue, you’ll likely need fewer calories.

    How many calories you need depends on a lot of different factors, so talk to our women’s health care provider about your specific needs. However, here’s a general guide:

    • 1,600 calories a day if you get a low amount of activity
    • 1,800 if you get moderate amount of activity 
    • 2,000-2,200 if you get a high amount of activity

    In addition, we recommend eating a balanced diet with foods from all five food groups each day. This can help you get a variety of foods in your diet and help you get the nutrition you need. Nutrition and vitamins after menopause are extremely important for helping reduce your health risks. For example, you need plenty of calcium and vitamin D to help keep your bones strong. This means eating a healthy diet and potentially working with our women’s health care provider to see which vitamin supplements you need. 

    Don’t forget keeping hydrated! Getting enough water each day can help with everything from dry skin to keeping your urinary tract healthy. If water isn’t appealing, you can even try infusing it with berries or other fruits to give it some flavor. 

    Exercise

    Getting plenty of exercise has so many benefits, from reducing the risk for heart disease, improving your mood, keeping your weight in check, and helping bone health. Active adults are also less likely to suffer from depression and cognitive decline! So, getting some physical activity is especially important as we age.

    Aerobic Exercise

    Two women holding bicycles after talking to their women’s health care provider about aerobic exercise after menopause

    Biking is a great way to get aerobic exercise in. Talk to our women’s health care providers about other exercises you can do!

    Most women should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. This is about 30 minutes five days a week or 21-22 minutes every day of the week. Some aerobic exercises include:

    • Walking
    • Jogging
    • Dancing
    • Swimming
    • Biking
    • Climbing stairs or hills
    • Tennis

    How do you know if you’re getting moderate intensity aerobic exercise? Talk to someone! If you’re breathing heavily, but can still have a conversation, then you’re getting moderate intensity aerobic exercise. However, if you’re struggling to talk, then you’re getting vigorous aerobic exercise. If you like vigorous exercises more, then do those about 75 minutes a week instead.

    Strength Exercise

    Strength exercises can help keep your bones healthy and help you build muscle tissue, which offers its own benefits like burning more calories. Most women need to do strength exercises twice a week, allowing for rest time in between.

    Exercise all your major muscle groups during these sessions with 10-15 repetitions of the exercise. Some strength exercises include:

    • Lifting weights
    • Body weight exercises  (like squats and pushups)

    Consider also doing exercises that prioritize flexibility and balance. These are also helpful for daily tasks (like picking dropped items off the floor for those of us clumsy folks).

    If you’re just starting out exercising for the first time, don’t panic. Even if you can’t jump right into those recommendations, it’s okay! Make a goal to do just 10 minutes of activity each day and gradually ramp it up as you can.

    Limit Alcohol, Caffeine, Quit Nicotine

    As we age, our bodies handle certain things a little differently. That may mean it’s time to cut back on certain things or quit entirely. Things like alcohol and caffeine may affect you differently than they did before, and too much of either of these can have health impacts. Smoking can also cause serious health issues. So, we’re here to help you take control of your health and limit or quit these things entirely. 

    Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk for things like osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.  In some cases, it may make the most sense for you to quit, depending on your risk factors. However, if you still want to enjoy the occasional glass of wine, keep in mind that most health experts recommend drinking less than one drink a day to reduce some of the risks.

    Caffeine can also cause some negative effects for your health, so it may be time to limit your caffeine intake. It can make it hard to stay hydrated, because it’s a diuretic. It can also affect how much stress hormone your body releases, which can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and many other things. Caffeine can also interfere with your sleep schedule and make it hard to get enough sleep at night. So, if you’re having issues with these things, it may be time to cut back. 

    Smoking also has major health effects at any age, increasing your risk for heart disease, lung cancer, and so much more. If you’re a smoker, no time is better than the present for quitting. We can help you come up with strategies to help you quit!

    Regular Women’s Health Care Visits

    In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, it’s also important to schedule regular appointments at our women’s health clinic. Routine appointments are important for helping with early detection of health conditions, screening for risks, and developing an overall plan to help you stay healthy!

    Screenings You Need 

    Health screenings help us have a conversation about your risks and overall health. Health screenings after menopause might include:

    • Blood Pressure: In most cases we do this every visit. 
    • Breast Cancer: Many women do monthly self-exams to find abnormal signs in their breasts. We also recommend a mammogram every one to two years for most women. 
    • Pap Test: Many women don’t realize they still need pap tests after menopause, but we generally recommend getting one every one to three years to help detect signs of cervical cancer.
    • Cholesterol: For most women, we do a cholesterol test to screen for high cholesterol at least every five years. This may be more frequent if your cholesterol levels are high or you have other risks.
    • Colon Cancer: Health experts recommend colon cancer screenings between ages 50 and 75. There are many different options, ranging from stool tests to colonoscopies. Each type has different benefits and drawbacks, so which you choose depends on your risk factors and preferences. 
    • Blood Sugar: For most women, you’ll need a blood sugar test every three years to test for diabetes. It may be more often if you have certain risks. This is a fasting blood test we perform at our women’s health clinic to look at how much sugar is in your blood. 
    • Bone Density Scans: Bone density scans look for issues with bone density that could lead to osteoporosis or fractures. If you’re over 50 with a history of adult fractures or you’re under 65 with certain risk factors, we may recommend a bone density test. 

    Also, it’s important to talk about vaccines and keep seeing other providers like dentists and eye doctors.

    Quality, Empowering Women’s Health Care at HerKare

    At HerKare, our team is here to help you address your health today! We take time to listen, to understand, and then to help you start feeling better. Whether you want to talk about personalized preventative health strategies or need help getting to the bottom of your symptoms, we’re here to help. Make an appointment today!

    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.

    Nutritional Needs During and After Menopause

    Nutritional Needs During and After Menopause

    Did you know your nutritional needs change as you reach menopause? Our women’s health care providers are here to help you make healthy choices for your diet to help you feel your best.

    Women’s Health Care - HerKare

    Talk to our women’s health care providers about your diet and vitamin optimization during menopause.

    As we age, our risk for different conditions goes up. For example, around the time of menopause, there’s a higher likelihood of developing diabetes and osteoporosis. Also, around this time many women start to gain weight and notice more belly fat. However, your diet may help reduce these risks and help you feel great. 

    Talk to your Women’s Health Care Provider About Nutrition

    We all know that each woman is different and unique, and so are our nutritional needs! Some women need more of one vitamin and some the other. Our women’s health care providers are here to help you optimize your vitamins. 

    Generally, we recommend getting most of your vitamins and nutrients from food, and then filling in any gaps with supplements. We start by taking a blood test to look at whether you’re getting enough, or even too much, of a particular vitamin. Then, we help you develop a personalized plan to help you start meeting your nutritional needs. We’ll sit down and work with you to develop a healthy, balanced diet plan and also help with any supplements you need.

    It’s important to remember that our nutritional needs can change with each stage of life, so nutrition should be an ongoing conversation with our women’s health care professionals. Nutrition after menopause will often be different than nutrition in your 20s and 30s. Therefore, it’s important to keep these changes in mind and talk to us about your diet and nutrition.

    Our Women’s Health Care Providers Help Explain Changing Nutritional Needs after Menopause

    One major change that can affect your nutrition is menopause. As estrogen and progesterone go down, and our risk for some health conditions goes up, our bodies may need more or less of different vitamins and nutrients. 

    If you haven’t had a blood test for vitamin optimization from our women’s health clinic yet, it’s still a good thing to keep these general recommendations in mind:

    Fewer Calories

    Around the time of menopause, many women start to gain weight. This can be due to a few different factors. First, with age we start to lose some of our muscle mass. Muscle takes a lot of calories to maintain. So, as we start to lose some of that, our bodies need fewer calories.

    Also, estrogen helps our bodies distribute fat. As estrogen levels decline, you may notice more fat around your midsection. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, can be particularly dangerous because it’s associated with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions. 

    Therefore, as you enter middle-age, you may need to start eating fewer calories. After 50, you generally need about 200 fewer calories a day on average, even if you’re as active as you were in your younger years. However, it’s important to discuss changes in diet with our women’s health care provider to help you make sure you’re getting the number of calories you need. 

    Calcium 

    Another major concern after menopause is bone loss. In fact, women can lose up to 20% of bone mass within 5-7 years after menopause. This can lead to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis. 

    Calcium is a vitamin that helps keep your bones strong. Your daily needs for calcium go up once you reach 50 years of age. Recommendations for younger women is about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. However, after 50, those recommendations shoot up to about 1,200 mg a day. 

    Many people get a lot of their calcium from dairy products. For example, one cup of milk has about 300 mg of calcium in it. However, your risk of lactose intolerance may go up around this age as well. While you can get lactose-free, calcium rich dairy products, you can also opt for foods like leafy greens as well as some nuts, fish and seeds. 

    Our women’s health care professionals can also help you with calcium supplements to fill in any gaps in your calcium intake. 

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium, so it’s also an important part of your vitamin needs as your risk for bone density issues goes up. After age 51, the average age of menopause, you need about 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. If you’re 71 or older, you need about 800 IUs. 

    You can get vitamin D from going outside in the sunlight. However, there may be several reasons why you might be avoiding the sun for health reasons. For example, many medications make your skin more sensitive to light.

    There are a few food sources for vitamin D, including egg yolks, fish, and fortified cereals and dairy products. If you’re still struggling with vitamin D deficiency, then our women’s health clinic can help you with supplements to help you get the amount of vitamin D you need each day.

    Vitamin B-6

    Vitamin B-6 helps you make red blood cells and also helps support your immune system and nervous system. Younger women need about 1.3 mg each day of B-6. However, after 50 you need about 1.5 mg each day. You can find this important vitamin in fish, meat, fruit, legumes, and many different vegetables. 

    Protein

    You may also need more protein as you enter menopause. Protein can help with muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. Some health professionals recommend getting about 25-30 grams of protein at each meal to help spread out your protein intake. This is because studies have found that your body may only be able to use a certain amount at a time. 

    One of the main meals you should look at is breakfast. The average American only gets about 10 grams of protein during breakfast. So, you may want to evaluate how much and when you’re getting your protein. 

    Women’s Health Care at Every Stage of Life from HerKare

    If you need menopause treatment or help with vitamin optimization, our providers at HerKare are here for you. We offer advanced women’s health care to help you feel your best at each stage of life. We provide state-of-the-art, compassionate care in a warm, welcoming environment. Our team takes time to listen to you and really understand your health status and concerns. Then, we work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to suit your needs. Book an appointment today and let’s talk about your health needs.

    HRT May Help with this Common Type of Arthritis

    HRT May Help with this Common Type of Arthritis

    HRT can help ease symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, sleep issues, and more. Recent research suggests that it may also help with a certain type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, commonly affects people as they reach middle age or older. Women on hormone therapy may benefit from some protective benefits against osteoarthritis.

    HRT - HerKare

    HRT may help reduce the effects of one of the most common types of arthritis.

    HRT May Help with Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is a major concern for menopausal and post-menopausal women. In fact, in the Women’s Health Initiative, approximately 77% of the post-menopausal women in the study reported joint pain. Also, 40% noted joint swelling. 

    Many of the women in the study that started estrogen replacement therapy noted that the frequency of joint pain went down after starting treatment. Therefore, HRT may help reduce joint pain for those with osteoarthritis. 

    However, another recent study suggests that HRT may even help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. The study conducted in Korea and published in the North American Menopause Society’s journal, Menopause, noted some interesting findings on the effects of hormone therapy and knee arthritis

    In the study, the women who were on HRT for one year or longer had lower rates of osteoarthritis. Rates of arthritis in the hormone replacement therapy group were about 30% lower than those who didn’t take hormones. The researchers also noted that hormone therapy may help reduce the deterioration of cartilage as seen through X-rays. 

    What is Osteoarthritis?

    So, what is osteoarthritis? This is a type of arthritis where the cartilage in your joints wears away. This cartilage sits between the edges of your bones as a type of cushion. It helps protect the edges of your bones. 

    However, when this wears away, then bone starts to grind on bone. This can leave the bone edges indented and rough. Some symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

    About 30 million people suffer from this type of arthritis and it’s one of the leading causes of pain and physical disability. It’s more common for women around the time of menopause. In fact, after age 45, it affects more women than men. Because of this divide, some doctors and medical researchers have considered that declining levels of hormones may play a role and that HRT may help with this type of arthritis.

    Why Some Researchers Theorize HRT May Help with Arthritis

    You may be wondering why HRT may help with osteoarthritis. While research is ongoing, there are several reasons why researchers are studying this link. As we’ve mentioned, rates of osteoarthritis in women rise dramatically around the average age of menopause. Symptoms also tend to get worse around this time. This has led many to wonder whether the rapid decline in estrogen during menopause may influence this type of arthritis. In addition, because HRT can help with some of the effects of menopause, there’s a question of whether it may help with osteoarthritis as well. 

    Also, researchers have found that women who undergo a hysterectomy or have their ovaries removed experience higher rates of knee and hand osteoarthritis. These procedures are sort of like an “artificial” menopause that cause estrogen levels to drop significantly, similar to how they do naturally during menopause. Therefore, there may be a link between estrogen levels and this type of arthritis. 

    How HRT May Help Slow the Progression of Osteoarthritis

    So, why might estrogen help slow the progression of osteoarthritis? There may be several factors that may help explain why.

    HRT May Help Keep Your Cartilage Strong

    One potential answer to help explain the effects of the study is that joint tissues contain estrogen receptors. Therefore, the cartilage in your bones may respond to this hormone. This may help prevent small changes in the cartilage that occur with wear and tear. Also, these estrogen receptors may influence inflammation, which may lead to pain.

    In addition, estrogen may help your body process calcium. Calcium is a vitamin that helps build your bones and keep them strong. Therefore, estrogen may also play a role in keeping your bones and joints healthy by this means.

    Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Have Anti-Inflammatory Effects

    Also, estrogen has naturally anti-inflammatory effects. This can help reduce pain and swelling in your joints if you have arthritis. However, once we enter menopause, our natural estrogen levels drop significantly, which may take away much of the anti-inflammatory protection.

    Estrogen replacement therapy can help raise estrogen levels in your body, which may also help fight inflammation. This, in turn, can help reduce swelling and pain from osteoarthritis. Therefore, this may explain why women on HRT report less frequent joint pain.

    HRT May Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight

    One of the most important risk factors for osteoarthritis is obesity. Many women gain weight during menopause and some attribute this in part to a lack of estrogen. Estrogen may play a role in how your body distributes fat. Women on HRT may have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight. This could be because of estrogen’s effects on body fat distribution.

    Another potential reason why women on hormones for menopause may have an easier time keeping extra pounds off is because HRT can help reduce symptoms that make it difficult to follow a healthy lifestyle.

    For example, many women experience sleep problems during menopause because of night sweats. Hormone replacement therapy can help reduce night sweats so you can get a better night’s sleep. When you’re well-rested, it’s often easier to exercise to keep your weight in a healthy range.

    This is just one example of how HRT may indirectly affect your overall health in ways that may also help with arthritis. While research continues, these studies are an exciting development in the world of hormone replacement therapy.

    Let’s Talk about How We can Help You Feel Your Best

    Whether you’re interested in bioidentical hormones to help relieve menopause symptoms or want to discuss other symptoms, our team at HerKare is here for you. Our goal is to provide compassionate, personalized care for women. We offer advanced health care for women at all stages of life. Book an appointment today to learn how we can help you feel better.