Did you know your nutritional needs change as you reach menopause? Ourwomen’s health care providers are here to help you make healthy choices for your diet to help you feel your best.
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
If you haven’t had a blood test for vitamin optimization from ourwomen’s health clinic yet, it’s still a good thing to keep these general recommendations in mind:
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.
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 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 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.
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 needmenopause 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 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 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 thehormone 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.
Many herbal supplements are being marketed as alternatives to hormone therapy for menopause. Though they are often marketed with buzzwords like “effective,” “safe,” “natural,” or even “proven,” there’s little scientific evidence to back these claims.
Hormone therapy may help reduce menopause symptoms to help you feel great again!
Unfortunately, these supplement companies have tricked many into thinking that their products offer the same results as HRT. At the least, this means spending money on something that simply isn’t likely to help with your symptoms. What’s worse, you could be putting your health at risk by taking these herbs and supplements.
The North American Menopause Society advises doctors against recommending herbal therapies for menopause because they’re unlikely to be beneficial. However, that doesn’t stop some supplement companies from taking advantage. If you’re looking for menopause relief, it’s important to talk to our provider about all your options, including hormone therapy and lifestyle changes. We will discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option to help you make the right decision for you.
Hormone Therapy vs. Herbal Therapies: What the Evidence Says
The most effective way to help relieve hot flashes is estrogen hormone therapy. HRT has been around for years to help relieve menopause symptoms like hot flashes and may also help with other symptoms like mood changes and vaginal dryness. There are a lot of studies and medical research on hormone therapy for women with menopause, and it’s approved by the FDA.
Now, you may have heard from a friend, family member, or co-worker that herbs and supplements have helped them with menopause symptoms. However, some experts argue that much of this anecdotal evidence may come down to the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is where people notice positive results from a treatment due to their belief in the treatment. That’s why most studies on new therapies and drugs include a group that takes the medication and one group that takes a placebo, such as sugar pills. This helps researchers determine if the treatment does offer positive effects that aren’t the placebo effect.
Potential Dangers of Herbs and Supplements
What’s important to remember is that even if something is all-natural, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Poison ivy, for example, is completely natural, but you likely still avoid it. Many of the supplements advertised as menopause treatments can have serious, sometimes even life-threatening side effects. They may even interact with other medications you’re taking.
Black cohosh is one of the more popular herbs marketed as an alternative to hormone therapy. However, no studies have shown clear evidence to support these claims. Instead, research has shown that there’s little difference between this herb and a placebo.
Two studies, conducted in 2006 and 2009 even reported that some women had worse symptoms while taking black cohosh. In the 2006 study, women in the black cohosh group who also ate soy foods had worse symptom intensity. The other study from 2009 noticed that the women’s menopause symptoms were worse in intensity at six and nine months while taking black cohosh. Therefore, there’s a potential that black cohosh could make your menopause symptoms worse.
Also, there have been cases that linked black cohosh supplements with liver damage. Other side effects include upset stomach, headache, rash, vaginal spotting, and even weight gain.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil (EPO) is in several different dietary supplements marketed for a variety of health conditions from rheumatoid arthritis to PMS. This is also touted as a remedy for menopause symptoms like hot flashes. However, scientific studies have found no differences between EPO and placebo for menopause symptoms.
Also, it has a list of potential side effects that may be concerning, including:
Blood clotting problems
Immune system issues
Low blood sugar
EPO supplements may also interact with medications like blood thinners, blood pressure medications, antipsychotic medications, and antidepressants.
St. John’s Wort
Purported to help symptoms like depression, mood swings, and insomnia, St. John’s Wort is another herb that some say can help with menopause. Once again, studies show mixed results and no clear evidence that it’s effective.
This herb can cause some serious side effects. For example, sensitivity to sunlight, gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, decreased libido, anxiety, and dry mouth are all listed as potential side effects.
Also, St. John’s Wort may also weaken many different medications, such as cancer medications, heart medications, blood thinners, antidepressants, birth control, and HIV drugs. Therefore, it’s vital to talk to our doctor about these potential interactions.
The Problem with Supplements and “Natural” Remedies: No FDA-Approval
So, why are these supplements and herbs often marketed as treatment for menopause? The main reason is that supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA. That means that the FDA doesn’t review the evidence of supplements for how effective they are or even how safe they are.
Because supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. Therefore, the FDA doesn’t test them to see if they even contain the ingredients they claim to include. That means that some supplements may not even contain the herbs in the name of the product.
Also, different batches of these products may even vary widely in dose or amount of ingredient. Quality control and consistency can vary between brands, which can make it difficult to know exactly how much of an herb you’re taking.
By contrast, hormone therapy is FDA-approved, meaning the FDA has evaluated it for safety and efficacy. The FDA also regulates quality control to help with dosage consistency in different batches.
Bioidentical hormone therapy is a type of HRT that comes from plant sources. They are molecularly identical to human hormones, which means your body can’t tell the difference between bioidentical hormone therapy and the hormones your body naturally produces. Our providers use this natural hormone therapy to help with symptoms of menopause.
Menopause Care & Hormone Therapy at HerKare
At HerKare, we’re dedicated to providing advanced, compassionate health care. We believe in empowering you by trusting your understanding of your own body. Our team is here to help by providing you with personalized treatments to help you feel your best. Book an appointment today to talk about your symptoms. We’ll work with you to design an individualized treatment plan to help you feel like yourself again.
In the midst of flu season, the COVID-19 pandemic, and winter, where respiratory illnesses like colds can run rampant, many of us are wondering how to help our immune systems fight off viruses and other bugs that can make us sick. Studies suggest that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve your immune system after menopause.
Estrogen replacement therapy may help your immune system during menopause.
Several studies show thathormone imbalance treatment may help keep your immune system in good shape if you have low estrogen levels. Therefore, if you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, now may be the time to address them with our provider. We conduct a full blood panel to determine if your hormone levels are low and offer personalized care to help you take care of your health.
Your Immune System After Menopause
During our pre-menopausal years, the female immune system is generally stronger and more reactive compared to the male immune system. Many researchers believe this is due, in part, to higher levels of estrogen in our bodies. Studies suggest that estrogen may have an enhancing effect on immune response and our immune systems. Pre-menopausal women are less likely, on average, to experience infections like the flu or colds compared to after menopause. Also, post-menopausal women are more likely to experience more severe infections that may become life-threatening.
Both aging and low estrogen levels may have a negative affect on your immune system, potentially weakening it. After menopause, estrogen levels for most women are about 90% lower than they are before menopause. Therefore, during this stage in our lives, we experience a change in our immune system that may make us more vulnerable to infections. This is a concern at any time, but especially during the winter season where colds, influenza, and other illnesses are more common, as well as during the current pandemic. However, research suggests that hormone replacementmay help regulate some of these immune changes.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Help Improve Immune Response
Estrogens may enhance many different elements of the immune system. For example, estrogens may help stimulate an inflammatory response in your body. This inflammatory response helps you fight off infections if you come into contact with bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can make you sick.
After a hysterectomy, women experience many of the same symptoms as menopause, because they produce lower estrogen levels. Research suggests that estrogen replacement therapy may help reverse some of the immune system changes that happen after a hysterectomy. This suggests that menopausal women may benefit from a stronger immune system when taking estrogen. Other studies have found that hormone therapy was associated with an improved systemic immune response for post-menopausal women. Therefore, estrogen replacement therapy may not only help alleviate uncomfortable menopause symptoms, it may also help your body’s immune system fight infections.
Estrogen & the Flu
There are several medical studies concerning how estrogen affects the immune system. Many of these studies involve the use of estrogen replacement therapy. For example, several studies show that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve menopausal women’s immune response to the influenza vaccine. In one recent study, women who received hormone replacement for menopause symptoms had better antibody responses to flu vaccines compared to those who didn’t take hormones. That study also saw a direct correlation between estrogen levels in the HRT group and the number of vaccine-specific antibodies in the blood.
Another study around estrogen replacement therapy and the flu is that estrogen may help reduce the amount of flu virus that can replicate in your body. When a virus infects one of your cells, it starts replicating itself. These replicated viruses then go on to attack more and more of your cells. The more the virus replicates itself, the more severe an infection can be. The researchers in the study suggested that this may be an added benefit of using hormone imbalance treatment for menopause symptoms.
Why Might Estrogen Play a Role in the Immune System?
Many medical studies look at the effects of declining estrogen levels during menopause on the immune system. Research has found that certain types of white blood cells decline after menopause. Post-menopausal women also generally have higher levels of cytokines, which can cause chronic inflammation. Also, studies have found that immune cell function are also reduced after menopause. Low estrogen levels are also associated with fewer B and T cells. However, estrogen replacement therapy may help reverse some of these effects on the immune system. One reason may be because of hormone receptors in immune cells. This may allow estrogen to help control immune response.
Also, estrogen levels may have an indirect influence on your immune system. Low estrogen levels during menopause may lead to some uncomfortable changes in your life that can affect your immune system. For example, many women experience insomnia during and after menopause. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your immune system and overall health. Another common symptom of menopause is anxiety, which may also affect your immune system the same way high stress levels might. Therefore, other changes during menopause could lead to a weaker immune system. Estrogen replacement therapy may help relieve these symptoms to help you feel your best and live a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle.
Let’s Talk about Estrogen Replacement Therapy for Menopause Symptoms
At HerKare, we are here to help you address your unique health needs at every stage of life. We provide comprehensive healthcare for women in a warm, welcoming environment. Our clinic is owned and operated by women who understand and take time to help you find underlying causes of your symptoms. Whether you’re experiencing uncomfortable menopause symptoms or are looking for preventative well woman care, our providers are here for you. We provide personalized treatment plans based on your lifestyle to help you feel better. Learn more about your health and how we can help you start feeling your best by booking an appointmenttoday! Our team at HerKare is here for you.
An estimated 21% of American households purchase grapefruit juice, with many more eating the fruit whole. While grapefruits do have their positive effects, it’s important to understand that it may cause a drug-food interaction with estrogen replacement therapy. If you’re taking hormones for menopause symptoms, then it may be best to stay away from this citrus. The FDA requires a warning label about grapefruit and estrogen reactions on all estrogen medications, as it may cause serious side effects.
You may need to be careful about what you eat with estrogen replacement therapy. Grapefruits can cause serious food-drug interactions.
Does Grapefruit Affect Estrogen Replacement Therapy?
You might be thinking to yourself, “how much harm can a grapefruit cause?” When it comes to estrogen replacement therapy, it can actually be quite a lot. Grapefruit juice interacts with many different medications, including estrogenhormone imbalance treatment. Grapefruits and grapefruit juice affects how your body absorbs certain medications. In many cases, this may increase the amount of medication that goes into your bloodstream. It may also make medications stay in the body longer. Therefore, mixing grapefruits and estrogensmay lead to serious health consequences from extra high estrogen levels.
How Does Estrogen Replacement Therapy Work?
There are three types of estrogens: estriol, estrone, and estradiol. Estradiol is the more potent form of the hormone, and the National Institute of Health deems it the most form of estrogen in a woman’s body. The goal of estrogen replacement therapy is to bring low estradiol levels back into healthy ranges. This can help with hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and many of the other symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Bioidentical estradiol is an FDA-approved medication for helping relieve menopause symptoms, and this is the hormone replacement treatmentwe use to help treat low estrogen levels.
Estrogens, as well as other types of hormones, are the messengers of the body. They can change how cells in your body function. However, they can only change certain target cells. Target cells have receptors to a particular hormone that allows it to change the cell’s function. Whether naturally produced or as part of your estrogen replacement therapy regimen, estrogens work by binding to estrogen receptors in cells in your body.
How Does Grapefruit Affect Estrogen Levels?
So, how exactly does a grapefruit interact with medications like estradiol? Grapefruits contain organic compounds that affect many different enzymes. One of these enzymes is the CYP3A4 enzyme, primarily found in your liver and digestive tract. Estrogens, whether naturally produced or as part of your hormone imbalance treatment, are metabolized by this enzyme in your liver. By inhibiting these enzymes, grapefruit reduces how much estrogen you can metabolize. This leads to more of the hormone going into your blood.
The effects of grapefruits on your estrogen-metabolizing enzymes can last up to a few days. Over time, with frequent grapefruit consumption while taking estrogen medications, patients may even see estrogen levels increase by up to 30%. In addition, progesterone is also metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme. There are currently no studies that show the effects of grapefruit on progesterone. However, some researchers warn against consuming grapefruits with progesterone due to the potentially similar effects.
Can I Consume Any Amount of Grapefruit with Estrogen Replacement Therapy?
A common question we hear is, “what if I just limit how much grapefruit I eat?” Others wonder if it’s okay to drink grapefruit juice so long as it’s not on days when they receive their hormone injection. Unfortunately, even small amounts of grapefruit can affect your estrogen levels. In fact, most of the studies done on grapefruit-drug interactions were based on just one glass of grapefruit juice per day. Even one glass can affect medications for as long as 72 hours. Another study saw that estrogen levels increased significantly after eating just ½ a grapefruit per day.
Therefore, it’s best to avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and other foods with grapefruit in them to be safe when taking estrogen replacement therapy. While this may seem easy, there are some foods and beverages that you wouldn’t expect to have grapefruit ingredients in them. For example, many citrus flavored soft drinks contain some form of grapefruit, so it’s important to check the labels.
What are the Potential Effects of Mixing Grapefruit and Estrogens?
You might be wondering just how bad the effects are of grapefruit and estrogen interactions. By causing more estrogen to enter your bloodstream rather than being metabolized, this can cause serious side effects. High levels of estrogen due to grapefruit consumption during estrogen replacement therapy may cause both short and long-term effects.
Short-Term Side Effects
In the short-term, after eating a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice, you may notice some side effects. Grapefruit juice may increase your risk for experiencing side effects from your hormone imbalance treatment. For example, you might notice menstrual pain, breast tenderness, nausea, headaches, or spotting. Some other effects you may notice is increased bloating, tiredness, or even weight gain. These could be due to the extra estrogen in your blood due to grapefruit’s effects on how your body metabolizes hormones.
Long-Term Effects of High Estrogen Levels
There are some other potential effects of mixing grapefruit with estrogen replacement therapy. Long-term effects may have serious consequences for your health. For example, long-term exposure to high estrogen levels is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Since grapefruits may lead to high estrogen levels, this is a potential effect. However, it’s important to note that researchers are still studying this potential effect.
Also, while grapefruit juice bottles often bear the American Heart Association’s heart healthy checkmark, mixing it with estrogen has the potential to affect your cardiovascular risks. Grapefruit can increase the amount of estrogen in your body, and high estrogen levels in your body can increase your risk for certain conditions. Some heart problems associated with high estrogen include an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. Therefore, it’s important to follow the FDA’s warning against ingesting grapefruit and grapefruit products while taking estrogen replacement therapy.
At HerKare, we provide quality, compassionate health care for women. Our medical professionals take the time to listen to how you’re feeling and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Then, we work to find underlying causes of your symptoms and find personalized treatment solutions for you. Schedule an appointment today to talk to one of our providers so we can help you start feeling better.
Of the 28 million Americans who suffer from migraine headaches, women make up 70% of those patients. Also, about 40% of women will experience a migraine at least once by the time they reach menopause. What’s worse, more than half of women with migraines notice their migraines change during menopause, most of them reporting that they happen more often and feel more intense. In some cases, this may be due to fluctuations in estrogen levels, which hormone replacement treatment may be able to help.
Migraines may get worse during the transition into menopause and after, but hormone replacement treatment may help.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between a headache and a migraine. A headache is pain or pressure in your head. Headaches usually affect both sides of your head. A migraine generally has more severe head pains and also has other symptoms. Some symptoms of a migraine include:
Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
Nausea and vomiting
Numbness or tingling in one side of the face
In addition, some people experience migraine with an aura. This usually includes visual disturbances like seeing bright flashes, shimmering spots, blind spots, or zig zagging lines.
Is Hormone Replacement Treatment Safe for Women with Migraines?
You may be wondering if hormone replacement treatment is safe to take if you have migraines. It’s a common misconception that you can’t use bioidentical hormones if you have migraines. Some women shouldn’t take combined estrogen and progesterone oral contraceptives if they have migraines with aura. Experiencing migraines with aura slightly increases your risk for strokes, and taking certain types of birth control pills can make this stroke even worse. This is usually the source for the misconception that hormones are unsafe for women with migraines.
Actually, studies show that women’s hormone care is safe for women who experience migraines. One study looked at 85,000 U.S. women and found no evidence of an increased risk of heart attack or stroke for women with a history of migraines. Additionally, some women notice that hormone replacement treatment actually helps their migraines, especially if they get worse leading up to the transition into menopause.
Why Are My Migraines Worse During Menopause?
Many women notice that their migraines get worse during and after menopause. This is especially true of the 70% of women who have migraines associated with their menstrual cycle. Migraine headaches may have several triggers, including hormone changes and other issues that tend to occur and get worse during menopause.
Hormone Replacement Treatment May Help with Hormone Fluctuations
Women may experience migraines due to hormone fluctuations. For example, during the beginning of their period or during and after menopause when hormone levels fluctuate and decline. Hormone injections may help reduce menopausal migrainesby helping keep your hormones in balance.
Why would hormones have such an effect on migraines? While the exact cause of migraines is still debated, many researchers believe that they are caused by changes in brain chemical levels, possible serotonin levels. They believe that these changes can cause the blood vessels in your brain to swell and push up against nerves that cause the migraine. Estrogen may play a role in this because it is thought to help increase serotonin levels and serotonin receptors in your brain. However, as we age, estrogen in our bodies start to fluctuate and gradually decline, which can cause the more commonly known menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes. Hormone replacement treatment may help with these symptoms and may also help prevent fluctuations that may cause migraines.
Other Migraine Triggers During Menopause
In addition, there are many other things that may happen during menopause that can trigger migraine headaches. For example, many women notice that their migraines are associated with hot flashes and night sweats during perimenopause. Women’s hormone care may help reduce the frequency of your hot flashes which, in turn, may also help reduce how many migraines you experience.
Also, some other common triggers of migraines during menopause include lack of sleep and stress. Many women experience more of these issues because of physical, emotional, and social changes during menopause. Night sweats may make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You may feel more stressed because of mood changes and other menopause symptoms. In some cases, relieving these symptoms can also help with migraines.
Can Hormone Replacement Treatment Help My Migraines?
A recent study linked migraines during menopause to hormone fluctuations. The women in the study who experienced worsening migraines also experienced greater changes in hormones, namely, a more significant drop in estrogen. Rapid or large changes in hormone levels may lead to migraine headaches. The goal of hormone replacement treatment is to help boost hormone levels up to healthy ranges and also help reduce fluctuations. Therefore, some women do notice that their migraines improve after starting on hormone medications for menopause. Additionally, hormone replacement treatment may help reduce night sweats and other symptoms that may be triggering your migraines. While hormone replacement treatment is not a treatment for migraines, women who begin therapy for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms may also experience migraine relief.
Women’s hormone care is different for everyone, so not everyone will notice this effect. It’s important to talk to one of our providers about your symptoms to find personalized treatment plans for both menopause symptoms and migraines. For example, other underlying conditions can cause migraines during menopause, such as vitamin D deficiency. Our team is here to help you find solutions for your symptoms.
At HerKare, our goal is to provide you with the quality, compassionate care you deserve. As an advanced women’s health clinic, we offer treatment solutions for women at every stage of life. Whether you need general women’s wellness care or testosterone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms, we are here to help you feel better. Our physicians take the time to listen and understand to help create treatment plans tailored to you. We also provide advanced treatment monitoring to help you optimize your treatment and help you reduce your risk for serious preventable diseases. Book an appointment today for a health assessment to discuss your symptoms and overall wellness.